Movies That Inspire Travel

Has a movie ever inspired your next vacation? Check out our list of films that have moved us to places all over the world in search of our own picture-perfect paradise.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland

Ben Stiller directs this film adaption of the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and stars as the hapless dreamer Mitty, who finally takes an adventure outside of his wild imagination. And what an adventure it is -- from jumping out of a helicopter off the coast of Greenland to skateboarding down Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Iceland is taking advantage of the film’s inspiring scenes and is offering Walter Mitty Tours of film locations, skateboards not included. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

The Great Gatsby, Long Island, NY

The Great Gatsby, Long Island, NY

This much-buzzed-about Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of literary classic The Great Gatsby spurred a huge interest this year in Long Island’s Gold Coast, where Gatsby lived in his lavish West Egg mansion. Everyone went gaga for Gatsby this year, including New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel, which invited guests to travel “ceaselessly back into the past” of the opulent Jazz era with their new Gatsby-inspired Fitzgerald Suite. 960 1280

Vince Kish  

Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Hawaii

Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Hawaii

The second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , is doing just that in tourism. Fans are following Katniss’ footsteps traveling to filming locations on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. The dense jungles and natural beaches there were the backdrop for 75th Hunger Games battle-to-the-death. And Kawela Bay, minutes from Turtle Bay resort (where cast stayed during filming), served as the saltwater lake Quell arena in the film. 960 1280

Max Kiesler, flickr  

Big Sur, Big Sur

Big Sur, Big Sur

Based on a Jack Kerouac novel, Sundance film Big Sur portrays the rugged and evocative beauty of California’s Central Coast. You can’t watch the film and not imagine hopping in your car to take a road trip down winding Pacific coast highways, complete with the sun on your face and the wind whipping through your hair. Donning a pair of Beat-inspired dark shades wouldn’t hurt, either. 960 1280

Medioimages/Photodisc  

Gravity, Space Travel

Gravity, Space Travel

After watching Sandra Bullock adrift in space in Gravity, the idea of space travel becomes even more intriguing. Luckily, for those that have the budget, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is set to make its inaugural flight to space in 2014. For a mere $250,000, you can finally realize your dream of being an astronaut and travel to the final frontier. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lee Daniels' The Butler, Washington, DC

Lee Daniels' The Butler, Washington, DC

Lee Daniels’ The Butler depicts the Civil Rights movement from a unique perspective – the White House butler. The man who inspired the film, Eugene Allen, worked in the White House for more than 30 years. Take a detour off the Mall, and celebrate more African American history on a tour of the U Street neighborhood, DC’s cultural center for the African American community from the Civil Rights movement to today. 960 1280

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Inside Llewyn Davis, NYC

Inside Llewyn Davis, NYC

Film and music lovers can’t get enough of Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers film that follows the 1960s folk scene in New York’s Greenwich Village. Take the “Greenwich Village Rock Tour” to walk the streets and visit the bars that your favorite musicians, like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, once did. Warning: desire to break out in song likely. 960 1280

iStock  

Before Midnight, Greece

Before Midnight, Greece

Greece isn’t a hard sell when it comes to travel. We are reminded of why this Mediterranean paradise is such a hot spot in Before Midnight, the “threequel" to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The filming location of Messenia in the southwest Peloponnese Peninsula has been off the radar for tourists. Until this film came out, of course. Sorry, Santorini and Mykonos, we have fallen in love again. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Adore, Australia

Adore, Australia

Adore, an Australian film about 2 old friends falling in love with each other’s son is a provocative tale. And the beaches where it was filmed are just as shocking … in how stunningly beautiful they are. Seal Rocks in New South Wales was the setting for the small town coastal paradise where the son swapping takes place, but the film had us lusting after any beach Down Under. 960 1280

Photographer: Mikulas Jaros  

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, South Africa

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, South Africa

The passing of Nelson Mandela and the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic about Mandela’s struggle to free South Africa, brings even more interest to the places that played an important role in his life. Just off Cape Town, Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was incarnated for almost 2 decades, offers tours to “honor a legacy of forgiveness.” Visiting the tiny cell where the civil rights leader spent so much of his life is sure to be both a powerful and unforgettable experience. 960 1280

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This latest installment of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy created a huge surge of tourism in New Zealand, where about 150 locations were used for Lord of the Rings’ scenes. The mecca of all Hobbit tourism is Hobbiton, private-farmland-turned-movie-set. You can tour the 44 hobbit holes set in the picturesque rolling hills of Matamata’s countryside to see how the furry-footed creatures live. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

