Exploring Fictional Worlds: 7 Best Fictional Towns You Can Visit in Real Life
Updated On: November 10, 2023
For those who are passionate about literature and cinema, there’s an undeniable allure in the enchanting realms of fictional towns. Whether it’s the mesmerising landscapes of Middle-earth or the charming, idyllic streets of Stars Hollow, these fictional locales possess an innate ability to captivate our imaginations.
They become more than just settings; they evolve into places we yearn to visit, even if we know they exist solely within the pages of books or the frames of our favourite films and TV shows. While the prospect of physically entering these fictional towns might remain elusive, there is a delightful way to experience a semblance of their magic.
Some fortunate travellers have the opportunity to explore real-life places that serve as the inspirational backdrop for these beloved fictional settings. In this article, we embark on a captivating journey that will transport you to some of the most enchanting and evocative locations on our planet, which bear a striking resemblance to the charming fictional towns we hold dear in our hearts.
Whether you’re a devoted fan of fantasy novels, a cinephile with a penchant for picturesque film locations, or simply a traveller in search of unique destinations, prepare to be enchanted as we guide you through a selection of the best real-life destinations that mirror the allure of these fictional towns.
1. Hobbiton, New Zealand – The Fictional Town of The Lord of the Rings
Transport yourself into the enchanting world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth by paying a visit to Hobbiton, a real-life embodiment of one of the most beloved fictional towns located in Matamata, New Zealand. This captivating destination, nestled amid the verdant, undulating hills and adorned with delightful hobbit holes, stands as a living tribute to the cinematic magic conjured by Peter Jackson in his adaptations of Tolkien’s timeless classics, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Hobbiton offers visitors a unique opportunity to step into the heart of a fictional town made tangible. Guided tours allow you to traverse the meticulously recreated movie set, providing an authentic and immersive experience. Meander through the charming village, marvel at the quaint architecture and don’t forget to savour a refreshing beverage at the Green Dragon Inn, just as the beloved hobbits did in the films.
For any ardent Tolkien fan, Hobbiton is an essential pilgrimage, a place where reality and the enchanting charm of the Shire harmoniously merge, creating a genuine connection to the magic of fictional towns.
2. Mystic Falls, Georgia – The Vampire Diaries
One such charming locale is Mystic Falls, Georgia, a pivotal backdrop in the TV series The Vampire Diaries. Nestled in the realm of fiction, Mystic Falls draws its creative inspiration from the real-life gem that is Covington, Georgia, where many of the show’s most iconic and spine-tingling scenes were masterfully brought to life.
Mystic Falls, though existing solely in the realm of imagination, has managed to carve its indelible niche in the hearts of fans. The intricately designed streets and landscapes of this fictional town, influenced by the charming aesthetics of Covington, have become an integral part of the series’ appeal.
Devotees of The Vampire Diaries have the opportunity to step beyond the screen and embark on a thrilling adventure of their own by visiting the real-life counterpart of Mystic Falls – Covington, Georgia. Here, they can traverse the very streets where their beloved characters roamed, explore the recognizable locations that played host to pivotal moments, and bask in the enchanting aura that has left an indelible mark on the souls of fans.
3. Forks, Washington – Twilight
In the realm of captivating fictional towns, Forks, Washington, holds an exceptional and cherished position in the hearts of those who have succumbed to the mesmerising allure of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. This charming, albeit perpetually rainy, town nestled on the Olympic Peninsula transforms into a place of supernatural wonder as it faithfully serves as the atmospheric backdrop for Bella Swan’s enthralling adventures in the vampire and werewolf-infested world of Twilight.
Forks, with its lush forests and perpetually misty ambience, seamlessly merges reality with the mystical allure of fiction. It’s a destination that beckons fans to step beyond the confines of everyday life and immerse themselves in the enchanting aura of a world where vampires and werewolves exist alongside mortals.
As visitors to Forks embark on their own odyssey through the town’s winding streets and breathtaking landscapes, they have the unique opportunity to explore landmarks that have transcended the pages of books and the frames of the silver screen. These real-world sites have become tangible touchstones for fans, allowing them to walk in the footsteps of their favourite characters and relive the magic of Twilight.
