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Top 50 Best Travel Movies To Inspire Wanderlust

Top 50 Best Travel Movies To Inspire Wanderlust

The world we live in is rich with an immense number of places that are worthy of visiting and if you’re a fan of traveling and of movies, today’s list will be one of your favorites as we’ll present you with 50 films that will make you want to travel around the globe.

Best Travel Movies

1. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Shot mainly in the town of Cortona, Under the Tuscan Sun is based on a 1996 memoir and shows viewers the beauty of life in the Italian countryside.

The film tells of Frances Mayes, a successful writer who’s suddenly submerged in depression after divorcing her husband, but whose life changes after embarking on a trip to Tuscany.

2. Wild (2014)

Set in 1995, Wild shows how Cheryl Strayed is making a trip to rediscover herself and redeem past actions that led to her divorcing her husband and aborting a child.

The story takes place in the Pacific Crest Trail as Strayed is determined to complete her journey by hiking the entire trail despite her inexperience, which she is eventually able to do after numerous setbacks.

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

The second adaption of James Thurber’s story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, shows viewers fantastic shots of different locations in Iceland while its protagonist, played by Ben Stiller, is looking for a negative that will save his job at Life magazine.

In his quest, Mitty is forced to travel to different countries and make dangerous decisions, but he is inspired by his crush and fellow worker, Cheryl Melhoff.

4. Lost in Translation (2003)

A film with a melancholic tone, Lost in Translation, shows how life is like when you feel disconnected from your surroundings and, even worse, from yourself.

Still, the movie shows the vibrant energy of Tokyo and the Japanese culture, which ends up being exactly among the many reasons that the protagonists feel alienated from the place they’re in as they’re both wondering whether they’re happy with the lives they’re currently living.

5. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Inspired in the memoir of a 23-year old Ernesto “Che” Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries follows him and Alberto Granadoduring an ambitious journey through South America that goes from a fun adventure into an experience that becomes crucial in the development of Guevara’s Marxist ideals.

Both men leave Argentina in a motorcycle called “La Poderosa” and, as the film progresses, witness the social injustices that exist in Latin American countries such as Chile and Perú.

6. Eat Pray Love (2010)

The film follows the story of Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who found herself unsatisfied with the life she had despite this being an ideal one.

This discomfort leads Elizabeth to divorce her husband and travel the world to discover what she wants for her life.

Her adventure takes her to Italy, India, and Indonesia, and in each of these places, she learns how to live a plentiful life by improving her habits.

7. The Beach (2000)

Shot in Thailand, The Beach follows a young traveler named Richard, who learns about a secret, paradisiac island with a beautiful, hidden beach and thus, along a French couple, settles to find it.

When Richard and his partners find the island, they come across an autonomous community that is allowed in there by the local farmers on specific conditions, but their arrival ends up causing conflicts among its members.

8. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Taking place in India, The Darjeeling Limited tells the story of three brothers that reunite for the first time since the death of their father as they go aboard a luxury train as they attempt to make a “spiritual journey.”

During the travel, tensions grow among them, and they are kicked out of the train, but the experiences they live help them to bond together and make them want to go on more adventures.

9. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris tells us about Gil Pender, a screenwriter that is trying to come up with ideas for his first novel as he deals with his fiancé and her parents.

As Gil is looking for inspiration, he is taken to different moments in time when midnight arrives, and, on every night, he’s able to learn about what has made of Paris a majestic place throughout its different eras.

10. The Way (2010)

Shot in Spain, The Way focuses on the Camino de Santiago, a Christian pilgrimage route located in Galicia. The film follows Dr. Thomas Avery, whose son has recently died while traveling the Camino.

Avery decides to complete the travel in homage to his son and is accompanied by three travelers from around the world that are trying to make improvements to their lives by going through the Camino.

11. The Bucket List (2007)

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, The Bucket List is a moving story about two gentlemen trying to accomplish some activities before they “kick the bucket.”

Some of these activities make this duo travel to interesting places around the world, including the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, and Mount Everest.

12. Into the Wild (2007)

Nominated for two Golden Globes and two Academy Awards, Into the Wild, follows the story of American hiker Christopher McCandless and his adventures as a hitchhiker in the US with the purpose of getting to Alaska.

Starting at the man-made Lake Mead in Colorado and culminating in Healy, the story shows some notable examples of the American geography like The Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.

