Have you ever fallen in love with the beautifully captured scenery from a film so much that you wished you could be there? Ever been drawn to a story that you just had to put yourself in the environment of your favorite character? For centuries, people have been inspired to visit the lands of the stories they’ve grown to admire. The tourism industry is well aware, taking steps to magnify the experiences of pop culture fans. Guided tours and themed locations add to the allure of travelling to these famous destinations, putting visitors right in the movie. From film, literature, music, and other arts, people find inspiration for travel to follow in the footsteps of famous stories throughout history.
Some of the most famous pop culture destinations have drawn the interest of enthusiasts for years. Millions of people have flocked to these locations and continue to shape the market for pop culture tourism.
Harry Potter – Edinburgh, Scotland | Alnwick Castle, England
Having enormous levels of success from both the book and movie series, Harry Potter has inspired children and adults to travel to Europe for the chance to see the magical locations chosen to capture the world of wizards, giants, owls, and Thestrals. Edinburgh, Scotland is the famous setting for the Hogwarts Express line. The green rolling hills with tranquil grey clouds displays the beauty of Scotland, a land possessing all the elements for a world of magic. The Alnwick castle in Northumberland was the stand in for exterior and interior shots of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Daily themed tours enhance the experience through the grounds where Harry, Ron, and Hermione studied.
Amélie’s café – Paris, France
The quirky French film drew thousands to the Café des Deux Moulins (Two Windmills) in Paris. Named for its proximity to the nearby Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette, the café has been operating since the beginning of the 20th century. Gaining major popularity from the 2001 release of Amélie, the café continues to treat thousands of guests seeking the whimsical French atmosphere.
Field of Dreams – Dyersville, Iowa, United States
“If you build it, they will come” is not only true for the film, but for the town of Dyersville. Since the release of the Kevin Costner classic, Dyersville has enjoyed an increasing growth of visitors to this rural town.
The Beatles – Abbey Road, London, England | Liverpool, England
Rock & Roll’s most iconic band has left their mark on thousands of locations worldwide. Fans over the decades have followed the Beatles from famous recording studios and movie sets to the final resting places of members John and George. Fans of the Fab Four have an unrelenting love, and will continue to place themselves in the atmospheres of these musical and cultural legends. The unmistakable crosswalk of St John’s Wood, a leafy neighborhood of north London, was chosen for the cover of the 1969 album, Abbey Road. Visitors have caused traffic delays since the band crossed from one side of the street to the other, striking poses daily and finding a real connection with band. The true place to start any voyage in search of the Beatles lore, Liverpool has vast locations to make any die-hard salivate. Albert Dock is a visitor attractions dedicated to the Beatles and the starting point for the Magical Mystery Tour taking visitors to various Beatles landmarks, including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.
Middle Earth – New Zealand
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning New Zealand is Lord of the Rings. Adapted from the Tolkien books, Peter Jackson selected New Zealand as the ideal location to film the journey of hobbits, elves, wizards, man, and orcs. New Zealand has embraced the popularity of the film and the tourism board has based an entire campaign off the back of the film’s popularity. The national flag carrier has even re-done its livery in a hobbit homage – and people duly flock to see the landscape starring in the films.
Twilight – Forks, Washington, United States
Chosen for its wet and dark climate, Fork was deemed the ideal home for the glittery-skinned vampires. Since the release of the films, tourism in Forks has increased 800%. The beautiful overcast, cloudy, and wet town thrives in green forests and mossy rock lakes. Thousands of visitors have flocked to Forks, where tours offer the chance to see the various vampire-associated landmarks featured.
The Sound of Music – Salzburg, Austria
”Edelweiss,” ”Do-Re-Mi” and ”My Favorite Things,” are some of the classics the Trapps gave to the world while displaying the beauty of Salzbrug. Panoramic tours through the picturesque Austrian city and the hills that, as proclaimed in the film, are alive with the sound of music. Many have followed in the light footsteps of Julie Andrews, both to the city and the Austrian mountains.
Frozen – Bergen, Norway
The Disney animation movie based on the city of Bergen inspired the rise of travel to Norway and has jumped 37% since being released. The scenic delights of the city bring fans closer to the film and have shown people why Norway is a spectacular destination for travel.
The way we view these destinations is heavily altered by what we’ve seen on the big screen. Glamorized representations of real places from all over the world have drawn thousands of tourists to capture the movie experience for themselves. The fantasies and dreams of setting foot in the beautiful scenes of pop culture have and will continue to be a pastime for fans of all ages.