To many, vacations are about leaving technology behind you - about going out into the world and experiencing a new and exotic location rather than sitting at home with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite classic flick. However, it's my argument that the two don't need to be mutually exclusive.
On the contrary, the silver screen has been home to some of the most breathtaking, interesting, and memorable landscapes in history. From the rebel temple at the beginning of Star Wars, to the island home of Jurassic Park, the list below recommends 5 exotic places travelers could visit to see the real-life locations of some of the most epic movies Hollywood has ever put out.
5. Kauai, Hawaii
Most may know Hawaii, and particularly the small island of Kauai, for its breathtaking views, hospitable locals, and host of accessible outdoor activities. What many people don't know, however, is that the same island was home to the shooting of the Steven Spielberg classic "Jurassic Park."
Next time you plan a tropical vacation, consider dropping by to see some of the views that make up that movie's iconic opening helicopter shot - just beware of the raptors!
4. Salzburg, Austria
As it turns out, there's more to do in Austria than exploring museums and eating Sauerkraut. If you make it out to Salzburg, you may just see the Frohnburg Castle, home of the Von Trapp's in the classic movie Sound of Music. Indeed, much of that country can be remembered through the lens of the Rogers & Hammerstein musical, including the beautiful (and wholly representative) introductory shot of the Alps at the beginning of the film, and "Mirabell Gardens," where the famous "Do-Re-Mi" sequence was filmed.
3. Tikal, Guatemala
Evidently in the modern era, you don't need a spaceship to travel to different worlds. In fact, taking a trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala will land you right onto the surface of Yavin IV, home of the rebel base in the classic movie "Star Wars." Indeed, the towering Mayan temple of that movie's ending sequence is one of the most enduring and exotic images in all of cinematic history. In effect, a visit to South America will let place you "far far away" in more ways than one.
2. Fort Ricasoli, Malta
Want to go to Rome but don't have the budget? Try visiting Fort Ricasoli instead, the ancient ruins that served as the backdrop for the Ridley Scott movie "Gladiator," as well as the other ancient epics "Agora," "Troy," and "Julius Caesar." In other words, when you go to Malta, you get three vacations for the price of one. With a single ticket, you can see the Imperial steps of Ancient Rome and the residue of old Troy, not to mention the fascinating four-hundred year old Maltese fort itself.
1. Mount Tongariro, New Zealand
Finally, for those Tolkein-ites among you, there is perhaps no better vacation plan than the beautiful Mount Tongariro in New Zealand, home to Tongariro National Park and the Middle Earth that Peter Jackson created in his epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. From the town of Hobbiton (whose set can still be toured by visitors) to the fiery caverns of Mordor, a trip to New Zealand can make the fictional land of Lord of the Rings come to life, ensuring a trip no-one would ever be able to forget.