Armchair Adventures: 10 Films To Inspire Your Travels

Armchair Adventures: 10 Films To Inspire Your Travels

you’re an armchair adventurer or seeking inspiration for
your next trip, these cult films and far-flung flicks are
guaranteed to leave you with seriously itchy feet. Popcorn at the

Cult movies, throwback flicks and our 10 favourite travel films
of all time

The Endless Summer

Hawaii, New Zealand, Ghana and South Africa

Most surfers fall into the “experimental traveller” category.
They’re the type who continuously seek out new beaches, virgin
waves and secret coves unknown by others. We look to them to find
the islands that we’ll soon nickname “the new Bali” and follow
their lead when it comes to setting up lo-fi communities on
undisturbed shores. Celebrating the beachniks and bums of the 60s,
documentary film director Bruce Brown followed surfers Robert
August and Mike Hynson on a globe-trotting surfing quest to
discover new surfing spots and introduce the sport to inquisitive
locals. The trio rode waves in South
New Zealand
and Hawaii and, thanks to Brown’s playful
documentary style, we became captivated by the surfers’ mystique.
Sixty years on, we’re still obsessing over Brown’s cinematography
and taking cue from the film’s energetic spirit to fuel our quest
in chasing the sun.

And God Created Woman

St Tropez

This is the film that’s credited with transforming Brigitte
Bardot into an international star. Juliette – an orphan, played by
Brigitte Bardot – becomes the mistress to three brothers, steals a
yacht, washes up on beaches (barely clothed) and parties her way
through the chic bars of 50s St Tropez. While the plot errs on the
side of a Jackie Collins novel, we religiously return to this flick
to revel in the portrayal of St Tropez at its heyday and, of
course, basque in the bewitching beauty of Bardot. Little has
changed since IRL the film was shot, so you can still wander the
messy jigsaw of pastel-coloured cafés in the La Ponche district,
the place where Juliette called home and fought with Michel (played
Jean-Louis Trintignant). Bardot invented the 50s pin-up pout by the
sea walls of Môle Jean Réveille, which still stand today.

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The Darjeeling Limited

Northern India

Wes Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece will give you the urge to fly
out to India and board the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
immediately. The film follows the dysfunctional relationship of
brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack
(Jason Swartzman) as they cross the country’s northern states.
Though their route is somewhat ambiguous, the majority of the film
was shot in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, while the scenes of the Himalayas
were actually filmed in Udaipur.
The most captivating element is the
vibrant colours
and varied landscapes as the group journey
through deserts, farmlands, temples, juxtaposed with the quirky
setting of the train. True to this imagery, India is a dynamic
colour palette and a real spoil to the senses. The real-life
Darjeeling Limited, also known as the “toy train”, actually travels
the eight-hour distance through the mountainous lands from
Darjeeling to Siliguri, while Rajasthan
is packed with temples, palaces and the famous Blue City.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona


Woody Allen’s heart-warming portrayal of love and friendship is
as enticing as lively Barcelona itself. Spending the summer there
are best friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett
Johannsen). Both women fall for a sensual artist, Juan Antonio
(Javier Bardem), and are soon introduced to his hot-blooded ex-wife
Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) – one of the most captivating female
characters ever written. The film shows both the affluent and
bohemian sides of the Catalan city, flipping between scenes of
wealthy American ex-pats and local creatives. The camera gives a
rich architectural tour of Barca and you’re treated to visuals of
Joan Miro’s ceramic mural, the Gaudí fountain and the evocative
spires of La Sagrada Familia. A cinematic excursion through the
bustling streets of Las Ramblas shows the city’s infectious energy,
overflowing with restaurants, nightlife, art and culture.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

New York

There’s nothing like watching Audrey Hepburn waft about New York
in a strand of pearls to make you want to hit up the city yourself.
The film’s heroine, Holly Golightly, is a whimsical socialite who
feels her most comfortable at Tiffany’s. She befriends and
eventually falls in love with Paul Varjak (George Peppard), though
he does not fulfil her dreams of a glittering lifestyle. New York
is shown at its most romantic in this 1961 film, directed by Blake
Edwards, and oozes an utterly seductive glamour throughout. The
famous Tiffany flagship store shown in the film opened in 1940 and
is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Holly
lives on the Upper East Side, which is still a lovely place to
shop, pick up fresh pastries and stroll through Central Park. Her
little brownstone walk will leave you thinking that a shoebox
apartment in the city is nothing short of magical.

