Worldwide icon-chevron-right The 40 best travel movies
Best travel films
Photograph: Paramount Home Entertainment To Catch a Thief

The 40 best travel movies

Hit the trail with some of cinema’s most magical destination films

By Phil de Semlyen, Ellie Walker-Arnott, Huw Oliver and James Manning
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There’s loads to be said for the transportive power of cinema – that magical ability to whisk us off to places we’d never otherwise go – but we’re often glad of its power to bring us back again. It’s fun to pay a visit to Mos Eisley or Twin Peaks but you probably wouldn’t want to linger too long. Occasionally, though, a movie will leave you with itchy feet and an urge to hit the trail (or at least, low-cost airline website) for real. Here are 40 films that’ll have you reaching for your passport.

Sideways
Sideways
Photograph: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Sideways (2004)

Film Comedy

Destination: Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA

They may be insufferable wine bores cursed in perpetuity by merlot producers the world over, but it’s hard not to kinda love pent-up Miles (Paul Giamatti) and laconic Jack (Thomas Haden Church) in Alexander Payne’s Oscar-winning comedy-drama. For one thing, the hapless roadtrippers are never dull; for another, they introduced the moviegoing world to California’s lush Santa Ynez Valley and its array of sun-kissed valleys, bountiful vineyards and roadside staging posts. If you’re ever following in their footsteps, be sure to stop in at Miles’s favourite restaurant, The Hitching Post II. PDS 

migrate.32923.jpg
migrate.32923.jpg
Photograph: Paramount Vantage

Into the Wild (2007)

Film Action and adventure

DestinationDenali National Park, Alaska, USA

Things go south when Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) heads north in Sean Penn’s moving biopic of the young hiker’s journey from comfortable middle-class life to the vast Alaskan wilderness. This true-life adventure may have a heartbreaking ending but the journey there is pretty special, backdropped by unforgettable American landscapes and life-changing encounters in the spirit of all great road-trip movies. The vast solitude of Alaska’s Denali National Park, five hours’ drive from Anchorage and overshadowed by North America’s highest peak, Mount Denali (aka Mount McKinley), leaves a haunting impression. PDS

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Wild
Wild
Photograph: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Wild (2014)

Film Drama

Destination: The Pacific Crest Trail, USA

There was a reason thousands of solo hikers set off on the Pacific Crest Trail IRL after seeing this movie. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir of the same name and starring Reese Witherspoon, ‘Wild’ paints a vivid picture of life off-grid and on-foot on the PCT, an equal parts gruelling and stunning hiking route which weaves through the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges on America’s west coast. The urge to pack up your water purifier and your emotional baggage and hit the trail as the credits roll is hard to ignore. EWA

The Sheltering Sky
The Sheltering Sky
Photograph: Cinema Club

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

Film

Destination: Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

Paul Bowles’s bohemian account of post-war life in north Africa is hardly the greatest advertisement for tourism – the jaded American couple at its heart aren’t the most open-minded pair – but Bernardo Bertolucci’s visually rich adaptation makes it all seem well worth the trip anyway. It has Debra Winger and John Malkovich as the pair of slightly insufferable roamers (‘We’re travellers,’ they’re at pains to point out, ‘not tourists’) but the real stars of the show are the Saharan landscapes, Tangier souks and dusty villages. One of those villages, the ancient fort of Aït Benhaddou, is a film star in its own right, having appeared in ‘Gladiator’, ‘Babel’, ‘Kundun’ and ‘The Mummy’, among others. PDS 

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Lost in Translation (2003)

Film Drama

Destination: Tokyo, Japan

Sofia Coppola’s classic is one of the quintessential travel movies, not just for its Japanese locations, both postcard-famous and off-the-beaten-track, but in perfectly capturing that unmistakable sense of dislocation that can come with hitting the trail. Here, it’s magnified by deeper life crises for Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s two lonely travellers, but their existential woes spark a powerful connection – and we’ve all been there. As far as the travelling goes, they’re doing it the luxe way, staying in the now-very-famous and expensive Park Hyatt Tokyo and taking day trips to Kyoto soundtracked by Air. Other hotels (and Spotify) are available. PDS

