Skellig Michael

From Star Wars to Troy. Real-life film locations you have to visit

Photo: Getty Images

Break down the barrier between fantasy and reality and see the places where movies come alive

The adventure begins…

Everyone knows about New Zealand’s rugged beauty from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But have you ever thought about following in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker in Ireland? Or hunting dinosaurs on Isla Nublar? 

Here are the most spectacular settings in a galaxy not so far, far away where you can recreate some of the greatest movie moments in Hollywood history, and also try out your best Jack Sparrow impression. 


Expectations were high when the seventh instalment of Star Wars arrived in cinemas at the end of 2015. Legendary faces like Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill were joined by new recruits including Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. For the final dramatic scene the crew filmed on Skellig Michael, an island almost twelve kilometres west of County Kerry in Ireland. The rock - with monastic settlements dating from around the 6th century - is only accessible by boat from May until September, so get planning your trip now if you want to see where Rey found Luke Skywalker.


Disney’s 2003 blockbuster was based on a theme park ride and brought out the best in Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Wallilabou Anchorage, situated at Wallilabou Bay on the west coast of St Vincent, was the principal location for filming. The local hotel, shops, restaurant and customs office were transformed into the pirate town of Port Royal. It’s still home to many of the props and there is also a museum full of photos of the creation of the set.

© TheMagicHannes // YouTube


In the film that brought together the father-son duo of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford, we also got to see some awe-inspiring film sets. One of the most striking locations is the resting place of the Holy Grail at the cliff dwelling of Petra in Khazneh, Jordan. Interior shots were done on a soundstage in Hollywood, but the exterior was the sandstone masterpiece built in the first century B.C. by the Nabateans. Petra has even been named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 28 places you must see before you die.

© Bruno Moratón // YouTube


Director Wolfgang Peterson brought together Brad Pitt as Achilles and Eric Bana as Hector to tell the story of Homer’s Iliad. Some of the most stunning shots from the film take place in Malta in the Mediterranean. Fort Ricasoli, a seventeenth century military compound built by the Knights of Malta, was used for street scenes, and the moment when Odysseus asks Achilles and Patroclus to join the attack on Troy was filmed on the cliffside at Mellieha. And one of the most spectacular scenes has to be from the Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino. 

© rbt_1990 // YouTube


It wasn’t only the CGI and animatronics of Jurassic Park that made it a joy to watch. The island where things quickly took a turn for the worse for Alan, Ellie and company was a spectacular place to film the ensuing chaos. Isla Nublar, a remote location around 190 kilometres off the west coast of Costa Rica, was the setting for the prehistoric park. There are regular tours to the island where you can explore the varied landscape. 

© kinguyen90 // YouTube

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04 2016 The Red Bulletin

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