Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the fictional places you’ve seen on screen or read about? I know I have. Since books and movies have always been my inspiration for travel, I’ve decided to put together a list of fantasy places that I would love to visit.
You can explore real-life filming locations for some of them, while others were created with the magic of CGI. That doesn’t mean you can’t imagine what it would be like to visit. I mean, sure, with a quick trip to Disney, you can experience recreations of many movies, but no matter how close it comes to reality, it’s not the real deal.
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I selected the fictional places that appealed to me. Things like magic, interesting characters and epic landscapes are what speak to me. It’s also the creativity that went into creating whole worlds, storylines and quests that intrigues me. Would I want to live in those worlds, even if that was possible? No, but I would love to explore them if there was even a slight possibility of such a thing coming true.
My list of fictional places to visit
Like in real-life places in the world, everyone has their preferences, and there are enough of them to make everyone happy. The fictional places in books and movies on this list are ones I would love to visit. That’s not to say that there aren’t others that might appeal to you more or less.
The wizarding world of Harry Potter
The popularity of the Harry Potter world hasn’t diminished since the book came out. There is no denying that this world is a highly desired fictional destination. Who wouldn’t want to go to a school like the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft to learn magic, witchcraft and wizardry while dealing with mythical creatures?
The fact that the school looks like a castle doesn’t hurt either. JK Rowling created a world filled with magic, complex and relatable characters, and exciting storylines that play to every fantasy-lover, especially if they grew up with the books.
The movie adaptations brought the wizarding world to screens and helped fans visualize the places in the books. No matter how you feel about the author, there is no denying the appeal of this imaginary world. Thanks to its popularity, you can visit actual set locations and imagine yourself as part of that world. There are numerous Harry Potter tours and experiences, including this Harry Potter film locations guide by Visit Britain for your enjoyment.
The fictional city of Asgard is home to Norse gods and has towering skyscrapers, dramatic fjords, giant statues and stunning landscapes. Accessible by the rainbow-colored Bifrost Bridge, Asgard comes across as an idyllic destination for an adventure. The Marvel movies did a great job bringing Asgard’s appeal on screen with details only CGI can produce. It doesn’t take away from the spectacular beauty of Asgard’s floating hills, and it’s the reason it makes it on this list.
Of course, Asgard isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There is plenty of invasion and destruction. But as this is a fictional place, you can imagine your visit as idyllic as you like. Unless, of course, you prefer to visit when there is a battle afoot. Then you can opt to join Thor, Loki and their friends as they battle against their enemies.
The fictional African nation of Wakanda captured the imaginations of moviegoers in MCU’s Black Panther. Wakanda is the most technologically advanced place on earth thanks to an abundance of vibranium (also fictional), a mineral deposit extracted from a crashed meteorite. Wakandans have cool gadgets, advanced weaponry and innovations that we all envy.
Wakanda is led by King T’Challa, who is also the superhero Black Panther, who gets plenty of assistance from his kick-ass warriors (many of them fierce females) and armoured rhinos. It’s also filled with stunning scenery and natural beauty, making it a perfect blend of technology and nature. Here you can mix learning with relaxation and fun. Who wouldn’t want to visit?
Avatar introduced us to the fascinating world of Pandora. This tropical moon, filled with lush vegetation, floating planets, alien wildlife and bioluminescent plants, is an experience for the senses. Here you’ll find the blue-skinned Na’vi inhabitants, the six-legged Direhorses and the Mountain Banshees. This makes Pandora one of the most unusual and fascinating fictional places on this list.
The fictional world of Pandora captured many imaginations, and it still reigns high on many people’s wish lists. If you’re after the landscapes of Avatar, you can hike the Tianzi Mountain in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park located in the Hunan Province of China that inspired the film. There was even a theme park based around the Avatar experience built in Disney’s Animal Kingdon.
The world of the Witcher
Netflix megahit The Witcher brought to life the fantasy world that came from a series of fantasy novels and video games. While it centers on the monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, one of a handful of Witchers left in this world, there is a solid cast of characters that includes powerful sorceresses, elves, warriors, monsters and mythical creatures.
The fictional Cintra, Nilfgard, Aretuza and others came to life with some help from the CGI geniuses in the studios. The show was filmed across Europe, including locations in the United Kingdom, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Spain. So if you’re a Witcher fan, you can explore the show’s locations with this handy guide.
One of the best things about playing video games is becoming someone else, like a character with a particular set of skills and abilities. Jumanji takes that idea to another level by transporting players directly inside the game. No consoles, just your own skills. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty cool.
Jumanji is fake, but it feels real. With lush jungles, snow-covered mountains, wild animals and plenty of bad guys to keep you on your toes, it’s an adventure like no other. In the game, you are on a quest to save Jumanji and have to rely on your game-designed abilities to complete it. Well, you have to stay alive, but as it’s your fantasy, you can have as many lives as you want.
Jumanji was filmed in Hawaii, California, Georgia, New Mexico and Alberta (Canada). Here is a handy guide to the locations used to recreate the fictional destinations in the movie.
Middle-earth (Lord of the Rings)
When it comes to fictional places, you can’t dismiss the imaginary world created by J.R.R. Tolkien. Middle-earth offers something for everyone. From the elegant Rivendell, home to the elves, to the Hobbiton in the lush pastures of the Shire that is home to the Hobbits. If you’re looking for something to match your cold, evil heart, then Mordor is where you’ll feel at home.
