Everyone enjoys watching a good film from time to time, but if you want to take the movie experience further, why not be inspired by the locations used in your favourite flick for your next holiday. Here are four suggestions to inspire your choice – from Spanish deserts masquerading as the American West to mystery and magic in New Zealand.
Almeria – Heaven for Spaghetti Western Fans
The sun-baked Desert of Tabernas and the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park in the province of Almeria, have provided a background for some of the most famous Spaghetti Westerns ever made. Located in the south-east of Spain, the haunting sands and harsh landscapes were a cheap and effective option for film-makers – in particular Sergio Leone, an Italian who made the Western genre his own. Leone’s Dollar Trilogy, which began with A Fistful of Dollars and starred Clint Eastwood remains as popular today as it was when it premièred in September 1964.
For any fan of Westerns, Almeria is a real treat – and there is even a Mini Hollywood theme which allow you the opportunity to absorb that unforgettable movie atmosphere and offers fun for all ages.
England- Oxford’s Dreaming Spires Inspire Magical Adventures
Oxford has provided a setting for innumerable television series and feature films, not least the box office hit Harry Potter adventures. Actually, Oxford seems to have inspired the authors of many of the most imaginative authors in history – Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights series begins in the English city and has also reached the big screen in an interpretation starring Nicole Kidman.
Oxford’s Tourist Information service offer a selection of movie and TV location themed tours which will satisfy kids and adults alike. Young Potter fans will be delighted to see the real Hogwart’s Hall at Christ Church, while grown ups might prefer spotting locations from Midsomer Murders, or even having a pint at (the fictional!) Inspector Morse’s favourite bar The Trout.
Thailand – Paradise Beach?
Alex Garland’s thrilling novel The Beach was filmed by Danny Boyle in 2000 and was filmed on Hat Lei beach in Thailand. After the film’s release, there was some criticism from locals, as the film crew had “altered” the beach to create a flawless setting, by moving sand and planting extra palm trees. The area was increasingly popular as a holiday resort after the Leonardo DiCaprio film engaged its audience with a paradise fantasy, however the tragic results of the tsunami in 2004 caused much devastation in the zone.
Now, the beach on Phi Phi Island has returned to its pre-Hollywood makeover state, and a daily ferry service allows tourists to have their own taste of Beach-Life.
New Zealand – Otherworldly Landscapes
Recreating the strange and sometimes frightening world of J.R.R Tolkein’s Middle Earth would be an insurmountable challenge for all but the most ambitious film-maker. In 2001, Peter Jackson released the first of his Lord of the Rings trilogy, which featured a host of stars including Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett. Fans of the fantasy film series can visit locations throughout both of New Zealand’s islands – including Matamata in the North, where the village of Hobbiton was created, and to the South,, the glaciers which served at the Misty Mountains in the films.
Since Jackson’s masterpiece was film in locations which are hours apart, tourists visiting New Zealand may have to choose to see only their “highlights” – and taking a camera is recommended as the scenery is truly magnificent.