While this film version shows very little of Russia or its famous landmarks (much of the action takes place on a theatre stage), it still inspires opulent travel of the old world sort. The scenes of Anna Karenina traveling in a lavish train car through the snow-covered open landscapes of Russia leave us dreaming of a similar trip: a luxury train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, touring historic St. Petersburg and dynamic Moscow. 960 1280

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Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Praised as the next Avatar due its stunning cinematography and special effects, this film adaptation of Yann Martel’s fantasy-adventure novel has sparked renewed interest in Taiwan. With mesmerizing scenes filmed at Kenting White Banyan Garden, Kenting National Park and Taipei Zoo, Taiwan is likely to be on many lists for top destinations in 2013. 960 1280

Harry Huang, flickr  

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Ever booked a trip just for a meal? You might after seeing this film. This documentary follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master, considered to be the world’s best sushi chef. But good luck trying to get a reservation at his restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in Tokyo; reservations must be made at least a month in advance and meals start at $300 a person. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hunger Games

Hunger Games

Super fans are insatiable when it comes to experiencing anything to do with Suzanne Collins’ novel about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, even flocking to the backwoods of North Carolina to see the film locations. Hunger Games Fans Tours is even offering immersive adventure weekend trips where participants learn basic survival skills like archery, shelter-building and special-effects camouflage. 960 1280

VisitNC.com  

On the Road

On the Road

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include this long-awaited film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel, which inspired a generation to get “on the road to nowhere.” Retrace Jack Kerouac's steps, visiting Beat landmarks across America, from New York's West Village to San Francisco's Jack Kerouac Alley. Keep the spontaneity theme going -- but skip the hitchhiking. 960 1280

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Skyfall

Skyfall

We’ve been envious of James Bond’s spy life ever since his exotic travels to Thailand in The Man with the Golden Gun and Sardinia in The Spy Who Loved Me. The 23rd Bond flick, Skyfall, is no less wanderlust-stirring, with dangerously alluring scenes shot in London, Scotland and Shanghai. 960 1280

Giancarlo Liguori  

Lincoln

Lincoln

History buffs and the Academy Awards alike can’t get enough of this film about our 16th president. Capturing the renewed interest in Lincoln destinations, tours are popping up this year in key cities such as Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA, retracing Lincoln’s steps and revealing history-rich locations. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon fishing in Yemen? Not so fast, warns Yemen’s tourism board after it saw a surge of interest in the activity following the release of this British romantic dramedy. While it's not exactly advisable for the average tourist to visit this Middle East country in the midst of recent civil unrest, if salmon fishing is what you’re after, try the much safer Seattle or Alaska. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love

In recent years, Woody Allen’s films have inspired some serious wanderlust. In 2012 Allen followed up Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris with his latest tale of love abroad, To Rome With Love. The film showcases several stories of seduction in one of the most irresistible cities in the world -- Roma! 960 1280

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A group of British seniors check in to the newly restored Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India, with visions of an exotic retirement, but arrive only to find the hotel on its heels. Proving that travel adventures aren't only for the young, this film shows India's dynamic and transformative appeal for all. Judi Dench's character echoes this sentiment: "India hits you like a wave. If you resist, you will be knocked down. But if you dive into it, you will be alright." 960 1280

Getty Images  

Twilight: Breaking Dawn II

Twilight: Breaking Dawn II

Cinematic merits aside, Twilight left us smitten -- and not with hunky werewolves or bloodsucking vampires but with its stunning filming locations in what is the last installment of Stephenie Meyer’s popular vampire saga. From the unspoiled La Push Beach, WA, to Alaska’s rugged Denali National Park, you don’t have to be a Twihard to feel the pull of these natural wonders. 960 1280

La Push Beach, Dave Morrow, flickr  

The Descendants -- Hawaii
Though Hawaii often serves as a beautiful background in movies, The Descendants offers us an insider’s view of the “real” Hawaii -- a paradise, yes, but also one that still has domestic dramas and real estate wars just like mainland US. But we still have plenty of reason to dream about the state’s warm blue waters and pristine beaches.
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Monica and Michael Sweet  

Midnight in Paris -- Paris
In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the City of Lights gets even more bewitching when the clock strikes midnight. For lucky Gil Bender, this is the magic hour when he can walk into 1920s Paris to muse with the day’s most famous writers and artists over aperitifs and jazz. But Paris will always be magical to us, no matter the era.
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TongRo Image Stock  

