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Great movies that will make you want to travel.

Deidre Plotnick July 29, 2020
Happy family watching a movie on a laptop.
How many times has an amazing movie inspired you to want to travel to where that movie took place? Movies influence us in so many ways: we repeat expressions that characters say, copy what they wear and even start to use the products they use. For instance, after audiences saw the 2005 film Sideways, in which the two main characters travelled through Napa wine country sampling Pinot Noir, sales of the varietal increased by 170%1. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that the combined impact of stunning images, sound and famous actors can make us yearn to visit those far-flung destinations we see in glorious colour on the big screen.

Experience la dolce vita in Italy.

With its quaint villages, spectacular vistas and alluring culture, little wonder Italy is the backdrop of so many movies. The 1994 romance film Only You featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei takes viewers on a journey through romantic Venice, bustling Rome and the stunning Tuscany countryside. Viewers also follow the couple down the Amalfi Coast to picture-perfect Positano, as the love story unfolds. Well-seasoned travellers may recognize the famous Le Sirenuse hotel as being the location where all of the pool and hotel scenes took place.

In the charming romantic comedy Under The Tuscan Sun, Frances (Diane Lane) escapes to Tuscany to recover from her recent divorce. She happens upon an abandoned villa in the countryside which she buys to renovate. Meanwhile, she falls for a swarthy Italian lover Marcello (Raoul Bova) who whisks her through the countryside and cobblestone streets of Positano on his Vespa. Shot mainly in Cortona near Arezzo in Tuscany and in the hills around Tuoro sul Trasimeno, the movie transports viewers into the richness of life in the Tuscan countryside. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving Italian food, wine and perhaps even an Italian villa of your own.

Aerial view of Positano cliffs along Amalfi coast.
In the 1953 classic Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, European princess Ann (Hepburn) escapes her suffocating royal lifestyle by befriending American reporter Joe Bradley (Peck) who is unaware of her true identity. When he does find out Ann’s regal status, Joe promises his editor an exclusive interview with her. But of course, romance intervenes. As the story unfolds, the characters take the audience along to visit Rome’s most celebrated landmarks, including the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia and the Trevi Fountain. Take this self-guided walking tour and follow the same path that the characters did in the movie, only do it at your own pace. 

Another movie filmed in sun-drenched Italy was the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is hired to fly to Italy and bring back Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) the spoiled rich playboy who is also Marge’s (Gwenyth Paltrow) boyfriend. Sociopath Ripley gets so captivated by the grandeur of their lifestyle, that he will stop at nothing to become a part of it. As viewers follow the trio’s adventures in the fictional town of “Mongibello”, they are treated to stunning views of the cliffside resort town of Positano and various villages on the islands of Ischia and Procida, near Naples. Plan a trip with this complete list of locations, and pretend you too are living la dolce vita.

Discover the intrigue of Africa.

Out of Africa takes movie watchers on a journey of a completely different kind. Spoiler alert: between Meryl Streep and Robert Redford’s love story and the stunning scenery, you’ll likely fall in love with Kenya. This is the true story of Danish noblewoman Karen Blixen’s life running a coffee plantation in Kenya, where she has her love affair with the aristocratic big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton. As the tale unfolds, the audience is swept along to Maasai Mara, known as the Mara Triangle, where some of the most famous scenes were filmed. Witness the majestic wildlife on Africa’s game reserves without ever leaving your couch, or follow your adventurous spirit and see Africa for yourself, firsthand.
Three giraffes under acacia tree in the African savannah.

Take a calorie-free culinary tour of Europe.

Follow the British comedic duo of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they travel Europe while sampling local cuisine. The series began with The Trip, when “reporter” Coogan was assigned to go on a restaurant tour of North England and he decides to take his old friend Brydon along. The viewer is whisked off to accompany them for meals at six restaurants, and is treated to a side helping of beautiful British scenery along the way. The duo’s witty banter in this “documentary” format proved so successful that their culinary tours quickly grew to include The Trip to Greece, The Trip to Italy and The Trip to Spain.
People dining outside on an Italian piazza at dusk.

Take a 24-hour tour of Vienna.

In the 1995 film Before Sunrise, American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a Parisian student on the train travelling to Vienna. After forging a strong connection, the couple decides to get off in Vienna and spend the evening wandering the city together. As the couple explores, the audience explores Vienna along with them. The movie is filled with views of charming cobblestone streets and the baroque architecture that makes up this city where many of the world’s most celebrated music composers once lived. Follow in the characters’ footsteps as they wander the city while their whirlwind romance blossoms and discover how easy it is to fall in love with Vienna itself.
Pedestrian shopping mall in Vienna at dusk.

Say bonjour to Paris.

Directed by Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris is a romantic comedy starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates and Marion Cotillard, among others. A trip to the city of light has the young engaged couple encountering unexpected turmoil and romance, thanks to a little time travelling thrown in to keep things interesting. Audiences are treated to an inside view of Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, Palace of Versailles and the Musée Rodin without having to pay the price of admission. While you may not be able to recreate the witticisms that the movie is chock full of, you can visit all of the film’s locations that Woody Allen used to create the memorable story.
Pond in Monet’s garden in Giverny, outside of Paris.

Explore exotic India.

Experience India’s stunning colours, bustling cities and vibrant scenery without having to take a long flight to get you there. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel and many more, tells the story of how a group of British retirees travel to what promises to be an exotic hotel in India, only to arrive and find out that it’s not exactly as advertised. While the “Marigold Hotel” is an actual hotel, it’s actually called Ravla Khempur; it’s also way more luxurious than depicted in the film, which doesn’t show the true splendour of its interiors and pool. The hotel is also not located in busy Jaipur as the movie suggests, but it is in a small village in the quiet Rajasthani countryside. As the witty plot unfolds, the viewer is treated to vibrant scenes of bustling streets lined with resplendent palaces, temples and well, cows.
Person bending over colourful baskets of flowers in India.

Discover Germany without realizing you’re there.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, recounts the story of how the owner of an aging luxurious hotel, spent his younger years as a concierge during the hotel’s heyday. The cast of stars in the film reads like a list of Hollywood’s who’s who and includes Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law and many others. Spoiler alert: this murder-mystery-adventure-love story is set in a lavish pink Eastern European hotel that doesn’t really exist, in a city that also doesn’t exist. In fact, this film wasn’t even shot in Budapest! It was filmed in Germany, and many of the interior shots were actually filmed in the vacant Art Nouveau store in Görlitz called Görlitzer Warenhaus. The film also used Dresden and Bastei as backdrops for many scenes.
Starry sky above New Market in Dresden, Germany.
So if you’re looking for inspiration as to where to plan your next trip, a good place to turn to might be the movies! Watch a movie from the comfort of your own home and explore the world without leaving your couch. And when you’re ready to actually plan that next travel adventure, talk to the Travel Consultants at CAA. They have the insider knowledge about where to stay, where to visit and CAA Member-exclusive benefits and discounts on travel too.