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The 4th of May marks Star Wars Day – an annual celebration of Star Wars when fans of the franchise can proudly announce “May the 4th Be With You” to fellow Rebels and the Empire alike! What’s more, the latest instalment in the Star Wars saga, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is released at the end of the month. Needless to say fans across the country are reaching peak excitement levels, and this year even newbies can’t help but get caught up in the hype!
With Summer just around the corner it’s also the ideal time to start planning a holiday. So, why not combine your love of Star Wars (whether it be long-established, or newly discovered) with your love of travel when planning your next trip? We promise you won’t have to visit a galaxy far, far away to do it – in fact, we’ve scoured Europe for you to find destinations that mirror these famous film locations. So make the jump to lightspeed and enjoy our travel bucket list for any Star Wars fan.
Where better to start than Hoth, the icy planet that first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back? Famous for The Battle of Hoth, this planet sets the snowy scene for Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance to fight against the Imperial soldiers.
Finse in Norway provides a much more serene setting, but with the exact same views; it was actually a filming location for exterior shots of Hoth. The small village leads off to wide-ranging, Arctic-like expanses of fresh snow, glistening in the sunlight. A must if you’re in Norway… especially if you’ve always fancied re-enacting your favourite scenes from Episode V!
Ahch-To is the water covered planet where Rey finds Luke Skywalker before the credits roll at the end of The Force Awakens. The tiny island that protrudes from the waters of Ahch-To is home to the site of the first Jedi Temple, and consequently the place where Luke chooses to live out his life in exile.
Located off the Southwest coast of Ireland, this island is really Skellig Michael. Steeped in history, Skellig Michael was home to monks between the 6th and 8th centuries, who practiced Christianity for around 600 years. Now, the island is a tourist attraction that can be visited by boat or seen from the mainland.
One of the most famous landscapes throughout the history of Star Wars has to be the other-worldly desert of Tatooine. It plays home planet to Luke and Anakin Skywalker, characters who need no real introduction but are two of the most pivotal characters in the fight between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance.
Surprisingly, planet Earth’s equivalent can be found much closer to home in Bardenas Reales National Park in Spain. This huge park reaches across 100,000 acres of clay, chalk and sandstone that have been eroded away by wind and rain to leave shapes that look like they’re straight out of a sci-fi film set.
Another favourite amongst the vast number of planets in the Star Wars universe is Endor, home of the furry Ewoks from 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
The original filming location of Episode VI is in California but since filming it has sadly fallen victim to heavy logging, leaving the landscape almost unrecognisable. A much more affordable journey up to Glenmore Forest in Scotland is the next best thing, with dense untouched forest and lush greenery transporting you to Endor in the heart of Cairngorms National Park.
Krafla Volcano in Iceland is the perfect destination for fans of the newest additions to the Star Wars saga. It’s also a great two-for-one if you’re also a fan of Game of Thrones, as it’s a filming location for both franchises.
For Star Wars, the volcanic landscape brings us right up to date, featuring in The Force Awakens as the First Order’s infamous Starkiller Base. For the Game of Thrones fans wondering - Krafla Volcano and its surrounding area has been used for scenes beyond ‘The Wall’ in Wildling territory.
With Iceland being so high up on so many travel bucket lists, it’s well worth tying in a visit during your trip.
The battle scene on Mustafar between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most memorable from the polarising Star Wars prequels. While the actors didn’t actually film amongst the roaring lava of Mount Etna, the location was used as inspiration to design and create the CGI-setting.
Star Wars fan or not, Sicily is a must visit location, with the active volcanic bursts of Mount Etna just one of the many attractions on the sun soaked island.
Whippendell Woods in Watford features in The Phantom Menace as the location for Naboo Forest where Obi-Wan Kenobi first meets everyone’s favourite Gungan: Jar Jar Binks.
Thanks to some substantial computer-generated additions, Naboo Forest transforms into the underwater world of Gungan City. Sadly in the real Whippendell Woods you can’t dive down from the picturesque forest into the world of Otoh Gunga, but you can enjoy the beautiful English woodland! Spring is the best time to visit as bluebell season is upon us.
The small, tropical planet of Scarif played a major part in Rogue One – this remote spot houses the Galactic Empire’s most classified projects, including details about construction of the Death Star. The epic Battle of Scarif takes place on its white sand beaches, beneath the palm trees and amongst the jungle-like undergrowth.
Although the filming location for Scarif was in the Maldives, you can soak up similar scenery much closer to home in Platja de Alcudia in Mallorca. With shallow, turquoise waters and 7km of white sand beach to explore, you can luxuriate in a tropical paradise without being bothered by a single Stormtrooper.
It’s rare to catch moments of relaxation in the Star Wars movies – characters usually fill their time with the important business of the rebellion and battling the Empire at every opportunity. However, we get to enjoy a little bit of down time in Attack of the Clones with Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, as they stroll peacefully through the green meadows of her home planet Naboo, falling in love with spectacular waterfalls as their backdrop.
While a lot of this scenery was CGI, you can find similar landscapes in central Croatia, at the Plitvice Lakes National Park. These 16 lakes are renowned for distinctive blue-green colours, their many tumbling waterfalls and the surrounding dense green vegetation.
The relationship between Anakin and Padme may have been ill-fated, but their happiest times were spent on Naboo. It was here, on the terraces of her beautiful lake-side home that the pair were married in secret, with just the droids C-3PO and R2D2 as their witnesses.
The real-life setting for these scenes was Villa del Balbianello, a gorgeous villa overlooking the shores of Lake Como in Italy. This dramatic spot draws visitors from all over the world, hoping to wander around the lush gardens, while soaking up the panoramic views across the lake. The villa can even be booked for weddings, so you can recreate some of Star Wars' more romantic moments for your own nuptials.
Find out how you can explore these Star Wars destinations on one of our Europe cruises.
Joining our award-winning fleet, get a peak into how our incredible new ship was brought to life.
Copenhagen is a city alive with royal history, modern architecture and a thriving, unique culture. Find out how to spend 12 hours in the beautiful city.
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