May the 4th be with you – it’s officially Star Wars day! Ever fancied walking in the footsteps of Anakin Skywalker or visiting the location of that final scene in The Force Awakens? Take a look at these European filming locations from the Star Wars franchise and you could be holidaying in Naboo soon…
1. Lake Como, Italy
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones we see Anakin Skywalker secretly marry Padmé Amidala on the planet Naboo. These scenes were filmed at Villa del Balbianello, near Lenno, overlooking Lake Como where people have since re-enacted their own Star Wars themed weddings! Any Italian Lakes holiday wouldn’t be complete without at least a day trip to see the stunning blue waters of Lake Como in Lombardy.
2. Finse, Norway
This mountain village in western Norway has no road access and was the location George Lucas chose to film scenes on the ice planet Hoth in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The Battle of Hoth took place on the Hardangerjøkulen glacier; if you visit in summer (and feel very adventurous) you can go hiking there!
3. Grindelwald, Switzerland
Located in the Alps and over 1 km above sea level, Grindelwald is principally a Swiss ski resort that offers 51 pistes in a picturesque village setting. In summer, you can take a hike along the Eiger Trail and experience breathtaking views. So where does this beautiful mountainous setting feature in the Star Wars films? Remember Princess Leia’s home planet Alderaan that gets destroyed by the Death Star? The mountains you see in Episode III Revenge of the Sith, depicting Alderaan, are actually those belonging to Grindelwald in Switzerland.
4. Sicily, Italy
When Mount Etna – the most active volcano in Europe – started erupting in 2002, Lucas sent a film crew to grab some eruption footage. This then became the backdrop for the planet Mustafar in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, including scenes where Anakin Skywalker has a lightsaber fight with Obi-Wan. Sicily is the Mediterranean’s biggest island and with it’s rugged landscape and tranquil beaches, it’s well worth a visit. Why not see the lava flows of Mount Etna for yourself on a guided tour after sunset?
5. Naples, Italy
The Royal Palace of Caserta, or Reggia di Caserta in Italian, was built in the 18th century and is the largest royal residence in the world. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the interior of the palace has featured twice in the Star Wars films; first in The Phantom Menace as Queen Amidala’s royal palace, and then again in Attack of the Clones as her successor’s (Queen Jamilla) palace on Naboo. With incredible gardens and a majestic interior, the palace is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Campania, Italy.
6. Seville, Spain
To step outside of Queen Amidala’s palace, you’d have to head over to Spain, as Plaza da Espana was used for the exterior of the palace in the city of Theed on Naboo in both episode I and II. Built in 1929, the huge plaza, known as Square of Spain in English, is located in Maria Luisa Park in Seville, Spain.
7. Skellig Michael, Ireland
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, just in case you’re one of the few still to see The Force Awakens, but that final scene was filmed at a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of Ireland, called Skellig Michael. The remote windswept island was perfect to depict the isolation required for that scene, and you can experience that for yourself if you visit by boat (with a permit) in May-September, weather permitting.
If you’ve ever visited any of these, or other Star Wars locations around the world, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!