Hollywood has long been renowned for its ability to captivate audiences with jaw-dropping film locations. In fact, some people are such big fans of their favourite films that they’re willing to travel halfway across the world to visit these famous backdrops.
But what exactly are the most iconic filming locations across the globe, and where are they located? At Spin Genie, when we aren’t being online slots maestros, we’re answering crucial questions like these for all the film buffs out there.
By diving into both search and social media data and comparing accommodation prices, we’ve determined the most popular and cost-effective film locations you can visit worldwide.
Petra named the most iconic film location across the globe
1. Petra - 9.17 overall score
- Number of Instagram posts - 1,720,357
- Number of TikTok views - 1,100,000,000
- Number of Google searches - 10,407,000
- Average cost of hotel per night - CAN$105 /US$72 /£62
It has been confirmed that the most iconic film location across the globe is Petra, which can be found in Jordan’s Southwestern desert. The famous archaeological site is most well-known for appearing in the third Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Petra is featured in over 1.7 million Instagram posts and has been viewed on TikTok over 1.1 billion times, as well as receiving over 10.4 million searches on Google between August 2022 and July 2023. For those wanting to visit the site, it will cost you around $72 (£62) on average for a hotel nearby.
2. Notting Hill - 8.71 overall score
- Number of Instagram posts - 1,690,606
- Number of TikTok views - 400,500,000
- Number of Google searches - 7,865,000
- Average cost of hotel per night - CAN$159 /US$110 /£94
The second most iconic film location is Notting Hill, which can be found in West London. The vibrant and trendy area is most well known for appearing in films such as Love Actually, and, of course, the self-titled Notting Hill.
Notting Hill is featured in almost 1.7 million Instagram posts and has been viewed on TikTok over 400.5 million times, as well as garnering over 7.8 million Google searches between August 2022 and July 2023. A hotel in the area will set you back around $110 (£94) per night.
2. Salzburg - 8.71 overall score
- Number of Instagram posts - 3,663,924
- Number of TikTok views - 1,600,000,000
- Number of Google searches - 9,180,000
- Average cost of hotel per night - CAN$266 /US$183 /£157
Also in second place is Salzburg, which is one of Austria’s most famous cities. The baroque city is most well-known for being the filming location of the classic musical The Sound of Music.
Salzburg is featured in over 3.6 million Instagram posts and has been viewed on TikTok over 1.6 billion times, as well as accumulating almost 9.2 million Google searches between August 2022 and July 2023. Anyone wishing to visit the city should expect to pay around $183 (£157) per night for a hotel room.
Cleveland is the most popular film location on social media
1. Cleveland - 10 social media score
- Number of Instagram posts - 8,133,679
- Number of TikTok views - 3,000,000,000
The most popular film location on social media is Cleveland, Ohio. The US city is featured in over 8.1 million Instagram posts and has been viewed on TikTok over 3 billion times.
Cleveland is most well-known for appearing in superhero movies such as Avengers Assemble and Spider-Man 3. Downtown Cleveland is featured regularly throughout Avengers Assemble, including locations such as East 9th Street, the Cleveland Trust Building and the Cleveland Trust Tower.
2. Beverly Hills - 9.85 social media score
- Number of Instagram posts - 6,768,763
- Number of TikTok views - 2,800,000,000
The second most popular film backdrop on social media is Beverly Hills, which is a city in the county of Los Angeles in the United States. The area is featured in over 6.7 million Instagram posts and has been viewed on TikTok over 2.8 billion times.
Beverly Hills is most well-known for appearing in the rom-com classic Pretty Woman and the coming-of-age teen favourite Clueless. Both female leads in the films (Vivian, Pretty Woman and Cher, Clueless) can be seen wandering down the iconic Rodeo Drive shopping street.
3. Busan - 9.63 social media score
- Number of Instagram posts - 4,564,704
- Number of TikTok views - 1,800,000,000
In third place is the city of Busan, which is located in South Korea. The location is very popular on social media, featuring in over 4.5 million Instagram posts and having been viewed on TikTok over 1.8 billion times.
Busan is most well-known for appearing in the Marvel film, Black Panther. The iconic car chase scene is filmed within the city, with appearances also being made at Gwangalli Bridge and the adjoining Gwangalli Beach.
Petra is the most searched film location on Google
1. Petra - 10,407,000 Google searches
The film location that people are searching for the most on Google is Petra, with over 10.4 million searches being made between August 2022 and July 2023. Access to Petra is gained via the narrow Al Siq canyon, and the site contains many tombs and temples that are carved into pink sandstone cliffs.
As mentioned previously, some scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed within the Petra site. In the film, Petra’s Treasury, ‘Al-Khazneh’, is used as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, which houses The Holy Grail. Before the film was released in 1989, only a few thousand people visited the site each year. This figure has now risen to over 1 million people.
2. Salzburg - 9,180,000 Google searches
In second place is the city of Salzburg, with over 9.18 million people searching for the iconic film location on Google between August 2022 and July 2023. Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria and is known for its historic center, rich musical history and scenic Alpine surroundings.
