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39 Very Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Prepare to travel the world without leaving your own home with our list of 39 of the very best travel movies of all time.

Ready for a serious case of wanderlust? Travel around the globe with this selection of the best travel movies of all time. Selected by fellow travel bloggers who have each chosen their favourite travel movie this selection features films from every continent.

There are certainly more than one or two travel movies on this list that have inspired us to visit a particular destination. After watching Skyfall I was determined to make that drive through the Scottish Highlands and I can tell you it did not disappoint.

Enjoy this selection and prepare to add some beautiful destinations to your bucket list!

Best Travel Movies Set in Europe

Europe (multiple countries)

Before Sunrise; Before Sunset; Before Midnight

Year of release: This trilogy of films was released in 1995, 2005 and 2013

Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Synopsis: Set in Vienna Before Sunrise tells the story of a young American and a French student who spend an amazing day together. 9 years later their paths cross once again in Paris (Before Sunset) In the final film of the trilogy Before Midnight the couple spend a night in Greece reminiscing about past choices and their lives together.

Prepare to binge-watch these romantic dramas and enjoy the beautiful sights and scenery in Vienna, Paris and Greece.

Countries/places featured in this travel movie: Vienna, Paris, Greece

Chasing Liberty

Year of release – 2004

Starring – Mandy Moore, Matthew Good, Matt Harmon

Synopsis – Mandy Moore plays Anna, the daughter of the US president. While on a trip to Prague, Anna tries to get out of her father’s protection. She meets Ben and jumps onto the back of his motorbike to evade the secret service agents. They decide to go to Berlin for the Love Parade but get on the wrong train.

What ensues is a big adventure across Europe. After a romantic night in Venice, Anna and Ben start to fall for each other. They travel through Austria to Berlin, where Anna finds out Ben is actually an undercover agent tasked with protecting her. Heartbroken she returns home but she and Ben reconcile while she is on exchange at Oxford.

Countries/places featured – Prague, Venice, Berlin, London

Chosen by Sophie of Just Heading Out

England

The Holiday

Year of release: 2006

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black.

Travel Movie Synopsis: Two women on opposites sides of the world both find that they are fed-up with their love lives. Amanda, a LA-based movie-trailer producer, decides that she needs to get away.

She comes across a home swapping site where she finds a small cottage in Surrey, owned by Iris, a writer for a newspaper in London. Amanda inquires about the cottage and soon Iris is headed to Amanda’s LA mansion, while Amanda is headed to Iris’ cottage.

Both find that the lifestyle swap was much-needed as Iris finds friendship and love in LA, while Amanda falls for Iris’ brother in Surrey.

Countries/places featured: Los Angeles, USA and Surrey, UK

Chosen by Kylie Loyd of Catch the Drift travel blog

Downton Abbey

Year of release – 2019

Starring – Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Maggie Smith

Synopsis – Downton Abbey is a full-length, feature film based on the British TV series of the same name. It’s set in 1927 and once again the impressively large Highclere Castle (known as Downton Abbey in the film) takes centre stage as home for Lord Grantham and his family.

The storyline revolves around the King and Queen of England announcing a visit to Downton and all the commotion such a royal event creates.

The lighthearted storyline is peppered with a bit of romance, a failed attempt on the King’s life, clashes between household servants and drama over a royal inheritance. The Dowager Countess of Grantham also has a few hilarious one-liners fans have come to expect and love from actress Maggie Smith.

Country/places featured – Hampshire, England

Chosen by Karee of Our Woven Journey

Notting Hill

Year of release: 1999

Starring: Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant

Synopsis: Notting Hill is a British-American romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts. The film mostly takes place in London and features a book store owned by William Thacker (Hugh Grant) in Notting Hill.

The owner’s wife left him and so he moved in with a messy flatmate named Spike. In the bookstore, he meets a  famous American actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), and accidentally spills orange juice on her.

Before she leaves the store, she kisses William, and the two draw close together as the plot evolves. They fall in love despite their very different lives.

Countries/places featured: UK and USA

Chosen by Jackie from Jou Jou Travels

Scotland

Skyfall

Year of release – 2012

Starring – Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem

Synopsis – On a mission, James Bond is accidentally shot by a field agent (Moneypenny) & presumed dead.

