January 3, 2024. David Sandler.
The popularity of streaming platforms and the rise of binge watching over the past few years have created a new travel trend, set-jetting. It highlights the places where films have been shot. “Star Wars” fans are instantly reminded of the abandoned set of the Mos Espa spaceport, a fictional city from “The Phantom Menace” and “Episode II Attack of the Clones”. The city was built specifically for those two films and although it is in the heart of the Tunisian desert, it is extremely popular among tourists and fans of the sci-fi saga.
Visiting the filming locations of iconic movies isn’t new but set-jetting has exploded in the past year and is likely to shape the travel industry in 2024 and beyond. Having our own guilty pleasures (Bridgerton, of course), the team at BonusInsider was curious to find out where the most anticipated films and TV series of 2024 had been filmed. We compiled a list of fifteen new and upcoming titles and identified their filming locations to come up with a handy guide to the best set-jetting destinations for 2024.
The Top 10 Set-Jetting Destinations to Visit in 2024
1. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The first entry on this list is Australia’s largest city, Sydney, which has plenty of famous tourist sites such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Of course, the peak summer season from December to February is not recommended; a better time to visit would be March through May and from September to November.
Movie enthusiasts know well that the city has been one of the popular filming locations for Hollywood productions because of its striking cityscapes and unique areas that surround it. One of the productions filmed here is the upcoming David Leitch film “The Fall Guy”, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. The action comedy used several filming locations across the city, including the pedestrian zone Martin Place, the Sydney Opera House, and the suburb of Kurnell. Some of the scenes were also shot at the Disney Studios, Moore Park in Sydney.
One of the most anticipated premieres of 2024, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, was shot entirely in the state of New South Wales, including its capital Sydney. Along with Kurnell, the other suburb that served as a set to the movie, was Melrose Park. The main filming locations, however, were all over the Australian outback such as the frontier mining town of Broken Hill, and the village of Silverton. Silverton, in particular, has that desert, post-apocalyptic vibe; with a population of around 50, it is practically a ghost town.
Another movie shot across several Sydney locations is “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”, which is expected to be released in May of next year. The film is set many years after the reign of Caesar and stars Owen Teague in the lead role, “The Witcher”’s Freya Allan, as well as Kevin Durand, Peter Macon, and William H. Macy.
2. London, England, UK
For decades, London has been among the most featured cities in film and television so it is hardly a surprise that it comes second on this list. Filmmakers seem to be infatuated with its charm, no shortage of historical landmarks, royal residences, and centuries-old architecture. Certain scenes of “The Crown: Season 6” and “Bridgerton: Season 3” were also filmed here.
The sixth series of the “Crown” includes scenes with President Clinton set in Chicago, but the production never left the UK. London’s Canary Wharf serves as a fake, yet perfectly believable Chicago. Plenty of London locations can be seen in “Bridgerton”, too. Along with the Ranger’s House next to Greenwich Park (its exterior is used for the home of the Bridgerton family in the show), other places you can recognise are the Royal Naval College and the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, which is located inside the Royal Naval College.
One of 2024’s biggest movies, “Wonka”, has also travelled to London for shooting. The star-studded film, which is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, features Timothée Chalamet in the lead role, alongside Hugh Grant and Rowan Atkinson. Some of the scenes were filmed in the Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park, south-east London. This is the only ballroom from the 1950s in London that has been kept in its original condition, including red velvet, chandeliers, and Chinese lanterns. All these locations are open for visitors – the Rivoli actually hosts many music and dance events.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Third on the list of the best set-jetting destinations for 2024 is Prague. The capital city of the Czech Republic is wonderful to visit all year round, although, in the summer, visitors can expect huge crowds and elevated prices, while the winter is quite cold and snowy (the Christmas markets, however, are worth it). Spring and autumn, on the other hand, might be the best time to visit, especially in September when the weather is still warm, the prices are more affordable, and there are fewer crowds at popular tourist sites.
One of the movies filmed in the city is “Ballerina” (release expected in June), a spin-off of the “John Wick” franchise, starring Ana de Armas, Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Norman Reedus. Among the filming locations are the Old Town of Prague, including Dlouhá Street famous for its bars and nightlife, and around the National Theatre of Prague. The crew also shot in Ostrava and the small town of Štramberk.
Another upcoming movie filmed in Prague is the gothic horror “Nosferatu”, a remake of the iconic German 1922 film of the same name. The film, which will be released on Christmas Day 2024, stars Lily- Rose Depp, Bill Skarsgård, and Nicholas Hoult, and is based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Some scenes were also shot in the town of Rožmitál pod Třemšínem.