As mentioned previously, the 1965 hit musical The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg. There are many famous sites from the film that you can visit in real life, including Nonnberg Abbey, St. Peter’s Cemetry, Mirabell Palace and Mount Untersberg. Fans of the film who are visiting the city can even take part in a guided The Sound of Music tour.
3. Oxford University - 7,980,000 Google searches
The third most searched film location on Google is Oxford University, with almost 8 million searches being made between August 2022 and July 2023. The collegiate research university was founded over 900 years ago in 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Many scenes in the Harry Potter franchise were shot at various Oxford University locations. For example, Professor McGonagall first meets Harry, Ron and Hermione on the Bodley staircase in Christ Church College. The college’s dining hall was also the inspiration for the famous Hogwarts dining hall, despite not actually being filmed there.
The Tabernas Desert is the most affordable film location for visitors
1. Tabernas Desert - CAN$71 /US$49 /£42 average price per night
The most affordable film location for visitors is the Tabernas Desert, which is a semi-arid desert located within the Southeastern province of Almería in Spain. Various Spaghetti Western films have been shot at this location, with the most famous being the Clint Eastwood classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Any fans of Spaghetti Western movies that want to visit the Tabernas Desert can expect to pay a current average of CAN$71 (US$49 or £42) per night for a hotel, from Friday to Saturday. The cheapest month to visit is March, with a 25% drop in price, and the most expensive month is August, with a 69% rise in price.
2. Ko Phi Phi Leh - CAN$73 /US$50 /£43 average price per night
In second place is Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is an island in the Krabi province of Thailand. The 2000 adventure drama film The Beach was filmed in the area, with the backdrop remaining virtually the same, with the exception of some additional mountains being added post-production.
Any fans of The Beach wanting to visit Ko Phi Phi Leh can expect to pay a current average of CAN$73 (US$50 or £43) per night for a hotel from Friday to Saturday. The cheapest month to visit is May, with an 80% drop in price, and the most expensive month is February, with a 110% rise in price.
3. Varda Viaduct - CAN$75 /US$51 /£44 average price per night
The third most affordable film location for visitors is the Varda Viaduct, which is located in the village of Hacikiri in southern Turkey. The viaduct is featured in the opening chase scene of Skyfall, which was released in 2012. You can visit the location by either riding a train across or parking in an overlook nearby.
Any James Bond fans wanting to visit Varda Viaduct can expect to pay a current average of CAN$75 (US$51 or £44) per night for a hotel from Friday to Saturday. The cheapest month to visit is November, with a 71% drop in price, and the most expensive month is April, with a 33% rise in price.
Iconic film locations in Canada
Those of you living in Canada, and those who are planning to visit, might be wondering whether there are any iconic film locations here. Well, we’re here to tell you that there are!
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
Any Twilight fans will be pleased to know that Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, which is located in Squamish in British Columbia, is featured in both parts of Breaking Dawn. The wedding ceremony and reception of Edward and Bella take place in the park in Breaking Dawn - Part 1, and the cliffs are showcased again in Breaking Dawn - Part 2. Anyone wanting to visit the park can stay in a hotel in Squamish for a current average of $247 (£211) per night from Friday to Saturday.
The Canadian Rockies
The famous Canadian Rockies mountain range was used as a stand-in for Wyoming whilst filming the campsite scenes in the neo-Western classic Brokeback Mountain. Fans of the film can even search for the exact locations where Ennis and Jack walked in their beloved cowboy boots. Anyone wanting to visit the mountain range can stay in a hotel nearby in the town of Banff, with a current average price of $415 (£355) per night, from Friday to Saturday.
University of Toronto
One famous location in Canada that can fulfil the joys of many film buffs is the University of Toronto. The university has been featured in many films, including Good Will Hunting, where the campus was used as a stand-in for MIT and Harvard; The Incredible Hulk, where he is seen smashing his way around the Knox College portion of the campus; and Mean Girls, which showcased the campus’ Convocation Hall. Anyone wanting to visit the university can stay in Toronto for a current average price of $263 (£225) per night from Friday to Saturday.
We then used Instagram to search for each location’s hashtag before noting down how many posts the hashtag had been used in. All data was collected on 31 August 2023 and may now differ.
Next, we used TikTok to search for each location’s hashtag, but this time noting down how many views the hashtag had received. All data was collected on 31 August 2023 and may now differ.
We then used Google Keyword Planner to discover how many times each location had been searched for worldwide between August 2022 and July 2023. The number of searches for “Christ Church College” was sourced from Ahrefs instead due to the phrase being blocked by Google Keyword Planner.
Next, we used Kayak to discover the average price of a hotel either near or in each location per night. Data was collected on 1 September 2023 and is based on the average Friday to Saturday price over the last two weeks. All prices are rounded to the nearest Canadian dollar or pound sterling.
Finally, we ranked all four factors, giving each a normalized score out of 10, before taking our final overall score as an average across all four factors and ranking each location accordingly.
Discover Spin Genie