A United Kingdom (2016)

Film Romance

Destination: Serowe, Botswana

This true-life love story between Bechuanaland royal heir Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and Londoner Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) plays like a cross between a Disney fairy tale and a bracing slug of social realism. The couple are subjected to prejudice and disapproval in all its guises – straight-up racism in post-war Britain and prescriptive protocols in Africa – but coolly face it down to make history. The story is inspiring and the backdrops scarcely less so. Director Amma Asante filmed on location in Seretse’s home village of Serowe, so head there for a two-in-one cinematic and historical pilgrimage (and check out the rhinos while you’re there). PDS

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Priscilla Queen Of The Desert
Priscilla Queen Of The Desert
Photograph: Supplied

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Film

Destination: Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

This comedy-drama is at once an Aussie classic, a road trip gem and a glorious celebration of difference – all crammed on to a bus called Priscilla and driven across Australia’s Outback to a gig in Alice Springs. The movie’s spiritual home – as its website proudly points out – is The Palace Hotel in hardscrabble Broken Hill, where a night in the tacky-flamboyant Priscilla Suite will set you back around A$200. It’s here that Bernadette Bassenger (Terence Stamp), Mitzi Del Bra (Hugo Weaving) and Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pearce) stay over en route to the Northern Territory. Or if you want to keep things strictly underground, head for the subterranean White Cliffs motel in the bizarre town of Coober Pedy– another port of call for the trio. PDS

A Room with a View
A Room with a View
Photograph: Curzon Film Distributors

A Room with a View (1985)

Film

Destination: Florence, Italy

What’s most charming about this 1980s Merchant Ivory classic, which follows the first visit to Italy of the young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter)? It’s a tough call between the sun-soaked streets of Florence and all those becoming Edwardian ruffles. Though it does a very good job of capturing England’s bucolic countryside too, it’s the first half of the film, full of glorious views of the languid Arno river, the city’s terracotta rooftops and ochre-coloured landmarks that lingers in the memory. EWA

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A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods
Photograph: Entertainment One

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

Film Comedy

Destination: The Appalachian Trail, USA

According to the Bill Bryson memoir from which this warm-hearted outdoorsy adventure is adapted, 2,000 people attempt the 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail every year, but only 10 percent make it. Attempting to beat the stats are Robert Redford and Nick Nolte’s old-timers. The trail – the longest hiking-only path in the world – runs from Maine to Georgia, with glorious, Ansel Adams-esque scenery and killer hills all the way. Will our grizzled heroes make it? Do bears shit in the woods? Finally, a movie that can answer both questions. PDS

Monos
Monos
Photograph: Picturehouse Entertainment

Monos (2019)

Film Drama

Destination: Chingaza National Natural Park, Colombia

The brilliant ‘Monos’ sometimes feels like a war film, sometimes like a sci-fi and sometimes like some new genre we’ve never encountered before. Its high-altitude locations are guaranteed to have intrepid types reaching for their passports. Rising to more than four kilometres above sea level, Colombia’s Chingaza National Natural Park, where it is filmed, feels like the roof of the world and director Alejandro Landes gives its cloud forests, waterfalls and rocky outcrops the full widescreen treatment. Within range of Bogotá, it’s catapulted straight on to our bucket list. PDS 

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Journey to Italy
Journey to Italy
Photograph: BFI

Journey to Italy (1954)

Film Drama

Destination: Naples, Italy

This influential Roberto Rossellini film follows discontented marrieds Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) and Alex Joyce (George Sanders) as they drive to Naples and bicker their way towards something that looks likely to involve eye-watering legal costs and a painful conversation about who gets to keep the Frank Sinatra LPs. Watching these sophisticated travellers slugging it out can be an emotionally arduous ride, but they find calm and beauty amid the city’s archaeological treasures. For her, it’s the volcanic Phlegraean Fields and the ancient artefacts of the Naples Museum; for him, a ferry ride to Capri. For us? A trip to the EasyJet website. PDS

i10-DSC_0313.JPG
i10-DSC_0313.JPG
Photograph: Icon

The Way (2010)

