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BlogTravel tipsWhere was White Lotus filmed? Visit these locations from the show in real life on your next trip.
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Where was White Lotus filmed? Visit these locations from the show in real life on your next trip.

Feb 21, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

The TV show The White Lotus has kept us entranced ever since we first checked into the resort at the start of season one. There’s something about the dark humor and exploration of human nature set against the stunning backdrop of extraordinary locations that we just can’t get enough of. Luckily, you can visit many of The White Lotus filming locations and experience the fantasy for yourself.

Season one of The White Lotus was filmed entirely on location at a resort in Maui. The beach provided a tranquil stage where we watched the dramatic interpersonal relationships unfold between characters. You can explore the stunning beaches of Maui on a trip to Hawaii. Season two was filmed across several locations around Sicily, and you can visit them all on one of our trips to Sicily.

From the charming to the downright idyllic, you can see the settings that made The White Lotus such a thrill to watch on one of our trips to Sicily or tours of Hawaii.

Where are The White Lotus season 2 filming locations in Sicily?


Sicily

While season one of The White Lotus was filmed almost entirely in one location due to pandemic restrictions, in season two, characters got to leave the resort a bit. Fewer restrictions meant that the cast and crew could film at several different locations around Sicily.

While Cameron may be content to ride jet skis and have drinks at the pool bar, other characters, like Daphne, want to get out and experience a bit of la dolce vita in Sicily. Meanwhile, the start of the season sees poor Portia dying to sneak out of her hotel room and experience—well, anything.

You can visit these White Lotus filming locations on one of our trips to Sicily

Taormina

Taormina

Much of season two takes place at the fictional White Lotus resort in Sicily. While the chain may be fictional—and we should probably be grateful for that after their recent string of bad luck—the hotel is real, down to the infinity pool and breathtaking views of Mount Etna. The San Domenico Palace, once a 14th-century monastery, is now a luxury hotel run by the Four Seasons group.

The town of Taormina sits on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Ionian Sea. Wander through the cobblestone streets and public gardens on one of our trips to Taormina, and live out your wildest dreams of emulating Monica Vitti, just like Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya did—Vespa not required.

In the second episode of the season, the Di Grasso family—along with a somewhat reluctant Portia—tour the Greek Theater of Taormina, an arresting and educational stop on any of our Sicily tours. The theater was dug out of the surrounding rock in the third century B.C. and was expanded by the Romans in the third century A.D. Walk down the sunbaked stone steps and experience it yourself. “Taormina was my favorite, and the ancient amphitheater is amazing,” said traveler Maria.

Related article: 4 ways to spend free time in Taormina

Isola Bella

Isola Bella

Down the hill from Taormina lies Isola Bella, a small island nature reserve just offshore, and the site of Ethan and Daphne’s dubious off-camera moment. Ride a cable car down from Taormina to Mazzarò to explore the island; just know that the sandbar that leads to it is only revealed at low tide.

The foreshadowing story that Quentin tells Tanya about the woman who owned the house on Isola Bella is at least partially true. While she wasn’t thrown into the sea (she died in 1907 of pneumonia), Florence Trevelyan, a wealthy English woman, built the house and is responsible for introducing many of the exotic plants that thrive on the island.

Mt. Etna

Mount Etna

Mount Etna looms in the background throughout most of the season, reminding us of the building tension while foreshadowing the show’s violent ending. The volcano erupts in the last episode of the season, and yes—it’s real. Mount Etna is an active volcano that towers above Taormina, and you can visit it. “Having Mount Etna erupt while we were in Taormina was amazing,” said traveler Doreen.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a bus 5,000 feet up the side of Mount Etna on the Mount Etna: Sicily’s Volcanic Landscapes excursion on one of our Sicily tours and explore the volcano’s craters before settling in for a three-course lunch.

Alternatively, take a page out of Harper’s book and visit one of Etna’s sun-soaked vineyards. During the Mount Etna Wine Region Tasting & Dinner excursion on our Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily tour, you’ll taste Etna Rosso blends made from grapes grown in the volcano’s ashy soil—just like the Spillers and Sullivans in episode five. Whether you choose to grill your companions with personal questions is up to you. “Our first wine tasting was up on Mount Etna,” said traveler John. “We enjoyed a panoramic view of the sea while experiencing a variety of wines paired with Sicilian food.”

Cefalu

Cefalù

The season opens on what is supposed to be a beach in Taormina, part of the grounds of the White Lotus resort. In reality, this and several other beach scenes were filmed in the seaside town of Cefalù on the island’s northern coast. Showrunner Mike White thought that the beach near Taormina was beautiful, but too rocky. He wanted a location that exuded tranquility to contrast with the foreboding opening of the season. You can visit this charming town and relax by the beach just like Daphne on the optional Cefalù Wine Tasting & Dinner excursion offered on our A Week in Sicily: Palermo, Syracuse & Taormina tour.

