What is it about the captivating silver screen that infects people with the travel itch? Sometimes it isn’t enough simply to watch your favorite characters embark on a mountainous journey or to see your on-screen hero defeat their nemesis in an epic desert battle sequence. Sometimes, you have to experience the chill of the air, the monumental castles, the cityscapes, and the other iconic views all for yourself.
Some set locales have attracted quite a curious crowd. Though movie filming locations dot nearly each of the 50 states, it's a far from American phenomenon. The popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, stirred a large, loyal following, attracting adventurous visitors to the Irish sites' breathtaking views after they were opened to tourists last year. Filmed entirely in New Zealand, the Lord of the Rings trilogy used more than 150 sites, and now Middle-earth fans can experience some of them on a Pacific excursion to the stunning island. The success of the sequel Hobbit movies has helped tourism become one of the country's top industries.
In fact, the number of "set-jetting" tourists whose travel is inspired by the screen is so great that many destinations have experienced adverse effects. The narrow medieval streets of Dubrovnik, for example, sometimes swell with nearly as many tourists as locals, disrupting infrastructure and lowering quality of life. [Avoid overtourism and try these great destinations instead.]
Whether you're inspired by a TV show or blockbuster movie, check out these top 10 film set locations across the globe—and maybe plan a trip of your own.
The captions for this story were originally published in the National Geographic Almanac 2019.
A previous version of this article referenced Maya Bay, Thailand, which is indefinitely closed as of October 2018. The location has been removed.