Top Films to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Need some travel flicks to chill with and fuel your wanderlust?
We’ve got you covered.



20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
The Sound of Music (1965) 

The hills are alive in this classic that is guaranteed to be one of your favorite things.

The Third Man (1949) 

Carol Reed’s noir is a rare glimpse into history, as a post-war Vienna sulks in rubble and vices run rampant. You can still ride the prater wheel from Orson Welles’ “cuckoo clock” speech. If you don’t know what that means, good for you. Stay outside.

Before Sunrise (1995) 

Jesse and Céline begin their 20-year love story. Linklater’s film explores human nature under the belief of never seeing one another again.



In Bruges (2008) 

The Belgian city of Bruges is the main player in this neo-noir about cat-and-mouse with karma.


Czech Republic

Anthropoid (2016) 

The bravery and badassery of the Heydrich assassination is a fascinating—and often underappreciated—story of WWII. See also: Operation: Daybreak (1975).

Pelíšky (1999) 

An icon in Czech filmography, Pelíšky is like A Christmas Story with dark, poignant undertones. The dichotomy of a dysfunctional family comedy set to the backdrop of the 1968 Prague Spring is a heartbreakingly human perspective on a moment in history that shook a nation for the decades that followed.



There are literally thousands of options here, including the James Bond, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes franchises.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) 

Humor and violence converge in this stylized, fast-paced spy flick. As the credits begin their roll, you won’t help but smile and say, “That was awesome.”

Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (2004, 2007, 2013) 

The loosely connected collaborations by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are better known for their individual titles: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.

About Time (2013) 

It’s more than the title suggests. Yes, it is about time, but it’s also about love, loss, family and living each moment to the fullest. Have tissues ready.



Cinephiles know that filmmaking, as we understand it today, was greatly influenced by French pioneers, from the Lumières’ technical innovations to Méliès’ first incarnation of the dream. Be sure to check out The Cinémathèque Française for an incredible deep-dive into film history.

Amélie (2001) 

Charming, quirky and full of idyllic shots of Paris, Amélie is what would happen if Zooey Deschanel was French. And a movie.

Hugo (2011) 

Don’t be fooled by the PG marketing—this is director Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema. Featuring stunning re-creations of the City of Light from the 1930s, Hugo gives much deserved closure to the story of Georges Méliès, one of the most prolific and influential filmmakers of all time.

Les Misérables (2012) 

A musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, the latest rendition does well to capture intertwining stories of redemption amidst the Paris Uprising of 1832. Our friend Oscar agrees.

Before Sunset (2004) 

Guess what? They saw each other again. Jesse and Céline take a walk through Paris, shot in real time, and talk about life some more. And it’s still awesome.

Midnight in Paris (2011) 

Woody Allen transports the audience back to a time when the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Picasso roamed the streets of Paris.



Inglourious Basterds (2009) 

There are so many powerful, heartbreaking and disturbing WWII depictions that you absolutely must see. This one is just a lot of fun—the way we wish history had unfolded.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) 

Munich gets the spotlight in this Bourne sequel, and you know what comes next: Shaky cam! Car chase! Explosion! Hand-to-hand combat! Phone calls! Explosion again! Cue Moby.

Bridge of Spies (2015) 

Steven Spielberg delivers his signature cinematic magic with a Cold War perspective of Berlin. Also, Tom Hanks.

Run Lola Run (1998) 

Three different outcomes of intertwining stories are explored in this fast-paced adrenaline rush through Berlin.



Mama Mia! (2008) 

Here we go again. My, my, how could we forget Pierce Brosnan straining those vocal chords harder than Russell Crowe in Les Mis?

300 (2006) 

This has to count, right? It totally counts.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005, 2008) 

If 300 wasn’t your cup of ouzo, try on this perfect-fit pair of movies about young adulthood.

Before Midnight (2013)

Jesse and Céline pick things up nine years after their Paris walk. This time, in Greece.



The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The second act in Amsterdam is a gorgeous representation of the city integral to the star-crossed plot. Who’s crying? I’m not. You are. Shut up.



Spy (2015)

An espionage thriller/comedy spanning all over Europe, Budapest drops a cameo for Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham’s bumbling misadventures.

Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (2011)

Ethan Hunt and the gang pull heists and kick ass from Europe to Dubai, with impossible stunts and crafty missions.  

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wes Anderson’s goofy, colorful classic takes place in a fictional region within Eastern Europe, but was inspired by the real deal.



Once (2006)

This indie-musical-turned-worldwide-sensation, the intimate, authentic performances of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová carry a story of love and heartbreak to tear-jerking heights. If you’re in Dublin, be sure to catch the stage production. Believe it or not, it’s even better.

Leap Year (2010)

Amy Adams. Matthew Goode. Ireland. So much about this movie is too beautiful.

P.S. I Love You (2007)

Prompted by letters penned by her late husband, a grief-stricken Hilary Swank embarks on a journey to unfurl the whimsies of her own love story. Very tears. Much sad. Wow.

Brooklyn (2015)

A young immigrant tries to balance love and life in 50s New York and her small town in Ireland. Heartwarming and poignant.



Gladiator (2000)

While the narrative may be fictionalized, the representation of the Empire is a stunning epic, with visuals that hold up 15 years later. Perhaps more impressive is that, nearly 2000 years later, the city doesn’t look much different than it did in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.

