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10 amazing movie-inspired destinations

If you have watched movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Aladdin, you must have wondered about the real life existence of these other worlds and their fairy tale settings. The fact is, that the artists who create these other worlds draw heavily on real-world locations for their designs and many places do exist in real life. Whether it is an ancient castle in the film Beauty and the Beast, the king’s palace in Aladdin, the Festival of Lights shown in the movie Tangled – they are all inspired from real life places and events. So if you’re a movie and a travel buff looking to experience the magic of your favorite films on location, try visiting some of these real world cinematic destinations.

1) Princess and the Frog (New Orleans, Louisiana)

All of New Orleans is featured in the movie“The Princess and the Frog”. From the Mississippi River Delta to the French Quarter, every part of the story is recognizably New Orleans. It is considered the melting pot of people, cultures, music and food. It is one of America’s most historically-rich destinations. Good times are perpetual in New Orleans with Bourbon Street and the annual Mardi-Gras celebrations. This setting has a supernatural vibe, with ghost and vampire tours and the always interesting Voodoo Museum. Slowly, New Orleans has been rebuilt, after the catastrophic hurricane  Katrina, returning to its previous title as America’s party city.Tourism is the staple of the New Orleans economy, with visitors from all over the world coming to join in the famous activities. This Disney movie gives New Orleans a reason to celebrate.

2) Cars (Route 66, USA)

America’s love affair with Route 66 continues to interest people around the world. The famous route runs over two thousand miles all the way between Chicago and Los Angeles. Both in design and plot,Disney’s adventure movie Cars is heavily influenced by the classic Americana of the mother road, Route 66. A set of mountains visible in the background of one shot heavily resemble the famous Route 66 landmark, Cadillac Ranch. The quirky road attracts road trippers looking to travel by many famous landmarks and attractions. Route 66 passes through true American nostalgia leaving people yearning for the good old days which the fascinating old road represents.

3) Tangled (Mont Saint, Michel)

This French monastery looks exactly like Rapunzel’s castle in Tangled. The Mont Saint-Michel, is a monastery  was the first castle that was used to model the fictional kingdom of Corona in Tangled. It sits out in the bay surrounded by water and feels so very fairy tale-like.

4) The Little Mermaid (Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland)

Sitting high on a rock, right out of a fairy-tale and nestled along the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland is a magical castle, Chateau de Chillon which is an authentic medieval site going all the way back to Roman times.Visitors come here to see the grand elegance of the past. It is now as a tourist attraction and Lord Byron, the famous English poet, has even etched his name into the walls of this fortress. This castle was the inspiration for the movie “The Little Mermaid”. In a blown out version, it becomes Prince Eric’s seaside castle.

5) Brave (Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland)


The movie Brave is set in the Scottish Highlands with  Eilean Donan Castle as its primary inspiration. This iconic Scottish monument is one of the most photographed and recognised castles in Scotland.

6) Tangled (Festival of Lights, Thailand)

Tangled movie thailand lantern festival

The Festival of Lights in Chiang Mai is called ‘Yi Peng’. During the festival people light lanterns and send them into the sky while making a wish. The sky is soon transformed into a mesmerizing and surreal wave of lights floating away.It is considered a religious ceremony paying honor to Buddha. The Festival of Lights is depicted in the Disney movie “Tangled”.

7) Aladdin (The Taj Mahal, India)

The Taj Mahal is noted as being one of the great eight wonders of the world with architectural beauty that has never been surpassed. Built by Shah Jahan, it is a beautiful monument dedicated to his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. They call the Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) an ‘elegy in marble”. This is a loving expression of a dream the great Emperor had and now the lower chamber of the Taj Mahal houses the tomb of Queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. The beautiful Taj Mahal is the inspiration for the glorious Sultan’s palace in the animated movie “Aladdin”.


8) Harry Potter (Alnwick Castle, N’thumberland)

Alnwick Castle is one of the UK’s most significant heritage destinations and best days out in Northumberland. An increase in public interest in the castle was generated by its use as a stand-in for the exterior and interior of Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. Its appearance in the films has helped shape the public imagination regarding what castles should look like.

9) Sound of Music (Salzburg, Austria)

Salzburg offers breath-taking views of the landscape where the opening scenes of the movie The Sound of Music were filmed. In the Mirabell Gardens the song “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed, the Leopoldskron Palace where the famous boating scene was filmed, you will also see the Captain´s backyard and private palace gardens. There are a lot of locations where the film was shot, which will take you down the memory lane where you might just lose yourself in the era of the classic world.

1o) Star Wars (Puzzlewood, England)

Parts of Star Wars:The Force Awakens were shot at Puzzlewood and fans seeking an authentic Luke Skywalker experience are flocking to the location in their droves. Puzzlewood  is an ancient woodland site and a tourist attraction, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. The area contains strange rock formations, secret caves and ancient trees, with a confusing maze of paths. A mile of meandering pathways, with its fantastic tree and rock formations, through this ancient woodland has an atmosphere quite unlike any other wood you have visited.

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