13. Before Sunrise (Before Trilogy, 1995)

With some emphasis on train travel and just one night for the events to unravel, a young man convinces a woman to get off a train in Vienna.

They decide to go on a romantic adventure with the City of Music and Dreams as a background and even though it would be short-lived, they make sure to make it worth it.

14. Tracks (2013)

Tracks is an adaptation of the homonymous 1980 novel that relates the expedition of the writer Robyn Davidson across the Australian deserts, where she traveled over 1700 miles between Alice Springs in Central Australia to the Indian Ocean.

Showing the beauty and harshness of the desert in spectacular fashion, the film tells a story that some called a “ridiculous” plan and an impossible journey in one of the world’s most dire environments.

15. In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges tells the story of a rookie hitman that makes a mistake after killing a priest, making his boss send him with his mentor to the city of Bruges in Belgium.

After some rather weird and funny situations, the boss goes to the city to “remedy” the problem with the hitman.

Even though it is a dark comedy, the movie shows the city’s predominant medieval architecture, its Canal, and, especially, the famous 13th-century Belfry of Bruges.

16. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Set at the RavlaKhempur, the film is about a group of retirees moving from the UK to a hotel in India, expecting it to be a good place to spend their retirements.

But after discovering the hotel isn’t what they were expecting, some fun and emotional circumstances are triggered.

The film was shot in various places around Jaipur, including the City Palace and the Marigold market, the Lake Palace Hotel, and the Panna Meena ka Kund stepwell.

17. Up in the Air (2009)

Centered around Ryan, a frequent flyer whose work is to give personal assistance to different companies, Up in the Air is a comedy-drama where the protagonist dreams to earn 10 million frequent flyer miles.

But when a new hire in the company focuses on providing the service via the, saving the firm some money in the process, Ryan sees his dream endangered.

18. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Seven Years in Tibet is a biopic of Austrian mountaineer and writer Heinrich Harrerthatshows his experiences in Tibet, while the world is facing world War II.

Even though it’s a movie centered on Tibet, most of the movie shooting took place in Argentina, especially in the Mendoza Province because of its proximity to the Andes mountains. It also took place in some parts of Nepal, Austria, and Canada.

19. Roman Holiday (1953)

A story of love and royalty, Roman Holiday tells us about a princess that tries to escape her obligations despite being on tour around Europe.

While in Rome, she meets an American newspaper reporter that was covering her tour. And after showing her the city, they end up developing feelings for each other.

The movie shows Rome’s landmarks like the Trevi Fountain and the 4th century stone “The Mouth of Truth” (or La Bocca de la Verità in Italian).

20. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Centered on Barcelona’s Spanish city, the film follows Vicky and Cristina as they meet Juan Antonio, an artist who invites them to Oviedo, to have a quick, good time, and then head back to Barcelona.

The movie was produced by American director Woody Allen, and its cast includes Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johanson, and Rebeca Hall.

21. Amélie (2001)

Probably one of the better-known movies on this list, Amélie is a French romantic-comedy that features Audrey Tautou.

Telling the story of a waitress that decides to change the life of many people and eventually find happiness to herself, Amélie was shot at the Montmartre area of Paris.

It showed some iconic places like the Café des 2 Moulins and the Au Marché de la Butte.

22. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel shows us the Gustave’s tales, the hotel’s concierge, and his good friend Zero, the newly hired lobby boy, as they are forced to recover an invaluable painting from the Renaissance. They have to fend off a family that’s willing to kill them for Gustave’s inherited fortune.

As their adventure takes place, a military conflict develops around them, and things get complicated when their quest takes them into the conflict.

23. A Good Year (2006)

Loosely based on the 2004 novel of the same name, A Good Year is a romantic comedy about a broker that inherits his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in the south of France.

The place, located in Provence, reminds him of his childhood.

The film focuses on friendship, love, good memories, and is complemented with a beautiful vineyard as background.

24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The first installment in a franchise with a huge following, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring tells the story of Frodo and his encounter with the one ring, on which the Dark Lord Sauron has set his eye.

The movie was shot in various places in New Zealand, including Matamata, the Takaka Hill, the Arrow River, Skippers Canyon, Paradise, and the Mavora Lakes.

