When in need of wide open deserts, astounding architectural landscapes and luxurious settings, more and more filmmakers are choosing to shoot in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. So pop some popcorn and get comfy, as here are the top blockbusters filmed in the UAE.
Syrianna weaves together several stories set in the world of petroleum politics. A veteran CIA agent, Bob Barnes (George Clooney), discovers a twisted assassination plot, while Bennett Holiday (Jeffrey Wright), an American lawyer is setting up suspicious mergers. Meanwhile, Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon), a Switzerland-based energy analyst, visits Arabian royalty and finds opportunity as well as tragedy in his wake. This major blockbuster film was shot in 15 different locations, including the USA, Morocco, Egypt, Switzerland and Dubai. The desert scenes are based in Iran but many of them were actually shot in the Dubai desert. Watch the trailer below.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko in the Wall Street sequel. Gordon Gekko mentors his son-in-law Jake (Shia LaBeouf), while trying to gain back his fiscal empire. Backstabbing for monetary gain is the name of the game, and the game is just as fun of to watch as the prequel. Fun fact: Shia LaBeouf was so enthralled by the world of investing that he earned his broker’s license after this film. Most of the movie was shot in New York, but some of the more luxurious scenes were filmed in Dubai.
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
The infamous Mission Impossible franchise returned with front man, Tom Cruise, as the unstoppable agent Ethan Hunt. The IMF agency are disavowed by the U.S. government and the ‘Ghost Protocol’ is launched. On the run, Ethan Hunt and a band of IMF fugitives must clear the agency’s name while completing an impossible mission that takes them around the globe. Shooting locations included the USA, Mumbai, Prague, Moscow, Vancouver, Bangalore and Dubai. Tom Cruise is known for doing his own stunts, and Ghost Protocol is no different. During filming, Tom Cruise climbed to the top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. Check out the video below to see how this stunt was made possible. Other locations in Dubai include, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai International Financial Centre, and Satwa.
Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
The much anticipated Star Wars Episode 7 saw new characters and some old favourites battle the dark side once again. Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are joined by a mysterious new Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a runaway stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) on a mission to defeat The First Order. We are introduced to Rey on the planet of Jakku, a wasteland that was filmed in the Abu Dhabi Rub’ al Khali desert. During the film Rey mentions the Liwa outpost – a nod to the Liwa desert in the UAE. Check out the video below to catch a glimpse of behind-the-scenes action in Abu Dhabi.
Fast & Furious 7 (2015)
Tragically Fast & Furious 7 halted filming after Paul Walker passed away. In an effort to complete the film, CGI was used in conjunction with Walker’s brothers, Cody and Caleb, to bring the face we all knew and loved back to the silver screen. The Furious 7 all-star cast included Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, and Djimon Hounsou. International terrorists are hungry for revenge, and the crew come out of retirement when they strike a deal with a government agent to rescue a kidnapping victim, in exchange for help in taking care of the terrorists. Fast & Furious 7 was partially shot in Abu Dhabi, and includes the infamous stunt portraying a jump between the Etihad Towers (watch it in the video below). Other shooting areas included Yas Island, the Liwa Desert and the Emirates Palace hotel.
Star Trek – Beyond (2016)
Based on the television series by Gene Roddenberry that first aired in 1966, the franchise reboot has proven to be a sensation amongst fans. In Star Trek Beyond, The Enterprise ship and its team, including Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana)and Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban) are left stranded after a rescue mission goes awry. Dubai became the backdrop for the futuristic starbase Yorktown – shown at the end of the movie (view the CGI landscape of Dubai below). According to Cinema Blend, the producer Jeffrey Chernov said they they were searching for the future and they found it in Dubai. Pine further commented that Dubai is a “futureland.” The script co-writer Pegg elaborated beyond the architectural wonders of Dubai by describing the city as “a gateway to new cultures”, a place that suited an imagined conflict-free world that they wanted Star Trek to portray. Shooting locations in Dubai included Meydan Racetrack, The Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Zayed Road, JLT and Downtown Dubai.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.