Taking travel inspiration from stunning filming locations
Major TV Series - Part I
In between travelling I like to enjoy a TV series here and there. Recent Television series have featured locations that have now entered my list of places to visit. While watching a TV series you get a strong feel for the destinations in which they are set, as well as the characters that pull you in. There have been some pretty awesome series in recent years, and my personal favourites have inspired me to expand my bucket list of places to travel to.
Find out where some of the biggest TV shows right now are set and the best places to visit. You can go to some of the places featured in the most famous scenes and relive your favourite moments. Not all of these shows will be to your taste, but some of the destinations certainly will.
Game of Thrones
Croatia, Morocco, Iceland, Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones is probably the biggest TV show at the moment, it was the most pirated TV show of 2014 and there is already massive hype about the release of season 5. Game of Thrones is based around 7 very different Kingdoms, which means the landscapes and scenery is very varied and filming takes places in several countries. The real life destinations in the TV series have become popular places to visit for the show's hard core fans.
Although a lot of the filming takes place in a studio in Belfast, the cast also get to go to places such as Croatia, Morocco, Iceland and Northern Ireland to film some amazing scenes.
In series 1 a key destination was Gozo, Malta. Stunning scenes were filmed at the Azure Window, this limestone archway was used as the backdrop for the wedding of Khal Drogo and Daenerys. This breathtaking site received a Certificate of Excellence 2014 from TripAdvisor. It's definitely a site that I would love to see. I imagine myself staring down at the bright blue sea, watching the waves hit the rocks and admiring the natural beauty of this limestone arch. The arch formed millions of years ago when a limestone cave collapsed, it's now one of Gozo's biggest tourist attractions.
In season two filming moved to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Scenes filmed here really caught my attention because I have been to Croatia and can easily recognise the distinctive architecture. However, both times I went to nearer to Split (see my article here) and I have a burning desire to go to Dubrovnik. The King's Landings scenes filmed on the coast of Dubrovnik reminded me of how much I want to go to this charming city. The medieval walls of the city are perfect for the Game of Thrones backdrop. In the season two finale they filmed the House of The Undying scenes at the Minceta Tower, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This tower is a fort located in the North wall and it's the highest point in the Dubrovnik defence system.
I season three, Morocco made several appearances. Locations such as the red citadel of Ait-Ben-Haddou, the town of Essaouira (another World Heritage Site) and the Ounila River Valley just south of the Atlas Mountains were chosen as key locations and were used as the setting for the city of ‘Yunkai' in Game of Thrones.
Another location that was used to film the colder scenes in the TV series is Iceland. I have actually been to Iceland and seen how stunning this country really is. I sat in a hot tub and watched the Northern Lights, saw the geysers, walked under several waterfalls and set foot on an ice cap. However, I want to go back again to visit some of the key filming locations that were used for Westeros including the Lake Myvatin region and the Hverfjall volcano.
Miami, Florida, USA
Of all the TV shows around Dexter has to be my favourite. I am a big fan of this show and when it ended I was devastated. It's about the life of a Miami Metro blood spatter analyst who has a double life as a serial killer, targeting only people guilty of terrible crimes. Despite the dark nature of the programme, it's set in bright, sunny Miami. Even though Dexter himself says in series one "Miami is a great place for me, great place for me to hone my craft -- viva Miami", most of the programme was actually filmed in LA.
America is a destination I haven't been able to experience yet. I went to Orlando as kid but am yet to experience the American dream.
After watching Dexter I have added Miami and Los Angeles (LA) to my list of travel destinations. One of the few scenes that were actually filmed in Miami were the ones at Dexter's apartment in Miami beach, Florida. Producers then made an exact replica of this apartment inside their studio in Hollywood. I have to admit I do occasionally enjoy a few days sunbathing, and there are plenty of gorgeous beaches in Miami. Miami beach for example has been rated as one of the ten best beaches in the world, so it's easy to see why Dexter enjoyed relaxing there.
Some of the food they feature in the TV series also looks very appealing. There's Angel's restaurant and the fresh market food shown in the first episode. The food in Miami is meant to be fantastic, the eclectic locals create food with Cuban and Argentine influences. There are also plenty of food festivals including South Beach Wine and Food Festival which takes place at the end of February.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
How could I write an article about TV programmes without mentioning Breaking Bad? For the last two years it's been all everyone's talking about. Walter White, a man who is diagnosed with cancer and decides to take life into his own hands and start an interesting new career, in making drugs.
I finally succumbed to the hype and got through the first two series. I am not sure yet whether I will continue watching. However, I did manage to get a good idea of the location in which it is set, Albuquerque, New Mexico. This fascinating location became integral to the appeal and character of the show. Heisenberg's hometown is an ideal place to stop over for a few days whilst on a road trip through New Mexico. It's the state's largest city and has shops, bars, restaurants, museums and hiking trails to explore.
Experience the mix of native American and Spanish cultures on the cobbled streets of the old town, where the original city was founded in 1706. I would like to taste the distinctive hispanic flavours at one of the traditional local restaurants, their dishes are said to be very spicy!
You will find Walt and Skyler's house at this address, 3828 Piermont Dr NE Albuquerque, NM 87111. The set locations are mainly based around two key areas in Albuquerque, Northeast Heights and Downtown. Head to Twisters, a restaurant used to film Los Pollos Hermanos scenes where they serve traditional Mexican fast food such as burgers and burritos.
They filmed at a cafe called Java Joe's at 906 Park Ave for the scenes at Tuco's headquarters. Hard core fans of the show can even go on special Breaking Bad tours where you get taken to key locations from the show.
That's it for part one. Look out for part II where I will focus on a few more TV programmes that are set in places worth visiting such as True Detective, Fargo, House of Cards and Mad Men.