According to film-travel blogger and photographer Andrea David, she initially started her filmtourismus blog because she thought it would be fun to try to align an image with its real background, blending fantasy and reality. She never dreamed she’d garner over 100,000 readers and five times as many Instagram followers.
David said her inspiration for the blog started with a trip to Scotland where she accidentally stumbled upon some famous film locations, and it’s just continued to grow from there.
Meet Andrea David
Hamburg native Andrea David has always had a love of traveling, film, and television, as well as photography, and she found a way to combine her passions through her blog.
David worked in a travel agency in her earlier life, and she studied tourism in school which sparked her interest. David’s thesis for her degree was reportedly about the influence of films on where we choose to travel, so she’s well-versed on the subject. She’s been traveling around the world visiting famous filming locations for over 14 years but it wasn’t until recently that her online presence took off…
Starting Her Travel Blogging Empire
A few years ago David started her blog filmtourismus.de, which initially was just a “database of photos” but grew into the travel film blog that it is today. She’s traveled all over the world visiting famous filming locations on nearly every continent, all of which are recorded on her blog.
Her blog is divided into “Movie and TV Shows” locations as well as “Filming Locations” so it’s easy to look up where your favorite movies were shot, or what TV shows were shot in the country you’re planning to visit.
Where She’s Been And Where She’s Going
From all of the Lord of the Rings franchise locations in New Zealand to the original 1954 Godzilla film stops in Tokyo to the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider tombs of Cambodia, David has visited just about every famous filming location you could think of, and more.
According to her website, she’s visited the locations of nearly 500 films and TV shows, which seems like a lot, but Andrea doesn’t seem to plan on stopping her travels anytime soon.
Online Film Tourism Community
In addition to her website, David also has an active following of over 500K on her Instagram page where she frequently shares images of her merging famous film scenes into the real-life scenery. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook if you want to join her film tourism community.
David said in an interview that a lot of detective work goes into pinpointing the exact location that you’d see on a TV show or in a film. Sometimes she uses local travel agencies to help her out, but she also relies heavily on Google Streetview.
Too Little Too Late
David also occasionally runs into the issue of going to visit a location and finding it no longer exists or it’s private property.
She said in an interview, “in LA, I wanted to visit the home of the Tanner family as seen in ALF but then I found out that the property had been demolished and a totally different dwelling had been built in its place.” Luckily, there are plenty of other filming locations in LA that David visited instead!
She Does It All For The Fans
Andrea has talked about the overwhelmingly positive response she’s received to her blog and social media, saying that “a lot of people wrote that they are grateful because they finally know if and where they can find their places of longing or just receive great new travel ideas.”
David lets her followers relive scenes from their favorite Hollywood productions and gives them the opportunity to plan their own trips to locations they wouldn’t have necessarily known about.
Game Of Thrones Ultimate Fan
After visiting famous locations on every continent, it’s hard for David to pick a favorite spot that she’s visited, but she has said that the Game of Thrones locations was definitely a highlight.
The travel blogger is a big fan of GoT and she has visited the filming locations for the show in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Malta, Morocco, and Iceland. Both her Instagram and blog are filled with insight and pictures of the locations for fellow superfans (or just regular fans) to indulge in.
Insight Into Tollymore Forest
When posting pictures to her Instagram, David also likes to share blurbs about the scene that’s featured or fun facts about the location/film itself.
To celebrate the series finale of Game of Thrones, Andrea shared this photo taken in Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland. In this post, she shared the fact that the final scene of the show was filmed in Tollymore, which is also the location for the opening scene of the first episode of the series.
An Unreal Trip Through Jordan
David said in an interview that another one of her favorite trips thus far was her trip to multiple locations in Jordan, which she described as “one of the most exciting places I visited.”
While in Jordan, Andrea visited Petra, which was used as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as well as the Wadi Rum desert which was used as the surface of Mars in The Martian. David said visiting those locations was “an overwhelming and almost unreal experience [she] will never forget.”
Narrow It Down To A Top 10, Maybe?
In another interview, David said some of the best locations she’s visited come from slightly older movies.
“Among my favorites ranks the real Kellerman’s Resort of Dirty Dancing in Virginia, the town in British Columbia where they filmed Rambo: First Blood and the village near Atlanta in Fried Green Tomatoes.” Think of how hard it is for you to pick a favorite movie on any given night, then imagine being Andrea. You can’t blame her for not being able to boil it down to just one favorite film.
