Hollywood film locations around the world

The desert of Tunisia was the backdrop for all but one of the Star Wars flicks
The desert of Tunisia was the backdrop for all but one of the Star Wars flicks

This article is sponsored by Helloworld Travel & Cruise Travel Centre

As we head into glitz and glory of Hollywood’s award season, all of the hardworking people behind and in front of the camera are celebrated for bringing stories to life on the big screen. 

The stage for these stories is often contained to the lifelike sets of Southern California, but when a film goes on location, it can add a dazzling new layer to the story – and sometimes even become something of an additional character, in the case of movies like Sex and the City. 

Often the savvy traveller can go and visit these exotic Hollywood-worthy locations for themselves – if they know where to look. 

In Bruges

Belgium

This dark comedy stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hired hitmen who are somewhat reluctantly resigned to their current posting in sleepy Bruges. Despite the dislike Farrell’s grumpy character has for the surrounding city, the ancient streets and canal shine as a magical fairytale location. 

The black comedy stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, with Ralph Fiennes in a supporting role as the pair's mentally unhinged boss.

The black comedy stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, with Ralph Fiennes in a supporting role as the pair's mentally unhinged boss.

Located about an hour from Brussels, Bruges was a significant trading city in the Middle Ages and citizens prospered from the associated wealth. After the fortunes waned, the historic architecture, art and canals remained.

The facades of the town square of Bruges are postcard-pretty, thanks to the city's prosperous history.

The facades of the town square of Bruges are postcard-pretty, thanks to the city's prosperous history.

“On visiting Bruges itself, you could see that it would be an additional character in the story,” says the film’s producer Graham Broadbent. 

“The city has such a heightened atmosphere and it's so picturesque, whichever way you pointed a camera it was going to look extraordinary.”

Harry Potter

United Kingdom

This magical series about the adventures of the hidden wizarding world was brought to live in locations across the United Kingdom including London, Oxford and even Glencoe in Scotland.

Visit the castle where Harry learns to fly in the first film. Image: waywardhufflepuff.tumblr.com

Visit the castle where Harry learns to fly in the first film. Image: waywardhufflepuff.tumblr.com

Scenes inside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were filmed in multiple locations – Christ Church College and Cathedral in Oxford was chosen for the 16th century stone staircases, Gloucester Cathedral was used for the hallways of the school and Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire was used for the school’s classrooms. 

Locations around London were also utilised for the series, including the London Zoo, where Harry accidentally sets a boa constrictor on his cousin and Leadenhall Market, used as the exterior of wizarding shopping district Diagon Alley. 

Head along to Kings Cross St Pancras for a photo at the iconic platform nine and three-quarters.

Head along to Kings Cross St Pancras for a photo at the iconic platform nine and three-quarters.

Head to the bustling transit epicentre Kings Cross St Pancras in London and snap a photo at platform nine and three-quarters. The iconic scene where Harry passes through the solid wall to access the magical platform has been immortalised with a half-disappeared luggage trolley. 

Vicki, Cristina, Barcelona

Spain

Woody Allen’s saucy flick stars Scarlett Johannson and Rebecca Hall as two best friends who spend an eventful summer in Barcelona. The ensuing romance and drama also includes Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who were so swept up in the romance they began their own offscreen relationship. The pair are now married with two children.

The half-finished Sagrada Familia is visible in the distance as Scarlett Johannson, Rebecca Hall and Patricia Clarkson enjoy the sights.

The half-finished Sagrada Familia is visible in the distance as Scarlett Johannson, Rebecca Hall and Patricia Clarkson enjoy the sights.

The film was shot in Spain in Barcelona, Avilés and Oviedo, and was Allen's fourth consecutive film shot outside of the United States. Notable landmarks included in the film include the tapering spires of Gaudi’s Church of La Sagrada Familia, which look as if they’ve grown up from the ground like coral.

The rooftop of the Casa Mila feels almost alive with humanoid pillars.

The rooftop of the Casa Mila feels almost alive with humanoid pillars.

Vicki and Cristina are also filmed wandering among the chimneys of Casa Mila, which the savvy film buff may recognise from the 1975 drama The Passenger starring Jack Nicholson.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

India 

This British comedy-drama features an ensemble cast including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith as a group of pensioners moving to a retirement hotel in Rajasthan run by the spirited Dev Patel.

The dreamy pastels of the landscape created an extra layer of magic for this wry flick.

The dreamy pastels of the landscape created an extra layer of magic for this wry flick.

Filming for the quirky flick took place in the busy cities of Jaipur and Udaipur. The moniker hotel is actually called Ravla Khempur, an elegant equestrian hotel which was originally the palace of a tribal chieftain in the village of Khempur.

The palace hotel is located just an hour’s drive from Udaipur and is a lot less run down than it appears in the film, not to mention far more tranquil than the bustling streets of Jaipur. 

Judi Dench relaxes at the Ravla Khempur between takes.

Judi Dench relaxes at the Ravla Khempur between takes.

The reverent location boasts centuries of rich history, evident in the many palaces and forts that are relics of a much disputed land. In the capital, Jaipur (known as the Pink City), stands an 18th century city palace and the Hawa Mahal, a cloister for royal woman with a five-story pink screen as its facade. 

Adoration

Australia

The idyllic holiday location of Seal Rocks, located just an hour from Newcastle, shone on the big screen.

The idyllic holiday location of Seal Rocks, located just an hour from Newcastle, shone on the big screen.

This steamy and controversial flick stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, now widely recognised as the First Lady on TV hit House of Cards. The film is set in the quiet holiday spot Seal Rocks, located just over an hour north of Newcastle. The tranquil turquoise waters of the east coast are the perfect backdrop for the drama that unfolds in the film. 

You can rent out the beach house that featured in the film Adoration, which includes a small path down to the beach.

You can rent out the beach house that featured in the film Adoration, which includes a small path down to the beach.

While the houses and main beach scenes were filmed at Seal Rocks, some beach scenes were also filmed at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse beach, just fifteen minutes drive (and a short walk) from the main beaches. The crew also filmed at Shelly Beach and Balmain, a trendy inner west suburb of Sydney. 

Star Wars

Tunisia

Many of the original sets still stand in the desert where all but one of the Star Wars movies were filmed.

Many of the original sets still stand in the desert where all but one of the Star Wars movies were filmed.

The arid southern desert of Tunisia has hosted all but one of the Star Wars flicks and several of the iconic sets still stand today. Although the first scenes featuring robots R2D2 and C-3PO date back to the early-80s, the recent release of the hotly anticipated Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is sure to spike interest in the small African nation once again.

Fans may also want to check out Hotel Sidi Driss – its Berber-style rooms featured in the original film as Luke Skywalker's childhood home.

The desert of the African nation of Tunisia looked otherworldly on screen.

The desert of the African nation of Tunisia looked otherworldly on screen.

Unfortunately this is one location that might not be so easy to visit at the moment. The Australian government is advising travellers to “reconsider their need to travel” to the country, and several of the film sets are in areas categorised as “do not travel”. Despite this, tourism to the country continues, and some companies do run tours. 

Wanderlust getting the better of you? Head along to Newcastle's Largest Holiday & Cruise Expo, 21 January 2018 at NEX Newcastle, King Street, for exclusive travel deals, free entry and free parking.

This article was sponsored by Helloworld Travel & Cruise Travel Centre