It has been 50 years since Beatlemania kicked off with the band's journey across the pond. Over the subsequent years, The Beatles blazed around the world and created some of their most memorable music. Following that trail takes Beatle-junkies not only to a slew of locations that were immortalized in their songs, but also to the places they lived, played and legends were born.
1. Liverpool, England
What better place to start than where it all began? Liverpool was once a bustling seaport, but as that industry faded, it began to rely more and more on their Beatles-related tourism.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular places to visit is the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played their first live performance. Coincidentally, it was during one of their performances there that their future manager Brian Epstein saw them play.
Littered throughout Liverpool are, of course, the childhood homes of John, George, Paul and Ringo. However, only John's home, after being donated to the National Trust by Yoko Ono, is open for tours. The other homes can still be toured, but only at certain times.
As for areas in Liverpool that are immortalized in song, there are two lovely spots to visit. Penny Lane is close to John's home, where John and Paul would go to catch the bus. Due to its legendary Beatles fame, it has become quite the trendy new area for young people, especially students. Also close to John's childhood home is the Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children's home. The song was likely inspired from the time John spent there, playing in the garden out back.
2. Hamburg, Germany
Before Ringo Starr, before Brian Epstein, and before a musical career that took the world by storm, John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best were lured to Hamburg by the promise of a steady paycheque.
Unlike the modern-day Hamburg, which has grown into a beacon of German music and nightlife, the St Pauli area of city where The Beatles played in the 1960s was much more of a sketchy place. The Beatles didn't live in any glitzy hotels; they stayed in a small store room at the Indra Club, where they often played. Though the Indra Club closed down in the 60s due to noise, it has since been preserved. Beatles’ fans can still catch a show at the club or even sit on the red couches where the band first slept when they arrived in Hamburg.
After the Indra Club closed, the Beatles went on to play the Kaiserkeller before they were deported. The Kaiserkeller is still open, and today, it is a popular alternative rock club.
3. London, England
There are plenty of Beatles-related sites to see around London, from Ringo Starr's flat where John and Yoko shot the famous nude photo for the Two Virgins album cover, to the lovely 19th century town house on Green Street where all the Beatles lived together.
However, out of all the sights to see, do not miss the Abbey Road Studios. Fans will recognize the crosswalk in front of the studio where the Fab Four shot the iconic album cover for 1969's Abbey Road. Although the studio does not allow access to the public, that doesn't stop the flock of Beatles tourists in London from stopping traffic at the crosswalk to recreate their own Beatles album covers.
4. New York City, United States
The Beatles played several significant visits to NYC over the years. Several days after their television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, they made music history by being the first rock band to play Carnegie Hall. Today, the Ed Sullivan Theatre and Carnegie Hall are both beloved sites to take in a show, though the slew of prestigious guests make the sites famous in their own right.
The Dakota Apartments is a site that will never be forgotten Beatles’ history. It was there where John Lennon and Yoko Ono made their New York home, and it was outside the Dakota where John Lennon was shot and killed on December 8, 1980. Fans can still visit the Dakota or visit a memorial, aptly named Strawberry Fields, across the street.
5. Rishikesh, India
In 1966, the Beatles went to Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas. The band went there to study in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught them transcendental meditation. Today, the ashram has long since been defunct and is in the process of being reclaimed by the local vegetation.
Rishikesh is still a centre for yoga and meditation which, due to its close proximity to Delphi, has locals and tourists alike flocking there to get out of the city. Many who visit Rishikesh also take advantage of some scenic hiking and white water rafting along the Ganges. Beatles’ followers can hike to the site of the ashram where they once spent so much time and try to re-imagine the place in its glory days.
6. The Bahamas
The Fab Four enjoyed the Bahamas so much that they made several stops there over the years. The band shot some of the scenes for their movie Help! there and John had a brief stay-over there with Yoko.
However, the hotel where they stayed – the Baltimore Club – has since been renamed Sandals Royal Bahamian and has been greatly remodeled. The scenes they shot for Help! were shot on Paradise Island where the Atlantis Resort now sits. However, they also shot scenes on Rose Island which has, thankfully, not changed. Rose Island is a qiet private island that’s a popular day trip destination.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
John suspected his wedding to Yoko would attract substantial press coverage, so he used it and his subsequent honeymoon to promote world peace. After driving from Paris, the pair conducted their first bed-in at Amsterdam's Hilton Hotel. They invited the press into their hotel room, who expected a raunchy showing, only to find them lying in bed like angels, surround by flowers and signs that said 'Hair Peace' and 'Bed Peace'.
The Hilton Hotel is still open in Amsterdam today; in fact, fans can stay in the very room where the couple spent their honeymoon. It has since been renamed into the ‘John and Yoko suite’.
8. Montreal, Quebec
Montreal served as the last stop for John and Yoko's bed-in honeymoon. The couple rented out four rooms of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and invited many of their influential friends, including Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, to join them there. It was in these rooms that they recorded Give Peace a Chance.
The Queen Elizabeth takes pride in being the venue of such an event. The hotel has since attracted those who are also dedicated to peace, such as the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, President Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela. The hotel offers The Beatles package, in which guests can stay in the same room as John and Yoko, which has stayed majorly intact.