These 15 films make us want to travel

The Talented Mr Ripley

Which film sparks wanderlust with you? A quick poll around the office (okay, the couches of our #wfh team) revealed a take-me-there collection of classics from across the globe. Whether they inspired actual travel or just transport us to our happy place, these films create one beautiful binge.

  1. Eat Pray Love, 2010 / USA, India, Bali, Italy This sprawling visual feast was nominated by several H4C staffers as their top pick. “One woman’s quest for everything” encompasses a lusciously filmed journey across India, Italy and Bali. We mainly watch it for the scenery (and Javier Bardem). 
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Julia Roberts explores Ubud in Eat, Pray, Love. Photo: Sony Pictures

Go there: Film locations include Bali’s Ubud and Padang Padang Beach, Delhi and Pataudi in India, and Rome and Naples in Italy. For more scenic soul searching, see Diane Lane inspire us all to impulse-buy a Tuscan villa in Under the Tuscan Sun (filmed on location in Cortona, Tuscany). 

2. Lost in Translation, 2003 / Tokyo “This film really captures the essence of Tokyo. The crowds, the neon lights, fun karaoke clubs, luxe hotels, delicious food, shrines and temples — it’s got it all”. Nikki, Digital Manager

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Enjoy your own Lost in Translation moment at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Photo: Focus Features

Go there: Check in to the Park Hyatt Tokyo which sets the scene in Sofia Coppola’s Academy Award-winning gem starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Most other filming took place in Tokyo’s vibrant Shinjuku and Shibuya districts.

3. Richard Curtis movies / London They’re the charming, feel-good films we love to watch on repeat. Love, Actually; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Notting Hill; and Four Weddings & a Funeral were all written by Richard Curtis, whose cinematic love affair with London is an inspiration to all UK-bound travellers. 

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Bridget Jones’ Diary location Stoke Park

Go there: These films draw on a wealth of English locations, including Kensington Gardens, the London Eye, The National Gallery, Nobu restaurant, Portobello Road, and Notting Hill. Notable mention in Bridget Jones’ Diary is Stoke Park, an historic golf estate half an hour from London. Bridget and Daniel Cleaver’s (Hugh Grant) memorable mini break and rowing scenes were filmed here — you can even stay in their exact room, The Pennsylvania Suite.

4. Zorba the Greek, 1964 / Greek Islands “The music, the passion, the people’s outlook on life inspired me to want to experience everything firsthand and I wasn’t disappointed. The isles of Greece are out of this world, each one different to the next but the people are the same everywhere you go — loud, friendly, and full of life. Time to go back once we can travel again! Rhonda, Editor in Chief

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The Greek island of Crete is always a good idea. Photo: Alexander Slash/Unsplash

Go there: The film was shot on the Greek island of Crete. For more Greek Islands inspo, see Mamma Mia which was partly filmed on the tiny Greek island of Skopelos. 

5. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011 / Rajasthan, India “This film really captures the colour, chaos and charm of India and what it means to step out of your comfort zone. I travel to the desert state of Rajasthan every year, and watching this movie always takes me straight back to the thrills and wonderful places and sights in Jaipur and beyond – the bustling markets, the tuk-tuks, the religious festivals, the stunning sandstone step wells, and (my favourite!) the beautiful haveli hotel of Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel on the shores of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, where I’ve spent many memorable stays.” Natalie, Deputy Editor

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel location Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel

Go there: Filming took place around Rajasthan including the Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel, Castle Kanota, and Jaipur’s postcard-perfect Panna Meena Ka Kund Stepwell. 

6. To Catch a Thief, 1955 / France The seaside promenades and decadent hotels of the French Riviera threaten to steal the limelight at every turn in this classic Hitchcock mystery/romance. A tall order with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in the leading roles!

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To Catch a Thief via

Go there: Filmed on location in the south of France, primarily Cannes, Nice and the surrounding hills. 

7. The Piano, 1993 / New Zealand “A left-field love story, flawless performances, and a dramatically beautiful backdrop and soundtrack. What’s not to love about The Piano? New Zealand is top of my list when the skies reopen.” Nicole, staff writer

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The Piano location Karekare Beach via

Go there: The Piano was filmed at the black-sand beach of Karekare and in the surrounding rainforest. See The Lord of the Rings series for more incredible NZ locations.

