Often we are left perplexed by the locations some of our favourite films are shot in. Usually, these destinations are so visually different compared to our homes that wanderlust sets in and has us booking flights to our dream destinations.
There are too many incredible movies featuring beautiful locations to mention. However, the five destinations below have all played an integral role in bringing the likes of 007, Vivian Ward, and Maximus to life. Film locations can push holidaymakers out of their comfort zones and some even end up emigrating to their motion picture inspired country.
If visiting Aqaba, or Petra in Jordan, a day trip to the other-worldly Wadi Rum desert should be included in the itinerary. Featured in many scenes of the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia, the chiselled canyons slice through copper coloured sand as far as the eye can see. The vast expanse of desert wilderness is rich with rocky caverns and steep chasms; inscriptions and carvings dating back to prehistoric times bequeath these surfaces.
Many visitors steer clear of the tourist traps, by residing with Bedouin families for their night in the desert. In candle lit tents, guests enjoy traditional cuisine, before some magical star gazing. Bedouin families love to teach foreigners about their customs and traditions, and also share their secret Wadi Rum locations that very few get to see.
Skyfall is the fourth Bond film to feature Scotland’s breath-taking landscapes. Ian Flemming was so impressed by Sean Connery’s portrayal as 007 in Dr No that he gave Bond some Scottish heritage. Bond’s family estate in Skyfall is set in the harsh wilderness of Glencoe, Scotland, located near Loch Leven.
The towering highlands of Glencoe dwarf visitors by comparison, but create a perfect backdrop for hiking the rugged mountain peaks. The landscape is beautiful, but it can also be daunting in bleak conditions. To the north of Glencoe is the knife-edged Aonach Eagach ridge; an unnerving climb for even experienced mountaineers. To the south is a similarly intimidating prospect – a climb across the Three Sisters – 2,936 meters high.
Salzburg is exactly what you envisage when you dream of Austria. For some, a visit to the medieval city is spurred by a love for The Sound of Music. Visitors can visit Leopoldskron Palace, Mirabell Gardens and Pegasus Fountain, but Salzburg is beautiful in its own right. In 1997 the city was granted a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site listings; with inspectors dazzled by the romantic baroque and medieval architecture.
One of the most magnificent landmarks in Salzburg is Festung Hohensalzburg; the largest intact fortress in Central Europe. The giant structure sits high upon a hill in the city and offers fairy tale views of Salzburg down below. Another must-visit attraction is Salzburg’s Residenz. The complex is made up of many buildings. The 180 rooms are decadently designed and vast collections of paintings adorn the walls.
Ait Benhaddou is a fortified city frozen in time. The striking site is located in Morocco, but it is often recognised as the backdrop for Ridley Scott’s Academy Award winning, Gladiator. The earthen buildings of the ksar are an outstanding example of Moroccan architecture, and it is no surprise that the unimaginable location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors are able to access Ait Benhaddou easily from Ouarzazate and Marrakesh, via bus. Once you reach the site you can walk and climb amongst the buildings and streets of the 11th century landmark. Empty of Roman soldiers, the few lone remaining residents make a small living by providing access through their homes into the heart of the ksar.
For some holiday makers, escaping to a far flung city is the luxury break they are after. Julia Roberts sauntered down Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman and now the city of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles is one of the USA’s urban gems. Many visit cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, but the incredible shopping and uptown atmosphere in Beverly Hills is unrivalled.
Guests can stay at the Beverly Wilshire (A Four Seasons Hotel), where the hit movie was filmed. For those wanting to indulge, the hotels offer a Pretty Woman package, involving personal shopping on Rodeo Drive, a chauffeured Rolls-Royce, and a night at the LA Opera. To quote Vivian Ward, ‘I want the fairy tale’, and you can certainly have it in Beverly Hills.