War Horse -- England
Steven Spielberg's War Horse is a World War I drama about a young man and his horse, with rural England as the stunning backdrop. Spielberg says the film's location, Dartmoor, is the third character: “There's no place like it in the world."
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Jupiterimages  

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Stockholm
With the success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Stockholm has seen a rise in tourism. Droves of fans have been heading to Sweden’s capital to search out the locations used in Stieg Larsson’s dark crime thrillers, even if some places don’t exist at all.
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Andrej Kropotov  

Drive -- LA
“There are 100,000 streets in this city …” says Ryan Gosling’s getaway-car driver character about LA in Drive. And he shows us many that most tourists won’t see, inspiring us to take our own detour of LA, preferably in an equally cool ride.
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Pirates of the Caribbean -- Caribbean
Lest we were about to tire of the Pirates franchise, this past year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, made up for it with stunning shots of the Caribbean: all remote, wild and magical.
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Creatas Images  

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -- Shanghai
In the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, we see contrasting scenes of both 19th-century and present-day Shanghai. With beautiful scenes of both periods, we’re equally inspired to see the temples and Chinese gardens of old Shanghai, as well as the designer hotels and metropolis cityscapes of the modern city.
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Cathryn Gallacher  

The Rum Diary-- Puerto Rico
The Rum Diary, staring Johnny Depp, shows Puerto Rico in 1960, with postcard-perfect scenes of colorful colonial buildings, pristine beaches and ever-flowing bottles of rum. What’s not travel-inspiring about that?
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David Madison  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Theme Park and England
What do Harry Potter fanatics do after all the movies are over? Hop on a broomstick, naturally, and fly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. Or visit locations such as the Alnwick Castle in England, a backdrop in the first 2 movies.
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Soul Surfer -- Hawaii
Soul Surfer is more than just another surf-and-travel movie; it’s not just about searching for the perfect wave. It tells the inspiring tale of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Whether or a not you surf, you’ll feel drawn to the waves and the film’s location in Kauai, HI.
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Goodshoot  

Hangover 2 -- Bangkok
Debauchery at its finest, Hangover 2 may not be on our list for its cinematic merits, but we know there’s a lot more to Bangkok than shady hotels and raucous nightlife. So this movie showed us what not to do when visiting.
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Medioimages/Photodisc  

Photos

Anthony Bourdain visits Sardinia, his wife's homeland, and enjoys a meal after a long day of shooting. 960 1280

  

The Ghost Adventures team braved daylight to shoot each other on a water taxi in Venice. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

After a day of cycling up the Monte Grappa in Italy's Veneto region, Dhani Jones learns how to cut homemade pasta. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

Sam Brown finds herself on a quiet street in Tuscany. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

Maybe yoga aids in digesting bizarre foods. Andrew Zimmern gives it a try at the Calengute Ayurveda Center in Goa, India. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

After feasting on vegetarian cuisine, Anthony Bourdain rests on a houseboat in Kerala, India. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

An Indian woman walks in the stunning Red Fort in Delhi. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

Andrew wears traditional dress at the cremation of a high priestess in Ubud, Bali. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

Sam Brown falls in love with Bali's lush landscapes and gracious people. 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

The most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, Bali is often referred to as "The Island of the Gods." 960 1280

"Eat, Pray, Love" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures, and is not associated with Travel Channel.  

13 Photos
The French Riviera

The French Riviera

The French Riviera is the setting for the annual Cannes Film Festival that brings Hollywood heavies to the picturesque waterfront town each year in May. 960 1280
Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

A broad view of Cannes prior to the annual film festival in France. 960 1280

Francois Durand / Getty Images  

66th Annual Cannes Film Fest

66th Annual Cannes Film Fest

A poster of legendary actors (and real-life duo) Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward is unveiled in advance of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in May 2013. 960 1280

Ming Yeung/Getty Images  

Cannes' Picture-Perfect Beaches

Cannes' Picture-Perfect Beaches

Located in France's Côte D'Azur (French Riviera), the annual Cannes International Film Festival draws Hollywood's elite and in the summer months the same beautiful crowd comes to enjoy the town's picture-perfect beaches and chic resorts. 960 1280

Reuters  

Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival

When not taking in the stars and films, visitors to the Venice Film Festival can navigate the canals courtesy of a gondola ride and take a stroll over the Rialto Bridge. 960 1280

