Rupert Grint on dark tourism, alien landscapes and what it feels like when the plane's oxygen masks are deployed

Rupert Grint:

Rupert Grint, the actor from the Harry Potter film series, recalls his most memorable travels around the world. 

Iceland was insane

I was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights a few times and explored all the geysers and volcanoes there. But spending New Year’s eve this year in Reykjavik was totally mad. People just set off fireworks in the street in the most chaotic fashion.

It felt like a gun battle

Fireworks are banned for the rest of the year but on that one night it’s a free-for-all. And it’s not just sparklers - we’re talking serious fireworks, from these mini-rockets to big Roman candles whizzing past my ears so fast I had to dive out of the way on one occasion.

Doing nothing stresses me out

I’m not one for a beach holiday. With my hair and complexion, I don’t do sunbathing and I’m most relaxed when I’m walking about learning and seeing new things.

I like dark tourism

You know, stuff you see in the shadows. I love discovering history and culture and exploring the darker side of society’s underbelly.

Bran castle in Transylvania Credit: Marcus Lindstrom/Marcus Lindstrom

I felt at home in Dracula’s castle

I visited the castle in Transylvania that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula and had links to Vlad the Impaler too. It was quite a dark place but I really enjoyed it and the city was really beautiful too.

I’m no adrenaline junkie

I can’t swim, so water sports have always been a bit of a danger zone for me. But I loved water-skiing in Scotland, even though it was bloody freezing. I also did it in Portugal.

Jumping out of a plane was serene

I once went skydiving in Croatia and it actually felt really peaceful and was almost silent. It's one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I love Croatia

I stayed in a lovely little villa right on the beach from where we could see this tiny island across the sea. It had one restaurant on it and nothing else, so we got a boat over there and had this amazing seafood meal.

Vis Island, Croatia Credit: ©xbrchx - stock.adobe.com

Spain is such a beautiful country

I’d never really explored Spain until this year while I was filming the second series of the Snatch television series in Malaga. But we drove around a lot, so I got to explore Gibraltar, Granada, Seville, Barcelona, Madrid and Almeria.

I’d never been on a flight before Harry Potter

After the first film everything changed and one of the first premieres I attended was in New York just a few months after 9/11, which was a really eerie time to visit. The whole experience of being driven around Manhattan in a limousine was ridiculously exciting for an 11-year-old.

The older I get the less I like flying

I had a horrible incident on a flight to Lapland when the plane lost an engine temporarily and all the oxygen masks dropped down at the seats. It got incredibly bumpy and there were a few moments where I was thinking “Is this it?” Thankfully, it wasn’t.

I love the nightlife in New York

I spend a lot of time at the Bathtub Gin, which is this speakeasy type place in Manhattan. It’s a coffee shop by day but at night you can go through a little door at the back which brings you to this really cool venue hosting burlesque shows.

Kyoto was a magical experience

I’ve never been anywhere like it before. It was like stepping into a whole new dimension because everything feels so alien, from the rituals when you walk into a room to taking your shoes off wherever you go. It’s very quiet everywhere, everyone is so polite and the food is superb.

Geishas in Kyoto Credit: Juri Pozzi/Juri Pozzi

They were like mystical, mythical creatures

There’s such an interesting vibe in Kyoto. It was fascinating to watch all these incredible geishas play instruments I’d never seen before. I also saw an incredible 1,000-year-old play.  

The most alien landscape I’ve ever seen

The Joshua Tree National Park in California is very beautiful and feels like you’re on another planet.

Hollywood feels like home

Every time I go to Los Angeles, I always stay at the Petit Ermitage hotel. They have a great rooftop space, a tarot reading evening every Wednesday and I always have green eggs and ham for breakfast.

The rooftop pool at Petit Ermitage in LA

London is my favourite city

It’s got a real buzz. I come from Hertfordshire so I’ve only lived in London for a few years now, but the city has so much history. I love it.

Next on my travel wishlist

After visiting Japan and Singapore briefly I’d really like to explore more of Asia, including Thailand and Vietnam.

Snatch, starring Rupert Grint, airs Tuesdays at 9pm on AMC and BT TV.

Interview by Nick McGrath