Portia and Jack’s harrowing “spontaneous” overnight trip toward the end of the season was also filmed in Cefalù. Although things got confusing for (an arguably already bewildered) Portia, the couple did spend a pleasant afternoon strolling through the town’s quaint streets and drinking beer in the sunshine.

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Fiumefreddo

Fiumefreddo di Sicilia

In episode three, the Di Grasso men, with Portia in tow once again, head to Castello degli Schiavi. The estate was a prominent filming location in The Godfather, most famously the setting of the car explosion that took the life of Michael Corleone’s wife, Apollonia.

The villa is in the town of Fiumefreddo di Sicilia, just 30 minutes outside of Taormina. In reality, you won’t find a gift shop or a mannequin staged in a vintage car here—the villa is privately owned, though they do offer tours when booked in advance.

Travel tip: If you’re interested in seeing more sites from The Godfather films, check out the Hidden Sicily: Medieval Savoca & Forza d’Agrò excursion offered on our A Week in Sicily: Palermo, Syracuse & Taormina tour and Sicily: A Cultural Journey tour.

Noto

Noto

The site of Daphne and Harper’s impromptu girl’s trip (though Harper would be quick to point out that it was more of an abduction), Noto is a small village near the southern tip of Sicily and is celebrated for its stunning Sicilian Baroque architecture. Stroll through the plaza in front of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata, where Aubrey Plaza’s Harper paid homage to Monica Vitti’s iconic scene from L’Avventura. It’s just steps away from Palazzo Ducezio and Noto Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage site)—both impressive examples of the town’s famous architecture. Afterward, take a tip from the girls and enjoy an Aperol spritz before browsing for locally crafted ceramics.

The scenes at the palazzo where Quentin hosts Tanya and Portia (and throws his wild party) were also filmed in Noto. Although those scenes were meant to take place in Palermo, they were filmed at Villa Elena, a former monastery turned Baroque vacation home just outside Noto.

Visit Noto on the Baroque City of Noto excursion offered on our A Week in Sicily: Palermo, Syracuse & Taormina tour

Related article: Sicilian villa lunch & Noto village excursion spotlight

Palermo

Palermo

We see a few different sides of Sicily’s capital city of Palermo in The White Lotus season two. While Portia and Jack eat arancini and get into mischief in the city’s Old Town, Quentin and his friends take Tanya to see Madama Butterfly at Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy. You can retrace their steps on a trip to Palermo—definitely don’t skip the arancini—and take in some of the city’s captivating artwork and mosaics for good measure.

Fun fact: The villa that Daphne and Harper stay at on their trip to Noto is actually in Palermo as well. That’s right—the “Noto” villa was actually in Palermo, whereas the “Palermo” villa scenes were shot in Noto!

Ready to visit these White Lotus season two filming locations in real life with us? Check out our trips to Sicily


Maui

Where are The White Lotus season 1 filming locations in Maui?


The White Lotus season one’s filming location was born out of necessity. The show was conceptualized at the height of the pandemic and was filmed almost entirely in one location to work around restrictions. The cast and crew lived and worked on location at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and were completely isolated during production.

There are worse places to quarantine than paradise and the season had us pining for turquoise water and otherworldly sunsets. Thankfully, you can visit Maui on our Hawaii: Oahu, the Big Island & Maui tour and discover scenery so breathtaking that even Shane couldn’t find anything to complain about. “I would take this tour again,” said traveler Kate. “I loved the food, beaches, and culture of Hawaii! It’s definitely a must-see destination.”

Although the characters in season one don’t find many excuses to venture off the resort property, they still find plenty of activities to keep themselves busy on their vacation (aside from unapologetically disrupting the lives of resort staff, that is). Ostracized by his sister Olivia and her college friend Paula, Quinn Mossbacher takes to sleeping on the beach most nights. This eventually leads to him befriending a group of local men paddling an outrigger canoe and a subsequent social-180 for his character. If you’re looking for your own canoeing adventure, check out the Outrigger Canoe Experience excursion on our tour of Hawaii. We can’t promise that you’ll have a transcendental experience, but you will have a blast.

If you prefer to plan your vacations around mealtimes, consider the Honolulu Sunset Cruise & Dinner excursion—it’s more in line with what we imagine Shane hoped for when Armond offered him the complementary boat trip. Tanya may have inadvertently crashed his romantic evening in one of the most hilarious and uncomfortable scenes in season one, but at least the view was spectacular.

Want to venture outside the hotel and see the natural beauty of the island where White Lotus season one was filmed? Join us on a tour of Hawaii


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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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