by Alanna Smith
Content Quality Editor
A long time ago, in a pirate ship far, far away...
Mateys, Star Wars Day is upon us, and we're here to say, "May the Fourth be with you!" Not all of us can jump aboard the Millennium Falcon and tour the galaxy on a whim, which is why we've put together a list of nine Star Wars "planets" you can explore without ever leaving Earth.
Lake Como, Italy
Star Wars location: Lake Retreat, Naboo
The picturesque Villa del Balbianello on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como gave an appropriately romantic and epic air to Anakin and Padme’s secret wedding at the end of Attack of the Clones.
While the building itself was digitally altered for the film, fans will recognize the arbored terrace where the doomed pair said their vows. Dedicated couples today can arrange for Star Wars-themed weddings at the villa—complete with stormtroopers.
Star Wars location: Rebel Base, Yavin IV
These famous Mayan pyramids played home to the hidden rebel base in two films, A New Hope and Rogue One. While you won't find any X-wings sitting around, exploring this vast collection of ruins is fascinating.
Sahara Desert, Tunisia
Star Wars location: Dune Sea, Tatooine
The vast dunes of the Tunisian Sahara gave life to Tatooine, the birthplace of Darth Vader. This desert planet has appeared in five of the nine Star Wars films to date. It's possible to find relics from the original film scattered around, from the fiberglass "bones" of a krayt dragon to abandoned vaporizers.
Or you could, you know, sleep in a hotel that used to be Luke Skywalker's home. No big deal.
Laamu Atoll, Maldives
Star Wars location: Imperial Citadel, Scarif
The Maldives provided a gorgeous backdrop to Rogue One’s heartbreaking climax. Filming took place within the Laamu Atoll, a chain of islands made up of 82 of the country's 1,200 islands.
The Maldives are famous for their luxury resorts and overwater bungalows, making it the perfect honeymoon or bucket list destination for Star Wars lovers. Here's hoping no shoretroopers crash your getaway.
Redwood National Park, California, USA
Star Wars location: Ewok Village, Endor
Even if you don’t know Star Wars, you probably know Ewoks: the cute little forest-dwelling, teddy bear-like creatures that help Princess Leia and Han Solo save the day in Return of the Jedi. Their cinematic home was filmed close to Redwood National Park in Del Norte County, California.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
Star Wars location: Jedi Temple, Ahch-To
You may remember this craggy isolated rock as the site of Luke Skywalker’s hermitage in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The home of the first Jedi temple in the films, this island off the coast of Ireland holds the ruins of a real-life ancient monastery.
Skellig Michael is a popular destination for bird watchers. In fact, the adorable porgs from the latest film had to be digitally added into the film to cover up the huge number of puffins on the island.
Star Wars location: Canto Bight, Cantonica
Dubrovnik made a cameo in the The Last Jedi. Its cobblestoned streets were decked out with futuristic doors and lights for exterior shots around the casino city of Canto Bight.
Dubrovnik's tourist scene has grown exponentially over the last few years, since it also doubles as King's Landing in HBO's Game of Thrones. We suggest visiting soon, while it still retains its hidden gem status.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Star Wars location: Salt Flat, Crait
One of the most striking locales in recent Star Wars history is the mineral planet of Crait. The flat white ground hides crimson soil that shoots into the air during the film’s climactic battle.
While the plumes of scarlet dirt were film fantasy, the shining endless landscape exists on this planet. Salar de Uyuni is a 4,000 square mile salt flat in Bolivia, and is possibly one of the most surreal places on Earth.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Star Wars location: ???
Very little is known about the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the residents of Fuerteventura certainly aren’t telling what they know. Filming took place on this Spanish island last year, and apparently many locals appeared as extras.
The island’s 640 square miles are almost entirely empty, with sand dunes and uninterrupted beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. The weird landscapes shaped by its volcanic nature lend themselves very well to creating an alien world.