From Middle Earth to Enchanted Castles: 12 Real Places Every Fantasy Book Fan Should Visit

Looking for real-world places that can transport you to the magical worlds of fantasy books? Find the best places to visit for fans of fantasy literature.

Fantasy literature opens doorways to imaginary worlds full of magic, mythical creatures, and epic quests. But what if you could experience a taste of that enchantment in the real world? 

From the Shire in New Zealand to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, there are many real places that can inspire the imagination and transport you to a world of magic and adventure.

In this article, we will explore some of the best real places to visit for fans of fantasy books. Whether you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or Harry Potter, there is a place on this list that is sure to appeal to you.

So pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey to some of the most magical places on Earth.

1. Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand

This working farm in New Zealand was transformed into the Shire, the idyllic homeland of the hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Visitors can tour the set, see the hobbit holes, and even have a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. If you want to visit more book-inspired book destinations in New Zealand, check our other article.

2. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

This medieval castle has been featured in many films and TV shows, including Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. Visitors can tour the castle, see the gardens, and even fly a broomstick on a Harry Potter-themed broomstick training experience.

3. Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

This eerily beautiful avenue of beech trees is an iconic filming location for the Kingsroad in “Game of Thrones.” The intertwined branches create an atmosphere right out of a dark fantasy novel.

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

This walled city on the Adriatic Sea is known for its stunning architecture and well-preserved Old Town. It was used as the filming location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. Visitors can walk the city walls, explore the narrow streets, and climb the steps to the top of Fort Lovrijenac for panoramic views.

5. Neuschwanstein Castle – Bavaria, Germany

This castle is often said to have inspired Walt Disney and looks like something out of a fairytale. Its stunning architecture will make you feel like you’re in a high fantasy setting, perhaps akin to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia.

6. Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

This fortified city in Morocco has been featured in many films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Its ancient mud-brick buildings and towering kasbahs will transport you to a medieval world.

7. Ashford Castle – Ireland

Dating back to 1228, Ashford Castle is a real-life castle hotel where you can live out your regal fantasy dreams. With its luxurious interiors and scenic surroundings, it’s easy to imagine you’re a character in a historical fantasy novel.

8. Skellig Michael – Ireland

Featured in the “Star Wars” franchise as the secluded home of Luke Skywalker, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an otherworldly landscape that fans of space fantasy would adore.

9. Mont Saint-Michel – Normandy, France

With its stunning abbey rising out of the sea, Mont Saint-Michel appears like a wizard’s tower in a magical realm. It’s easy to envision monks crafting spells rather than manuscripts in its ancient halls.

10. Taktsang Palphug Monastery – Bhutan

Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, this monastery clings to the cliffs of the Paro Valley. The breathtaking location seems plucked straight from a high-fantasy saga, offering a spiritual journey for any adventurer. Explore more of Bhutan’s amazing landscapes and people.

11. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

This park in China is home to towering sandstone pillars, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. It was used as the filming location for the floating mountains in the movie Avatar. Visitors can hike through the park, take a cable car to the top of the mountains, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery.

12. The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

These towering cliffs on the west coast of Ireland are a breathtaking sight to behold. They have been featured in many films and TV shows, including The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Visitors can walk along the cliffs, take a boat tour, or simply admire them from afar.

Whether you’re a fan of classic sagas or contemporary series, these real-world destinations offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in settings reminiscent of your favorite fantasy tales. So pack your bags and let your imagination roam free!

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