Unique Movie Locations Worldwide Animate Family Reunions

Accommodations, Destinations

From reel to real, these movie locations around the world are full of diverse landscapes and unparalleled set jetting activities

No need for a script when the settings for these movie locations are so spectacular. With numerous options for group getaways, sometimes thinking outside the box can manifest a creative family trip. Channel your inner movie star and capture the magic set jetting to these cinematic destinations.

Movie Locations Around the Globe

The world lends incredible picture-perfect locations that paint magnificent backdrops and tout inspiration for movies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and even children’s animated classics. Culture, people, breathtaking scenery, and creative minds behind blockbuster films are the makings of spectacular set jetting opportunities. In this article, we will travel to:

  • Norway
  • Louisianna
  • Ireland
  • England
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand

Disney’s Frozen – Norway

When children around the world were introduced to Elsa and her glittering world of Arendelle, no one could predict its wild popularity. Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” author Victoria Saxon draws inspiration from both Anderson’s story and the breathtaking landscapes and cultures of Norway and Iceland.

Take a fun family trip set jetting to Norway and immerse in the scenery of Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Glimpse centuries-old Norwegian stave churches, jaw-dropping icy fjords and black-sand beaches, iconic settings straight from the animated film. In Balestrand, St. Olaf’s Church, the namesake of the beloved snowman, is the brainchild for the chapel where Elsa receives her coronation. A mere 28 Norwegian stave churches exist today, including the Borgund Church, which perfectly depicts the jagged Viking-style architecture right out of Frozen scenes.

Borgund Church in Norway was the inspiration for architecture and movie locations in Disney’s Frozen. Photo courtesy of Tnarik Innael/Flickr.

Head to Stiftsgården in Trondheim, the largest wooden mansion in the Nordic region and the inspiration for Arendelle Castle’s interior. This royal family residence offers tours in the summer when the King and his family are away. Explore the 1774 mansion’s ornate corridors reminiscent of Elsa’s grand home. Arendelle Castle’s exterior was drawn from the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, complete with brick-patterned walls and green roof peaks making it a perfect photo opportunity.

Shop for a bunad, a traditional Norwegian folk costume found in many local shops. This intricately embroidered outfit is what Anna purchases from Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post in the first film. It’s perfect for souvenirs and children’s dress-up clothes. Other movie locations not to be missed include the Austrian town of Hallstatt, the setting for Arendelle; Bergen, Norway, the second village that inspired the story’s town; Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO site that inspired the body of water located next to Arendelle.

Nordic retreat for the full Frozen experience:

A stay at Snowhotel Kirkenes in handmade igloos includes family activities and live animal experiences while their Gamme Cabins offer a magical group escape.

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog – New Orleans, Louisianna

New Orleans has been the backdrop for numerous films, including the inspiration for Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. Take a streetcar tour of New Orleans, just like Princess Tiana did on her trip down historic St. Charles Avenue. Streetcars are a family-friendly and affordable way to explore the diverse NOLA neighborhoods.

New Orleans streetcar tour. Photo courtesy of Amaury Laporte/Flickr

The incredible life of Chef Leah Chase, “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” also played a large part in the Disney character, Princess Tiana. You can taste her legacy at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant serving up delicious pastries and beignets, just like the ones Princess Tiana made. Ms. Loretta’s Authentic Pralines will satisfy your sweet tooth while a Jazz Brunch Aboard the Steamboat Natchez for authentic Southern fare is filled with rousing melodies at sea. A trip to the Audubon Zoo will complete your Disney’s The Princess and the Frog experience by incorporating many of the film’s diverse animal and plant species.

Explore the mystical Louisiana bayous on an adventurous swamp tour with your group. This is an ideal way to immerse in the natural landscape and wildlife that were the setting for many magical scenes.

Budget-friendly, safe, centrally located accommodation:

Star Wars – Skellig Michael Island, Ireland

Set jetting fans of the Star Wars franchise can take a fun family trip to Ireland and the Skellig Islands off the Irish coast. Explore movie locations used for the legendary backdrops in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. A stand-in for planet Anch-To, Skellig Michael is more than a wild filming location. It also holds the world’s best-preserved example of early Christian monastic traditions hosting an ancient monastery. This rare place is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Skellig Michael Island tours take groups to view movie locations from the Star Wars films. Photo courtesy of Michel Hebert/Flickr

Summer landing tours bring groups by boat to the fictitious island retreat for Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. In fact, the film’s creatures like the Caretakers and Porgs were inspired by puffins, seals and other native species. Reserve your tickets well in advance as these tours sell out quickly.