Read More: Travel Flick Picks: Rome

Casino Royale (2006)

The Bond flick that introduced us to Daniel Craig; it reminded us the Venice is, in fact, sinking. Read More: James Bond’s Greatest Moments in Venice

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Eat, Pray, Love meets A Good Year and Diane Lane; a story that proves a strong, independent woman don’t need no man. Unless it’s a tall, attractive Italian man.

The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003)

Hey now. THIS. THIS is what dreams are made of.

The Italian Job (2003)

Nothing says Italy like a Venetian heist with Markie Mark



The Pianist (2002)

Based on the memoir of Polish pianist/composer Władysław Szpilman, this World War II magnum opus deserved every award it raked in.

Demon (2015)

Beautiful and terrifying, this supernatural wedding drama deftly explores Poland’s divisive racial history while showing off its haunting countryside.



Braveheart (1995)

While Scots and historians alike will tell you the film is about as accurate as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, there is a true story behind the spectacle. James Horner’s sweeping score set to the backdrop of lush highlands are enough to make any wanderluster paint their face and book it up a mountain.

Brave (2012)

Hero Merida fights a ‘roided out witch-bear whilst simultaneously turning her mother into a friendly mom-bear and… okay, so it gets a little weird, and a lot of people get turned into bears.

Trainspotting (1996)

Ewan McGreggor leads this dark, disturbing and honest look at life in the shadows of addiction. As such, it has earned its wide regard as one of the best British films ever made.

Read More: Travel Flick Picks: Scotland



Man of La Mancha (1972)

With a plethora of Don Quixote adaptations to choose from, this fun, whimsical work adds a musical twist to Miguel de Cervantes’ classic.

The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006)

There. It’s on the list, okay?

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece, set in the wake of the Spanish Civil War, is an original, visceral, enigmatic and unforgettable journey into the juxtaposition of a young girl’s fantasy colliding with reality.



North Face (Nordwand) (2010)

The Eiger is a mountain of colossal proportions that must be seen to believe. The north face, also known as the “Murder Wall”, is one of the more notoriously dangerous climbs in the world. This is about the first guys to do it.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Though only the finale actually bears a Swiss setting, the Reichenbach Falls are a key element to Holmes and his most formidable adversary: Moriarty.



Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

A massive, chaotic, weird, bizarre and fantastic auto hunt across the Outback, featuring enough action to make anyone binge Downton Abbey for a few days after, just to calm down a bit. But you won’t. You never will. What a lovely day.

Australia (2008)

Baz Luhrmann’s knack for hyperbolizing emotion to evoke nuanced introspection is a brilliant balance of conceptual contrasts wrapped in an epic visual feast. You might get sick of the sap, but you won’t deny the beauty that is Australia.

Finding Nemo (2003)

The most adorable tale of murder, abduction and family issues that you’ve ever seen. P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney.

Read More: Travel Flick Picks: Australia


New Zealand

The Lord of the Rings (2001–2003)

Before CGI consumed cinema (and Peter Jackson’s mind), there was the soaring, dazzling, total perfection that was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gone is the excessive digital render; Tolkien’s Middle Earth setting is overwhelmingly palpable with New Zealand as the host.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Full of sharp wit and dry-humored hilarity, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) cowrote and directed this mockumentary of vampires cohabitating in Wellington, NZ.



The Mosquito Coast (1986)

Because almost nothing else was shot in Belize. This one has Harrison Ford, and is directed by the guy who did The Truman Show. So yeah.

Star Wars, sort of. (1977)

Yavin 4’s jungle base was technically shot at the Tikal ruins in Guatemala, but we make sure you visit that very place on Belize: Rainforests, Reefs & Ruins.


Costa Rica

JURASSIC PARK, 1993. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection
©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection
Jurassic Park (1993)

You know that one part,where the helicopter is flying and the music is all like, “da-na-naa-naa-naa, da-na-naa-naa-naa, da-na-na-na-naa-naaa-naaaa-NAAAAA!!”? Well, that island of dinos was played by none other than Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco.

Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)

Speaking of amazing throwbacks with islands of genetically engineered dinosaurs, we can’t forget this gem. Robert Rodriguez brings back our favorite childhood heroes as they hunt down the Transmooker device from a mysterious island, which travelers will recognize as Lake Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park.



Another country known for a robust film presence, Japan is responsible for the likes of Godzilla, The Ring, The Grudge, Ran, Studio Ghibli and much, much more. To narrow our choices, we’ll select American films that take place in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Last Samurai (2003)

Tom Cruise can’t stop being awesome. Not even when he’s in unfamiliar terrain, learning the discipline, culture and cunning tactics of the Samurai. Cue epic battles.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

Tarantino delivers yet another iconic gem, featuring blood, sword fights, blood, swear words, blood and more blood. And it’s so bloody good.

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

Woody Allen’s directorial debut. You know, before he went all Woody Allen on us.

Lost in Translation (2003)

Bill Murray. Scarlett Johansson. Sofia Coppola. Tokyo.



Red Cliff (2008–2009)

If you have over four hours to spare, this two-part epic from John Woo about the Battle of Red Cliffs is the way to do it.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Kicking ass has never looked as good as it did in Ang Lee’s film of high-flying, physics-defying acrobatic adventure.

Skyfall (2012)

James Bond jet-sets to Shanghai, amongst others, to take down the villainous Silva and uncover his own mysterious past.