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Notting Hill


Richard Curtis’ 90s rom-com is a love letter to London. Will
Thacker (Hugh Grant) – a floppy, affable chap who lives on
Portobello Road and owns a local bookshop – falls in love with
famous actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), taking her on a romantic
excursion into a West London garden square and for dinner at Nobu.
Other London spots that appear in the film are The Ritz, The Savoy
and Kenwood House in Hampstead, which is well worth a visit. Will’s
famous blue front door can be found on Westbourne Park Road, while
Portobello Market is as effervescent in reality, packed with
antiques, jewellery and food stalls – the perfect place to while
away the weekend.

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Pretty Woman

Los Angeles

Countless films are set in
, but none of them turn a gritty reality into a fairytale
quite like Pretty Woman does. On Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of
Fame, businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) picks up Vivian Ward
(Julia Roberts), the loveliest of all prostitutes. The majority of
the film is set in Beverley Hills, displaying the high-life side of
the golden coast. Edward and Vivien fall in love over a long
weekend at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where her lavish shopping
trip on
Rodeo Drive
will make you hungry for some retail therapy. The
city has hardly changed since the film was made in 1990, with the
Boulevard remaining wonderfully retro and an ideal mix of beach and
city, sun and parties.

The Talented Mr Ripley

Southern Italy

One of the most stylish films ever made, this tale of deception
shows a racy and seductive side to Italy in the 60s. Tom Ripley
(Matt Damon), a lost young man from New York, is sent to Italy to
bring home rich playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude law). The town in
which they meet, Mongibello, is a fictional place but the scenes
were filmed in Procida
and on the volcanic island of Ischia just off the coast of
, both of which make for a wonderful reminder that
nothing beats a
Euro summer holiday
. Evoking Positano and Portofino throughout,
with snippets of Sicily in there too, the beach on which Tom first
meets Dickie and his girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) showcases
all the elegance of the Italian seaside – and will have you booking
a road trip in no time.

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The Thomas Crown Affair

The Caribbean

Although the majority of the film is set in New York, the most
unforgettable scenes of romance take place on the island of
Martinique. This tropical interlude in the otherwise American heist
story gives the film an exotic twist as wealthy businessman Thomas
Crown (Pierce Brosnan) pursues Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), a
woman investigating him for the theft of a Monet. They arrive in
Martinique on a private jet and get straight into an open-topped
vintage Ford Mustang. An aerial shot of the island shows them
driving through palm-tree-lined streets, past a classic Carribean
funicular and eventually up a long, winding road to a secluded
little blue and white house overlooking the ocean. An early morning
shot of Catherine topless on a private beach brings yet another
overwhelming surge of lifestyle envy. Martinique is part of the
Lesser Antillies and is one of The Caribbean’s more rugged islands,
while others in the group include Saint Martin, Saint Kitts and the
exquisite Mustique.

Midnight in Paris


Another Woody Allen number, this story of nostalgia will make
you yearn for fantasy Paris of the 1920s – and fortunately, it’s
one of the few cities that still embodies days gone by. The film
follows creatively dissatisfied screenwriter Gil Pender (Owen
Wilson) on a journey through the past, where he meets the city’s
deceased intelligentsia including Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll),
Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) and Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody). In
present-day Paris, the camera paints an artistic view of the city
as the characters move through Monet’s Garden in Giverny, the Rodin
Museum, L’Orangerie and along the River Seine. Gil and his uptight
wife (Rachael McAdams) stay in a room at the luxurious Hotel
Bristol – always a treat. The famous Café de Flore makes an
appearance and is a quintessentially charming place for a vintage
taste of Paris on your own weekend trip.