When MI6 comes under attack, Bond comes out of hiding to track down the perpetrator. As head of the agency, M is challenged by the authorities as several agents lose their lives & she is left with Bond as the only person she can trust.

Their attacker reveals himself to be a former MI6 agent who was betrayed by M & is now exacting his revenge. Bond takes M to the safest place he knows…his childhood home in Scotland where an epic finale ensues.

Countries/places featured – Turkey, London, Japan, Shanghai, Glen Coe in Scotland

Chosen by Sue of Sue Where Why What

France

Midnight in Paris

Year of release – 2011

Starring – Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams.

While on holiday in Paris with his Fiancé and her family, ​screenwriter and aspiring novelist Gil Pender falls in love with the city and wonders about the possibility of moving there after they are married. His fiancé doesn’t share his passion for Paris and dismisses his idea.

One night while wandering the streets of the city Gil gets picked up by a vintage car and is immediately transported back to the roaring 1920s where he meets some of his literary idols and inspiration blooms.

Countries/places featured – Paris, France.

Chosen by Steph from Book It Let’s Go!

Amélie (also known as “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain”)

Year of release: 2001

Starring: Audrey Tautou & Mathieu Kassovitz

Amélie is a whimsical romantic comedy that tells the story of a painfully shy waitress. Isolated from others since childhood, Amélie finds magic in the world all around her.

One day, she finds a tin box hidden behind a loose brick in her apartment. The box is filled with childhood treasures from a boy who lived there decades ago.

She develops a complex strategy to secretly reunite the box with its former owner. When he is moved to tears over her act of kindness, Amélie decides to bring joy to those around her – and in the process finds happiness herself.

Countries/places featured: Montmartre neighbourhood of Paris, France

Chosen by Katy of A Rambling Unicorn

A Good Year

Year of release: 2006

Starring: Russell Crowe (Max) and Marion Cotillard (Fanny)

Synopsis: A Good Year is one of my favourite films set in France. The plot is set in Provence, amongst lavender fields and vineyards, starring Russel Crowe (Max) and Marion Cotillard (Fanny).  

After the death of his uncle, Max Skinner – a London-based investment banker inherits a château and vineyard in Provence, where he spent many summers during his childhood. Not interested in keeping the property, Max travels to France to sell it off as soon as possible, but things won’t go exactly as he planned…

This romantic comedy shows many beautiful places in Provence: the villages of BonnieuxCucuron, and Gordes in Vaucluse. There are some scenes shot in Marseille and Avignon too. 

Countries/places featured: Provence (France) and also London

Chosen by Elisa from France Bucket List

Julie and Julia

Year of release: 2009

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Julia Child and Julie Powell and how the former’s cookbook inspired Julie – a fledgeling writer – to attempt to cook all 524 recipes in one year.

While Julie struggles with the momentous task she has given herself we see flashbacks to Julia and her life in Paris.

Countries/places featured: Paris and New York

Italy

Roman Holiday

Year of Release 1953 (original) 1987 (Remake)

Starring Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck

Synopsis – Winner of three Academy Awards, this romantic comedy is the lighthearted story of a Princess Ann ( a character reportedly based on British royal Princess Margaret) who, while on an official European tour, catches a glimpse of Rome’s nightlife from her window and decides to escape the confines of a gruelling schedule of royal duties.

She meets American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who rescues her after she falls asleep in a public park. The following day she enjoys a day of freedom from the confines of her life of royalty while exploring the vibrant streets of Rome accompanied by Bradley.

Throughout their many adventures in Rome, they fall in love, with one of the most memorable scenes is a motorcycle scene where they drive past the iconic Coliseum. 

The charming film has a bittersweet ending as Princess Ann returns to royal duties, transformed by her experience in Rome, but never to see Bradley again. 

Countries/places featured: Set against the backdrop of  Rome, Italy, this black and white film is a romp through the Eternal City. It includes palaces such as Palazzo Brancaccio and Palazzo Barberini, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, and other atmospheric cafes, churches and piazzas.   

