Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Fiction tourism
Fiction tourism aims at locations famous from literature, motion pictures, television series, video games, comic books and other media. Among featured destinations are film sets, other shooting locations, TV or motion picture studios, theme parks, and museums.
Some of these have guided tours and other organized hospitality for fiction tourists.
Specific works, franchises and genres
|“||Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.||”|
- Disney tourism.
- Assassin's Creed Tour
- Exodus of Moses, according to the Old Testament
- Ancient Troy, in what is now Turkey, was at the center of the Trojan War described in Homer's Iliad. Its ruins were discovered in the 19th century and have been partly excavated.
- Monty Python
- Nordic Noir, including franchises such as Pusher, The Killing, Beck, and Wallander
- Horror fiction
- Anime and Manga in Japan
- Robin Hood, a noble thief in English folklore
- Travels of Hans Christian Andersen, author of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and other fairy tales
- Around the World in Eighty Days; recreating Jules Verne's 19th century adventure novel
- Astrid Lindgren tourism (primarily Sweden)
- Kipling's Kim, through much of northern India and parts of Pakistan during the British Raj
- Nils Holgersson's Journey Across Sweden
- One Thousand and One Nights
- Emigrants tour, following Vilhelm Moberg's book series about emigrants from Sweden to the United States.
- Twilight, is a series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels by American author Stephenie Meyer, as well as three companion novels. The story in the novel was set primarily in the small town of Forks, Washington with real places in and around the town identified from the novel. Twilight the movie (2008), based on the novel, was filmed primarily in Portland, Oregon while its continual saga, Twilight: New Moon (2009) was filmed mainly in Vancouver. Some of the scenes from both films also took place in other locations in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
- Back to the Future tourism A 1985-1990 trilogy film, set in the fictional town of Hill Valley, California, which was filmed in several real places in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (Hill Valley in 1955, 1985 & 2015) and Sonora CA (Hill Valley in 1885).
- Bandit Run, the race from Smokey and the Bandit
- Cars A 2006 animated film by Pixar, set in the fictional village of Radiator Springs, which is a composite of several real places along Route 66 and a couple of other places not on that highway, all in the United States of America.
- DC Extended Universe tourism
- Easy Rider, a 1969 road movie, featuring a motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans.
- Fast & Furious tourism
- Forrest Gump tour The settings for the story span across 30 years in a variety of places where the main character have gone to. Most of the filming took place in Beaufort, South Carolina and in the surrounding cities/town of South Carolina and nearby Savannah GA. Other places used to support the filming and the storyline are in Los Angeles, CA and Washington, DC.
- Harry Potter tourism (primarily United Kingdom) - locations where the film series was filmed.
- James Bond tourism
- Indiana Jones tourism
- Kill Bill tourism
- The Lord of the Rings tourism (primarily New Zealand) - locations where the film series was filmed.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe tourism
- Mission Impossible tourism
- Matrix tourism
- Shawshank Redemption A 1994 film based on Steven King's novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982) and inspired by Clint Eastwood's Escape from Alcatraz (1979), set in a fictional "Shawshank Prison" somewhere in Maine, but actually filmed in Mansfield, Ohio and in the nearby towns of Ashland and Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
- Star Wars tourism
- Terminator tourism - a time-travel franchise mostly associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg character. Much of the plots are filmed in and around the Los Angeles area.
- Game of Thrones tourism (primarily Northern Ireland, but also Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco and Spain)
- Seinfeld (primarily New York, but also in Los Angeles)
- Breaking Bad
- X-Files tourism
- The Wire
- Friends (primarily New York, but also in Los Angeles)
The Namibian desert is the shooting location of the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road
- 1 Soweto in Johannesburg. District 9 was filmed in South Africa in the townships of Soweto, though the actual area they filmed in was set to be demolished (that's why they were able to blow up parts of it for the film).
- 2 Matmata (Tunisia). Scenes of the desert planet Tatooine in a number of Star Wars films were filmed here. Also see the nearby town of Tataouine, where a little filming was also done.
- Mumbai, India: The home of Bollywood.
- Yongin, Miryang and other locations around South Korea are visited by domestic and international fans of K-drama shot there.
- Kaiping, in southern China, is known for its UNESCO-listed "castles", strange houses built by overseas Chinese. It was the setting for the hit Chinese movie Let the Bullets Fly.
- 3 Stockholm, Sweden. Location of many Nordic Noir works, such as the Millennium series, the Martin Beck franchise, and Let the Right One In. See Stockholm in fiction.
- 4 Ystad, Sweden. Home of Detective Wallander.