Film Drama

Destination: El Camino de Santiago, Spain 

Whether it’s to the football, the pub or just to Homebase for something to de-grease the barbecue, a father-and-son pilgrimage is a special thing. It’s arguably even more special when there’s an actual pilgrimage involved, as is the case in this touching 2010 drama directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his dad, Martin Sheen. The movie follows the path of Galicia’s Camino de Santiago, a UNESCO listed network of hiking trails that leads pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. With its stunning landscapes and moments of footsore camaraderie, it’ll have you itching to follow in its footsteps. PDS

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Photograph: Glen Wilson

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Film Comedy

Destination: Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy tracks down girl in far-flung corner of Hawaii. Boy discovers girl is now having mindblowing sex with a rockstar (Russell Brand). Major bummer. Still, on the upside for Jason Segel’s lovelorn musician – and everyone else in the film – this lol-some romantic-comedy unfolds on Oahu’s stunning north shore. Specifically, the Turtle Bay Resort, a honeymooners’ paradise that comes equal first with Bora Bora from ‘Couple’s Retreat’ in a list of dream destinations Kristen Bell has managed to visit for work. PDS

Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris
Photograph: Sony Pictures Classics

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Film Comedy

Destination: Paris, France

Americans swooning over the City of Light is nothing new. But rarely are their chansons d’amour so persuasive as Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’. Gil (Owen Wilson) is a jobbing Hollywood screenwriter on vacation in gay Paree with fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Each night he wanders off alone, and on midnight’s chime, is transported into a magical-realist time warp: first the 1920s (hello, Ernest, Zelda and Scott), then the Belle Époque of Degas, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. From Rodin’s hôtel particulier to abandoned fairground the Musée des Arts Forains, Gil is swept up by the city’s charms, and as he falls deeper in love, so do we. HO

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The Passenger
The Passenger
Photograph: Sony Pictures Classics

The Passenger (1975)

Film

Destination: Vera, Spain

From the nocturnal streets of Milan to the Aeolian Islands and even south-east London, Michaelangelo Antonioni’s locations often got as much screen time as his actors. Even larger-than-life Jack Nicholson feels swallowed up by the epic sweep of southern Spain, the last stop for his journalist-gone-rogue David Locke after an almost 007-worthy itinerary (Algeria, London, Munich, Barcelona). The dusty Andalusian hilltop town of Vera, with its dilapidated bullring and now-demolished Hotel de la Gloria, is the filming location for the famous six-minute tracking shot in which Locke’s fate is sealed – in typically cryptic Antonioni style, naturalmente. JM

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Photograph: 20th Century Fox

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Film Comedy

Destination: Seyðisfjörður, Iceland

Timid Life magazine staffer Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) heads off to track down grizzled photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and finds himself along the way. It’s basically a mega-budget version of that gap year your mate Charlie still goes on about. But if Walter’s fantastical daydreams of superpowered adventure and heart-stopping romance are eclipsed by the rugged Icelandic landscapes, what landscapes to be eclipsed by. If you want to recreate his high-speed longboard ride, just head for Seyðisfjörður on the eastern edge of Iceland. Just be sure to check the terms of your travel insurance first. PDS

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Leap Year
Leap Year
Photograph: Optimum Releasing

Leap Year (2010)

Film Comedy

Destination: Aran Islands, Ireland

It may not be a great advertisement for filmmaking but this romcom is an excellent billboard for the Irish counties of Wicklow, Mayo and Galway. Matthew Goode plays Irish innkeeper Declan O’Callaghan and Amy Adams is Anna Brady, the American visitor looking to exploit an arcane tradition whereby a man proposed to on a Leap Day must accept (because no marriage is more likely to last than one you’ve been forced into by an ancient form of blackmail). Forget the plot contortions and focus instead on the glorious Irish vistas, especially those of the rocky Aran Islands where much of the movie was filmed. PDS

