5 stunning movie locations around the world we want to visit now

Picture of Skelligs looking out into the water.

07 Jan 2016

Posted in:  Loans and Improving your Home

Kerry might not seem like an obvious location for the highest-grossing film of all time in North America but a film crew and a horde of Jedis filmedStar Wars: The Force Awakensin the Kingdom last year.

Just don’t expect to see the Gooch running around with a football in the background or the Millennium Falcon floating above your nan’s house, as much of the filming took place in the idyllic UNESCO World Heritage Site Skellig Michael.

While Skellig Michael is well worth a visit, today we’re taking a look at five film locations that would make for a brilliant holiday too.


Sticking with the Star Wars theme Iceland also was a backdrop for many scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Given Iceland’s lunar landscape, it’s easy to see why the director picked it. However, you don’t need to be a hard-core fan to enjoy Iceland. From geysers to glaciers, volcanoes and fjords, Iceland is the place-to-be even if you can’t tell Star Wars from Star Trek.

Go whale watching in an oak ship in Húsavík, relax in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, or take an afternoon tour from Reykjavik to experience the natural phenomena Iceland is famous for. Of course, no trip is complete without a night spent under the Northern Lights.

How to get there: For direct flights, you’ll need to go with WOW Air (Iceland’s answer to Ryanair). A direct flight from Dublin to Reykjavik will take just under two and a half hours – the same time it takes to get from Dublin to Wexford by bus! Costs for one-way start from €69*.

Estimated budget: Iceland isn’t a cheap city.** recommends a daily budget of €221.

Best time to visit: Tourist season is mid-June to August.

Petra, Jordan

If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you’ll already be familiar with a chunk of Petra, Jordan, in Western Asia.

Start your Jordanian adventure by retracing Indy’s adventures in Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A caravan-city between the Red and Dead seas, Petra is half-built into the rock face. As one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, you’ll quickly understand why it appealed to Indy.

Along the way, call into the Shobak Castle and its catacombs for an eerie, almost ethereal adventure. Once you’re done trekking the landscape, rest your sore feet in the Dead Sea. Bliss!

How to get there: Expect to put at least 8 hours into your travel time, with ticket prices starting from about €500 one-way.

Estimated budget: While the flights are expensive, the day-to-day cost is on the cheaper side. A daily budget of about €50 will get you plenty of places in Jordan.

Best time to visit: March to May, when it’s nice and toasty – but not too warm. Our pale Irish skin isn’t too able for such a warm summer!

New Zealand

My precioussssssssssss! So Gollum himself once hissed in New Zealand. For Lord of the Rings fans, New Zealand is an obvious go-to, as it was the locale of the Shire, or the houses where the hobbits lived.

Lord of the Rings tours run year round, and include a chat with the makers of the ring itself, a visit to Rohan village, and Gladden Fields, where Isildur was attacked by Orcs.

If that all sounds like gobbledygook, you can take the more scenic option and pop in to the Glowworm caves. New Zealand might seem like an awfully long way to travel for some caves – especially when we have the Burren on our door step – though the Glowworm Caves are worth it.

Take a boat ride underground along the Waitomo River and enjoy the galaxy of twinkling glow worms.

Just don’t let the fact that they’re glow-in-the-dark insects put you off!

How to get there: New Zealand is long-haul, so pack a couple of books and a blanket for a snooze on the plane, as you’re looking at a full day of flight time. Tickets start at around the €1,000 mark for a return flight.

Estimated budget: You’ll need to budget about €100 a day.

Best time to visit: Summer! Remember the seasons run backwards, so New Zealand’s summer is December to February. Yes, it’s a bit baffling.


Steeped in history, Croatia is home to several historical sites – and also the mother of dragons, as many of Game of Thrones’ adventures with Daenerys are filmed there. While your chances of seeing actual dragons are non-existent, any GoT fans will be hit with nostalgia as they venture through the European hot-spot.

Depending on the kind of holiday you want, Croatia offers a little of everything: a bustling city or the quiet character of a coastal town, gorgeous food, sailing trips, stunning sunsets, and a walled medieval city called Dubrovnik where GoT was filmed.

How to get there: Go with Ryanair and flights to Croatian airport Zadar start at around €350 for a round-trip. You’ll get there in a little over three hours.

Estimated budget: About €63 per day – which works out pretty cheap for a weekend get-away.

Best time to visit: Peak season is July to August.


Not the most extravagant of locations, but London is a must for Potter-heads. Platform 9 and 3/4s is a good place to start, as it was filmed in Kings Cross Station. While running your trolley into the wall won’t get you to Hogwarts, you can take a train to the Borough Market where some scenes were filmed.

Sadly, the Borough Market doesn’t come equipped with any actual magic, but its marketplace charm makes it worth a wander. For a more traditional London experience, go full-on tourist and see London from the sky in the London Eye.

How to get there: London is a short skip away and a flight will get you there in 70 minutes. Flights with Ryanair start at around the €30 mark.

Estimated budget: While flights are cheap, London is a pricey city – and that’s before we consider all the shopping you could do. €200 a day should cover you.

Best time to visit: The close distance means it’s the perfect weekend getaway – so whenever you want!

Want to go on a dream holiday?

Whether that’s an elaborate trek through Petra, dog sleighing in Finland, or loading a camper and heading around the Irish coastline, AIB can help get you there.

Apply for a Holiday Loan via Internet Banking and let the adventure begin! Alternatively drop into your local AIB branch or call 0818 724 725.

*Prices were sourced from and Google Flights, and will vary depending on airline and the time of year.

** aggregates reviews from tourists to work out an estimated daily budget for a ‘mid-range’ experience. Prices may vary.

The information provided in this blog is for general information purposes only. AIB is not recommending any company or product mentioned.

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