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How to Get to Hogwarts, Middle Earth and More
Film buffs and TV superfans take note: There is now an official guide to finding the real-world places featured in your favorite fictional universes. Lonely Planet's Film and Television Locations: A Spotter's Guide, will lead you to the hotspots of Westeros, the natural wonders of Middle Earth, and that enchanted railway that goes straight to Hogwarts. Here's a preview of 11 places to explore from the new guide. Buy it here!
The magical train that transports students from platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is frequently shown chugging over this very real bridge, known as the Glenfinnan Viaduct, in Inverness-shire, Scotland.
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
This spectacular natural monolith, known as Devil's Tower and located in Wyoming, makes a perfect perch for an alien ship touching down on planet earth.
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Another earthly landscape stands in for an alien one in this 2015 Matt Damon film. Wadi Rum, or "The Valley of the Moon," in Jordan is a close match for the red planet. The region also makes a cameo in Red Planet, Last Days on Mars, Lawrence of Arabia and Prometheus.
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Skellig Michael, a 6th-century monastery in County Kerry, Ireland, was an isolated holdout of Western culture during the Dark Ages. So it's no wonder that the isle is featured as a place of enlightenment, the first Jedi temple, in The Force Awakens.
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The Man with the Golden Gun
This seemingly gravity-defying island on the coast of Thailand served as the lair of supervillain Scaramanga in the 1974 film, and has been known by locals ever since as James Bond Island.
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Before Charlize Theron was cruising Fury Road, Mel Gibson was traveling through the Australian outback as Mad Max in a 1981 sequel. The real filming location isn't far off: Silverton, New South Wales.
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You may not want to reenact Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar-winning experiences in the film, but the shooting location — Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada — offers a truly spectacular and pristine natural setting.
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The Lost Boys
Quite a bit closer to civilization, fans of the 1987 movie The Lost Boys, can stroll the train tracks of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, though swinging from the rails with a bunch of vampires is not recommended.
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The ruins of Belchite, Spain, a town destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and left as a monument by General Francisco Franco, serves as a magical transfer point for the young protagonist of Guillermo del Toro's dark fairytale.
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Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is just as beautiful as any of the Lord of the Rings films' digitally rendered worlds.