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How travel got it's wings back

May the Fourth be with you

Celebrating Star Wars Day with some hassle-free trips to the saga's top filming locations

Jordan

Iceland

Ireland

Norway

The Maldives

Scotland

May the Fourth is, of course, Star Wars Day. There's no shortage of guides to the earthbound locations which were used to film the epic saga - and with travel back to normal this year, you can visit pretty much any of them again.

So in celebration of Star Wars Day, here are our top picks for Star Wars filming locations around the world. And they've already dropped all travel restrictions and are open for a hassle-free holiday.

Wadi Rum | Jordan

Rogue One and The Rise of Skywalker

Wadi Rum Jordan

Most Star Wars destination guides start with Tunisia, which originally gave us the desert landscape and towns of Tatooine in A New Hope, and has been used extensively since in Episodes I and II. It wasn't used for The Mandalorian or Book of Bobba Fett though, which are also set on Tatooine but were filmed almost entirely in Californian studios during lockdowns. However, many of the locations used in the films are in the south of Tunisia near the border with Libya, in an area currently under an FCDO travel warning. The whole country still has paperwork and Covid rules to navigate – so it's probably best to look elsewhere for your Star Wars adventures.

For an alternative, try Jordan. It recently dropped all travel restrictions so you can simply fly in and pick up the mandatory visa for a few pounds at the airport when you land.

Now, we trust you to head out straight to the spots where they filmed, obviously, but there are other things to see in Jordan too. Most notably the ancient city of Petra, considered one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. And, if you're hitting up important film sites where Harrison Ford once trod, is also of course a key location in The Last Crusade.

The big Star Wars location in Jordan is Wadi Rum, which has doubled up as Jedha in Rogue One, and Pasaana in Episode IX. It's also appeared in a slew of other films including Lawrence of Arabia, The Martian and the recent version of Dune.


Eyjafjallajökul and Reynisfjara | Iceland

Rogue One and The Force Awakens

iceland

Like Jordan, there are no Covid restrictions of any sort to visit Iceland. Vaxxed or unvaxxed, just head over and walk straight in, and while you're there don't miss the whales, waterfalls, geysers, Northern Lights or the Blue Lagoon!

Also like Jordan, Iceland is home to scenes from two Star Wars titles. Eyjafjallajökull - thrillingly an ice cap over an active volcano - was used as the snowy surface of Starkiller Base in Episode VII. Eyjafjallajökull is two hours' drive east along the coast road from Reykjavik, and the whole route east of the capital is one we'd recommend - along the way you'll see ice floes, glaciers and the coastal karst, and it's the gateway Iceland's unexplored east coast and fjords.

The black basalt sea stack at Reynisfjara is just another half hour along the same coast road, and was the planet Eadu in Rogue One (home of Galen Erso and scene of his attempted assassination). Reynisfjara is a famous black sand beach and so, like Eyjafjallajökull, well worth a visit in its own right quite apart from the Rogue One connection.

Read our Iceland travel guide.

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Skellig Michael | Ireland

The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker

Skelling Michael

Part of the Common Travel Area, a pre-Brexit (and even pre-EU) free-travel area between the UK and Ireland, the whole of Ireland is now as accessible as ever with all travel restrictions dropped.

Skellig Michael is... less so. Fly or drive from Dublin down to the very furthest south-western corner of Ireland, County Kerry. Book a boat trip for the eight-mile journey out to sea, and Skellig Michael is two and half hours off the coast. It's worth the trip though. The drive from Dublin to Kerry is one of the most beautiful in the world, Irish roads are quiet and well-maintained, you can take in Cashel and Limerick on the way and once you're there Killarney is on the doorstep.

The rock itself is, of course, Luke's home in Episode VII and Rey's training ground in Episode VIII. It is also the site of a 6th-century monastery (a long time ago...) and has been drawing visitors since long before the saga came along.

Read our Dublin travel guide.


Hardangerjøkulen | Norway

The Empire Strikes Back

norway

See the picture? Hardangerjøkulen is, obviously, Hoth.

Used to film the exterior and establishing shots of Hoth in Episode IV (the battles were filmed in studio with models). Hardangerjøkulen is Norway's sixth-largest glacier and can be reached easily enough during ski season by skiing in from the village of Finse to the north. Even in Norway, ski season only runs to the end of April though so you've just missed the chance this year - but Norway isn't short of winter so try again in a few months' time.

Norway is open to visitors now without any restrictions or complications.


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Haddhunmathi or Laamu Atoll | Maldives

Rogue One

Maldives

The Haddhunmathi or Laamu Atoll in the Maldives includes one of the country's largest islands, Gan, and is a popular tourist destination.

The atoll was used as the tropical planet Scariff in Rogue One.

The Maldives has dropped all travel restrictions so trips there are as simple as ever. It is, quite simply, a lavish island paradise almost entirely given over to making sure visitors have a memorably wonderful time in the clean, warm, blue-green waters. So if you're thinking of splashing out for a special trip, the Maldives will never disappoint.


Glen Tilt | Scotland

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Glen Tilt

If you don't fancy heading overseas, there's plenty of Star Wars filming locations at home in the UK. Famously Whippendell Woods near Watford made up part of the forest of Naboo in The Phantom Menace: Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean features in The Force Awakens; and Hever Castle in Kent was used for some (deleted but still findable) scenes in The Phantom Menace.

The new TV series Obi-Wan Kenobi is out at the end of May, and the rumour-mill has been going full-tilt during filming.

The Buckinghamshire village of Little Marlow is home to one conspicuous Star Wars set in a disused quarry, but contrary to claims by the Sun, Star Wars fans are confident that set is for the Rogue One prequel Andor. Andor is expected to come out later this year.

Glen Tilt, in Scotland, really did see filming for Obi-Wan last year, and it's possible and pleasant to visit. 15 minutes north of Pitlochry by car, you can park at the southern end of the Glen and hike through in a couple of hours. Of course, until Obi Wan actually comes out we're not all that sure what we'd be looking for... so maybe wait till the end of May before making the trip.

Book a UK short break.


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