Behind-the-scenes lodging:

  • The Moorings Portmagee is the go-to accommodation for families set jetting to the Skellig Islands with its proximity to the docks where the Skellig Michael tour boats depart. In fact, Star Wars fans will enjoy the fact that The Moorings was the place where the film crew and actors would unwind between scenes and after major takes.

Harry Potter – England

A truly magical and fun family trip awaits in London with numerous movie locations groups can visit. The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford brings the movie to life with extraordinary experiences. See iconic film sets like the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Great Hall. An array of props on display features 900 memory vials from Dumbledore’s office and 950 potion jars from Professor McGonagall’s classroom.

The UNESCO site Durham Cathedral was the inspiration for Hogwarts’ interior school halls while Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was used in numerous exterior shots of Hogwarts Castle. Take a group tour of Alnwick and explore the outer bailey where Harry first learned how to fly and the inner bailey where Ron crash-landed the flying car. Tours of the Cathedral are free, and visitors are encouraged to donate.

Bodleian Libraries and Duke Humphrey’s Library. Photo courtesy of Richard Gillin/Flickr.

Located in Oxford, the Bodleian Libraries amass the largest collection of books in the world, over 12 million to be exact, including rare manuscripts. No wonder they were the chosen movie locations for many scenes. Take a guided tour of Duke Humphrey’s Library which served as the stand-in for the Restricted Section of Hogwarts Library in The Sorcerer’s Stone and the most visited of the Bodleian Libraries by “Potterheads.”

Nearby enchanting Harry Potter-style hotel:

Georgian House Hotel in London offers Harry Potter-style accommodation with Wizard Experiences, a special family lodging complete with magical-themed décor and cuisine.

Jurassic Park – Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaiian vacations make a fun family trip for any occasion. But why not make it really special with a set jetting trek to Isla Nublar, the fictitious home of Jurassic Park? The actual jungle paradise where Jurassic Park was filmed is Kauai, the fourth-largest Hawaiian island known as the “Garden Isle.” Here, groups can step into the lush prehistoric world full of cascading waterfalls, vast canyons and vibrant tropical flora. Visit iconic movie locations such as the “Jurassic Park Tree” in Allerton Garden located in the astonishing National Tropical Botanical Garden. In addition, Hoopie Falls affords breathtaking views along a 2.4-mile hike cutting through the jungle bringing hikers to a stunning waterfall. Fans will recognize this setting as the fictional Mano de Dios amber mine in the first film.

Movie locations for Jurassic Park include the Na’Pali Coast. Photo courtesy of Freepik.

The most filmed location on the island is the Na Pali Coast, a breathtaking otherworldly setting perfect for a family beach day. The coastline also plays the role of Isla Sorna, aka “Site B” to die-hard film fans. A family adventure here is only possible by air or by sea keeping with the Jurassic Park theme, and many charter boats and helicopter tours are available. In the second installment, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Kipu Kai was used as the setting for the opening scene where a hungry horde of tiny dinosaurs stalk the little girl while her parents unknowingly prepare a beach picnic. Take a Jurassic Park ATV Tour at Kipu Ranch in Lihue for a guided journey through prehistoric scenery and photo op stops.

Ideal location accommodation near Jurassic Park tours and airport:

Kauai Palms Hotel offers affordable and stylish digs including studios and cottages equipped with kitchens. This hotel is five a minute drive from Lihue Airport and 10 minutes from Kipu Ranch’s Jurassic Park ATV Tours.

Lord of the Rings – Matamata, New Zealand

It would be inappropriate not to include the unbelievably gorgeous landscapes used as a venue for the Lord of the Rings films. Around every tiny hobbit house are majestic views found only in New Zealand.

Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of othree via Flickr.

The town of Matamata was chosen to portray the peaceful Shire of Middle-earth™ in the first film utilizing its lush dairy landscapes to carefully build the hobbit village. After being rebuilt for the second film, it is now a permanent tourist attraction that makes a fun family trip for all ages. Tour Hobbiton, an out-of-this-world experience sure to wow everyone in the group. Discover the Hobbit world in a movie set so intricately designed and meticulously kept, that you will think you are on set!

Hobbit caves offer one-of-a-kind LOTR lodging:

Woodlyn Park Hotel located in Waitomo Village offers world-unique accommodation options, including two underground hobbit homes perfect for families.

Discover more set jetting adventures perfect for your next family getaway when you subscribe for free to Destination Reunions today.

By Heather Dale, Managing Editor

Explore Latest Edition

reunions cover

Recent from Destinations

Relax on a Multigenerational Family Wellness Vacation

Relax on a Multigenerational Family Wellness Vacation

From innovative biohacking treatments to natural hot springs in the U.S., consider these tranquil ideas for a wellness vacation While travel among families is still popular, it has become more intentional with a focus on health and well-being. Enjoying a wellness...

Subscribe for Free