- 5 Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark's capital is known for its diverse architecture (including a 21st century waterfront), and is the location for Nordic Noir works, such as the Pusher series, The Killing, and The Bridge.
- 1 Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Bangs Boder 29, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM. A museum dedicated to the city's most famous son, author and poet Hans Christian Andersen, most famous for his fairy tales and in particular The Ugly Duckling and the Little Mermaid. Part of the museum is located in the house where Andersen was supposedly born (though he would never confirm it). The impressive collection is mainly documents from his life and times, period furniture, and many drawings and paper clippings he is famous for at home. 55 DKK for entrance.
- 6 Salzburg, Austria. Home of the classic musical Sound of Music; though most locals and most Austrians have never heard of it.
- Görlitz is one of the few cities in Central Europe with an old town that looks convincingly "pre World War II" and as such many movies set in that era have been made here since the 1990s.
- Munich is home to the Bavaria Film Studios where both German and international films have been shot. Also, probably half of the many German crime drama series take place in Munich.
- Babelsberg, a suburb of Berlin and administratively part of Potsdam also has film studios where - among others - one of the longest running German soap operas ("Gute Zeiten schlechte Zeiten" aka GZSZ) is shot.
- 2 Castle Frankenstein (Darmstadt). Is a hilltop castle located near Darmstadt in Mühltal. The castle is first mentioned in the records in the year 948, and initial construction of the castle ruins remaining today began in the 13th century. The 14th and 15th centuries saw expansion, followed by construction of reinforcements in the 16th. It was owned by the Barons von Frankenstein who owned most of the surrounding land until 1662, when the Baron of that time sold the property to the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. There have been claims that the castle may have inspired the Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein. While Shelley is known to have travelled through this area in 1814, historical scholars believe that she did not visit this castle. There are special dinners for Halloween and for other occasions. It is also possible to hike up to the castle.
- The scenery of Switzerland has been used in many Indian movies of the past 50 years, with the mountains, forests and lakes serving as the background for many songs, scenes and even entire films. For example, Dilwale Dilwale Le Jaayenge (DDLJ), the famous film commonly cited as inspiring Switzerland as the premier destination for Indian movie shoots, had scenes shot in Gstaad and Saanen, with other movies quickly following suit. The soaring peaks and small towns on the Bernese Highlands make the region particularly popular for filmmakers and tourists alike.
Britain and Ireland
- London: See Literary London for complete coverage.
- While the James Bond series have been filmed all around the world, all of them also feature London — at the very least the MI6 headquarters. Also, countless other British and non-British movies and tv-series take place and have been filmed in London.
- Braveheart was recorded in Scotland (Glencoe, Stirling, Loch Leven, Glen Coe and Glen Nevis) as well as Ireland.
- The BBC equivalent of that one rock in Southern California (see below) is a quarry in Wales, where according to one probably apocryphal account two series were shot at the same time without either production knowing of the other, thus the two got in the way of each other.
- Stratford-upon-Avon has five sites closely associated with Shakespeare. A combi-ticket (called "The Full Story") is best value and they can all be seen in the course of an afternoon. Three are central: Shakespeare's birthplace on Henley Street is the obvious starting point. In later life he bought a house at New Place - it's long been demolished, but you visit to see the garden there, and the adjoining Nash's House where his grand-daughter Elizabeth lived. His daughter Susanna married Dr John Hall, and Hall's Croft was their house. A mile west in the hamlet of Shottery is Anne Hathaway's Cottage, where she grew up before marrying Shakespeare. Three miles west in Wilmcote is Mary Arden's Farm, childhood home of Shakespeare's mother. His plays are regularly performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the centre of Stratford.
- 3 Portmeirion Village (Portmeirion is 1 ½ miles South of Porthmadog), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Portmeirion was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976. The location of the cult 60s TV series The Prisoner, "I am not a number. I am a free man" It was also a stand-in for 15th century Italy in Doctor Who: The Masque Of Mandragora.
- Paris, one of the world's most prominent cities, has been the backdrop of many films, both French and international. It was also in Paris the world's first public movie screening took place in 1895.
- What does a fictional Apache chief that was dreamed up by someone from Radebeul, Saxony have to do with Croatia? Well, when the works of Karl May about Old Shatterhand, Winnetou and all the others were put to film by German companies, they found that (then) Yugoslavia was much cheaper than the actual Llano Estancado and people in their target audience would neither notice or care, so the site of Winnetou's death is indeed to be found in Croatia, Trogir looks a lot like the Santa Fe of the third movie and when going through Plitvice Lakes National Park you might find the heroes of your youth come back to life.
