7 Travel-Themed Films That Will Inspire You To Explore The World

These travel-themed films feature vibrant cultures and unforgettable experiences that will make beautiful tapestries of memories.

The beauty of movies is that they give us the escape we need out of the hustle and bustle of life. It is a bonus if these cinematic gems tell not only heartwarming stories, but also show the beauty of the world’s captivating places and interesting cultures. Whether or not you’re seeking inspiration for your next adventure or if you just want a virtual escape from the real world, these travel-themed films will let you explore the globe from the comfort of your home.

Here are seven travel-themed films you should check out on your next binge-watching day.

READ ALSO: From Canvas To The Big Screen: Binge These Art-Themed Films Ahead Of World Art Day

“Under The Tuscan Sun” (2003)

The movie told the story of Frances Mayes, who learned that her husband has an affair with a writer who she gave a bad review to. Her best friend, Patti, encouraged her to tour Italy to lift her up from rock bottom. The trip led her to purchase a rural Tuscan villa and struggled to begin again, until she met Marcello. 

Under The Tuscan Sun, a travel-themed film set in Tuscany
Under The Tuscan Sun, a travel-themed film set in Tuscany/Photo from IMDb

Visit Tuscany, the official tourism website of the Italian region, said the romantic comedy primarily took place in the town of Cortona. Its views consist of medieval architecture, ancient palazzos (Italian houses), narrow cobbled streets, artisan shops, and trattorias (restaurants).

A panoramic view of Cortona, Italy
A panoramic view of Cortona, Italy/Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Other key filming locations in the town include the piazza della Repubblica (Republic Square) and Villa Laura. The piazza is one of the most famous squares in Florence, which used to be the site of Romans’ forums in the town. 

“Under The Tuscan Sun” used the historic “Piazza della repubblica” for scenes in the film
“Under The Tuscan Sun” used the historic “Piazza della repubblica” for scenes in the film/Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Villa Laura, or popularly known as Villa Bramasole from the film, was purchased in 2006. The owners performed a thorough restoration for the villa, which was formerly a ruin, from 2006 to 2010.

Villa Laura, also called Villa Bramasole, made the film more appealing due to its scenic nature
Villa Laura, also called Villa Bramasole, made the film more appealing due to its scenic nature/Photo from Villa Vacations’ website

The property has a villa, farmhouse, a rose garden, and a marble swimming pool. It is available to rent for €14,000 or more than $15,000 per night.

“Under The Tuscan Sun,” Frances Mayes’ memoir, taught us that “Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.”

“The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants” (2005)

Four best friends named Bridget (Blake Lively), Carmen (America Ferrera), Lena (Alexis Bledel) and Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), live in Maryland and spend many summers together. That is until they finally went their separate ways for a few months. However, one thing connects them all to each other, which they all took turns sharing: a pair of pants that fit all of them.

“The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants” is one of many travel-themed films that shot scenes in Greece. 

The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants showed some scenes in Mexico and Greece. They shot in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where Lively’s character, Bridget, went to soccer camp. Cabo is a known Mexican destination for luxurious spas, hotels and resorts, golf courses, and other activities fit for active lifestyles or laid-back leisures. Visitors will delight in its awe-inspiring clear waters and desert landscapes. 

Bledel’s character, Lena, went to Greece to visit her grandparents. According to IMDb, they did scenes in Santorini’s Oía, Cyclades, in Greece. They particularly used the HELIOS Cave House, a two-bedroom accommodation that is popular for its sunset views. Visitors and locals gather in the village’s streets or rooftops to bask in the notable Oía sunset

Enjoy the gorgeous village of Oia in Santorini, Greece
Enjoy the gorgeous village of Oia in Santorini, Greece/Photo from HELIOS Cave House via Airbnb

“The Darjeeling Limited” (2007)

Three brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), meet again for a train trip across India. They have been estranged since their father’s passing and went through individual challenges in life. Francis disclosed the reason behind the trip, and it was to visit their mother in a Himalayan convent. The Darjeeling Limited covers humor, desolation, coming together, and a spectacular backdrop of India’s sceneries and culture. 

Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited” mainly filmed in Rajasthan, India.

Travel and Leisure Asia reported filming in northwestern India’s Rajasthan, specifically in Udaipur and Jodhpur. The locations feature the bustling bazaars, lakes, sands, and the train Rajasthan on Wheels, which became the fictitious Darjeeling Limited, added a rustic flavor to the film’s overall vibe. Rajasthan is known for its historical hill forts and ingeniously-built palaces. It is also known as “The Land of Kings.” 

Rajasthan’s towns and cities include Nagaur, home to the state’s largest saltwater lake; Tonk for its havelis and mosques; Bhilwara, home to a multitude of textiles; Pushkar, where people hold fairs and festivals; and Sriganganagar, Rajasthan’s food basket, among other attractions.

Rajasthan is known for its palaces, deserts, traditions, textiles, and food.

The state is a frequent site for filming, too. Bollywood projects shoot there, as well as movies like The Dark Knight Rises, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Holy Smoke!, and Octopussy.

“Mamma Mia” (2008)

Mamma Mia and its 2018 sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again told the life of hotelier Donna who lived in the Greek islands and her daughter, Sophie. The first film explored the latter’s wedding with a side mission of figuring out who her father was through inviting three men from Donna’s past. They all ended up being there for Sophie as her dads.

