5 Real Star Wars Filming Locations You Need to Visit

Photo by davidherzhaft/iStock

5 Real Star Wars Filming Locations You Need to Visit

A galaxy far, far away is now closer than ever before. Before the rise of digital filmmaking, Star Wars creator George Lucas and the movie's scouts scoured the globe for inspiring places and exotic landscapes that could replicate the alien landscapes once only imagined. Today, as the saga comes to an end with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, find a new way to relive your favorite scenes by visiting these extraterrestrial locales from Africa to North America.

table of contents

[x] close

5 Real Star Wars Filming Locations You Need to Visit

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Photo by alantobey/iStock

Located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland, Skellig Michael is the largest of the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also known to Star Wars fans as Planet Ahch-to, the place where the Jedi Order was founded, and the site of Luke Skywalker's self-imposed exile, as seen at the end of Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The stone structures seen in the films are part of an ancient monastery which dates back to the sixth century. Plan your trip to the Skellig Islands from June to September, when a limited number of visitors are allowed to visit the island for a self-guided tour.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Photo by nodostudio/iStock

The otherworldly desert landscape of Jordan's Wadi Rum earned it the nickname 'Valley of the Moon'. Fittingly, the dramatic vista was chosen as the set for the Hollywood blockbuster The Martian, followed suit by Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, who used the martian-like landscape for the role of Planet Jedha in the final film, The Rise of Skywalker. Wadi Rum has long been a popular tourist destination, and visitors can choose to explore the area on camelback or hot air balloon before making camp with the local Bedouins for the night.

Tozeur, Tataouine and Ajim, Tunisia

Photo by Gim42/iStock

In the Star Wars saga, many of the scenes which feature the home planet of Luke and Anakin Skywalker, Tatooine, were shot in and around the very real city of Tataouine, which also inspired George Lucas's name for the fictional world. The cavelike dwellings of Tunisia's native Berber population featured heavily in The Phantom Menace as the sets for Mos Espa (Tataouine) and Mos Eisley (Ajim), while other sets were built in Tozeur and abandoned after filming.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photo by traveler1116/iStock

While not the nation's capital, the coastal city of Dubrovnik has long attracted the attention of film crews for its medieval architecture and historic Old Town, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pedestrian street known as Stradun was not only the inspiration for the entertainment mecca of Canto Bright in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but was the (heavily augmented) set for the big chase scene, too. The crew filmed in secret under the cover of darkness to keep the movie's content a secret until the premiere.

Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Photo by Michal Balada/iStock

While many of Tatooine's iconic settings can be found in Tunisia, others were shot in or spliced with footage from Death Valley in California for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Artist Drive and Desolation Canyon are just a few of the places film crews found suitable enough to stand in for the desert planet. Be sure to visit Death Valley in the fall, as summer heat can make hiking the park dangerous.

In Conclusion

While fans of the series might be sad to see it end, the alien planets of Star Wars are just a plane ticket away. Visit Obi-Wan Kenobi's house in Ajim, also known as Mos Eisely, or exile yourself to Planet Ahch-to, a remote island off the coast of the Emerald Isle, and relive your favorite moments of the series while making a few new memories, as well.