25. Out of Africa (1985)

A romantic drama based on the autobiographical book of the same Out of Africa shows us the life of Danish author Karen Blixen after she marries for convenience with his brother Baron Bror Blixen and the couple moves to Nairobi, in what is now Kenya.

Mostly shot in that country, the prevailing filming locations were the Lang’ata middle-class area, the Nairobi School, the Chyulu Hills, and the Karen suburb.

26. Baraka (1992)

Baraka is a documentary film about various themes, ranging from natural events to technological wonders that were shot around the world in 14 months.

While the documentary doesn’t have a narrative or a voice-over, it shows various places like the oil fields in Kuwait, the Dip Tse Chok Ling, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and the Lake Natron, amongst a few others.

27. Lion (2016)

A biopic aboutIndian-born Australian businessman Saroo Brierley, Lion tells the story of how, after being accidentally separated from his mother when he was five years old, Saroo sets out to find her 25 years later.

The movie received six Oscar nominations and won two BAFTA awards. It was filmed in various locations between India, Melbourne in Australia, and several places in Tasmania, including Hobart’s capital city.

28. Letters to Juliet (2010)

A romantic comedy-drama starring Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, and Gael García Bernal, Letters to Juliet, tells us about a woman who goes on vacation to Italy with her fiancé and finds a letter that hasn’t been answered for 50 years.

Becoming a “Secretary of Juliet,” she helps a pair of elders to find true love.

The film is centered around the city of Verona, Italy, a city where two of Shakespeare’s plays are set, including Romeo and Juliet.

29. Easy Rider (1969)

Being a landmark of the 60’s counterculture, Easy Rider shows the actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as bikers, with the earnings of a drug deal, running around the US.

Shot mostly outside in some iconic American roads and places, including Route 66, Easy Rider is a movie where the audience can felt the freedom behind riding motorcycles in the open road.

30. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

Taking place in Antarctica, Encounters at the End of the World is a documentary film by Werner Herzog.

He and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger visit the continent to learn about the lives and dreams of the people who live there.

During their travel, they meet and interview geologists, scientists, and biologists and also see the local wildlife and explore the landscape, giving the audience a unique view of the continent.

31. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Taking place in Australia, the film follows “Tick,” a drag queen, as he embarks on a four-week journey with his friends and fellow performers on a bus called Priscilla, Queen of the desert, to present his act at Lasseters Hotel Casino Resort.

As the movie progresses, Tick’s group is both well-received by some and harassed by others.

It is a cult classic that the film has been praised by how it introduced LGBT themes to a mainstream audience.

32. Call Me by Your Name (2018)

The final installment in the “Desire” thematic trilogy, Call Me by Your Name, is inspired by the homonymous novel and tells the story of Elio, a 17-year old Italian who’s faced with inner conflict when he starts feeling attracted to Oliver, a 24-year old graduate student.

The film took place in Italy and was shot mainly in the Province of Cremona. As the plot moves forward, the audience is introduced to different places that show the beauty of the country in perfect harmony with the tone of the film.

33. Forrest Gump (1994)

A classic and one of the most popular films at the time, Forrest Gump is named after its protagonist, portrayed by Tom Hanks, and shows his life through various decades.

Gump is a noble person that’s not too smart, but as the years go by, he develops many talents and takes part in several historical events such as the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal and becomes famous as well as a millionaire.

34. Life of Pi (2012)

Shot between India, Taiwan, and Quebec, Life of Pi tells the story of “Pi,” a sixteen-year-old whose father owns a zoo.

Among the many zoo animals, a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker catches Pi’s attention, though he’s advised to keep away from it.

Following a tragic shipwreck, the young man is left alone to find a way to survive in the middle of nowhere, stranded with no other than Richard Parker.

35. Romancing the Stone (1984)

A surprise hit at the time; Romancing the Stone is a film directed by Robert Zemeckis that’s reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with a bigger focus on comedy and romance.

The film tells the story of Joan Wilder, a successful novelist who finds herself lonely but whose life would quickly change after her sister, Elaine, was kidnaped by smugglers that demanded that Joan give them a map that led to a treasure hidden in Colombia.

36. A Map for Saturday (2007)

A Map for Saturday is a documentary film made by Brook Silva-Braga that shows how he decided to follow his wish to embark on a travel around the world.

Silva-Braga had a good job with HBO but, one day, decided to leave it to pursue his dream.

This led to him visiting 26 countries on four continents and finding other trekkers along the way who were happy to share their stories with him.

37. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Based on the life of T. E. Lawrence, the film follows the main character as he is involved in various attacks during WWI and struggles with the violence caused by them as well as with his allegiances.

The film focuses on how Lawrence was a key participant of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire and, though it’s been questioned by its lack of historical accuracy, it is still regarded as one of the best British films of all time.

38. One Week (2008)

Taking place in Canada and including a great presence of the country’s landscape, One Week tells the story of Ben Tyler, an elementary school teacher that’s just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

After he decides to embark on an adventure before becoming a patient, he starts to question his relationship and whether he gave up on his dreams too easily.

39. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The first installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and one of the greatest movies of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark, follow the adventures of Indiana Jones as he travels the world and fights the evil.

The film introduces Jones’s character and tells the story of how Nazis are trying to find the Ark of the Covenant to make their armies invincible.

40. The Way Back (2010)

A film that takes place during World War II, The Way Back is based on “The Long Walk,” the memoir of Polish prisoner Sławomir Rawicz, in which he claims to have escaped the Soviets and walked 4000 miles to India to reach freedom.

During the story, Rawicz makes his way through harsh environments like the Siberian region in Russia and the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.

41. Away We Go (2009)

A movie by director Sam Mendes, Away We Go, is a comedy-drama that shows us a couple looking between the US and Canada for a place to live.

After what could resemble a road trip around the continent, and meeting friends and relatives along the way, the couple eventually finds a place that they can call home.

42. Two for the Road (1967)

Two for the Road is a romantic comedy-drama that explores the life of a couple traveling on a road trip across France, and culminating in Italy.

Recalling past episodes of their lives, the couple, portrayed by Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finley, travel across amazing locations such as Nice, Saint Tropez, the French Riviera, and Paris.

43. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Based on the homonymous novel, Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy about a girl meeting her boyfriend’s family, which happened to be among the richest in Singapore.

The CHIJMES complex, as well as the Marina Bay Sands and the Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, are some of the locations in which the movie was shot.

44. Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Starring Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike, Hector and the Search for Happiness is an adventure comedy-drama in which Hector (Pegg) decides to go around the world to research how to find happiness in life.

While he travels around places like Shanghai, Africa, and Santa, he enjoys first-class flights and good adventures, which would make anybody in his position feel happy.

45. Couples Retreat (2009)

Couples Retreat is a romantic-comedy where a group of couples goes to a therapy resort in French Polynesia.

The cast consisted of Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, and Ken Jeong, mostly shot in the white sands of Bora Bora and the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort who will often find themselves in fun situations through the film.

46. The Tourist (2010)

A romantic thriller, The Tourist, is a film starring Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bethany, and James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton. Frank (Depp) travels to Italy and meets Elise (Jolie), a woman who is escaping from some mobsters and Scotland Yard.

Most of the filming was made in Venice’s city, and one of the landmarks in the movie was the Hotel Danieli.

47. Samsara (2011)

Similar to Baraka, Samsara is a non-narrative documentary about the cycle of life. Shot around the world, in stunning 70mm, Samsara shows us beautiful places like the Palm Islands in the United Arab Emirates and El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California.

There are also some rather dark places like the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines.

48. The Terminal (2004)

What would happen if you got stuck in an airport because your passport was no longer valid and you couldn’t go back to your country because it is at war?

This comedy-drama reveals what can happen in a situation like this one. Viktor Navorski (portrayed by Tom Hanks) makes the airport terminal his “home,” all while befriending the people that work there.

49. Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

In this crime, thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez, “El Mariachi,” continues the action started in the two previous movies, El Mariachi and Desperado.

This time working for the CIA to kill a corrupt Mexican officer, he goes into an adventure through various Mexican locations, including Querétaro and San Miguel de Allende.

50. Up (2009)

Up is an animated comedy-drama movie made by Pixar. Carl Fredricksen, an old widowed man, and Rusell, a young Boy Scout, travel to South America by tying balloons at the top of the former’s house.

The purpose of the journey is to complete Fredricksen’s late wife dream of making it to Paradise Falls, based on the real-life Angel Falls located in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world.

Final Thoughts

There are almost as many wanderlust-inspiring movies as there are worthy places to visit, and while we couldn’t possibly put them all together, we did our best job to make sure that each of the films on this list will make you want to go on an adventure.

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