8. Sideways, 2004 / California wine country One for the wine-lovers. Settle in with a glass of merlot for this offbeat comedy/buddy movie starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church and Sandra Oh, lovingly centred around the wineries of California. 

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Golden hour in Cali wine country. Photo: Sideways via

Go there: Almost all filming took place around the townships of Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley. You can even stay at the Sideways Inn in Buellton and drop in at neighbouring Ostrich Land (yes, it’s a thing).

9. La Vie En Rose, 2007 / Paris “The music of Edith Piaf still gives me goose bumps, taking me back to drinking wine and hearing her voice in the sidewalk cafes of Paris. I’ve been to Paris four times and each visit I discover another wonderful layer. I think I could go 50 times and always have a different holiday because the city hums with magic.” Rhonda, Editor in Chief

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La Vie en Rose location Le Bouillon Julien

Go there: Marion Cotillard nabbed an Oscar for her stellar performance as Edith Piaf, but the streets of Paris also take a major starring role, including regular Piaf haunt Brasserie Julien. For more Parisian inspo, see the charming Amélie which featuresCafé des Deux Moulin in Montmarte.

10. The Talented Mr Ripley, 1999 / Italy “With a stellar cast (Matt, Jude, Cate & Gwyneth never looked better) and even dreamier Italian locations, this psychological thriller from director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) sends me straight into Italian raptures. So disturbing yet so, so chic.” Nicole, staff writer

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Italy’s cliffside enclave of Positano is picture-perfect. Photo: Elias Arias/Unsplash

Go there: Shot largely on location around the cliffside resort town of Positano and the island of Procida, the film also features Rome and Venice. For more Italian inspo, see the far more upbeat and equally photogenic Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday

11. The Holiday, 2006 / England, California “We’ll trade our Queenslander for a cottage in the snow any day, so long as Jude Law makes an appearance!” Chelsea, Art Production & Social Media Manager

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Rosehill Cottage via

Go there: Much of this charming house-swap rom-com (starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) was filmed on location at a real San Marino residence and in the tiny, snow-dusted English township of Shere, Surrey. 

12. Tracks, 2013 / Australia Based on Robyn Davidson’s incredible 1977 desert trek (2700 kilometres across Western Australia with four camels and a dog), the remotely romantic scenery and immersive cinematography are epic. Mia Wasikowska as Robyn and Adam Driver as her sometime companion (National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan) also shine bright. 

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Tracks via Ascot Elite Entertainment

Go there: Tracks was largely filmed in the Flinders Ranges, Uluru, and Kings Creek Station in the Northern Territory. For another epic trek, see Wild with Reece Witherspoon, based on Cheryl Strayed’s healing (but gruelling) 4200-kilometre trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.

13. Buena Vista Social Club, 1999 / Cuba “This acclaimed documentary by German filmmaker Wim Wenders inspired our recent trip to Cuba. It follows guitarist Ry Cooder and his son as they travel to Cuba and assemble a group of the country’s finest musicians to record an album. Eventually the ensemble, including singer Ibrahim Ferrer and pianist Rubén González, travels to the United States to perform before rapt audiences.” Suzi, Account Manager

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Buena Vista Social Club

Go there: Much of this Academy Award-nominated doco was filmed in Cuba’s capital, Havana. 

14. Something’s Gotta Give, 2003 / The Hamptons, New York  Upstate New York’s elite holiday playground of The Hamptons is pure coastal-cool — and director Nancy Meyers captures it beautifully in this smart, funny rom-com starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Another office fave we could watch any day of the week, even just for the windswept beachfront and Erica’s awesome bedroom/office.

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Jack & Diane laugh it up on Flying Point Beach. Photo: Columbia Pictures Industries

Go there: Find the actual beach house at 576 Meadow Lane Southampton with Flying Point Beach nearby. If you prefer the streets of New York City, dip into the Woody Allen archives or re-watch When Harry Met Sally.

Fool’s Gold, 2008 / Australia “This Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson romp with a ‘treasure hunt’ twist is something of a guilty pleasure but the scenery is awesome!” Nicole, staff writer

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Fool’s Gold via Pinterest

Go there: Most scenes were filmed in Queensland, including Port Douglas, Fraser Island, Hamilton Island, Lizard Island, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. 

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