7 Fictional Towns You Can Visit in Real Life

Want to catch a little Tinseltown glamour—without actually going to Tinseltown? Plan a trip to one of these quirky faux hamlets, built as sets for film shoots that wrapped years ago. Touring these spots will take you to some fascinatingly out-of-the-way spots, from the desert in Tunisia to deep-woods North Carolina, and give you a little taste of movie magic.

  1. Popeye's Village from Popeye

    Popeye's Village from Popeye

    Also known as Sweethaven Village, this cluster of shaggy-dog cottages and other wooden buildings on the island of Malta was erected for the 1980 live action version of Popeye, starring Robin Williams. It is now open to tourists as a museum and entertainment center.

    Related: Surf's Up: 8 Beach Houses to Cure Your Polar Vortex Funk


  2. Spectre from Big Fish

    Spectre from Big Fish

    Located on private land but accessible if you’re there at the right time (and pay the owners $3), this street of crumbling styrofoam edifices sits just outside of Montgomery, Alabama. Director Tim Burton had the set finished in loving detail for his film, which starred Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney.

    Related: The 20 Best Towns for Trick-or-Treating

    Youtube via Exploring with Cody

  3. Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings

    Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings

    The easiest way to see the 44 “hobbit holes” that make up the Shire village of Hobbiton is to join one of the organized tours run out of Matamata, two hours south of Auckland in New Zealand. The Party Tree, the arched bridge, and Bilbo Baggin’s home are highlights of this permanent reconstruction of the original sets for the Peter Jackson trilogy.

    Related: 16 Weirdly Awesome Summer Vacation Rentals on AirBnb

    Flickr via tom_hall_nz

  4. Tatooine from Star Wars

    Tatooine from Star Wars

    A traditional Berber house in the Tunisian village of Matmata served as the Skywalker home in the George Lucas epic, and the other sites nearby stood in for the distant planet of Tatooine. Visitors can spot a few of the original Star Wars props and decor hanging here and there.

    Related: Stone Veneers: 10 Rock-Solid Looks for Your Walls

    Flickr via islandsoflight

  5. District 12 from The Hunger Games

    District 12 from The Hunger Games

    The deserted North Carolina mill town of Henry River (near the present-day town of Hildrebran) played the part of the forlorn coal-mining region District 12 in the first of the Hunger Games films. The spooky, abandoned neighborhood is posted with “No Trespassing” signs, but apparently fans of the movie have been touring it ever since shooting finished in 2011.

    Related: 10 Signs That Fixer-Upper Might Be a Money Pit

    Flickr via ncbrian

  6. Wallilabou from Pirates of the Caribbean

    Wallilabou from Pirates of the Caribbean

    Scenes from the Disney series starring Johnny Depp were shot at the scenic Wallilabou Anchorage on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. Tourists who make their way there can try on original costumes from the film and see the thatched-roof huts and a gallows and cannon used in the movie.

    Related: What 11 Ordinary People Paid to Live in Your Favorite Movie Homes


  7. Eaves Ranch from Silverado

    Eaves Ranch from Silverado

    To film a proper Western, a director needs plenty of wide open space, and this working movie ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico fits the bill. Outfitted with plenty of Old West buildings and a dusty Main Street, the ranch is not always open to the public, through music festivals and weddings sometimes take place there.

    Related: 18 American Towns Every Old-House Lover Needs to See

    Flickr via gog

  8. Don't Miss!


    Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today!