L’Avventura
L’Avventura
Photograph: Mr Bongo Films

L'Avventura (1960)

Film

Destination: Aeolian Islands, Italy

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s languid classic, a young woman (Lea Massari) vanishes during a yachting trip to the rocky, mysterious Aeolian Islands and her boyfriend Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) and BFF
Claudia (Monica Vitti) make a slightly half-hearted attempt to find her (think Tommy Lee Jones in ‘The Fugitive’, only on Xanax). The disappearance itself takes place on the tiny volcanic outcrop of Lisca Bianca, which can be visited only by private boat, but Sandro and Claudia’s ensuing wanderings will have you adding Sicily to your holiday wishlist too. Even in black and white, the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkles enticingly. PDS

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Mamma Mia (2008)
Mamma Mia (2008)
Photograph: Universal Pictures

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Film Romance

Destination: Skopelos, Greece

Abba-inspired ‘Mamma Mia!’ is movie Marmite, but it’s impossible to watch the film, or it’s more recent sequel ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’, and not be left pining for Greece’s many paradise-like islands. And if you’re into tales of friendship, motherhood, a secret search to find a father figure and a dungare
ed Meryl Streep singing ’70s hits, they are pure joy. Oh, to be skipping through a Greek orange grove, falling in love in an intimate taverna or diving off a boat into the clear waters that surround sunny Skopelos right now… EWA

Tracks
Tracks
Photograph: Entertainment One

Tracks (2013)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Western Australia

Australia’s dusty town of Alice Springs is the jump-off point for an outback adventure that’s based on a true story. Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson who, in 1977, trekked 1,700 miles across the continent with only her dog, Diggity, and four dromedaries for company. At least, until National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) pitches up to cover her incredible undertaking. It’s a pure travel movie: a celebration of the dangers and majesty of the great outdoors that captures the spirituality of Aboriginal lands, the vastness of ever-shifting deserts and the spellbinding starscapes of the Australian night sky. PDS

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Photograph: StudioCanal

The Two Faces of January (2014)

Film Thrillers

Destination: Crete, Greece

Like ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, this underrated thriller has everything you could possibly want from a Patricia Highsmith adaptation: gorgeous costumes, slippery characters and exotic European settings. Oh, and foul deeds – let’s not forget about them. Here the double-dealing and betrayals take place in Greece rather than Italy, but the soft Mediterranean light and shimmering seaside backdrops are equally to die for as Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac’s vying tricksters, and Kirsten Dunst’s beautiful sorta-moll, journey from the tourist traps of Athens to Crete’s sun-baked hills and its Minoan ruins. PDS

Jeremiah Johnson
Jeremiah Johnson
Photograph: Warner Bros

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Zion National Park, Utah, USA

In movie terms, Utah is most famous as home to Monument Valley, a landmark in all those great John Ford westerns. Head a few hours west, though, and you’ll find the even more remote dream destination for the hardcore western lover-cum-outdoors type: Utah’s mountainous Zion National Park, where Robert Redford western and handy gif generator ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ was partly filmed. The real-life Johnson was the nineteenth century’s answer to Bear Grylls and probably smelled badly of bison liver and fetid beard, but needless to say, Redford makes him a total thirst trap(per). PDS

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Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine
Photograph: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Film Drama

DestinationVentura, California, USA

It may not be Big Sur or Malibu but Ventura is famous for a few things: its sandy beaches, long pier, surfing and – surely the topper – hosting the climactic moments of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. It’s in this sun-kissed corner of California that the dysfunctional Hoover clan pull up in their yellow VW microbus and unleash comedy mayhem. In the film, the setting is actually Redondo Beach, 70-odd miles south, but Ventura was the real-life stand-in for
the pier scene. If you really want to get close to the action, check in to the Crowne Plaza Hotel Ventura Beach where Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) unleashes her superbly inappropriate ‘Super Freak’ on that unsuspecting beauty pageant. PDS

