Books and movies take you away to a fantastical realm of imagination. From Hogwarts and Hogsmeade to the Shire and Pandora and Arkham, we bet there have been times when you wished you could just disappear into the settings of your favorite films and books. Here’s some good news if you’ve always wished they were real.
Some fictional settings, like Westeros from “Game of Thrones” and Middle Earth from “The Lord of the Rings,” were, however, inspired by breathtaking real-world landscapes. The beauty of these made-up locations makes viewers wish they could travel to a place that doesn’t exist.
Best Fictional Places to Visit
Keep scrolling to see a list of just 10 of the fantastical locations that turned out to be real (among many more). Some of these were used exactly as they were found, while others were digitally fabricated in the locations of the aforementioned travel hotspots.
The locations featured in Disney’s Frozen were actually found in Norway. The fictional kingdom of Arendelle in the Disney film Frozen has a real-world analog, just like the castles of Cinderella and Aurora. Even if it doesn’t look familiar now, once it’s blanketed in snow, it’s bound to bring back some memories.
Naeryfjord (pronounced Nar-E-Fyord) is a region in Norway that boasts stunning fjords along the country’s coast. In addition, Gudvangen and Bakka, two nearby villages, are popular stops for tourists passing through the region by boat or car.
2. The Springfield
It’s incredible that The Simpsons has lasted this long, given how many seasons it has. The setting of Springfield is as much a character in the show as the Simpsons’ family. It’s the kind of place that’s both familiar and intriguing; it has the qualities of the every day and the unexpected.
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The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is one of many in the United States with the same name, and it is a real place. One of the show’s creators grew up in this town, making it extra special.
3. Authentic: South Park
Whether or not you enjoy its brand of humor, South Park is, along with The Simpsons and Family Guy, one of the most successful animated series of the last two decades. The fact that the show’s setting is based on a real place in Colorado is far more intriguing.
South Park’s real-life counterpart, Fairplay, has a much smaller population than the city’s fictional namesake, despite having been misidentified as “South Park” in many official documents from the past. Culturally speaking, it is also more rural, with Burro/Donkey Racing being its main claim to fame.
4. True Tales: Cinderella and the Castle from Sleeping Beauty
This is the type of castle most people imagine when they think of a princess’s home. It could be argued that early exposure to Disney films like the original Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, both of which featured castles with a similar layout, helped cement this mental image.
Disney is also well aware of the fact that this particular style of castle tends to stick in people’s minds. So they made an exact replica of it for the parks and use it as their movie logo. Apparently, the fairytale castle of Sleeping Beauty was modeled after Neuschwanstein in Bavaria.
5. Hogwarts, the fictional school of wizardry and witchcraft
Any fan of the Harry Potter series or films probably shares the dream of one day getting an owl delivery and finding out they’ve been accepted to study magic at Hogwarts. One of the safest places in the Wizarding World (except for the times when it wasn’t), Hogwarts teaches young wizards how to create potions and cast spells.
There are enchanted plants and animals to meet, and fantastical adventures to undertake. Harry Potter fans, however, can still visit London and experience the magic of Hogwarts at Universal Studios.
6. Paradise Falls
The tropical moon of Pandora, which the Na’vi call home, has captured the imaginations of moviegoers and theme park visitors alike ever since its on-screen debut in the box office phenomenon known as Avatar.
But no matter how impressive the theme park is, it can’t compare to the real thing, which might be out there in the galaxy (if there is life elsewhere). It has a lot going for it despite the fact that its natives could be hostile; there are floating mountains, bioluminescent plants, and many strange creatures.
Hiking on China’s Tianzi Mountain in Hunan Province is a must for any fans of the smash hit science fiction film. The “Monarch of the Peak Forest,” which served as the film’s inspiration, is a sight for sore eyes among hikers.
7. Literally Made Up: Gotham City
Since this city in the DC Comics and related media has more crimes per capita than any other in the DC Universe, its only redeeming feature is that it is associated with a certain character.
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The city is protected by a memorable cast of characters, including Batman (or the Dark Knight, as he is sometimes known). In addition, the Joker and antiheroes like Harley Quinn, whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, both call this place home. This place could be worthwhile, then.
8. The Home of the Flintstones
Everyone is familiar with the Flintstones thanks to their cartoons and commercials, but the design of their home is just as iconic. The show never really explained how the house, constructed entirely of rocks, managed to have functional electricity and air conditioning like a contemporary home, but we didn’t mind because it looked cool (at the time).
But in 2012, a famous TV personality named Dick Clark decided to build a $3.5 million replica of the Flintstones’ home in Malibu, California.
This is the location where Carl and Ellie hoped to build their home in the movie Up. The fact that the inspiration was drawn from a real location makes Paradise Falls even more awesome. These magnificent waterfalls in Venezuela are called Angel Falls.
These falls are named after an American pilot who crashed while attempting to land his plane there but walked away unharmed, so don’t expect to find an eccentric explorer living at the top of the waterfall with an army of talking dogs.
10. Asgard The events of Thor: Ragnarok
Cinematic Universe will always remember it as one of the most visually inventive locations. Only the rainbow-colored Bifrost Bridge can lead you to the home of the Norse gods, Thor and Loki.
Meanwhile, Heimdall, the guardian, keeps a close eye on everything at all times, despite his occasional inability to spot an impending danger. Who wouldn’t want to live here, with its stunning buildings and its generous (if not always great) ruler, Odin?
Books, television shows, and movies have all contributed to the development of resonant fictional universes in modern culture. Mythologically inspired fictional settings are possible in some stories.
People have been telling stories to one another around campfires for centuries, either to pass the time or to impart wisdom to the young. Stories of civilization were also depicted in prehistoric cave art.