Chosen by Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel 

Under the Tuscan Sun

Year of release – 2003

Starring – Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan Raoul Bova, Kate Walsh, Pawel Szajda, Vincent Riotta

Synopsis – Frances Mayes is a writer who has recently divorced. Feeling depressed and lost at 35, she takes the advice of her best friend and spends 10 days in Tuscany.

While driving around the Tuscany countryside she spots a run-down villa in need of some TLC and impulsively buys it. She calls it Bramasole –“something that yearns for the sun” — and hires a team of Polish craftsmen to do the restoration.

Along the way they become her family, and her journey takes her through the love affair of two young people and a brief liaison with the handsome Marcello.

With the restoration complete and the birth of her best friend’s new baby, she finally realizes her dream of turning Bramasole from a house into a home.

Country/place featured – Cortana, Italy near Arezzo in Tuscany

Chosen by Lara of TravelinMad

Watch moreBest Italian TV series on Netflix & Amazon Prime to watch now!

Greece

Mama Mia (and Mamma Mia Here We Go Again)

Year of release: 2008 and 2018

Starring: Lily James, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, and Rita Wilson

Synopsis: Mama Mia began as a stage musical, and was later turned into a movie.  The story is about Sophie, a young girl about to be married. 

Sophie was raised by her single mom and never knew her father.  Before the wedding, she finds her mom’s journal and discovers 3 men she believes could be her dad.  Unsure of what to do, she invites all 3 to the wedding, hoping to solve the mystery and have her dad walk her down the aisle. 

As you can imagine, chaos ensues with these 3 long-lost loves all arriving at the same time.  Sophie’s mom is panicked, her mom’s crazy friends don’t help things at all, and the men have no idea why they are there!

This super cute movie is endearing and so fun to watch! It’s jammed packed with ABBA songs that will have you singing and dancing along.

Year of release: 2008 and 2018

Starring: Lily James, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, and Rita Wilson

Synopsis: Mama Mia began as a stage musical, and was later turned into a movie.  The story is about Sophie, a young girl about to be married. 

Sophie was raised by her single mom and never knew her father.  Before the wedding, she finds her mom’s journal and discovers 3 men she believes could be her dad.  Unsure of what to do, she invites all 3 to the wedding, hoping to solve the mystery and have her dad walk her down the aisle. 

As you can imagine, chaos ensues with these 3 long-lost loves all arriving at the same time.  Sophie’s mom is panicked, her mom’s crazy friends don’t help things at all, and the men have no idea why they are there!

This super cute movie is endearing and so fun to watch! It’s jammed packed with ABBA songs that will have you singing and dancing along.

Countries/places featured: Mama Mia was filmed in Skopelos Greece.  From the quaint and beautiful island to the gorgeous sea surrounding it, this movie will have you dreaming of a Greek getaway! 

Chosen by Chantelle of Flannels or Flip Flops

Iceland (Greenland)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Year of release – 2013

Starring – Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly, and Kathryn Hahn

Synopsis – Walter works for a magazine company as a photo editor and he daydreams about a life filled with adventure. But, he hasn’t taken any risks so far in life.

Walter is forced to find a missing photograph negative that is supposed to be used for the cover of the magazine.

As a result, Walter sets out on a grand escapade around the world to find the negative. This travel movie inspires viewers to be courageous and that it’s not too late to become the person you want to be. 

Countries/places featured in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Greenland, Iceland, Afghanistan, the Himalayas, and New York City

Chosen by Disha Smith of Disha Discovers

Spain

The Way

Year of release – 2010

Starring – Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez

Synopsis – The Way is a powerful story of fatherhood, faith and finding one’s way. Martin Sheen stars as Tom Avery, a doctor from America who goes to France following the death of his adult son (Emilio Estevez).

He travels in order to retrieve his son’s body and while on this journey he decides to walk the spiritual trail that led him down there: The Camino de Santiago – Way of Saint James. On this pilgrimage Tom finds himself grieving for Daniel but also finding some peace as well.

