Tours for Movie Buffs

If you’re the person who quotes Fight Club in casual conversation and shares “One does not simply (walk into Mordor)” memes, dreams about visiting Middle Earth and studying at Hogwarts, then you should definitely have a bucket list of movie locations to visit.

Our top 10 recommendations on movie tours for the avid cinephile –

  1. Los Angeles – The home of Hollywood has to be top of the charts. LA may be a multiethnic sprawl with state-of-the-art entertainment facilities downtown, Bohemian culture in Venice Beach area and a multitude of artists, poets, writers and musicians in the suburbs, but there’s bits of movie magic all around. This City of Angels is difficult to navigate for tourists, so you can take the Hollywood Movie Location Tour (5 star rating: Highly Recommended – 11 reviews) to experience first-hand the city’s deeply rooted cinematic culture, showcasing the best movies – Sunset BoulevardChinatown, L.A. Confidential, Back to the Future, Pretty Woman, Grease, The Aviator and Terminator, to name a few.
    Alternately, you could try the Hollywood – Behind the Scenes Walking Tour (5 star rating: Highly Recommended – 13 reviews) to discover landmarks such as the Walk of Fame, Blossom Room – site of the first Oscars, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre and many more.
  2. New Zealand – With breathtaking landscapes, from towering mountain peaks and glaciers to volcanoes, bubbling mud springs, lush green fields and rolling hills, New Zealand was the obvious choice for Middle Earth and the Shire in Lord of the Rings. Join a Small-Group Tour: The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland (5 star rating: Highly Recommended – 42 reviews), see the Green Dragon Inn, Bilbo Baggins’ house and lunch at The Shire’s Rest Cafe. Alternately, from Rotorua you can visit Hobbiton as part of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Hobbiton Movie Set Tour ( 4.5 star rating: Recommended – 20 reviews), or pass by the Ithilien Camp, Isengard, Forest of Amon Hen and Lothlorien with the Glenorchy Movie Locations Tour: The Lord of the Rings (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 12 reviews) from Queenstown.
     
  3. Hawaii – Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes have been the setting of countless movies based in a different world, such as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lost series. The Kauai Movie Sites Tour (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 14 reviews) through sparkling turquoise bays, white sandy beaches along the Pacific, lush forests and plunging waterfalls highlights the movie locations on the Kauai island, with lunch at Tahiti Nui where The Descendants was filmed. If you’re on Oahu, take the Small-Group Oahu TV and Movie Locations Hummer Tour (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 48 reviews) to see where Karate Kid II, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbour and Lost were filmed.

  4. London – This is your chance as a muggle to discover the world of magic, from Diagon Alley to the Leaky Cauldron, by a black taxi Private Tour: Harry Potter Black Taxi Tour of London (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 132 reviews). 007 fans, find out more about your favorite MI6 agent  as you go around Central London with the James Bond Film Location Tour (4 star rating: Recommended – 2 reviews).
  5. Paris – Synonymous with art and home to poets and philosophers, Paris has been the subject of numerous movies that have tried to capture the artistic free-thinking spirit of the City of Romance. Join an expert guide on a cinematic exploration of the quaint neighbourhood of Montmarte, the setting of Amelie, Moulin Rouge and Midnight in Paris, with the sublime Sacre Coeur Basilica in the background as part of the Paris Movie Tour of Montmarte. For a coach tour through locations of 50 major movies and TV series such as The Da Vinci Code, The Bourne Identity, Ratatouille, Taken and James Bond, hop onto the Paris Movie and TV Locations Tour.
  6. Barcelona – A vibrant city famous for its architecture, Barcelona is also the perfect destination to unwind. Discover Barcelona like Vicky and Cristina with the Barcelona Movie Locations Walking Tour, ending at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Palau de la Música Catalana.
  7. New York – The quintessentially cosmopolitan way of life in NYC has inspired several film and TV series writers to use the Big Apple as the setting for their scripts. Let a local actor guide you around Manhattan as part of your New York TV and Movie Sites Tour (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 298 reviews), showing you the the locations from Spider Man, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, I am Legend, Friends, Ugly Betty and others. Central Park, considered NYC’s lungs, where you can stroll along its leafy boulevards and paddle in ponds is the site of several scenes from movies such as Serendipity, When Harry met Sally and The Avengers, which you can discover during the Central Park Movie Sites Walking Tour
  8. Chicago – The Windy City is the heart and soul of America’s Midwest, with one of the most recognizable skylines in the US comprising landmarks of American architecture such as the Sears Tower. See sites of movies such as My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Untouchables and Transformers 3, and get a whiff of the history of the city’s famous neighbourhoods such as Gold Coast, Old Town and Lincoln Park as part of the Chicago Film Tour (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 21 reviews).
  9. Austria – Watch the hills come alive with the Sound of Music in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, with The Original Sound of Music Tour (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 866 reviews) through Mirabell Gardens, Hellbrunn Castle, Nonnberg Abbey – the oldest convent in German-speaking Europe, and Mondsee Cathedral. Discover Vienna In the Footsteps of ‘The Third Man’ (4.5 star rating: Recommended – 14 reviews) through the places where Harry Lime lived, via the Old Town, along the Danube Canal and imagine the Vienna of post World War II times.
  10. Mumbai – The list would remain incomplete without a mention of Bollywood, its musicals, rom-coms and suspension of reality. For an intense Bollywood experience, spend almost an entire day with the Bollywood Studio Tour of Mumbai, understanding the history of Indian cinema, touring the Film City where you can see live shoots, and end your day by watching a movie at Eros, a cozy theatre in South Mumbai. For a casual introduction, just stroll along the Walk of the Stars, ride a rickshaw past celebrity homes and watch a typical Bollywood film at a local theater.

