The latest installment of the highly anticipated Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally (!) here and we know many a dedicated Star Wars fan will be flocking to cinemas for days, if not weeks to come to catch all the epic intergalactic action happening on the big screen. We know the adrenaline of catching your favourite characters in action and picking up from where you left off, but does the magic disappear when the screen fades to black? Not on our watch it won’t! Relieve the magic of the movies by planning a trip to the actual locations where JJ Abrams and crew brought these epic stories to live. No spaceship required, here are 5 locations you can visit in Europe!
1. Grindewald, Switzerland
Lake Grindewald may just be another quiet little Swiss town to others but to Star Wars fans, it is Alderaan, the hometown of Princess Leia as shown in Episode IV. While Alderaan aka Grindelwald was destroyed by the Death Star in the film, real life Grindelwald is actually a very popular tourist destination for its mountains that house popular ski resorts. Visited by thousands every year, not many people realise they are vacationing on the iconic peaks that can be seen in the film!
2. Finse, Norway
Next stop, Finse! It’s been 30 over years since the epic scene for the Battle of Hoth in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back happened and while it looked like it happened on a distant planet, the entire thing was filmed in the desolate mountainous village of Norway. The sparse, snow covered landscape really does portray an ice planet and in the summer, it offers wonderful hiking opportunities for the adventurous.
3. Naples, Italy
Remember the intense scenes of Padme’s escape and the battle for Naboo? They were both filmed in Naples, Italy or to be more specific at the Reggia di Caserta. Between the gorgeous intricate interior and the action-packed scenes, we certainly didn’t have time to blink or exhale. Originally built for the Bourbon kings of Naples, the place is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most popular tourist attractions in Southern Italy, a can’t miss in addition to the Neopolitan Margherita Pizza!
4. Seville, Spain
Step out of Queen Amidala’s Palace and you will find yourself in none other than La Plaza de España in Seville. Built for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, it is now one of the city’s most visited spots with over a half mile of tiled fountains, pavilions, fishponds and orange trees for you to wander about and gawk at. In the Star Wars films the square was used as the exterior to Queen’s palace so you could pretend you’re out for a royal stroll.
5. Skellig Michael, Ireland
A tiny little rock called Skellig Michael was the subject of much debate, whether or not it would appear in the latest Star Wars movie. No spoilers guys, but yep, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has made the cut! We won’t reveal which key scene it stars in but we can tell you that this remote spot is only accessible by boat from Portmagee, a tiny village in County Kerry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It used to be inhabited by monks until the 1100s. Now, the only inhabitants you’ll find are birds and beehive huts. If you’re looking to get away from it all and explore the monastic edifices on the island, Skellig Michael has got you covered.