Countries/places featured – Hotel Continental (Saint-Jean Pied-de-Port), Hotel Akerreta (Spain), Mesón del Caballo Blanco (Pamplona), Alto del Perdón (Navarra), Albergue at the Monastery of Irache (Spain), Rincón de España (Burgos), Parador de León (Spain), Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

Chosen by Casandra Karpiak of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Year of release: 2008

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem.

Synopsis: Immersed in Barcelona’s luscious sensuality, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a funny, intelligent film by Woody Allen that shows love in all its manifestations.

Two young Americans, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) come to Barcelona on vacation. Vicky, intelligent and affectionate, is about to get married. She can’t wait to get married and misses her fiancé. Her friend Cristina is open to emotional and sexual adventures. She is the complete opposite of Vicky.

During their stay in Barcelona, both protagonists get caught up in an unconventional, romantic, and passionate romance with Juan Antonio (Javier Barden). “Life is short. Life is dull. Life is full of pain”.

The handsome painter Juan Antonio seduced two American women spending their holidays in sunny Spain with these words. He is a man who lives his life to the fullest, so he would like to experience love with both the prudent Vicky and the romantic Cristina.

He is a charismatic painter caught up in a turbulent and complicated relationship with his ex-wife, Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz). She still plays an important role in a man’s life and his new relationships.

Countries/places featured: Barcelona, Oviedo, Spain

Chosen by Agnes of The Van Escape

Watch moreBest TV series set in Spain

Belgium

In Bruges

Released – 2008

Starring – Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson

In Bruges is a crime film with a twist of comedy. Two Irish hit men find themselves in Bruges at the behest of their boss, without much explanation why.

While they wait for their orders, they explore Bruges and befriend some of the cast and crew of a local film set. These new friendships soon result in violence, debauchery and drug-fuelled mayhem.

Expect a touch of romance, a splash of black humour and a tale of two friends that find themselves pitted against their boss. Watch ‘In Bruges’ if you enjoy a bit of action and a lot of laughs.  

Countries/places features – Bruges, Belgium

Recommended by Kerry Hanson from Veggtravel – Veggie Adventures Worldwide 

Best Travel Movies Set in Africa

Egypt

The English Patient   

Year of release – 1996   

Starring – Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Willem Dafoe

Synopsis – The movie was based on a 1996 novel of the same name. With a backdrop of World War II, in a monastery in Italy, a nurse Hana took care of a seriously burned patient, who couldn’t remember his name.

They were later joined by a Canadian intelligence operative, David, and together with Hana, they learned that the patient was a Hungarian cartographer, who was exploring the North Africa region. He had an affair with a married British aerial surveyor, Katherine.   

Later, Hana and David discovered more and more about the patient’s tragic past in the course of his affair with Katherine in Africa from his belongings and flashbacks…    

Countries/places featured – While the story took place in Egypt and the Sahara, a number of scenes were filmed in Tunis, El Mahdia, and Sfax in Tunisia; considering the less-developed historic cities are a better depiction of Cairo in the 1930s.    

Uganda/Rwanda

Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

Year of release: 1988

Starring: Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: This film is an adaptation of Dian Fossey’s autobiography about her life and bond with the gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda.

Dian Fossey fought for the protection of the mountain gorillas and came into direct conflict with the poachers who threatened their existence.

If you have ever dreamt of seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat the vey fact that they still exist today is due in part to her work. Tragically Dian Fossey was murdered in 1995.

Countries/places featured: Zaire

Kenya

Out of Africa

Year of Release: 1985

Starring: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Klaus Maria Brandauer

Synopsis: Out of Africa is based loosely on the autobiographical book of the same name, written by Karen Blixen. The movie tells the story of a farm that Blixen once owned at the foot of the Ngong Hills in Kenya.

The majority of Out of Africa follows the different incidents that took place on the farm, her pioneering spirit, love and hardship, and safari memories.

The narrator paints Africa as a land of paradise, one that is less developed, closer to nature, and the way life was intended to be lived. The narrator finishes the tale with stories of tragedy.

Countries/places featured: The movie was filmed in Kenya. Locations included Shaba National Game Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve, and The Ngong Hills.