Vienna – City of Dreams

On the banks of the scenic Danube, Vienna marries Western European sophistication with Eastern European culture and charm. Remnants of pre-Roman history in the Danube River Valley make Vienna an intriguing center of human settlement apart from its European neighbors. This city was the political center of the Austrian Empire and is home to ornate palaces and museums. Celtic and Viking history adorn the extensive museum collections while any conversation with a local will reveal a rather complex, if not completely convoluted, lineage.

A romantic imperial city, Vienna bears the hallmarks of a capital steeped in history, beautifully contrasted by its modern infrastructure. Vienna is home to several palaces built for the Hapsburg family. The Imperial Palace is located in the inner city and it was from here that the Hapsburgs ruled for seven centuries. It was constructed in the early 13th century. The Gothic chapel on the site is still open on Sundays for services. The Vienna Boy’s Choir sings here.

The Gothic and Romanesque Cathedral of St. Stephens is located near the Imperial Palace. Construction on this ornate cathedral was started in the thirteenth century and completed in the fifteenth century. The steeple of St. Stephens can be seen from all over the city. Climb the 343 steps of the nearly claustrophobic spiral staircase to the watchman’s lookout in the South Tower or head underground from the North Tower to the catacombs beneath the cathedral where 14 members of the Habsburg family are buried alongside the mausoleum of the bishops.

Schonbrunn Palace was built as a summer residence for Empress Sisi. The grounds include a park, the oldest zoo in the world and a large labyrinth that are open for tour as well as an ornate, Baroque style palace. Go next door to the famous Spanish Riding School where the coveted Lipizzan Stallions are bred, trained and shown in elaborate performances during the winter. There is so much to see at this palace that you should plan an entire day here.

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The Belvedere Palace, designed by Von Hildebrandt, is also built in the Baroque style. This palace was the heart of the former Hapsburg empire. The Austrian Gallery Belvedere, built for Prince Eugene of Savoy as a summer home, is located here. It is now open for tours and contains art work and historical information, including a delightful Klimt collection. In addition to viewing the artwork, you can tour the palace and spectacular gardens.

The Imperial Burial Vault is located below the Capuchin Church and is open for tours. This was the burial place for members of the Hapsburg family. The vault contains 146 aristocrats, 12 emperors and 19 empresses.

The inner city is also home to monuments and parks that are popular tourist attractions. Old, ornate churches can be found here as well as other building such as Parliament, the University and Opera house.

Kuntshall Wien is a museum with a collection of modern and contemporary art. The artists are both Austrian and International artists. This museum is run by the city of Vienna.

The Sigmund Freud Museum is dedicated to the Father of Modern Psychology. It is run by the Sigmund Freud Society and traces the doctor’s life and work.

A city of music, Vienna was home to some of history’s greatest composers. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss were all proud to call Vienna their home. Vienna’s musical heritage has been preserved to the present day. The Vienna Boys Choir is ever popular and the Wiener Philharmoniker remains a world class orchestra. 

Summer, winter, spring and fall are all celebrated with unwavering zeal through a seemingly endless string of festivals. During the Film Festival am Rathausplatz, which is held during July and August, remarkable movies are projected onto the grand wall of the Rathausplatz (city hall) nightly, along with operatic performances from the world’s best. Men and women gather here after work to enjoy cocktails and the extensive array of international cuisines and stay well into the night to dance, watch films and stroll through the adjacent park.

 A theatre break is always a rewarding experience; witness the latest film and dance productions or just sit back and soak up the best of classical opera. A vast array of concerts and exhibitions are held throughout the year.

Right through history, Vienna has embraced the world of art and proudly boasts many of its own world famous artists. Through the centuries, kings and queens of Austria were passionate art collectors, rendering Austria – and Vienna in particular – a treasure trove of fine art.

Many of these masterpieces can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts; a magnificent building exhibiting works from across the world. Indeed, art and literature feature predominately during Vienna’s history. Underground railway stations designed by Otto Wagner are listed properties; coffee house literature is digested by both young and old.

Besides their love of the arts, the Viennese love to shop. Markets are scattered throughout Vienna but most popular is the Naschmarkt flea market. Dating back to the 16th century, everything from children’s shoes to apples can be purchased. If you can endure the crowds, bargains are aplenty.

Indulge in the fun and games at the Prater, Vienna’s biggest funfair. If the noise and crowds become too much, escape to the open fields or take a stroll through the adjacent forest and chill out with the wildlife.

For spectacular views of the city head for the Danube Tower, known locally as the Concrete Needle. The tower is over 350 meters high; with your head in the clouds, Vienna never looked so good.

Round off your Vienna experience by indulging in their proud coffee culture. Find a coffeehouse and order from the endless menu of roasts. Also, you may find it difficult to avoid the tourist-targeted Mozart Balls (chocolates made for the man himself), but resist temptation and venture into a true Viennese chocolaterie like the famous Demels. Also, the Sacher Torte is unmissable.

Steeped in art, history, music and culture, a trip to this breathtaking City of Dreams is an enriching experience.