4. Stars Hollow, Connecticut – Gilmore Girls
Among the fictional towns is the whimsical allure of Stars Hollow, which beckons fans of the beloved TV series Gilmore Girls. This enchanting town, although not the actual filming location, has left an indelible mark on the hearts of viewers and stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling. Washington Depot, Connecticut, served as the wellspring of inspiration for the quaint and idyllic world of Stars Hollow, charming its way into the collective affection of fans across the globe.
Visitors to Washington Depot are greeted with a delightful opportunity to step into the pages of the series and experience firsthand the small-town charm that made Stars Hollow an iconic destination. The town’s picturesque streets, lined with charming storefronts and cosy houses, evoke a sense of nostalgia and warmth.
It’s a chance to indulge in a cup of coffee at Luke’s Diner or enjoy a pastry at Weston’s Bakery, creating an authentic connection to the fictional world that fans hold so dear. Yet, the appeal of Washington Depot extends beyond its physical resemblance to Stars Hollow. It’s an opportunity to experience the genuine hospitality of the town’s residents and to appreciate the enduring values of friendship and family that Gilmore Girls so beautifully portrayed.
5. Sleepy Hollow, New York – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Washington Irving’s legendary tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman casts its eerie spell upon the fictional town of Sleepy Hollow. However, the actual village of Sleepy Hollow in New York possesses a charm all its own, particularly during the enchanting and spine-tingling Halloween season.
This picturesque village, nestled along the Hudson River, offers visitors a captivating opportunity to step into the very world that inspired Irving’s world-famous ghost story. The real town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, is a testament to the enduring fascination with fictional towns brought to life. It’s a place where the worlds of fact and fiction converge, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the magic of Washington Irving’s imagination tangibly and unforgettably.
Whether exploring the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, embracing the Halloween spirit, or delving into the town’s rich history, visitors to Sleepy Hollow find themselves immersed in the captivating and spine-tingling atmosphere that has made this village a beloved destination among fans of Irving’s world-famous ghost story and the enchanting allure of fictional towns.
6. Westeros – Game of Thrones
Westeros, the fictional town that serves as the backdrop for the epic tale of Game of Thrones, has, in itself, become a character in the story. This sprawling and complex realm is brought vividly to life through a carefully curated selection of filming locations scattered across the picturesque landscapes of Europe.
One of the most iconic destinations for fans is Dubrovnik, Croatia, which stands as the real-life representation of King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. The rugged beauty of Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, is another filming location that transports visitors to the Iron Islands, home to the Ironborn and a hub of seafaring culture in the series.
Gaztelugatxe, Spain, offers a glimpse into the awe-inspiring realm of Dragonstone. Perched on a craggy island off the coast, the location evokes the grandeur and mystique of Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestral seat. These are just a few of the many places across Europe that have contributed to the rich tapestry of Westeros and Essos. Each is carefully chosen for its unique beauty and atmosphere.
7. Salem’s Lot, Maine – From Stephen King’s Novels
Several of Stephen King’s spine-tingling novels have found their chilling home within the eerie confines of the fictional town of Salem’s Lot, nestled in the heart of Maine. While Salem’s Lot itself remains a creation of King’s vivid and macabre imagination, fans of his work have a unique opportunity to embark on a journey to the authentic towns in Maine that served as the haunting and unsettling inspiration for his terrifying settings.
Derry, another real town in Maine, holds a particularly eerie charm for fans of Stephen King. It is the inspiration behind one of his most iconic and menacing fictional towns, also named Derry. In this real-world locale, visitors can discover the unsettling sense of foreboding that permeates King’s tales as they explore the streets, bridges, and landmarks that bear the eerie essence of his stories.
Beyond the thrill of walking in the footsteps of King’s characters, these towns offer a glimpse into the author’s creative process. Fans can gain a deeper understanding of how the real settings and their unique atmospheres inspired the vivid and terrifying worlds he crafted on the page. The fictional town of Salem’s Lot, Maine, serves as a haunting gateway to Stephen King’s nightmarish imagination.
Although the prospect of stepping into the enchanting embrace of these fictional towns remains beyond our reach, the next best thing is within our grasp. So, pack your bags and get ready for a journey of exploration – who knows, you might just stumble upon a touch of magic along the way, woven into the very fabric of these enchanting real-world locations.