Chosen by Debbie of World Adventurists

Watch moreBest movies set in South Africa

Best Travel Movies Set in Asia

India

Lion

Year of release – 2016

Starring – Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar

Synopsis – The 2016 film Lion (which was nominated for six Academy Awards) tells the improbable but true story of Saroo Brierley. When Saroo was five years old, he fell asleep on a train in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and woke up alone in Calcutta (now Kolkata).

His real name was Sheru Munshi — Sheru translates from Hindi to English as lion — and his village was Ganesh Talai, but he couldn’t remember these details properly and was put in an orphanage. Eventually, he was adopted by an Australian couple and lived there happily until adulthood, when he started to search for his biological family.

The film is set in both India and Australia and depicts the arid landscapes of Madhya Pradesh, the teeming city of Kolkata, and coastal Australia. The emotional landscape of the film is extremely well portrayed by Dev Patel as Saroo and Nicole Kidman as his adoptive mom Sue Brierley.

It’s a tear-jerker of the first order that probes ideas of home, motherly love, and personal identity. It’s one of the best films about India I have ever seen. 

Countries/places featured – Madhya Pradesh and Kolkata, India and Tasmania, Australia

Chosen by Mariellen of Breathe Dream Go

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Year of release – 2011

Starring – Dev Patel, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, and Tom Wilkinson

Synopsis –  Six British retirees decide to move to the rose-coloured city of Jaipur, India and book a ticket to stay at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. When they arrive, they find out the hotel is a rundown site for-sore-eyes. The hotel’s incompetent yet enthusiastic manager (played by Dev Patel) introduces the guests to life in India, and adventure ensues. 

The guests experience culture shock, long walks exploring the vibrant city streets, finding local jobs, new friendships, love, and more. The movie is a romantic ode to India’s beauty and culture. 

Country/cities featured – The film is set in the Rajasthan region of India, featuring the colourful streets of the pink city of Jaipur and the sparkling lakeside of Udaipur. 

Chosen by Haley Blackall of haleyblackall.com

Thailand

The Beach

Year of release: 2000

Starring: Leonardo di Caprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen 

Synopsis: Based on the cult novel by Alex Garland, The Beach tells a tale of a secret island far from the madness and excess of civilisation, a tantalising beacon for travellers searching for more than the ordinary.

It is a movie of stark contrasts, the bustle and excess of Bangkok against the beautiful and peaceful sanctuary that is the hidden Beach, and the horror it becomes as the outside world crashes in and relationships in the community implode, leaving the members to question what it is worth to keep paradise a secret. 

Countries/places featured: Thailand

Chosen by Holly of Globeblogging 

Japan

Lost in Translation

Year of release – 2003

Starring – Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray

Director – Sofia Coppola

Synopsis – A middle-aged actor (Bob) goes to Tokyo for photoshoots and tv ads, where he meets a young woman (Charlotte) who is accompanying her husband also on the trip. Charlotte is looking for “her place in life,” and Bob is going through a midlife crisis. 

They are both in a relationship, but feel lonely and start spending time with each other. Despite being different, they feel similar and develop a bond, as unlikely as genuine and meaningful. 

Countries/places featured – Tokyo, Japan

Chosen by By Jorge & Cláudia from Travel Drafts

Tibet

Seven Years in Tibet

Year of release: 1997

Starring: Brad Pitt

Synopsis: An Austrian climber named Heinrich Harrer is obsessed with climbing the Himalayan peak of Nanga Parbat and travels to Tibet just as war breaks out in Europe.

Once he arrives in the holy city of Lhasa he is employed as an instructor for the 14th Dalai Lama. Their friendship develops and they become close friends.

The film depicts the take over of Tibet by the Chinese and the fleeing of the Dalai Lama into exile.

Countries/places featured: Tibet, Himalayas

Indonesia (Bali), India (& Italy)

Eat Pray Love

Starring: Julia Roberts.

Synopsis: Based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert we follow her journey around the world as she searchers for meaning in her following her divorce.

She heads to Italy – “Eat”, India “Pray” and finally Indonesia “Love” While the book (and the film) have divided people with its depiction of women and consumerism it does showcase the beauty of Bali and was definitely an inspiration for a trip we took to the island.

