Rather than dreaming about the sometimes stunning, often gritty destinations in your favourite flick, why not get off the sofa and experience it yourself? Set–jetting, visiting the places where movies and TV shows are shot, is easier than ever thanks to dedicated tours and heaps of rabid fans willing to point you in the right direction. Need some inspiration? Here’s our pick of the very best.
Breaking Bad, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Fans of Walter White and co can book themselves onto the acclaimed ABQ Trolley’s BaD Tour of Albuquerque (www.abqtrolley.com). Run by local Breaking Bad fanatics Jesse and Mike, it takes in 38 locations, including Walter White’s house and condo. Alternatively, try out Biking Bad (routesrentals.com/tours), with routes tailored by character. The aim is to give riders a different perspective on the city depending on which character they follow.
Lord Of The Rings, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Journeying into the depths of Mordor doesn’t need to involve being duped by a ring-obsessed Gollum or dodging armies of Orcs at every turn. Tongariro National Park features everything a Lord Of The Rings fan could possibly want to see, including Mount Ngauruhoe, used as Mount Doom and Mangawhero Falls, where the Ithilien Camp scenes were filmed. Tours can be arranged via the New Zealand Tourist Board (www.tourism.net.nz).
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Kefallonia, Greece
There was a time in the 90s when this idyllic Greek island was overrun by Captain Corelli fans. These days it’s not so hectic, making the gorgeous sights used in both book and film much easier to see. Visit the village of Sami, where the bulk of the movie was shot and Antisamos Bay, where the Italian army camp was based. Local tour guides will happily show you where to look.
Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, Hertfordshire, England
The superb ‘Making of Harry Potter’ tour at Warner Bros studios in Hertfordshire is a must for any aspiring young wizard. But if you can’t make it to the set, then head to Google Maps instead. The search giant has added a complete Street View of the iconic Diagon Alley to its Maps platform. See where Harry bought his first wand and peep into Flourish and Botts bookshop.
Girls, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, New York
Lena Dunham’s award-winning Girls was shot at a string of locations in these two Brooklyn neighbourhoods. Wander down India Street and see the exterior of Hannah’s apartment and peruse the shelves of the superb Spoonbill and Sugartown bookstore on Bedford Avenue where Hannah can be seen hanging out in series two. There are no official tours, although Dunham recently posted a photo on Instagram of an ad for an unofficial jaunt around Girls’ locations. Keep your eyes peeled around lampposts in the area.
Tomb Raider, Ta Phrom, Cambodia
This warren–like temple, part of the huge Angkor complex of temples near Siem Reap, is hugely historic, dating back to 1186. But in recent years it’s gained notoriety not for its beautiful, barely restored elegance, but for being the key location in Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movies. Every tour from Siem Reap to Angkor will talk up Ta Phrom’s place in the movie. That’s no surprise - its scale and design are breathtaking.
Arrested Development, Marina Del Rey and Culver City, USA
Indulge your inner Michael and Gob by tussling with your pals outside Culver City Hall, used as the courthouse where the brothers Bluth fought in the first two seasons of this cult comedy. The scenes set in Balboa Island, Newport Beach, were filmed in Marina Del Rey’s Fisherman’s Village, including those around the harbour. Sadly, Bluth’s Banana Stand isn’t here, despite Netflix taking the mainstay of the show on tour earlier this year.
The first film in Richard Linklater’s Before… trilogy is essentially a tourist’s guide to the Austrian capital. Shot entirely on location, the movie zigzags across town following Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) on a romantic tour of the city. Locations include the Riesenrad ferris wheel where the couple share a first kiss, Kleines Cafe, where Celine has her palm read and Zollamtssteg bridge, where the couple encounter some budding playwrights. An interactive Google Map is ideal for hardcore Before Sunrise fans.
Not for the faint–hearted, a trip around the less salubrious neighbourhoods of this hugely underrated city will get you up close to The Wire’s key locations. There’s no official tour, although plenty of fans have worked out their own routes, with one a massive 54-mile driving trip which takes around three hours to complete. See where Bubbles got served at the soup kitchen and the McCulloh Homes projects, where ‘The Pit’ was based.
Woody Allen’s paean to the great Catalan city takes in a raft of amazing sights. The Gaudi-designed Parc Güell and the hip Raval district feature on a privately organised tour, run by Gourmand Breaks (www.gourmandbreaks.com). Unfortunately, it doesn’t include an offer to fly down to Oviedo with Javier Bardem.