A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away...

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away...
A whimsical take on the iconic Storm Troopers of Star Wars , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you are a Star Wars nut and hope for the Force to be with you, you should probably visit these gorgeous locations

Precious Kamei
February 01 , 2019
09 Min Read

Our usual pitch meeting at work goes like this: a group of loud writers, photographer and an editor with a coffee mug taller than a newborn baby. Ideas are thrown around, some are met with a nod of approval and some gets chewed and spat out. When I suggested a story on Star Wars (because why not!), my editor shot back with "Rogue One! That was depressing. Next idea." I won't lie, my heart broke just a little and I almost embraced the Dark Side but quickly channeled my inner semi-Jedi and coaxed the editor to the brighter side of the epic space opera franchise—the gorgeous locations. That Monday afternoon the Force was with me for I got approval to do a piece on my one and only inspiration to sit in front of the idiot box. No, that's a lie. I like all things Avengers and Star Trek. Okay, I devote half my time watching and re-watching these movies. Alright, Alright! I may have random screenshots, a few too many, of the Dark Lord Darth Vader (and Spock from Star Trek) on my phone at all times. I'm an addict and I am not ashamed.

My love for all things Star Wars has reached a point where I even love the awkward Jar Jar Binks. My journey with Star Wars started with the 1977-1983s trilogy, then came the prequel to play around with a fan's feelings. The prequel, additional two movies in the middle and then the sequel...no respect was paid to the timeline. So for years I bounced from one Star War movies to the other and finally in 2018, after they came up with Solo: A Star Wars Story, I took a breather and watched the entire thing one more time. This time it was chronological—Episode I: A Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi (1983), Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) and Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017). I don't know if I will be able to wait any longer for the Episode IX (scheduled for 2019), the final episode. If you are a fan of the franchise, you will know what I am talking about. Even if you are not (like that's even possible), a quick search on the web will tell you a captivating tale from a galaxy far far away, of master Jedis, dark Sith Lords, The Force and adorable non-human characters. But we are here not because of the characters but because of the gorgeous destinations where these movies were filmed. From the vast Saharan wilderness in Tunisia to salt plains of Bolivia to remote island in Ireland, Star Wars have reached far and wide and we want you to do the same. May The Force Be With You with this list:

Episode I: A Phantom Menace

Located about twenty kilometers from the Sahara, Ksar Haddada is one of the scenes of the movie Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Ksar Hadada in Tunisia
This ksar or a fortified village is where The Phantom Menace was filmed. The movie speaks of Tatooine, a fictional desert planet, and its Mos Espa slave quarters. This place is inhabited by humans and alien beings and is home to Luke Skywalker the greatest Jedi Master.

How to reach: There are flights from New Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru to Tunisia. For Indians, a single entry visa is valid for three months and for a stay of 30 days. Check here

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Royal Palace of Caserta
Palace of Caserta in Italy
In the movie, the Palace of Caserta is portrayed as Naboo Royal Palace, home to Padmé Amidala (Luke Skywalker's mother), Jar Jar Binks and Senator Palpatine, the evil Emperor of the Galactic Empire. The beautiful and mammoth Royal Palace of Caserta is a former royal residence of the Spanish royal family in Southern Italy. It is by all means one of the largest palaces in Europe.

How to reach: There are non-stop and connecting flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Schengen visa is required for Indians which is usually issued for a period of six months. The visa allows for a stay in a Schengen country for uo to 90 consecutive days.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Thunderstorm during an eruption of Mount-Etna
Mount Etna in Italy
The volcano erupted during the filming of the movie and it made the fantastic background for the duel scene between the Jedi master Obi-Wan-Kenobi and the apprentice Anakin Skywalker who later goes on to become the dark lord Darth Vader. Chills! The beautifully aggressive active stratovolcano Mount Etna is located on the east coast of Sicily.

How to reach: There are non-stop and connecting flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Schengen visa is required for Indians which is usually issued for a period of six months. The visa allows for a stay in a Schengen country for up to 90 consecutive days.

Episode IV: A New Hope

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park in the United States of America
In the movie the national park's Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is shown as Tatooine desert where R2D2 and C3PO goes separate ways post crashing their escape pod. Fleeing the Empire would do that to you, you know. But Mesquite Flat is also known for sandboarding. And why not when there are dunes that go up to a height of 100 ft.

How to reach: There are non-stop and one-stop flights to major cities in the US from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Non-immigrant visa is required for Indians. Just make sure you don't have conjunctivitis. They don't take it lightly.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Hardangerjokulen Glacier in Norway
Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway
A personal favourite, this one. The scene at the glacier is that of a fight scene between the Imperial forces and the Rebel Alliance. The glacier is located near the village of Finse and during winter it can only be accessed using ski. The harsh sub-zero condition of the glacier definitely added extra drama to the already dramatic war scene.

How to reach: There are flights available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. Schengen visa is required for Indians which is usually issued for a period of six months. The visa allows for a stay in a Schengen country for uo to 90 consecutive days.

Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

Twenty Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley National Park
Twenty Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley National Park
The canyon is portrayed as the road to Jabba the Hutt's palace. This is where Luke Skywalker tinkers with his new lightsaber in a cave that overlooks the mighty spaceship Millennium Falcon. Anyone remember R2D2 and C3PO's journey to Jabba the Hutt's palace? If you are into offroading and hiking on some rough one-way trails, this is the place.

How to reach: There are non-stop and one-stop flights to major cities in the US from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Non-immigrant visa is required for Indians. Just make sure you don't have conjunctivitis. They don't take it lightly.

We found Luke Skywalker, that pretend-hermit-cum-Jedi!

Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Remember the scene where Rey walks up to Luke Skywalker's hiding place?
Skellig Michael in Ireland
The location is used in both VII and VIII as Achc-To, Luke's refuge. And how dramatic! Towards the end of the movie, Rey, a scavenger who happened to have the power of the Force with her, finally finds Luke Skywalker who was residing there incognito. The misty and rain-kissed island with really steep hills is a popular destination in Ireland. Remember the scene where Rey climbs those God-knows-how-many steps to reach Luke's casa? You can do that hike here. The view from top is spectacular.

How to reach: There are flights available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The Short-Stay Visa Waiver Scheme allows Indian visitors who have valid UK visit visas to also visit the Republic of Ireland, without the need for an Irish visa. Or apply for an Irish visa here

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) in Bolivia
Dramatic scene of the Battle of Crait...I did think for the longest time about the red soil beneath the white. Not a favourite Star Wars movie, this one, but I do fancy the location. Salar de Uyuni in the Andes is the world's largest salt flat. Approximately 11,000 sq km in size, the desert-like salt flat is spectacularly white and gives great photo ops. Come here for great photos (Instagram anyone?) and pink flamingos.

How to reach: Fly to La Paz and Santa Cruz for this location. For Indians, Tourist Visa is required which will be valid for up to one month.


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