Countries/places featured: New York, Rome Italy, Pataudi India and Ubud and other destinations in Bali

Year of release: 2010

Best Travel Movies Set in the Middle East

Afghanistan

The Kite Runner

Year of release: 2007

Starring: Khalid Abdalla, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, Atossa Leoni

Synopsis: Based on the bestseller novel of Afghan American writer Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner follows the life of Amir, a Pashtun kid that grew up in Kabul during the 1970’s, and his Hazara friend/server Hassan.

While tumultuous events shaped the faith of Afghanistan (from the fall of the monarchy, to the Soviet invasion, to the rise of the Taliban), we follow Amir’s journey of treason, guilt and growth.

It’s far from an uplifting movie, but it renders a good picture to understand how historical events affected today’s Afghanistan, especially around ethnic discrimination, and it’s a good place to start to get some insights on the geopolitics of traveling to the country.

Countries/places featured: Afghanistan, Pakistan, United States.

Chosen by Coni of Experiencing the Globe

Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Year of release: 2011

Starring: Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked

Synopsis: Based on a novel of the same name by Paul Torday, Salmon Fishing in Yemen is a romantic drama film where a British fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) is recruited to bring the salmon fishing in the Yemeni desert, as per the request of a sheikh (Amr Waked).

This movie opens dialogue on the politics of Britain and Yemen and urges the audience to dream big – even when cultivating salmon in a desert river might sound like an absurd idea! Woven with the subtle romance between Blunt and McGregor, this film also features the faith of bringing a simple idea to fruition

Countries/places featured: the United Kingdom, Yemen

Chosen by Lavinia of Continent Hop

Best Travel Movies Set in Oceania

Australia

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Year of release – 1994

Starring – Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terrence Stamp

Synopsis – The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert is an outrageously funny and flamboyant musical that tells the story of three drag queens driving across the Australian desert in a bus named “Priscilla”.

The performers head off for a four-week gig at a resort in Alice Springs – a remote town in the Northern Territory. Their extravagant costumes and performances are a stark contrast against the arid landscape of central Australia and attract plenty of attention, not always of the good kind.

They meet unique people along the way and experience the unexpected self-discovery that often comes with road trips. The film will have you wanting to start packing for your own Australian road trip adventure! 

Countries/places featured – Australia, including Sydney, Broken Hill, Coober Pedy, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs

Chosen by Holly from Four Around The World 

Australia

Year of release – 2008

Starring – Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Walters, David Wenham, Ursula Yovich, David Gulpilil

Synopsis –  If you are looking for an epic travel film with sweeping views of the dramatic Australian landscape, Australia is the movie for you. It is a romance and adventure story that unfolds in Australia before and during World War II. 

Refined Lady Sarah Ashley travels from England to the outback and matures into a strong and resourceful owner of a massive cattle ranch.

She forges a relationship with the Drover to try to save the ranch from a takeover plot. The film is often narrated by young Nullah, a skillfully played character of mixed race as he struggles to find his way in the complex society of 1939. 

With a running time of almost three hours, get your popcorn and settle in for the evening as you explore Australia from home.

Countries/places featured – Australia, specifically Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Chosen by Erica at Trip Scholars

Tracks

Year of release: 2013

Starring: Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver

Synopsis: Everyone has fantasized about escaping from society to be alone in the beauty of nature. Tracks is an inspiring true story about Robyn Davidson, a young woman who did just that.

The movie takes place in 1975. Davidson undertakes a 1700 mile trek on foot across the Australian desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. The solo journey of self-discovery will take her 6 months to travel with only four camels and her faithful dog. 

 Davidson’s hike was documented monthly by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolen who captured the stunning scenery and local tribes along the way. Davidson’s ferocity and courage will inspire.

Countries/places featured: Northern and Western Territories of Australia. The Gibson Desert and the Indian Ocean

Chosen by Carol Vasel of IsThisEvenaRoad.com 

Watch more – Best Australian TV Shows on Netflix

Best Travel Movies Set in North America

Into the Wild

Year of Release: 2007

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone and Catherine Keene

Synopsis: Into the Wild, which is based on the bestselling book by Jon Krakauer, follows the story of a young Christopher McCandless who leaves the trappings of his wealthy family life to living as an itinerant traveller.

