Dec 28, 2011
In a Galaxy Not So Far Away
You don’t have to book a light-speed flight to Endor to see amazing locations featured in the epic Star Wars saga. Locations on our own planet provided the backdrop for the scenes in these beloved movies—and you can visit them. Here’s a sample:
For Episode VI, the majestic Redwoods in Northern California created the perfect setting for the small, forested moon of Endor that was home to the Ewoks.
Adventurers will want to check out the Avenue of the Giants and the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park to spot some familiar scenes from the movie. There are plenty of campgrounds around this area and lots of trails that will provide hikers with amazing views of California’s enormous Redwoods.
Great Pit of Carkoon
In Episode VI, Luke and his friends are sentenced to be eaten by the mighty sarlacc in the sandy Pit of Carkoon. Thank goodness our heroes were actually quite safe as this sequence was filmed in the Yuma Desert in Arizona.
This location also provided the desolate setting for R2-D2 and C-3PO’s crash landing on the planet of Tatooine. With sparse vegetation and sand dunes galore, the Yuma desert is a harsh environment that can make visitors feel as if they were on an alien planet.
The shot was taken from atop the Mayan Temple IV looking over toward the Mayan Temples I, II, and III. Adventurers in Tikal can explore the ruins of the Mayan culture and even zip-line through the jungle.
The village of Finse, Norway, set the scene for the battle fought on the planet Hoth in Episode V. In the battle, the Rebel Alliance fights the Imperial forces amidst powerful blasts and explosions.
In reality, Finse is a rather remote village that is popular with cross-country skiers in the winter and cyclists in the summer. If you decide to go to Finse, be sure to pack a warm jacket—the actual film site is about a four-mile hike from the only hotel in town.
The shores of Lake Como in Italy served as the backdrop for the lush planet of Naboo, where Anakin and Padmé fell in love.
Regarded as the most beautiful lake in Italy, Lake Como is a popular tourist destination and is home to a multitude of villas and palaces. In fact, the Villa del Balbianello served as the location for Anakin and Padmé’s lake retreat and their intimate wedding. Jedi travelers are welcome to tour this villa.
Dry, dusty, desolate Tunisia was the chosen location for Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine. Remember the igloo-looking entrance to Skywalker’s home in Episode IV? You can still see it in Nefta, Tunisia!
The interior shots of Luke’s home were filmed in an actual troglodyte dwelling—the Hôtel Sidi Driss in Matmata, Tunisia. This hotel is commonly referred to as the Star Wars Hotel, and guests can take a tour or book a room for the night.