A lot of us have heard about the existence of Mission: Impossible series. Many people have seen at least one movie from the series, fewer people have seen all six movies and even less know that it is based on a television series of the same name that ran from 1966 to 1973. The main character of the movies is Ethan Hunt, who is played by Tom Cruise and is a secret agent of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). It is remarkable, that the series has received many accolades from the critics, grossed over $3.1 billion to date and is the 19th-highest-grossing film series of all time.
The sixth movie in the Mission: Impossible series came out in July 2018 and holds a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Being more than just an adrenaline-filled blockbuster, it is bound to inspire wanderlust. And it’s not accidental, because the meticulous selection of locations has been one of the series’ aces since its launch in 1996. Mission: Impossible team always had an experienced location manager, who took the photos of remarkable places and showed them to senior production team and to Tom Cruise, who, in addition to acting, took over the roles of the franchise’s ‘gatekeeper’ and co-producer.
“Mission: Impossible is about immersing an audience into these places, and celebrating the geography of the environments we’re in,” Tom Cruise comments.
While we can’t transform you into Ethan Hunt, we can certainly satisfy your wanderlust by looking at the spectacular locations used in the Mission: Impossible series.
20 Mission: Impossible (1996): Prague, Czech Republic
Prague and London are two main locations of the first Mission: Impossible movie. Actually the first movie wasn’t the only one from the series partly shot in Czech Republic. Many scenes from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), including some secret scenes, were also filmed in Czech Republic.
Of course Prague is an outstanding city by itself and you can spend at least a week there discovering it from different angles. However if you want to visit the places where Mission: Impossible was shot, then you should go to see the famous Charles Bridge, Art Nouveau restaurant on the Old Town Square, Europa Hotel, Liechtenstein Palace located on the bank of the River Vltava on Kampa Island and Natural History Museum, the main locations where scenes in Prague were shot. But make sure to see the movie first!
19 Mission: Impossible (1996): London, United Kingdom
While locations in Czech Republic were used only in 1996 and 2011 movies, United Kingdom’s locations were used a little more frequently, namely in 1996, 2015 and 2018 movies.
Nowadays you can’t surprise anyone with a fight scene on the top of the high-speed train, but back in 1996 it was a real thing, and that’s exactly what happened in a climax scene of the first movie. It was filmed in the United Kingdom along with many other scenes. Make sure to pay a visit to the Anchor Tavern, Southwark Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, Liverpool Street Underground and Station County Hall to follow Ethan Hunt’s adventures.
Both Prague and London are two huge tourist meccas, so it’s no wonder the Mission: Impossible crew chose them for the first movie of the franchise.
18 Mission: Impossible 2 (1999): Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah, USA
Now that’s a spectacular location! Although the second movie was almost entirely filmed in Sydney, Australia, I’ll start with this one because of its beauty. Before you start Googling it, I advise you to turn on the Metallica’s music video for “I Disappear”, which was shot in the same location. This track is one of the coolest songs from the movie’s soundtrack. The video features the band playing on the top of rock and ends with Tom Cruise finally reaching the top, as well (although not the same top where the band is playing).
Back to the film, the rock-climbing scene which was actually played by Tom Cruise is one of the most impressive scenes of the movie. It was filmed at Dead Horse Point State Park, not far away from the place where the final scene was shot.
17 Mission: Impossible 2 (1999): Seville, Spain
Seville is one of those cities that should be visited, whether you like Mission: Impossible or not. For the movie it’s a remarkable location not only because of its beauty, but mainly because the first real car crash of the franchise took place here. The crash happens in the cliffs near Seville and is arguably one of the best stunts in the series. As for the city, Seville took the first place on Lonely Planet's Best in Travel list in 2018 and I believe it says a lot about this beautiful doorway to the past with many examples of beautiful Moorish architecture. In addition to beauty you will get a lot of cheap wine and yummy food.
16 Mission: Impossible 2 (1999): Sydney, Australia
Sydney is the city where most of the movie scenes were filmed. Interesting places include Bare Island Fort, which can be visited by a guided tour. It is regarded as a ‘back door’ which was built to protect the city from a feared Russian invasion. Another interesting location featured in the movie is Boora Point, where the bike chase was filmed.
Sydney and Australia in general have a lot to offer to the tourists – beautiful beaches, reefs, good climate, aboriginal culture and picturesque nature which will make your trip unforgettable. Include Sydney in your list of must-visit cities, if you’re not afraid of all kinds of dangerous animals, insects and birds which dwell in Australia.
