Raise your hand if you’ve ever watched a fantasy or sci-fi movie and then thought to yourself that you really, really wanted to visit the places the story was set in, if only they weren’t fictional, of course. However, while you might not get to go to the actual fantasy location, you can always try to plan a visit to its closest real-life alternative.
UK-based touring group On The Go Tours has used Google Data to put together new research showing the most popular fictional places, the ones that pop-up the most in search engines — and then added the real-life alternatives of those places, so that tourists “can recreate the magic of your favourite fictional destinations in real life”.
Sitting at the top of the list is the fictional African country of Wakanda, where Marvel’s 2018 movie Black Panther was set. While you might not be able to visit this vibranium-filled country, you can plan a trip to Cape Town in South Africa, which was used as inspiration— so much that the Wakandan language the characters speak in the movie is actually Xhosa, one of the languages of South Africa.
At number two on the list, you can find Pandora, the fictional moon inhabited by the Na’vi, the protagonists of James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar. One of Pandora’s most striking features were the Hallelujah mountains, a chain of floating mountains held in the air by magnetic fields. Earth doesn’t have floating mountains, sadly, but the Tianzi Mountains of China are what inspired James Cameron to create his fictional ones, and you can definitely visit them.
In third place, there’s Asgard, one of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology and the home planet of Marvel’s superhero Thor. To get a feeling of Asgard’s lush nature, you can try and visit Cedar Creek Falls in Australia— which happens to be the birthplace of our real-life alternative to Thor, actor Chris Hemsworth.
Among the other locations listed by On The Go Tours you can find Tokyo, that looks remarkably like Star Wars’ Coruscant even without the flying spaceships; the castle of Gaztelugatxe in Spain, which doesn’t have dragons like Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone, but still offers breathtaking scenery; and Andorra La Vella, the capital of the small principality of Andorra, the inspiration behind Princess Mia’s Kingdom of Genovia in Princess Diaries.
Here is a complete list of the fifteen most popular locations:
- Wakanda, from Black Panther, and its alternative Cape Town in South Africa
- Pandora, from Avatar, and its alternative the Tianzi Mountains in China
- Asgard, from Thor, and its alternative Cedar Creek Falls in Australia
- Neverland, from Peter Pan, and its alternative the Turneffe Atoll is Belize
- The Capitol, from The Hunger Games, and its alternative Les Espaces D’Abraxas in France
- Coruscant, from Star Wars, and its alternative Tokyo in Japan
- Diagon Alley, from Harry Potter, and its alternative Edinburgh in Scotland
- Metropolis, from Superman, and its alternative New York City in the USA
- Emerald City, from The Wizard of Oz, and its alternative Kansas in the USA
- Gotham City, from Batman, and its alternative New York City in the USA
- Dragonstone, from Game of Thrones, and its alternative Gaztelugatxe in Spain
- Rivendell, from The Lord of the Rings, and its alternative Kaitoke Regional Park in New Zealand
- Cloud City, from Star Wars, and its alternative La Rinconada in Peru
- Genovia, from Princess Diaries, and its alternative Andorra La Vella in Andorra
- Lilliput, from Gulliver’s Travels, and its alternative Tasmania in Australia
If you want to check out the whole study, you can do so here.