The Infamous Fairmont Copley Plaza
During a trip to America’s eastern states, David couldn’t resist stopping in at Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, which has been featured in a number of blockbuster films including the 10-time Academy Award-nominated film American Hustle.
The Fairmont chain of hotels has had a number of breaks on the big screen, with the Fairmont Copley Plaza being featured in films such as Bride Wars, The Firm, and My Best Friend’s Girl.
The Grandeur Of Grand Teton National Park
Any movie fanatic traveling through the Rocky Mountains has to make a stop in Grand Teton National Park, located in Northwest Wyoming, just south of Yellowstone National Park, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Grand Teton’s most significant movie moment would be its feature in the Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained, which is the moment David chose to document. The national park was also featured in Dances with Wolves, and was used to film many of the outdoor sequences in the Soviet Union in Rocky IV.
The Real Privet Drive
A visit to London for any movie buff, especially one like Andrea, couldn’t have been complete without visiting the Warner Bros Studio to see the Harry Potter franchise filming locations.
One of the facts David shared with this picture was that the Dursley’s house at 4 Privet Drive used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was someone’s actual house in Picket Post Close, Bracknell. The rest of the movies that featured scenes on Privet Drive were filmed at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden though.
Magical World Of Warner Bros Studios, London
One advantage to David’s online fame is that she sometimes gets early access to studio exhibits, which is exactly what happened when she visited Warner Bros Studios in London.
David shared this photo of Hermione in Gringotts Bank pretending to be Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Gringotts was a part of the Warner Bros Studios that was yet to be opened to the public, but David was invited ahead of time for a sneak peek.
Feeling A Little Lost In Hawaii
Andrea received a lot of requests to visit locations from the popular show Lost – everyone’s favorite show to be confused by – so she planned a trip to Hawaii! What a life to live.
Despite if you believe the theory of “they were dead all along” or you drew a different conclusion from the series finale, one thing David can confirm is that Dharmaville was very much real. The show used YMCA Camp Erdman on the island of Oahu as the setting for the settlement, and the YMCA location is fully functional still.
A Rocky Trip To Philly
In July 2019, Andrea made a trip to a city that every movie buff should go to: Philadelphia! Do you know how many Sylvester Stallone films have been shot in Philly? A lot. There’s Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky V, Rocky Balboa… are you sensing the pattern?
In her posts about her trip to Philly, David used the opportunity to praise the tours she participated in, which is something she frequently does. David has said she often works with local companies when planning her trips and aims to bring attention to smaller businesses or travel companies when she can.
Can’t Resist The Abbey Road Crossing
On top of film and TV locations, Andrea will always take the opportunity to photograph a famous pop culture location when given the chance, like when she was in London and couldn’t resist snapping a pic at Abbey Road.
The Fab Four’s infamous picture was taken over 50 years ago at the Abbey Road crossing, which is what inspired David to make a pit stop there while in London. She said she also visited locations in Liverpool and Hamburg to celebrate.
Empire State Of Mind
How can we forget the Big Apple? According to David’s website, Andrea has visited over 50 filming locations in New York, which is one of the most filmed at locations, alongside London and Los Angeles.
The Avengers, Friends, Brooklyn, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, You’ve Got Mail, countless films and TV shows (seriously, it’s like every film has a scene in New York) have been filmed in NYC. Simply walking down a random street would probably hit you with a sense of deja vu from that film you watched that one time.
City Of Angels
Speaking of Los Angeles, Andrea has, of course, visited many locations in what is considered to be North America’s central film and television filming city. Could anyone actually name everything that’s been filmed in Hollywood? Impossible. Seriously, a large part of Mission: Impossible 3 was filmed in LA.
With numerous film and television studios like Universal Studios Hollywood, Paramount Pictures Studios and Warner Bros. Studio Burbank, you’re sure to be able to find at least one location from your favorite movies or TV shows.
The Golden State Film Locations
Outside of LA, the state of California, in general, has been host to a number of famous films and television shows.
How can we forget the San Francisco-filmed Full House and Fuller House? What about the scene with Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in the San Francisco City Hall from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark? There’s also the original Baywatch which was partially filmed in Venice Beach. The list just keeps on going.