For many fans, their favorite stories live between the lines of a page or behind the glow of the silver screen. The only way to enter their favorite world is to pick up a book or take a trip to the movies. But for some of these stories, there is a way to relive the tale in real life.
Many works of fiction are often inspired by real-world locations! They might not be what the storytellers whipped up, but they come close enough that it’s like being transported all over again…
1. Pixar loves to create fantasy worlds that can be found nowhere on the planet. When they do find the two worlds colliding, they are impeccable at nailing the animation. UP‘s Paradise Falls is a spitting image of Venezuela’s Angel Falls.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany looks like it was pulled straight from the pages of a fairytale. Actually, it was the other way around. This Bavarian castle was the inspiration for Snow White’s castle.
@_marcelsiebert / Instagram, Disney
3. Batman’s haunting Arkham Asylum is a place no one wants to visit. But, his imprisonment was inspired by the Danvers State Hospital which contained hidden tunnels, a maze of hallways, and ghostly towers.
@antiquity_echoes / Instagram
4. There is a Costa Rican village, Finca Bellavista, where its members live among the trees. These tree houses are actually connected by suspended bridges and zip lines, much like Chief Chirpa’s Bright Tree Village from the original Star Wars.
20th Century Fox
5. Pixar felt the universe of Cars had strong ties to real settings that they pulled from locations around the U.S. The Cozy Cone Motel is the Wigwam Motel in Arizona, Ramone’s shop is the Texan U-Drop Inn, plus many more.
@mari_dbm / Instagram, Pixar
6. The infamous Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th was filmed at an actual camp in New Jersey. If you’re a boy scout, then you might be lucky enough to spend your summer at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, but you won’t find Jason there.
@saidpeter / Instagram
7. The world of Pandora, from Avatar, captures vast floating mountainscapes that can’t possibly exist anywhere on earth. But Director James Cameron actually used Huangshan Mountain in China to serve as the inspiration for Hallelujah Mountain.
@golden_heart / Instagram
8. The unmistakable pre-historic Flintstones house is the inspiration behind Dick Clark’s $3.5 million Malibu house. Sitting on 23 acres with views of the mountains and the sea, Clark wanted to go back to his “primeval roots.”
9. The Sound of Music was filmed with the stunning backdrop of Salzburg, Austria. Super fans can visit the church in Mondsee where Captain Von Trapp and Maria wed, the Mirabell Gardens where the song Do-Re-Mi was filmed, and the Nonnberg Abby.
20th Century Fox
10. The Hall of Justice, headquarters for the Super Friends team, is actually just the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Although you won’t find Wonder Woman wandering the corridors, you can gaze in awe at the largest half-dome in the western hemisphere.
11. Luke Skywalker’s home of Tatooine might bear a striking resemblance to the Tunisian village of Tataouine. That’s because the external shots of Tatooine were shot in the capital city of Tataouine.
20th Century Fox
12. Halong Bay in Vietnam has stunning scenic views of jutting rocks up from beneath turquoise waters. The only thing it doesn’t have is Captain Hook’s pirate ship. The 2015 rendition of Peter Pan used the bay to create a 3D version of Neverland.
Robert Baldwin / Shuttersock, Warner Bros. Pictures
13. Want to feel like Princess Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendalle? The snowy mountains closely resemble the Western fjords of Norway that are lined with colorful houses and mountain peaks behind a trading harbor.
14. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and the crew needed to find the grail which was hidden in an ancient city carved in stone. This setting wasn’t envisioned from a dream, but from the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.
@NatGeo / Instagram
15. Nicholas Kramer’s gravestone from Night of the Living Dead is an actual gravestone in the Evans City Cemetery. People seek out the burial site to reenact Barbara clinging to it in fear.
@lizzraff / Instagram
16. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was filmed in Rajasthan at the Ravla Khempur hotel. Once a palace and now a full-service hotel, fans of the movie can book a room for the night and experience the best and most exotic stay of their life.
17. If you ever want to jump in the Hunger Games arena to compete as tribute, then you can just visit DuPont State Forest in North Carolina. The arena has since been destroyed, circa Catching Fire, but the scenery is still empowering.
18. Many movies have villain lairs beneath the ocean that host alien research, explosives, and shark tank torture chambers. While they don’t conduct evil, there is an underwater research facility, Aquarius Reef Base, located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
19. The House Martell, may they rest in peace, had resided in a private palace in southern Dorne with water gardens. Game of Thrones filmed scenes from season five at the Alcazar of Seville, a Moorish palace in Spain, which is open to the public.
20. Centralia, Pennsylvania, once a quaint town with over 1,000 residents, was abandoned due to a strip mine fire that forced people out. The fire still burns beneath the earth, similar to the gates of hell in the film and video game Silent Hill.
21. ‘The Shire’ was a place called home by Frodo Baggins and many other hobbits in The Lord of the Rings series. You can find this beautiful storied land, not in Middle-earth, but in the peaceful hills of Matamata, New Zealand.
If you’re a huge fan of a fictional piece, chances are there is a place in this world that inspired its creator… waiting for you to go and discover.
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