The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries
Photograph: Paula Prandini

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Film

Destination: Machu Picchu, Peru

Before becoming a doctor, rebranding as ‘Che’ and becoming the last word in revolutionary chic, Ernesto Guevara (Gael García Bernal) embarked on a roadtrip across South America with his old friend Alberto Granado that is faithfully recorded in Walter Salles’s excellent 2004 biopic. The pair visit the spectacular Incan citadel of Machu Picchu without once referring to ‘Lonely Planet’ and set about exchanging revolutionary ideas and posing for snapshots. If they’d had Instagram back in 1952, @Che would have been lapping up the likes. PDS

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Local Hero
Local Hero
Photograph: 20th Century Studios

Local Hero (1983)

Film

Destination: Pennan, Scotland

Home, as they say, is where the heart is, and in this enduring delight that means Scotland’s unspoiled east coast, with its tiny fishing villages, crystal-clear skies and mystical vibes. It’s here – the fictional seaside village of Ferness, specifically – that oil company exec (Peter Riegert) is sent with a brief to buy the place so it can be turned into a refinery. Unexpectedly, the villagers like the idea because, well, fishing is hard work. It’s a lovely comic twist that throws the whole film winningly off its axis. Any ‘Local Hero’ pilgrims should head for the village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire, Ferness’s real-life stand-in, and grab a selfie by that famous phonebox. PDS

Patagonia
Patagonia
Photograph: Verve Pictures

Patagonia (2010)

Film Drama

Destination: Trelew, Patagonia, Argentina

This gentle travelogue has Welsh photographer Rhys and his partner Gwen discovering the charms of Patagonia, where their guide (Matthew Rhys) introduces them to the region’s Welsh heritage and the chapels built by Welsh settlers. If you’re intrepid – or Welsh and fancy undertaking a similar pilgrimage – head for the Welsh town of Trelew in Argentina and saddle up for a horse ride into the dusty desert. Bizarrely, it’s exactly what Rhys was doing when he bumped into ‘Patagonia’ director Marc Evans location-scouting the film.
PDS

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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
Photograph: Sony Pictures Classics

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring (2003)

Film

Destination: Juwangsan National Park, South Korea

This lushly located Korean masterpiece exudes seriously serene vibes as it charts a young Buddhist monk’s rocky spiritual journey under the tutelage of his master across 40 or so years. Since the film came out in 2003, its location – a purpose-built floating monastery on Jusanji Lake in Juwangsan National Park – has gone from hidden secret to national treasure, with visitors making the trek to sit in the shade of its willow trees and get zen by its tranquil waters. It’s a tricky trek to get there, though: Juwangsan is one of Korea’s most inaccessible national parks and the hike to the lake is a real glute-burner. PDS

Romantic movie: Roman Holiday
Romantic movie: Roman Holiday
Photograph: Paramount Pictures

Roman Holiday (1953)

Film Romance

Destination: Rome, Italy

Sly but chivalrous American journo Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) shows Audrey Hepburn’s royal fugitive,
Princess Ann, around the Eternal City in a classic romance that’s fizzier than a flute of prosecco. He takes her on a whirlwind Vespa tour of Rome’s famous tourist attractions – Joe isn’t one for the hipster haunts – taking in the Spanish Steps, the Mouth of Truth and the Colosseum. Other films have majored on the city’s jaded hedonism (‘La Dolce Vita’, ‘The Great Beauty’) and social ills (‘Bicycle Thieves’); this one just makes Rome feel like a dream. PDS

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Seven Years in Tibet
Seven Years in Tibet
Photograph: TriStar Pictures

