As luck would have it, Star Wars fans don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to experience the franchise’s alien worlds. While CGI has inevitably played a large role in creating the fantastical sets (particularly in Episodes I–III), the filmmakers found plenty of otherworldly landscapes right here on Earth to bring us into the Star Wars universe. The most adventurous travelers can head for the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East, the filming sites for the sandy planets and moons of Tatooine, Jakku, and Jedha, but there are many alternatives for a potentially less dangerous but no less spectacular trip: Naboo scenes, for instance, were filmed in palaces and villas throughout Italy and Spain. Whether you’re flying solo or traveling with a group, we’ve rounded up 19 filming locations that all die-hard Star Wars fans should pilgrimage to at least once. May the Force be with you on your travels.
Photography: Getty and Alamy | Author: Stefanie Waldekwww.architecturaldigest.com
Head to Tunisia to visit sets that span the first two trilogies. Pictured here is the town of Onk Jemal, a stand-in for Anakin Skywalker’s hometown of Mos Espa on Tatooine.
The country is also home to the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, the set of the subterranean Lars moisture farm on Tatooine where Luke Skywalker was raised by his uncle Owen and aunt Beru.
Another Tatooine filming location was on the other side of the world, in Death Valley, California. In A New Hope, these rocky canyons were frequented by Jawas and Sand People.
Possibly the most endearing creatures in the Star Wars universe, Ewoks live on the forest moon of Endor, which was filmed in Del Norte County, California.
The Hardangerjøkulen glacier near the town of Finse, Norway, was the setting of the icy Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, which infamously introduced the Empire’s All Terrain Armored Transport vehicles, better known as AT-ATs or Imperial walkers. (Disclaimer: The AT-ATs shown here are not currently on the glacier—we hope.)
When the Millennium Falcon lands at the Rebel base on the jungle moon of Yavin, it passes by the real-life Mayan ruins in Tikal, Guatemala.
The snowy peaks near Grindelwald, Switzerland, served as the backdrop to the doomed planet of Alderaan, Princess Leia Organa’s home.
In the oft-criticized prequel trilogy, Anakin and Queen Padmé Amidala are married in a secret wedding on the planet of Naboo, filmed at the Villa del Balbianello overlooking Italy’s Lake Como.
The palace’s interiors were filmed in Italy’s Palace of Caserta.
In the recently released The Force Awakens, we meet heroine Rey on the desert planet of Jakku. These scenes were filmed in the Rub’ al Khali desert in Abu Dhabi.
Rey encounters the evil Kylo Ren in the forests of planet Takodana, whose Earth substitute is Puzzlewood, pictured here, in the Forest of Dean located near Gloucestershire, England. But the shot of the Millennium Falcon landing on the planet was filmed in Derwentwater, Cumbria.
For the Rebel base on the planet of D’Qar, the filmmakers turned to the former airbase Greenham Common in Berkshire, England.
The Force Awakens headed to Iceland for filming. The area around the Krafla Volcano and the Myvatn Lakes serves as the battleground between the First Order and the Resistance.
We can’t say much without giving away any spoilers, but those who have seen the film will know immediately what pivotal scene was shot at the island of Skellig Michael in Ireland.
In Rogue One, the first franchise film set outside the main story line, we're introduced to protagonist Jyn Erso and her father, Galen Erso, on the planet Eadu, filmed at the black sand Myrdalssandur Beach on Iceland's southern coast.
The desert moon Jedha, a holy Jedi site, looks similar to the planets of Jakku and Tatooine. Filmmakers traveled to Jordan to capture the rocky plateaus.
The London Tube station at Canary Wharf makes an appearance in Rogue One as the Imperial Military Base on the planet Scarif. The imposing concrete architecture fits nicely into the Imperial aesthetic, no?
The planet Scarif is a tropical paradise—that is, until it becomes the site of a massive battle. As George Lucas was inspired by World War II for his battle scenes, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards turned to the war's Pacific theater for inspiration and filmed at Laamu Atoll in the Maldives.