5 Fictional Destinations You Can Actually Visit

There’s something magical about seeing the real life setting of a beloved fictional world. These destinations draw travelers to places they might not otherwise go for the pleasantly jarring sensation of finding Tatooine in Tunisia or Narnia in Norway. Here are five of our favorite places that serve as intersections of invention and reality, mixing the familiar with the surprising.

Mdina, Malta: King’s Landing (Game of Thrones)

Westeros may be fictional, but Game of Thrones fans know the series films everywhere from Iceland to Croatia to recreate locations from the books. The medieval walled city of Mdina in Malta acts as King’s Landing in the show, and travelers may recognize the Mdina Gate as the entrance to the fictional capital. Mdina’s dusky stone buildings and mix of Norman and Baroque architecture lend it a mysterious and mythic quality that translates perfectly into the show. It’s known as the “Silent City:” No cars are allowed within the city walls, and only about 300 people live inside.

Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

Since Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, children and adults have made the pilgrimage to Canada’s lovely Prince Edward Island, where the book is set. The Green Gables farmhouse that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s classic books still stands in Cavendish (named Avonlea in the books) and can be visited year round. Even Mindy Kaling is desperate to see where Anne grew up. In a recent interview with the LA Times, she said, “The other book world I would like to live in is Anne of Green Gables. Living on Prince Edward Island would be so badass.”

Petra, Jordan: Canyon of the Crescent Moon (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

It’s hard to imagine a more imposingly beautiful filming location for a grail quest than the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Although Petra was carved into sandstone 2,000 years ago, it only came to the attention of the Western world in 1812 when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt disguised himself in Bedouin costume to sneak into the site. The Treasury, Al-Khazneh, was most famously used inIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade and is still open for visitors.

Angel Falls in Venezuela: Paradise Falls (Up)

Paradise Falls is the central destination Pixar’s Up. Carl’s beloved Ellie never gets to see it herself, but with the help of about 10,000 balloons, Carl and Russell manage to make the trip. Its real life counterpart is Angel Falls in Venezuela, part of the Auyantepui mountain in Canaima National Park. At a height of over 3,000 feet, it’s the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The hike to see the falls from the top can be a multi-day journey, but the stunning view is worth the trek.

Matamata, New Zealand: Hobbiton (The Lord of the Rings)

Perhaps the most famous fictional travel destination is the Hobbiton set of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. Nestled in the countryside surrounding Matamata in New Zealand, the set features over 30 hobbit dwellings as well as a mill and a double-arched stone bridge. After The Hobbit movies finished filming, the houses were left fully furnished for visitors. Truly devoted fans can even enjoy Second Breakfast at the nearby Shire’s Rest Cafe.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on November 11, 2015.

The Best Place to Blow Your Budget: Queenstown – New Zealand

** Thanks to Elle-Rose Williams, the resident blogger at http://www.no1traveller.com for this inspiring guest post!

We all know that one of the most popular backpacking destinations worldwide is New Zealand, and it’s unsurprising that every year thousands and thousands of us flock to this tiny country to see what all the fuss is about.

And does New Zealand disappoint? Of course not.

Elle

I’ve been living here for 6 months now, and I’ve loved every second. I moved from busy, manic London – so New Zealand was a huge culture shock – but it was the kind of shock that you enjoy, and that I loved embracing. We moved to Queenstown – a small town on the South island – affectionately known as the adrenaline capital of the world.

That’s a big claim – I hear you thinking. But trust me – there is no where quite like Queenstown if you’re a thrill seeker. And any adrenaline junky will find that they are beyond spoilt for choice here. There is just so much to do, you’ll be counting up your pennies trying to figure out just how much stuff you can afford and just how much time you have to squeeze it all in.

The truth is – if you’re going to blow your budget anyway in New Zealand – Queenstown is where you should do it. Save it all for here – seriously, you won’t regret it. It’s not just the activities and adrenaline seeking – it’s the food and the nightlife too – both of which deserve just as much attention as the crazy stunts you can pull diving out of an airplane. Oh, and did I mention this place is beautiful!?

Not just… “Oh hey, that’s a nice view”

Elle - New Zealand

I’m talking….

“Holy crap. This view is the best I’ve ever seen. I never want to leave”

Elle - New Zealand

So what activities can you do here? Well, I’ve tried to round up the majority below for you, to give you a bit of pre-trip inspiration.

–          Jet Boating – A super fast speed boat that will take you along the rivers and canyons around the local area. It’s great fun and there are a few different tour companies that offer it at varying prices.

–          Sky-Diving – If you’re going to jump out of a plane – you might as well do it above Queenstown as the views will blow you away. There is no where quite like it in the world.

–          Canyon Swinging – Similar to Bungee jumping but with a twist. These guys are all about the banter and making sure you have an awesome time.

–          Bungee Jumping – Jumping off a platform attached to a massive piece of elastic – this is definitely one of the most popular activities here in QT. There are a few operators who do it too, so lots of choice.

–          Zip-lining – Quick zipping and zooming through Queenstown forest, on zipwires is a great activity for big groups and also for those who want a good thrill – without jumping out of a plane!

Elle - New Zealand

–          Luging – Found at the top of the Gondola – this is the fast paced (very fun) go carting on top of the mountain. One of my personal favourites, and always so much fun and laughter.

–          Jet Skiing – The lake is an awesome place to experience jet skiing – because it’s not salty (salty spray is no fun!) and it’s safe and not busy either. There are a couple of tour companies who offer this and the prices aren’t half bad.

–          Kayaking – A bit more low-key, this is great for people wanting to relax and explore the local area by water. There are lots of kayak tours in the summer, or you can just hire one from the beach.

–          Quad Biking – Found a bit out of town – this is run by Nomad Safaris and is great fun. But then, quad biking always is!

–          BMX Biking – Hire out a bike for the day and experience some of the awesome bike track that lead down from the top of the Gondola. There are tracks for every skill level too – making it awesome for beginners and expert riders.

Elle - New Zealand

Oh and once you’ve tired yourself out doing all these awesome activities – don’t forget to fuel yourself up with some amazing food! Queenstown is literally splitting at seams with great food places, there is (of course) the infamous Fergburger for all your meaty needs, but don’t forget about the incredible Flame Restaurant if you love steak and ribs – they serve up the best ribs I’ve ever tasted in my life. Which is a big claim!

Then there is also the sushi on the mall (a cheap favourite for quick lunches) and Winnies and Fat Badgers for incredible pizza. Then, if you have room – try a scoop of ice-cream at Patagonia. Trust me – you’ll never look back… it’s the yummiest ice-cream in all of New Zealand!

Elle

This guest post was written by Elle-Rose. Elle-Rose is the resident blogger for No1 Traveller, and she is currently travelling the world. You can read more about her personal travel experiences here.