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Lhasa, Tibet

A Sun-In blond Brad Pitt plays Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer who sets out to climb the Himalayan peak of Nanga Parbat in 1939 only to end up in a POW camp. He escapes, crosses the border into Tibet and becomes tutor to the Dalai Lama in Lhasa – then the Chinese plan an invasion and things get complicated. The film faced a couple of problems: Harrer turned out to be a Nazi IRL and Tibet itself was off-limits to the production. Scorsese had the same issue on ‘Kundun’ and recreated it in Morocco; here, it is Argentina and the Canadian Rockies. But director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s time in Tibet recce-ing the country pays off and he does a fine job capturing its rugged beauty on screen. PDS

The Piano
The Piano
Photograph: Entertainment Film Distributors

The Piano (1993)

Film

Destination: Karekare Beach, New Zealand

If you’re looking for a beach holiday with a movie pilgrimage thrown in, head for New Zealand’s west coast where Jane Campion’s period drama is set. The gripping emotional journeys of Holly Hunter’s mute immigrant and her young daughter (Anna Paquin) as they deal with the harshness of nineteenth-century life steered the film to eight Oscar nominations. It was all filmed on the black sands of Karekare Beach, only 30 minutes’ drive from Auckland but stretched out at the foot of rugged cliffs in splendid isolation. If there was an Oscar for beaches, it’d be a shoo-in. PDS

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Australia
Australia
Photograph: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Australia (2008)

Film

Destination: East Kimberley, Western Australia

With its glorious shots of the outback and Hugh Jackman taking his kit off, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ celebrates the continent’s rugged natural phenomena in all its forms. Sure, the film – an homage to the old westerns of John Ford – is a mite corny, but it showcases the scenery of Western Australia so beautifully, you’d think the tourist board funded it. And sure enough, they did: to the tune of $1 million. Luhrmann also filmed in Sydney and Queensland, but if you want the proper ‘Australia’ experience, head for Kununurra and from there the Kimberley, approximately a bazillion square miles of canyons, cattle stations and beaches. Saddle up. PDS

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Photograph: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Film Drama

Destination: Barcelona, Spain

Set in a world full of beautiful people doing impossibly bohemian things at extreme short notice, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ is the life we’d all lead if we weren’t at home worrying about loo roll. It’s a seductive love letter to Catalonia and, in particular, a billboard for the beauties of Barcelona: as the title implies, the city itself shares top billing with Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), two friends who fall under the spell of Javier Bardem’s artist while visiting. Needless to say, the movie is full of Barca landmarks, including Park Güell, the Miró Museum, Parc de la Ciutadella and the Sagrada Família, and they all look utterly dreamy. PDS

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World's Fastest Indian
World's Fastest Indian
Photograph: Icon Home Entertainment

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA

This feelgood yarn has rough-around-the-edges Kiwi biker Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) travelling from New Zealand to Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, aiming to beat the land speed record (just north of 200mph) on his trusty 1920 Indian Scout motorbike. A true story, it was filmed on location on an expansive salt pan in northwestern Utah that attracts petrolhead pilgrims to the annual Bonneville Speedway every summer. It also pops up in ‘Mad Men’, when a sweat-mottled Don Draper manages to blag a drive in a 1970 Chevelle SS, and ‘Independence Day’ . It’s another reason why anyone embarking on a movie-themed road trip should head straight for Utah. PDS

Lost City of Z
Lost City of Z
Photograph: Aidan Monaghan

The Lost City Of Z (2016)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Colombia has been South America’s go-to country for big-screen adventure since the days of
Romancing the Stone’ and ‘The Mission’ in the ’80s. It offers a suitably mysterious landscape in James Grey’s dazzling epic about a British explorer (Charlie Hunnam) trying to find an undiscovered civilisation in the early twentieth century. Robert Pattinson joins him as a fellow military man with Ray Mears-like knowledge of the Amazon jungle. Grey and his crew used the Colombian Caribbean town of Santa Marta as a base, but you’ll need to head into the Tayrona National Park – the film’s Amazon scenes were filmed on the nearby Don Diego River – to follow in R-Patz’s and co’s boot prints. PDS 

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Skyfall
Skyfall
Photograph: Francois Duhamel

Skyfall (2012)