McCandless’s adventure takes the viewer on a journey across the forgotten underbelly of American society, through pristine wilderness areas like the Pacific Crest Trail and culminates in Alaska, were he lives out his fantasy of surviving alone in the wilderness.

The outstanding cinematography and soundtrack combine to paint a beautiful montage of America’s last true wilderness areas and this compelling real-life story will leave viewers both moved and inspired.

Places featured: (USA) The Pacific Crest Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Denali National Park, Lake Mead, Slab City

Chosen by Steve Rohan of thetripgoeson.com

A Walk in the Woods

Year of release: 2015

Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte

Synopsis: Based on the book of the same name by Bill Bryson the film depicts Bryson’s decision to walk the entire Appalachian Trail.

Bryson’s wife forbids him to walk the trail alone and after numerous attempts to find a walking partner eventually sets off with his friend Stephen.

The film follows their adventures along the way and the people they meet. After 3 months of walking they realise they have actually only covered half the trail…and well…you will have to watch the movie to see what happens!

Countries/places featured: Filmed in Georgia at Amicalola Falls State Park

Wild

Year of release: 2014

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern

Synopsis: Another epic hiking movie Wild follows the story of Cheryl Strayed a divorcee who decides to leave her home in Minnesota and hike the 1,100 mile Pacific Crest Trail.

During the hike we see flashbacks of Cheryl’s life and the traumas she has experienced which led her to the hike.

The film is based on Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Countries/places featured: Shot on location in Oregon and California.

Expedition Happiness

Year of release: 2017

Starring: Felix Starck and Selima Taibi

Synopsis: If you enjoy road trips then Expedition Happiness is the perfect travel movie for you.

It tells the story of a German film-maker, his girlfriend and their Burmese mountain dog. They buy an American school bus and convert it into a gorgeous campervan.

The movie follows the trio on their journey from Northern American to South America. It’s a documentary-style film but feels almost like fiction with lots of interesting encounters and adventures along the way.

The movie is quite raw and was filmed entirely by the couple without a camera team. It’s almost guaranteed to awaken nostalgia and wanderlust.

Countries/places featured: United States

Chosen by Victoria of Guide Your Travel

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Year of release: 1987

Starring: John Candy, Steve Martin

Synopsis: A road trip across America with 2 comic geniuses and you can’t really go wrong! Stranded due to bad weather an uptight executive (Martin) is forced to take to the road to try to get home to Chicago. Unfortunately, his companion on the road trip is a chatty, obnoxious salesman (Candy)

Countries/places featured: Kansas to Chicago though filming took place in New York state.

Best Travel Movies Set in South America

The Motorcycle Diaries

Starring – Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna

Year of release – 2004

Synopsis – Based on the personal diaries of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries follows the story of the young Che’s motorcycle journey from his home in Buenos Aires across the South American continent with a friend Alberto Granado.

While visiting some of the most emblematic places in the Americas on the journey, like the mountains of Patagonia and the ruins of Machu Picchu, the movie also shows El Che’s discovery along the way of the inequalities and injustices that would later lead to his revolutionary determination and fight alongside Fidel Castro in the mountains of Cuba.

Despite not being filmed in Cuba, this is a fascinating movie for travel to Cuba, where Che Guevara’s influence is still felt so strongly.  

Countries/places featured – Argentina, Chile, Peru

UP

Year of release – 2009

Starring – Ed Asner

Synopsis – ‘Up’ is an animated Pixar movie focusing on widower Carl’s quest to fulfil a promise to his late wife to visit Paradise Falls.

This fictional location is a place Carl and his wife dreamed about and saved for but their trip never happened as life events got in their way. ‘Up’ is a beautifully scripted, visually colourful movie about the longing to travel and how it can shape our dreams, lives and friendships.

The non-dialogue opening sequence which shows Carl and his beloved wife’s continually thwarted travel plans is very moving and inspired our family to make our long-held dream of a family gap year become a reality.

Countries/places featured – South America and the U.S

Chosen by Sinead of Map Made Memories