Eric Delmar  

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is a 10-day event held every January in Park City, UT, showcasing independent movies from all over the world. Named for Robert Redford's character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the festival has seen Redford play an integral part in building the festival's status over the years. 960 1280

Sundance Film Festival  

Park City's Main Street

Park City's Main Street

Snowy Main Street is a hub of activity during the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. 960 1280

Reuters  

Berlin International Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival

The crowd buzzes at the Berlinale-Palast for the opening night of the Berlin International Film Festival. 960 1280

Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin   

Hong Kong International Film Festival

Hong Kong International Film Festival

Workers erect the largest outdoor airscreen, which is 39 feet high and 79 feet wide in Asia at the Tamar site during the Hong Kong International Film Festival. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca, one of downtown Manhattan's hippest neighborhoods, hosts the annual Tribeca Film Festival each year in the spring. 960 1280

Jason Rodman, flickr  

Tribeca Talks: Directors Series

Tribeca Talks: Directors Series

Film lovers line up to hear actor-director Clint Eastwood and Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky at the Tribeca Talks: Directors Series at the April 2013 festival in NYC. 960 1280

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images  

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

Actors, filmmakers and other industry insiders head to Toronto each fall for the Toronto International Film Festival. 960 1280

Getty  

Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall

Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall

Workers prepare the red carpet area at Roy Thomson Hall for the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. 960 1280

Reuters  

The Descendants -- Hawaii
Though Hawaii often serves as a beautiful background in movies, The Descendants offers us an insider’s view of the “real” Hawaii -- a paradise, yes, but also one that still has domestic dramas and real estate wars just like mainland US. But we still have plenty of reason to dream about the state’s warm blue waters and pristine beaches.
960 1280

Monica and Michael Sweet  

Midnight in Paris -- Paris
In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the City of Lights gets even more bewitching when the clock strikes midnight. For lucky Gil Bender, this is the magic hour when he can walk into 1920s Paris to muse with the day’s most famous writers and artists over aperitifs and jazz. But Paris will always be magical to us, no matter the era.
960 1280

TongRo Image Stock  

War Horse -- England
Steven Spielberg's War Horse is a World War I drama about a young man and his horse, with rural England as the stunning backdrop. Spielberg says the film's location, Dartmoor, is the third character: “There's no place like it in the world."
960 1280

Jupiterimages  

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Stockholm
With the success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Stockholm has seen a rise in tourism. Droves of fans have been heading to Sweden’s capital to search out the locations used in Stieg Larsson’s dark crime thrillers, even if some places don’t exist at all.
960 1280

Andrej Kropotov  

Drive -- LA
“There are 100,000 streets in this city …” says Ryan Gosling’s getaway-car driver character about LA in Drive. And he shows us many that most tourists won’t see, inspiring us to take our own detour of LA, preferably in an equally cool ride.
960 1280

  

Pirates of the Caribbean -- Caribbean
Lest we were about to tire of the Pirates franchise, this past year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, made up for it with stunning shots of the Caribbean: all remote, wild and magical.
960 1280

Creatas Images  

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -- Shanghai
In the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, we see contrasting scenes of both 19th-century and present-day Shanghai. With beautiful scenes of both periods, we’re equally inspired to see the temples and Chinese gardens of old Shanghai, as well as the designer hotels and metropolis cityscapes of the modern city.
960 1280

Cathryn Gallacher  

The Rum Diary-- Puerto Rico
The Rum Diary, staring Johnny Depp, shows Puerto Rico in 1960, with postcard-perfect scenes of colorful colonial buildings, pristine beaches and ever-flowing bottles of rum. What’s not travel-inspiring about that?
960 1280

David Madison  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Theme Park and England
What do Harry Potter fanatics do after all the movies are over? Hop on a broomstick, naturally, and fly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. Or visit locations such as the Alnwick Castle in England, a backdrop in the first 2 movies.
960 1280

  

Soul Surfer -- Hawaii
Soul Surfer is more than just another surf-and-travel movie; it’s not just about searching for the perfect wave. It tells the inspiring tale of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Whether or a not you surf, you’ll feel drawn to the waves and the film’s location in Kauai, HI.
960 1280

Goodshoot  

Hangover 2 -- Bangkok
Debauchery at its finest, Hangover 2 may not be on our list for its cinematic merits, but we know there’s a lot more to Bangkok than shady hotels and raucous nightlife. So this movie showed us what not to do when visiting.
960 1280

Medioimages/Photodisc