4. Fort Ricasoli, Malta
Another set-jetting location worth visiting is Fort Ricasoli, the largest fort in Malta (and in Europe), which is situated in the village of Kalkara. It was built in the 17th century by the Order of Saint John and has been used for various purposes over the years. Today, it is in a mostly dilapidated state, despite the ongoing restoration efforts, and can be visited by tourists. The best time for this would be spring and early summer (April to June) when there are fewer crowds and the days are not yet too hot.
Fort Ricasoli will feature extensively in the upcoming “Gladiator 2”, a sequel to the epic 2000 movie, which won five Oscars, including for Best Picture and Best Actor (Russell Crowe). The original had also been partially shot at the Maltese fort and now, 23 years later, director Ridley Scott decided to return to this location. The second instalment stars Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsoum and Pedro Pascal, and is scheduled to hit the theatres in November 2024.
The bastioned fort has been a popular filming location for a number of Hollywood productions over the past few decades. Among the most famous productions shot there are “Troy”, “Game of Thrones”, “Assassin’s Creed”, and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” with Joaquin Phoenix, which was released in November of this year. If you remember, Phoenix also starred in the original “Gladiator.
5. Bourne Wood, England, UK
Speaking of Joaquin Phoenix and the historical drama “Napoleon” he stars in, the film has a huge number of filming locations. Rather than using CGI, Ridley Scott had decided to use real-life locations that could pass as the places featured in the story. Along with Malta’s Ricasoli Fort, the crew went to the Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire to shoot the scenes of Napoleon’s coronation. The cathedral was a substitute for the Notre-Dame in Paris. In fact, the production filmed extensively across England and one of the places featured in “Napoleon” is Bourne Wood in Surrey.
The wood has been widely used as a filming location for many Holywood productions over the past few decades, including “Gladiator”, “Band of Brothers”, “The Golden Compass”, “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince”, “Robin Hood”, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, “The Witcher: Season 2”, as well as several Marvel blockbusters. Some scenes from this year’s spy TV show “Citadel” with Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were also shot there. In addition, the wood was one of the filming locations for “House of the Dragon: Season 2”, the highly successful “Game of Thrones” spin-off show with Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith. While most of the shooting took place in Wales, certain scenes were set in this large Surrey forest. It’s a wonderful hiking destination, just south of the town of Farnham and pretty close to the famous filming location of Hankley Common in Elstead. The best time to visit is from June to September, although it is pleasant in spring and autumn, too.
6. Budapest, Hungary
The Hungarian capital is probably one of the most beautiful European cities and in recent decades, it has become a hot production hub for filming crews from all over the world. It has plenty of breathtaking places you can shoot (or visit), it has world-class filming studios, and highly skilled and experienced professionals you can hire. Not to mention the financial incentives (affordability and a 30% cash rebate) when an international production comes to Hungary.
Budapest ranks fourth on this list, although the number of movies filmed here over the past couple of years, is huge. The reason why it caught our attention is “Poor Things”, a Frankenstein-type fantasy and black comedy with Emma Stone, which premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on the 1st of September. The film took home the Golden Lion but is yet to be seen by the masses – while it hit the U.S. theatres on the 8th of December, its release in the UK is set for the 12th of January.
While some of the scenes were shot in Glasgow (the film is set there), Budapest served as several other cities, namely London, Paris, and Lisbon. This is not unusual, however; it was recently used in the thriller series “The Fear Index” to be Geneva, for instance. It was also a filming location for “The Last Kingdom”, “Halo”, and “Dune”. In fact, the crew of “Dune: Part Two” worked on certain scenes in one of the best studios in Budapest.
7. Buckinghamshire, UK
For this entry on the list, we decided to include not a specific location but a wider area, the English county of Buckinghamshire, in particular. At least two of the big Hollywood productions set for a 2024 release have been partially shot here.
One of them is the musical film “Wicked”, which stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo and was filmed over the past year at a huge set built on a farm in Ivinghoe, a village between Leighton Buzzard and Tring. The set, complete with colourful cottages and a yellow brick road, transformed the farm into the land of Oz. Unfortunately, it was demolished once filming was completed but visitors can still enjoy the spectacular countryside of the Aylesbury Vale in and around Ivinghoe.
Next year’s Marvel movie “Deadpool 3” with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was also shot in the UK and one of its filming locations is quite close to that of “Wicked”. One of the sets for the superhero movie is Pitstone Quarry, which is roughly 1.3 miles south of Ivinghoe. Reynolds and Jackman were spotted in their costumes and makeup doing a fight scene at the former chalk quarry, which is within the College Lake nature reserve. Other scenes have also been filmed on Holkham Beach in Norfolk, across London, as well as at Pinewood Studios, in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.
8. Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
One of the most remote destinations on this list, Blyde River Canyon is a large canyon in the Province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. It is reportedly one of the several filming locations for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two”, which is expected in May 2025. Tom Cruise was seen multiple times all over South Africa in the summer of 2023, with photos of him in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo being posted on social media.
According to South African news outlets, some of the action in the 8th instalment of the franchise will be set in Blyde River Canyon. This is a quite popular tourist destination for South Africans and foreigners alike, attracting thousands of people with its stunning natural beauty and unique sites such as the Bourke’s Luck Potholes or the cliffs known as God’s Window.
We could have chosen many other exciting places across South Africa for this position on the list such as the town of Hoedspruit and the surrounding area, the resort town of Port Edward, or Cape Town. The upcoming movie was also reportedly filmed on the Arctic islands off the coast of Norway. The shooting at the archipelago of Svalbard, which is halfway between Norway and the North Pole, was completed in the spring. Blyde River Canyon, however, is truly picturesque and almost out of this world, and unlike the Norwegian islands, it is green and warm due to its subtropical climate.
9. Wadi Rum, Jordan
Speaking of the second instalment of the sci-fi epic “Dune”, we must take a look at one of its major filming locations, the Wadi Rum area in Jordan, which “plays” the desert world of Arrakis, also known as Dune. Wadi Rum is a protected desert valley in the southeast of Jordan, around two hours from Petra and close to the border with Saudi Arabia. The landscape here is otherworldly – the valley is surrounded by huge red rock formations, and the rusty red sands evoke comparisons to Mars.
Indeed, the Wadi Rum, which is the tribal home of the Bedouins, was not used to recreate only the harsh conditions of Arrakis in “Dune”. The 1962 classic “Lawrence of Arabia” was shot there, while more recent productions that took advantage of the stunning Jordanian landscape were “The Martian”, “Star Wars: Rogue One” and “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker”, “Prometheus”, and “The Mummy”, among others.
Other filming locations for “Dune: Part Two”, whose premiere was delayed for 2024 due to the Hollywood strikes, were the deserts around Abu Dhabi, studios in Hungary, and the town of Altivole in Italy. The small Italian commune is located in the Province of Treviso and was used for filming the House Corrino home on the planet Kaitain. Caladan, the ancestral home of House Atreides, on the other hand, which was shown in the first movie, was filmed in Norway’s Stadlandet.
10. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Australia makes another appearance on the list of top 10 set-jetting destinations for 2024 but this time with the city of Gold Coast, Queensland. This is one of the major beach destinations in Australia and is famous for its surfing beaches, theme parks, and nightlife. Gold Coast is popular among tourists because of its warm, sunny weather (roughly 300 days of sunshine a year), paired with the lush greenery and the rainforests of the Hinterland.
Two of the Gold Coast beaches, Surfers Paradise Beach and the Glitter Strip, are among the filming locations for the upcoming film “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire”. The action movie, which is part of the MonsterVerse, is the 38th film of the Godzilla franchise and the 13th King Kong movie. It is expected to hit theatres in April of 2024.
So, Where Are You Heading To Next?
Set-jetting is not just about travelling to beautiful places; it is about experiencing the filming location of your favourite movie or TV series; about breathing the same air the cast and crew had breathed; it’s also about experiencing the local culture as they (hopefully) did. The list of travel destinations we compiled is in no way exhaustive; however, it aims at diversity, featuring places all over the world. Among the new and upcoming films with filming locations that were left out from the top 10 are “Captain America: Brave New World”, which was filmed in Washington, DC, and “Beetlejuice 2”, which is being shot in East Corinth, Vermont, USA. This is the filming location of the original 1988 film, so it is not particularly interesting for fans of the franchise or of Tim Burton’s work. We also did not include Lyme Regis in Dorset, for instance, which was one of the filming locations for “Wonka”. The town sits on the Jurassic Coast and is famous for its fossils but the location featured in the film is its harbour wall, which is not very exciting.
To compile the list of the top 10 set-jetting destinations for 2023, the team at BonusInsider checked the filming locations of some of the most anticipated movies and TV series of 2024. We also included titles released around the end of this year. Animated movies, however, were not considered, as well as films, whose filming locations and other production details have been kept secret. Those titles that were filmed solely or primarily in studios were not included, too.
We then picked those destinations that came up the most, ranking them by the number of films or TV productions they were featured in. In the case of London and Sydney, which have an even number of productions associated with them, we decided to rank Sydney higher simply because the UK’s capital was probably the most expected filming location for the two TV series shot there.