15 Mission: Impossible 3 (2003): Royal Palace, Caserta, Campania, Italy
Although according to the movie plot some events in Mission: Impossible 3 are happening in Vatican, only brief shots were taken at St Peter’s Square for the sake of location’s set up. The rest of the filming regarded as Vatican is actually The Royal Palace of Caserta not far away from Naples. One thing you should know about this palace is that it’s the largest one in the world. It’s also a cradle of neoclassical architecture and it’s quite easy to get lost in its grandeur magnificence and unbelievable size.
It has hosted royal families in the past and in 2003 it also hosted Tom Cruise and the whole Mission: Impossible crew. How cool is that?
14 Mission: Impossible 3 (2003): Shanghai, China
Streets of Shanghai are where the final scenes of series’ third installment take place. It’s where Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt makes an unbelievable leap from Jinmao Tower. Final 20 minutes of the movie are very tight and they take you through the waterfront side of the city illuminated at night with thousands of lights. The same part of the city was shown in Empire Of The Sun shot by Steven Spielberg.
Shanghai unites both past and future, because it’s where capitalism and communism meet. However, your trip to Shanghai may be spoiled if the smog is high. On the other hand, if the smog is low it’s one of the most interesting cities to visit. Especially if you’re into Asian food.
13 Mission: Impossible 3 (2003): Los Angeles, California, USA
Considering the fact that Mission: Impossible has an experienced location manager, it’s no wonder that they have filmed in the City of Angels. In the movie, Ethan’s wife gets abducted from the place where she works as a way of getting the attention of Ethan Hunt. The hospital where she works is located near Los Angeles area. It’s interesting that many scenes of the ground level which were happening in Shanghai in the movie were actually shot in downtown Los Angeles.
There are many reasons to visit Los Angeles because it has something for everyone: beaches, Santa Monica pier, Beverly Hills, food and nightlife are just some of them.
12 Mission: Impossible 3 (2003): Berlin, Germany
The events of the third installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise lead us to Germany. It is where the action starts after Ethan’s careless days end as he heads to Berlin to rescue one of his friends. However, things change fast and very soon he leaves south to meet the franchise’s most epic villain.
Someone said that Berlin is the city with dim past and excellent future. I guess they were right. Berlin is a city of nightlife, club, concerts and free spirit. So if you’re into all of these things it’s definitely a city that you should visit. In case you like more relaxed cities I would recommend you to visit Cologne or Hamburg in Germany.
11 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Most scenes of the fourth movie in the series called Ghost Protocol were shot in Prague and in Vancouver, British Columbia. Although there is no Vancouver in the movie, a lot of scenes were filmed there. For instance the “Indian” office of the “Sun Network” TV is not so Indian and the chase through the streets of “Mumbai” isn’t happening in Mumbai. One of the final “Pier 47, Seattle” scenes is also happening not in Seattle but in Vancouver.
Although Vancouver city was disguised in the movie, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. Sounds like a considerable reason to visit it.
10 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): Budapest, Hungary
The 4th part of the series probably has one of the most conventional plots: a mad man wants to start a nuclear war and only experienced spies can stop him. Movie opening scene takes place in Budapest, where an IMF agent is being terminated near the train station. It’s interesting that shots of Budapest Keleti Train Station were taken only to set the stage. The remaining filming of this scene was happening in a railway station in Prague, Czech Republic.
Budapest has a special charm that you can feel only when you’re visiting this city. The mix of baroque and neoclassical architecture, peculiar mentality, smell of spicy goulash and paprika make it a special place.
9 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Mission: Impossible crew has filmed in the United Arab Emirates several times. Actually it would be strange if they didn’t use this place for filming considering their appetite for great locations. Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and Tom Cruise genuinely ran, hung and jumped off this huge building all by himself just to entertain us.
Fortunately for us, we don’t have to jump off the Burj Khalifa if we happen to be there. Being there is highly advisable, because there can be only one number one tallest building in the world. If your hands don’t start sweating once you think about it, don’t hesitate to start planning a trip to United Arab Emirates.
8 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): Mumbai, India
Mumbai is an important spot in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, because it’s where Ethan goes to prevent the nuclear attack. Gateway of India which sets up the scenes in Mumbai is one of the few scenes which actually were filmed in Mumbai. The “Indian” house, where one of the movies characters needs to get the codes, is not Indian at all and was filmed in Dubai.