- 7 Melbourne/Box Hill and Glen Waverley, Victoria. The classic Australian drama series, Neighbours, is set in a small cul-de-sac in Vermont South, in Melbourne's south-east.
- Sydney — Did you know that the sci-fi movie The Matrix and its sequels largely were filmed in Sydney? Unsurprisingly also many Australian films are set in the country's largest city. The city is also home to Fox Studios Australia, the largest film production facility in Australia.
- New Zealand: Famous for the Lord of the Rings franchise.
- Matamata – the set of Hobbiton is still here and can be visited
- Tongariro National Park – the location of some scenes, such as Mordor
- Queenstown – another location, and has Lord of the Rings tours
- Wellington – home to Weta Studios, the film studio that made the films, as well many of the filming locations. Many companies conduct Lord of the Rings tours to the various filming locations.
- The seaside town of Acapulco is where some episodes of the Mexican TV series El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulín Colorado were recorded in the 1970s.
4 Hotel Emporio Acapulco, Av Costera Miguel Alemán 121, Fracc Magallanes, Magallanes, Acapulco de Juárez, Gro., México (Acapulco, Guerrero), ☏ . Two episodes of the Mexican TV series El Chavo del Ocho and one episode of El Chapulín Colorado were recorded inside this hotel in the Mexican city of Acapulco in 1977. The destination has become very popular with tourists from Hispanic America and Brazil.
The fiction of the Old West is set all across the western United States - shooting locations of Western movies often included places far away from the US, for monetary or political reasons.
- Colorado Springs, Colorado — The Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station was the location of the Terran stargate! The stargate is located underneath the former North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters.
- Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming — Made famous in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a site of first contact, transmitted psychically to abduction victims.
In California, they don't throw their garbage away - they make it into TV shows. – Woody Allen
California in general has been (and continues to be) used for many films given that it is the center of the American mainstream film industry and offers a wide variety of different landscapes that can be used to represent different environments; for example, one rock in Southern California has reportedly been used as a backdrop in dozens of incredibly varied movies.
- Los Angeles is quite arguably the greatest place in the world for cinema tourism, being the home to Hollywood and the backdrop for countless movies; so many that it would be absurd to try and list even just the most famous ones here. Besides the touristy district of Hollywood, with its star-lined Walk of Fame, numerous old theaters and iconic signs, most of the active film and television studios are located in adjacent communities, such as Burbank, the home of Warner Brothers, Disney, and NBC-Universal, Century City, headquarters of 20th Century Fox, Culver City with its historic film studios, and Fairfax, home to CBS' main television studio. Many of these studios offer tours and with careful planning it is possible to obtain tickets to a taping of a television show. Additionally, the Los Angeles area is home to theme parks such as Universal Studios and Disneyland, both large-scale celebrations of their company's respective films. Throughout the Greater Los Angeles area a number of private homes, (non-film) businesses, schools, college campuses, malls, hospitals and parks have been used as settings or backdrops for various movies and television programs while what went on inside may have been filmed inside these buildings, back at the studio or at another location. An example is Torrance High School which served as the fictional West Beverly High School for the TV Series Beverly Hills 90210 and more recently as Ulysses S. Grant High School in The Secret Life of the American Teenager among other movies such as The Wild Life, Not Another Teen Movie, Whatever It Takes, Cursed, Wild Things 3, and Bruce Almighty. A lot of these settings including this high school and many private homes used in movie and TV shoots are at most viewable from the street and cannot be visited by the public.
- The Bradbury Building in downtown LA is an iconic piece of Victorian architecture that's been used in many films, including Blade Runner and The Artist.
- 5 Leo Carrillo Beach. Movies filmed here include Grease, Gidget, 1984's The Karate Kid, The Craft, Point Break, The Usual Suspects, Inception, and Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus as wells as the first season's opening scene of episode 1 of The Rockford Files.
- Vazquez Rocks, Agua Dulce. Iconic to the point of cliche, dramatic sandstone formations seen in hundreds of TV shows, movies, commercials, and music videos. Particularly featured in Science Fiction and Western films and TV, though in their first cinematic appearance they represented Tibet.
- Despite the name, the annual San Diego Comic-Con has become a major event in the cinema world. Taking place in San Diego every July, this is one of the world's biggest fan conventions and tickets are expensive and hard to get, but if you're lucky enough to get inside you can expect plenty of big-name film and television stars and producers, in addition to representatives of major toy manufacturers and the video game and comic industries, showing up to offer sneak peeks at major upcoming releases.