Film Action and adventure

Destination: Istanbul, Turkey

There’s not many desirable locations that 007 hasn’t passed through over his 25 film outings. The Caribbean has been a popular pitstop, right from his first film outing in ‘Dr No’, while he’s ticked off more European capitals than a 19-year-old Interrailer. One of them, Istanbul, has hosted the big man three times and just about emerged unscathed. In ‘Skyfall’, Daniel Craig’s Bond takes us on a high-speed tour of the city’s vast and labyrinthine Grand Bazaar in pursuit of a mercenary with a vital hard drive. One day, he’ll go back and just have a nice browse instead. PDS

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Photograph: Laurie Sparham

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Film Comedy

Destination: Lech, Austria

Beyond James Bond, ski resorts are a rare sight in movies. After all, there’s only so much drama to be juiced from fondue evenings and teenagers necking pints, right? Wrong! Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger), who could ring drama from an empty packet of ready salted, delivers her own inimitable brand when Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) whisks her off to the Austrian Alps, hurricaning down the slopes and into a pharmacy to request a pregnancy test in strangled German, worried that she is ‘mitt baby’. Hosting the mayhem is Lech, a resort that promises ‘200km of high alpine powder’ and at least one skiable chemist. PDS

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Unrelated
Unrelated
Photograph: New Wave

Unrelated (2007)

Film Drama

Destination: Tuscany, Italy 

A spiritual cousin to ‘The Green Ray’, another movie that sets a woman’s personal crisis against a woozy summer holiday backdrop, Joanna Hogg’s debut film has fortysomething Anna (Kathryn Worth) joining some friends at their villa in Tuscany where she finds herself gravitating towards their young public school-y offspring – led by Tom Hiddleston in his first film role. It’s all surprisingly edgy stuff and culminates in a barney for the ages but the setting is to die for: the holidaying families staying in villa on the San Fabiano Estate just outside Siena, a world of rolling hills and olive groves. It’s a real B&B so you can check in any time; you just might not want to leave. PDS

Out of Africa
Out of Africa
Photograph: Universal Pictures UK

Out of Africa (1985)

Film

Destination: Chyulu Hills, Kenya

Your grandma’s favourite film has Danish farmer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and Tiger Moth-flying big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) falling in love on the Kenyan savannah, despite the presence of hungry lions and (irksomely) an actual Mr Blixen (the astonishing Klaus Maria Brandauer). It all goes on for ages which allows for plenty of time to take in the sweeping African landscapes, replete with watering holes, green hills and the vast, sunbaked expanse of the Great Rift Valley. If you’re looking for the ‘Out of Africa’ experience, head for Kenya’s Chyulu Hills where the film was shot. PDS

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The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
Photograph: Warners Bros.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

Destination: New Zealand 

The action is plentiful in the big-screen adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s magical ’Lord of the Rings’ epic, but the setting is jaw-dropping enough to still be a distraction. While Frodo and his fellowship battle their way across Middle-earth to return the One Ring to Mordor, the only place where it can be destroyed, New Zealand’s sweeping plains, lush forests and snowcapped mountains are in the background like an 11-hour advert for Tourism New Zealand. A one-way ticket to Rivendell via Auckland International, please. EWA

The Green Ray
The Green Ray
Photograph: Arrow Films

The Green Ray (1986)

Film

Destination: St Jean-de-Luz, France

Sometimes a holiday isn’t enough. Secretary Delphine (played by director Éric Rohmer’s muse Marie Rivière) finds herself dumped and facing the prospect of being stuck in sweltering Paris for the summer (quelle horreur!). But trips to Cherbourg, the Alps and Biarritz only serve to make her feel more alienated – from smug couples, flirtatious singles, clueless tourists and the whole seething mass of humanity. Then, she finds a transcendent sunset in the Basque beach town of St Jean-de-Luz. Rohmer’s classic is not only a funny, magical exploration of human connection but a snapshot of a French summer – complete with dodgy holiday fashion. JM 

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