The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand. The country’s natural beauty and stunning landscapes brought Middle-earth to life. So, if you love the outdoors and want to live out your best Lord of the Rings life, head over to New Zealand and check out the real places that stood in for these amazing locations in the movie.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The science-fiction writer Jules Verne was so good at creating fictional places many believed his works were actual scientific manuals. Whether you believe some mysterious powers inspired Verne or not, you have to admit that he was a master at creating adventures in the most amazing places. His books inspired adventurous travellers and moviegoers thanks to numerous movie adaptations.
In Journey to the Centre of the Earth (2008), a professor, his nephew and their guide descend a volcano in Iceland. The further down they go, the more ancient and fascinating the world around them becomes. The idea that there is a land untouched by time somewhere under our feet is intriguing and captivating. Who wouldn’t want to explore that?
Of all the fictional places on my list, the fabled underwater city of Atlantis has been here the longest. A mythical city that sank to the bottom of the ocean has fascinated many since Plato first wrote about it around 360 BC. Was it real or did it come from Plato’s imagination as a morality tale for audiences?
Atlantis could have been a utopian society or one that indulged in many vices and was punished for them. One thing is certain, it was home to a highly advanced civilization whose technology, power and wealth were unmatched by anyone else in the world. I think I’m not alone in wanting to see what that actually looks like.
Many books and movies have created their own interpretations of the lost city. There is Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, DC’s Aquaman, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (based on Jules Verne’s books and a sequel to Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and countless others. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, a journey to a place like Atlantis would be the ultimate adventure.
Jurassic Park offers an unparalleled journey into the realm of the extraordinary – a world where dinosaurs once again roam the earth. How cool would that be? This island-based amusement park captures our imaginations with the awe-inspiring possibility of coming face-to-face with extinct creatures.
The sheer thrill and suspense that permeate every corner of this dinosaur-inhabited island make it an irresistible fictional destination. It offers a perfect blend of adventure, danger and scientific wonderment that would make any visit (albeit fictional) an unforgettable experience.
The expansive universe of Star Wars has captured the hearts and minds of millions worldwide. It offers all the elements of adventure, fantasy and mythology. This universe, with its array of distinctive planets like Tatooine, Hoth and Endor, is teeming with diverse alien species, futuristic technologies, and the age-old eternal struggle between good and evil.
What appeals to me about this particular fantasy world is that it seamlessly mixes the impossible with the ordinary. Each planet has its unique ecosystem, culture and inhabitants, creating a universe that feels real and tangible. The series’ iconic elements – from lightsabers to the Force, from droids to iconic characters like Darth Vader and Yoda – make it a richly textured world that continually fuels imaginations.
The world of Indiana Jones has always been a thrill for me. The idea of uncovering ancient relics and embarking on edge-of-your-seat adventures is what makes this fictional universe an enthralling escape.
From the Lost Ark to the Temple of Doom and the Last Crusade, each adventure is a nod to the mysteries and wonders that history holds. The intrigue of lost civilizations, the charm of hidden treasures and the adrenaline rush of daring escapades is a dream for history and travel nerds like me.
Even though it takes inspiration from real-life archaeological feats and historical timelines, it’s purely a fictional universe. The blend of real-world historical events, coupled with the excitement of adventure and danger, is a no-brainer.
Game of Thrones
The Game of Thrones was as fascinating as it was gory. The series has created a multi-faceted world filled with fictional tales and geography, making it a compelling universe to explore.
Westeros, with its seven distinct kingdoms, each with its own unique customs and landscapes, has a tangible sense of realism that draws viewers in. From the frozen expanses of Beyond the Wall to the sun-soaked Water Gardens of Dorne, the sheer diversity of settings is intriguing.
Personally, I would love to visit the austere beauty of Winterfell, the bustling streets of King’s Landing, and the mystical Isle of Faces in God’s Eye Lake, places that have been pivotal in the series’ storyline. However, it’s also worth noting that I would only visit any fictional town here as an observer.
Impact of fictional places on popular culture
Fictional places serve as a canvas on which creators project their wildest dreams and deepest fears. These imaginary locales, like the dinosaur-ridden islands or fantasy planets inhabited by gods and monsters, have the power to transport us away from the ordinary.
These fictional locations act as mirrors, reflecting societal issues and trends, and act as magnifying glasses, amplifying our understanding of human nature and our place in the cosmos. The characters, narratives and moral dilemmas reflect our shared experiences, shaping our collective consciousness and sparking meaningful discussions about morality, identity, and the nature of power.
These fictional destinations are more than just settings—they often inspire real-world pursuits, creating a symbiotic relationship between fiction and reality that enriches our cultural milieu.
Final thoughts on fictional places
The fictional places on this list centre around epic stories, great adventures and often improbable quests. They came from someone’s imagination and were brought to life with the magic of cinema. I have a deep appreciation for the level of creativity and attention to detail that went into putting them together, even if the stories themselves are somewhat interchangeable.
I can’t write this post without stating the obvious. Most of the movies and shows with these fictional places centre around the main hero, usually white and male. Women and people of colour appear as background characters or in supportive roles. They are either the villains or the helpers, there to aid the hero in his quest.
A conscious effort is needed to increase diversity in these imaginary realms, leading to a richer array of stories that are more reflective of the world we live in. This would not only contribute to a more inclusive culture but also cultivate empathy, understanding, and appreciation of diversity among readers and viewers.
As I put this list together, I wondered if that issue made a difference in my selection. Separating the location from the storyline works in some cases, while in others, the characters are what makes the location unique. If we could really travel to a fictional place, I’d be the first in line!
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