If you laugh at the line, “I just flew in from Dagobah and boy are my arms tired”, then this is the article you’re looking for.
Throughout the Star Wars saga, since 1977, remote deserts, jungles, glaciers and national parks have stood in for raucous cantinas, secret bases, Wampa hideouts and Ewok villages. Many you can visit, and some you can even stay in. Go pack your bags, board the Falcon and make the jump to lightspeed to these far-flung film locations.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The epic Battle of Crait in The Last Jedi was fought in these even more epic massive salt flats. During the rainy season (December through April), these flats appear like a giant mirror. While visiting stay in one of the hotels made entirely of salt collected from the flat in either the Palacio Del Sal or the Hotel Del Sal Luna which has breathtaking views of the flats.
Villa del Balbianello, Italy
Standing in for Anakin and Padme’s secret wedding scene in Attack of the Clones is Villa del Balvianello, overlooking Lake Como. Go by boat versus ferry as the boats offer far better views, and are much timelier.
PHANG NGA BAY, THAILAND
Release your inner Wookie and pay respects to the late Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in five films, in Phang Nga Bay, the location for Kashyyyk. Rent a boat for a guided tour through the limestone peaks. Skip the crowded and overpriced Surakul Pier and head out to the Ao Phang Nga National Park, famous for its limestone formations, where you can have a personal boat with a guide for half the price.
REDWOOD STATE PARK, CRESCENT CITY, CALIFORNIA
If you’d rather go after the murderous teddy bears that are the Ewoks, then head to Del Norte county in northern California. Home to redwood forests and national parks, this otherworldly area acted as the location for Endor in Return of the Jedi, wherein the Imperialists’ dream and Darth Vader were thwarted by the Rebels. And while the treehouses used by the Ewoks have, sadly, since vanished, we still recommend keeping an eye out for those booby traps.
To visit the beautiful planet of Scarif from Rogue One you’ll need to travel to the equally far, far away sounding Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, whose Six Senses Hotel offers all of the amenities needed — over-water villas, dolphins, deserted island picnics, barbecues on the beach, snorkeling — to enjoy this tropical paradise where, in the movie universe, the Rebels attacked the First Order.
GUI LIN, CHINA
Acting as another flyover location for Kashyyyk, Gui Lin offers wonderfully picturesque views. While the area itself is more inclined to be full of historic buildings, there has been a splash of color at the newly established The Other Place Guilin Litopia hotel. It has rather ethereal feels as it is based on M.C. Escher drawings and sketches.
MATMATAT AL-QADIMAL, TUNISIA
Central Tunisia, about an hour west of the Mediterranean Sea, has been the epicenter of many Star Wars scenes. At the heart of it is the Hotel Sidi Idriss, a four-star hotel made out of the refurbished set used as Luke Skywalker’s homestead in the original Star Wars Episode IV.
George Lucas loves the heat as Death Valley has played an important role in the Skywalker saga. Trek around the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes where R2-D2 goes his own way from C3P0; Artists Palette and Golden Canyon where R2-D2 gets abducted by Jawas; Artist’s Drive where the miniature Sandcrawler was filmed; Desolation Canyon where Tusken Raiders attack Luke; and Dante’s View, that established the panoramic shot of Mos Eisley, where, in the words of the wise Obi-Wan Kenobi, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” So be cautious…
Used for the high-rolling gambling planet of Canto Bight in The Last Jedi, Dubrovnik, which is also a film location for Game of Thrones, has a bustling nightlife. Maybe the most beautiful city in all of the former Yugoslavia. Just remember not to park your shuttle on the beach.
One of the most memorable locations from the Star Wars franchise is of the Massassi Temple, used for the exterior panoramic shots over the jungles of Yavin IV in A New Hope. There are some downsides to staying in Tikal itself, such as relying on the overpriced hotels for entertainment. The far more popular option would be to stay in the nearby town of Flores, an island that’s connected to the mainland by a causeway. Flores has its own temples and ruins, and a nearby national park, but if you want the real deal, there’s a shuttle that goes to Tikal.
Hardangerjøkulen glacier, Finse, Norway
The battle of Hoth was filmed on the glacier and can be accessed by visiting The Finse 1222 Hotel, which was also used in scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. However, reaching this hotel will be a battle all of its own as it is only accessible by train, foot… or tauntaun. That is, if you think they are real. And while you may not encounter any Wampa along the way there are many activities to do on the glacier such as skiing and biking.
SKELLIG MICHAEL, IRELAND
The Skellig Island, off the southwestern tip of Ireland in the North Atlantic, is magnificent. Used as the site of Luke Skywalker’s reclusive years on Ahch-To, Skellig Michael is a remote, rocky island pinnacled with a 6th century monastery overlooking the ocean. Stay at the Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant. They offer great food and are directly across from where the boats leave for the Island of Skellig Michael. Remember to tip your Caretaker.