When I visited Iceland in July, the first thought I had was “I’m on a different planet.” Apparently many people have shared this exact thought – filmmakers in particular. Instead of creating fake sets where their characters are supposed to be on a foreign planet, they just head to Iceland.
Iceland is so unique in that it has almost every landscape you can think of – shoreline shots for water scenes and bright green grass for when characters are back on earth. When they need to film foreign lands, they head to one of the many glaciers or barren, volcanic land. While there’s way more than 10 movies and shows that have been filmed in Iceland, here’s 10 that you’ll most likely recognize.
1) Game of Thrones
If you’ve ever watched the HBO show and seen pictures of Iceland, it probably doesn’t surprise you that this is filmed all over the country. From wild animals roaming through acres and acres of fields to isolated mountain ranges, it’s the perfect location for filming this show.
2) Batman Begins
When Batman is supposed to be in Tibet, he’s actually in Iceland. Filmed at Vatnajökull, this is the largest glacier in the country and one of the biggest in Europe. It’s located on the southeast corner of the island.
3) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
In the movie, she heads to an ice lake that’s actually Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake in the southeast part of the country. If you do the Ring Road drive, you can see this in Vatnajökull National Park.
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This movie was filmed all over Europe, but visited several glaciers in Iceland to do some of the filming. They also filmed at Krafla, a caldera (a collapsed empty magma chamber) in northeast Iceland in the Mývatn region.
5) James Bond – Die Another Day
If you need to do a boat chase in a lake while avoiding icebergs, there’s no better place than Iceland. They filmed this in Jökulsárlón, the same glacial lake used in Lara Croft.
Ironically enough, I watched this movie on my way home from Iceland and had no idea they filmed it where I had just been. Svínafellsjökull is a place that’s very barren and devoid of life – ideal for the scenes in the movie where they get off the ship.
7) Journey to the Center of the Earth
It’s rumored that the volcano Svínafellsjökull leads to the center of the earth, so why wouldn’t they film the movie here? It’s located in the northwestern part of the country.
8) Hostel: Part II
I’ll be honest – I haven’t seen this movie because in my older years I’m now terrified of horror movies (technically anything can come true, right?). I saw the scene from this that takes place in the famous Blue Lagoon though. I have to say, it’s very unrealistic. When is the Blue Lagoon ever completely empty?
9) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This is one of my favorite Ben Stiller movies ever. He spends a large portion of the movie hanging out in Iceland, visiting fishing villages and riding his bike down roads just like this.
10) Thor: The Dark World
A very popular tourist spot, the waterfall Skógafoss was used in the movie. Other spots in Iceland were also used for their dark, volcanic landscape.
Have you seen any of these movies?
*Images via Unsplash