If you like busy cities like Moscow or New York, then Mumbai is certainly your cup of tea because you can get dissolved with a crazy tempo of this huge city. If you like to take it easy, Mumbai is not something you will enjoy.
7 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015): Casablanca, Morocco
To tell the truth, I’m not sure what’s better, the beauty of Morocco or the car-motorcycle chase. That chase is definitely one of the best and most dramatic chases in the history of the series. After the chase ends the plot leads us to London, but the scenes in Morocco before the chase are something.
As a country, Morocco has plenty to offer. It’s a gateway to Africa which has its unique culture, mountains, deserts, beaches and mint tea like no other. It’s a country of diversity and warm hospitality. You should definitely include it in your plans if you ever go to Africa.
6 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015): Vienna, Austria
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has an unusual way to present Vienna and Vienna Opera House in particular, because it features a dramatic scene where stunning Rebecca Ferguson, who plays a sniper, is trying to assassinate an Austrian Chancellor. She isn’t successful at her attempts, but it’s a pleasure to watch her play.
As for Vienna itself, I’d call it a conservative city for conservative people. Great architecture, tasty coffee and sweets (including Mozart candies), clean streets and a distinctive feeling of Old Europe. A must-visit city for those who like this feeling and a boring one for those who don’t.
5 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015): Minsk, Belarus
So, what does Ethan Hunt to do in Belarus? Cling to an Airbus full of biowarfare material, that’s what! While Ethan Hunt saves the world, we can contemplate on why Minsk should, or shouldn’t be on your travel wish list.
You can clearly feel the imprint of the Soviet past as you walk the streets of Minsk. There are mostly communist style minimalistic buildings, but you can also feel the touch of the modern era here and there. A definitive advantage of its city is its cleanliness and great amount of space. A must visit city for those who like post-soviet aesthetics.
4 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015): Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Actually only a small part, namely the opening scene of the Rogue Nation movie was filmed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, it’s not a reason not to include this city in the list. Being a cultural hub of Malaysia, it’s defined visually by the stunning Petronas Twin Towers. These two towers are the tallest twin buildings in the world. To contrast it, Kuala Lumpur also has the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, called Sri Mahamariamman. You can also expect cool shopping experiences and great food, just like in any other Asian country.
Considering the beauty of Kuala Lumpur, it’s a pity that the Mission: Impossible team shot only one little scene there.
3 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018): Preacher's Pulpit, Forsand, Norway
Outstanding filming locations were one of the priorities for the sixth’s installment of Mission: Impossible franchise. And the movie’s crew was quite successful in it, because the selection of locations for Mission: Impossible – Fallout is really mindboggling. One of such locations is Preacher’s Pulpit in Norway, where a fight between Ethan and one of the movie’s antagonists take place. Preacher’s Pulpit is a cliff that leans over a massive fjord. This national landmark has become one of the top attractions for tourists and if you look at it, you can clearly understand why. The majestic view that opens when you stand on that rocky outcrop invokes the feeling of awe.
2 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018): Queenstown, New Zealand
UK, New Zealand and France are the movie’s key locations. Much of the team’s work was performed in Queenstown region of South Island in New Zealand. It’s also where the impressive aerial stunts were filmed. Southern Alps mountain range located in New Zealand was a perfect place to shot helicopter scenes because of the developed infrastructure and presence of many skilled pilots in that area. A crazy bungee jump stunt performed by Cruise was also filmed there.
You don’t have to shoot Mission: Impossible movies to understand that Queenstown is a great destination. The city where mountains meet water and views take your breath away.
1 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018): Nubra Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, India
According to the plot, Ethan Hunt goes to Kashmir to stop nuclear devastation. And it was reported that the director set the final act of the movie in Kashmir. However, these scenes were shot in a New Zealand valley instead of India.
“We would have loved to come to India to shoot the film. We couldn’t shoot the aerial sequence (helicopter chase sequence) in India. It was a little too crazy. So, we ended up in New Zealand. But I scouted India extensively and I would love to come to India and shoot a film,” Christopher McQuarrie, the film’s director commented.
Although there were no Kashmir scenes in the movie, I decided to include it in the list because it’s a place everyone should see. Its beauty is unmatched and unique and there’s no other place like it.