- San Francisco has been the backdrop for numerous famous films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, the Dirty Harry series, and the action movie The Rock, among many others.
- Chicago —the country's third largest city (and historically its "second city") is also featured in several movies, some of them being The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Fugitive, Batman Begins, Breakfast Club and of course Chicago.
- Union Station - among other films, the famous staircase shootout with the imperiled baby carriage in The Untouchables was filmed here.
- New York City has been the backdrop for countless motion pictures and television series not to mention all the video games set here; again, so many that it would be fruitless to try and list them all here. In contrast to L.A., New York is more reputed for its indie film scene, with numerous excellent theaters catering to that clientele and oftentimes hosting discussions with the makers of some fine, lesser-known films. Additionally, most of America's major media and television networks are headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, with most of the popular late night and morning talk shows taped here, usually with tickets available to the public.
- Cortlandt Alley In Chinatown. Contrary to popular portrayal in film, New York only has a handful of dark, dingy alleys, and most of them are off-limits to filming. So if a scene takes place in an alley in a film or TV show filmed in New York, it was almost certainly filmed here.
- 8 Baltimore, Maryland. The Wire Tour is an itinerary for the acclaimed HBO series The Wire.
- Washington, D.C.: Any film involving the American political leadership in any form or role will have Washington as a backdrop — frequent appearances are made by the White House, U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon, across the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia.
- Seneca Falls is widely believed to be the original Baxter Falls in the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life.
- Manchester-by-the-Sea for the eponymous 2017 film
- 9 Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Breaking Bad Tour showcases the location of acclaimed AMC series Breaking Bad.
- Route 66 has been the setting for many films, such as The Grapes of Wrath. Pixar's Cars contains cartoon versions of some real places on the route and parodies a Monument Valley side trip as "Ornament Valley".
- 10 Monument Valley, Arizona. An iconic scenery, used in countless Western films (see Old West).
- 12 Seattle, Washington. Setting for series such as Frasier and Grey's Anatomy, as well as films such as It Happened at the World's Fair, The Parallax View, Singles, and Sleepless in Seattle.
- 13 Toronto. A place where a surprising number of movies (and series) were shot that are set elsewhere. If you come to the city you might notice that some houses that are in New York or San Francisco according to your favorite sitcom are actually here. The University of Toronto site has a map of film and TV locations in the city.
- 14 Vancouver. Another place where a number of television series and movies have been filmed at such as Crush (1993); Smallville, Stargate, X-Files , Battlestar Galactica among others have been filmed in Vancouver. Some of the backdrops for some of the televisions shows are out of this world. Vancouver has had to stand in for numerous other places and few shows shot in Vancouver are actually set there, leading to the quip that "Vancouver doesn't even look like Vancouver"
- 6 Green Gables Heritage Place, Route 6, Cavendish (Cavendish, Prince Edward Island). May 1-Oct 31: daily 9AM-5PM; Nov 1-30: open by special appointment only; Dec 1 2017-Apr 14 2018: closed for the season. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery visited the farm as a young girl and based the location of her best-selling "Anne" series of books on the Green Gables farm. The farmhouse exterior has not changed significantly over time, and its interior decor and artifacts depict the late Victorian Period in rural Prince Edward Island.
Many Brazilian action films have taken place in favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, such as City of God, the two Elite Squad movies and Last Stop 174. One of those favelas where some of this filmes were shot is Tavares Bastos, located at Catete neighborhood, in South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. In addition to these films, in this favela was recorded the music video Beautiful by Snoop Dog and Pharrell.
Fan conventions and trade shows
Fan groups often hold conventions for like-minded people to gather and share their love for the specific genres. Similarly, industry groups often hold their own events to announce the development of new products to the press. While hundreds of such events exist, the ones listed here are particularly notable for showcasing works that are at the pinnacle of their respective genres.
- San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, United States
- Comiket in Tokyo, Japan
- Comic-Con Experience (CCXP) in São Paulo, Brazil
Anime and manga
Fantasy and science fiction
- E3 in Los Angeles, United States
- Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, Japan
- Gamescom in Cologne, Germany
- Brasil Game Show, in São Paulo, Brazil
Many destinations (especially film and literature settings, and current and former celebrity homes) are private property. Some are off limits to the public. Even if they can be legally approached, trespassing or excessive photography might disturb residents.
Works of fiction usually become public domain 70 years after the author's death; which means that most modern works are proprietary. Businesses (including guided tours and merchandisers) might need a license to make profit from those franchises.