Tatooine and the forest moon of Endor might seem like theyre in a galaxy far, a long way away, but these Star Warsworlds are closer than you imagine. The fantastical environments of the fictional planets were inspired by and filmed in real-world locations, from the craggy peaks and windswept isles of the Scottish Highlands to the ancient ruins and whitewashed houses of Tunisia.
Luke Hull, the production designer on the most recent original Star Wars series Andor, streaming on Disney+, says filming on location instead of using CGI effects could be a core way to obtain inspiration when filling in and expanding an imagined world.[Andors] writing was so detailed, granular, and character based that you immediately think we need to do that on location because location gives it gravitas, he says. It [adds] this layer of depth and reality that you cant always bring to a collection.
Theres no dependence on a Millennium Falcon to go to the otherworldly landscapes well known Resistance fighters and Imperial forces call home. You need to a plane, train, boat, or car to these eight stellar Star Wars filming locations.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Ferrix, Star Wars: Andor
With rugged lava fields, golden and black sand beaches, and whimsically shaped rocks, the ethereal landscape of Lanzarote, the northernmost of Spains Canary Islands, might feel just like another planet. In Star Wars: Andor,it doubles as you: the desert world of Ferrix, where protagonist Cassian Andor, a thief-turned-Rebel spy, is ambushed by Syril Karn, an Imperial officer.
We didnt focus on an idea to visit [Lanzarote] because we didnt wish to accomplish a desert, but once we built Ferrix, these colors just kept returning in, these types of reds in this Martian-like landscape, says Hull. Thats why Lanzarote became an excellent starting place to generate the wider environment of [Ferrix.]
Consider scenes featuring Salinas de Janubio, the Canary Islands largest salt flat, and Lanzarotes Green Lagoon, its acidic hue due to algae.
Island of Djerba, Tunisia
Tatooine, various episodes
Because the primary filming location for the earth Tatooine (in line with the Tunisian town of Tataouine), the island of Djerba houses some important Star Wars sites, like the iconic Mos Eisley cantina first introduced in A FRESH Hope. If theres time, hop back to mainland Tunisia for more Star Wars locations, just like the Hotel Sidi Idriss, a normal Berber subterranean house that has been used as Luke Skywalkers childhood home (and continues to be open for guests).
Lake Como, Italy
Naboo, Attack of the Clones, Episode II
Several scenes on earth Naboo, including Padm and Anakins stay at Varykino Villa, were filmed on the shores of Lake Como, Italys third largest lake. Lavish mansions dating from the 18th-century line the lake, including Villa del Balbianello, used because the set piece for the couples secret wedding between Padm and Anakin in Attack of the Clones. Visitors can arrive by water taxi to explore the on-site museum housing explorer Count Guido Monzinos assortment of art and travel mementos, or have a stroll through the elaborate terraced gardens to feel as regal as Queen Padm herself.
Redwood National and State Parks, California
The forest moon of Endor, Return of the Jedi, Episode VI
Redwood National and State Parks protect 45 percent of Californias remaining old-growth redwoodstrees so tall, its hard to trust they grow here on the planet. At the very least four of the Redwoods State ParksHumboldt, Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek, and Grizzly Creekwere used to portray the forest moon of Endor, home of the spear-wielding Ewoks. Have a leisurely three-quarter-mile-long hike through Grizzly Creeks Cheatham Grove, the website of the famed Imperial speed racing scene in Return of the Jedi.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Crait, THE FINAL Jedi, Episode VIII
Stretching a lot more than 4,050 square miles of the Altiplano, Bolivias Salar de Uyuni may be the worlds largest salt flatand a lucrative extraction site for salt and lithium, the element necessary for powering laptops, smartphones, and electric cars. In another universe, this harsh but beautiful landscape doubles because the remote mining planet of Crait, a rebel outpost. Plan a stay during rainy season (December to April) whenever a thin layer of water from nearby overflowing lakes transforms the flats right into a breathtaking reflection of the sky.
Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, U.K.
Forest of Takodana, The Force Awakens, Episode VII
With 14 acres of lush forest, secret caves, and ancient ruins, its no wonder the mystical woodlands of Puzzlewood made the perfect setting for the forests of Takodana in The Force Awakens. Ingest the otherworldly scenery on a 1.5-mile scavenger hunt, where visitors seek out Roman coins, animals, along with other items hidden through the entire woods, or plan an enchanting stay at among the Puzzlewood cottages.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
Lukes Hideout, The Force Awakens, Episode VII
No wonder Luke Skywalker chose these beautiful Irish islands for his hideout. Located eight miles off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, this UNESCO World Heritage site houses the worlds second largest cormorant colony, and also a great many other seabird species, including puffins. Once a sixth-century monastic settlement, Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichlin Irish) is accessible by boat. When visitors arrive on the island, they are able to climb the 600 steps to the monastery. While you can find no accommodations on the island itself, there are many hotels throughout County Kerry.
Hardangerjkulen Glacier, Norway
Hoth, The Empire Strikes Back, Episode V
There wont be any wampas looking forward to you with this glacier, nevertheless, you can still pretend to be section of the battle on the ice planet of Hoth. The glacier is situated close to the isolated mountain village of Finse, that is only accessible by train. A guided tour must access the glacier and emerges between July and September.
(The Walt Disney Company is majority owner of National Geographic Partners.)
Star Wars: Andorstreams only on Disney+ starting September 21.
This story was originally published on December 11, 2017. It had been updated September 20, 2022 to reflect new information.