“Mamma Mia” took place on the fictional island of Kalokairi, which is called Skopelos in real life.

The sequel showed Sophie restoring Hotel Bella Donna. They also commemorated her mother’s legacy with Donna’s friends, her beau Sky, and her three fathers, and the rest of their family and friends.

Scenes from “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” were filmed in Croatia.

Both films spent the majority of their shooting in Greece, as the story is set in the fictional island of Kalokairi. They did scenes in Skopelos, Skiathos, and in Damouchari, Pelion, Greece. 

Skopelos is popular for its crystal clear waters, particularly the beaches of Kastani and Glisteri. The Agios Ioannis in Kastri is also an iconic location in Skopelos as this is the church where Donna and Sam, one of Sophie’s fathers, got married in the film.

Agios Ioannis in Kastri showcases a striking view of blue waters and lush islands
Agios Ioannis in Kastri showcases a striking view of blue waters and lush islands/Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again highlighted the destination Vis, Croatia, known for its beautiful island standing on open seas. Travel + Leisure mentioned less than 5,000 people live there, but there is still plenty to do. Tourists can do wine tasting, visiting their beaches and caves, and touring the Mamma Mia spots.

“Eat, Pray, Love” (2010)

The story of Eat Pray Love begins with a premise that Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thinks she has everything. She has a home, a husband, and a thriving career. However, she becomes divorced and forgets what is important to her. This led her to a journey of introspection that takes her to India, Italy, and Bali. 

“Eat Pray Love” is one of various travel-themed films tackling self discovery and love, found in the most unexpected places.

Bali, the Island of the Gods, is known for its ancient temples, resorts, stunning sunsets, its vibrant nightlife, cultural centers and prolific natural tourist attractions, like the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud, where Roberts’ is seen biking in the film. Padang Padang served as the location for the beach scenes in the movie, too. Visitors may also rent the villa the film used for filming here, which overlooks the rice fields.

Julia Roberts’ Bali scenes in “Eat Pray Love.”

Eat Pray Love also did scenes in Rome and Naples. These locations consist of Castel Sant’Angelo, Mausoleum of Augustus, Piazza Navona, and L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele among others. Rome is popular for its museums, the Colosseum, pasta, lamb, cheeses, and gelato; and Naples for pizza, where it originated. 

Liz (Roberts) immerses in Italian culture while visiting Rome and Naples in “Eat Pray Love.”

In the film, the heroine explored parts of India, too, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Pataudi. Hindustan Times mentioned they shot scenes at an ashram (monastery) in Pataudi Palace, where Roberts learned yoga and meditation from Indian gurus. They also filmed in Mirzapur Village, a city known for their carpet and brassware industries, and kajari and birha music.

“Midnight in Paris” (2011)

In Midnight In Paris, novelist Gil Pender went to the city of love with his fiancee, Inez. He found it appealing to tour the city alone and encountered strange revelers who swept him back to the 1920s for a night. He spent time with the past’s cultural heroes, ultimately leading to his dissatisfaction with the present.

“Midnight In Paris,” a travel-themed film, highlights how a man went back to 1920 to appreciate the period’s art and culture.

The film depicts countless remarkable views of Paris, but it did show various notable places. They stayed in the Hôtel Le Bristol, where they did the family accommodation scenes. 

The cast had scenes shot at the Musée Rodin, an art museum dedicated to highlight sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work. The Musée de l’Orangerie is a filming location too. It is where Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series found refuge. It also consists of art by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and Amedeo Modigliani, among others. The film peaked through Monet’s Garden in Giverny, where Monet lived from 1883 to 1926. 

Monet’s Garden is the momentous dwelling of Claude Monet in Giverny, France.

Locations in some scenes include restaurants like Le Grand Véfour, a historic and prestigious establishment serving gourmet French haute cuisine. 

Guy Martin is a three-star Michelin chef at the Le Grand Véfour, a restaurant that dates back more than 200 years.

Midnight In Paris is a delightful blend of fantasy and reality as it highlights the rich heritage and sights of the city of love. The film teaches its audiences that living in the present is essential and beneficial when you incorporate learnings from the past. 

“Tracks” (2013)

Tracks is a travel-themed film where people were skeptical of the protagonist, Robyn (Mia Wasikowska), of completing her quest. She intended to go on a solo trip across the desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with only her dog and four camels. It was an impossible journey, but she eventually reached her destination. 

“Tracks” is the story of Robyn Davidson, a writer who journeyed for more than 2,000 kilometers with only her dog and four camels.

Australia’s National Portrait Gallery revealed Robyn Davidson, the person the film inspired, was once a writer. A photographer named Rick Smolan intermittently joined her quest and found her fascinating. She reached her destination, which was 2,700 kilometers away, after nine months.

The Outback Camel Company, which does desert expeditions, said filming took place in South Australia and the Northern Territory. They shot scenes in the Flinders Ranges, the former region’s largest mountain ranges. For the latter region, they went to Uluru, a massive sandstone monolith; Coffin Bay, a place prominent for oysters; and Kings Creek Station, a cattle station with camping options.

South Australia is famous for its nature and wildlife, festivals, and food and wine. The Northern Territory is known for its silver barramundi, Aboriginal art works, Uluru’s sunset, waterfalls, and its panoramic desert scenes.

Banner photo from IMDb.

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