20 Famous Films to Satisfy Your Wanderlust

15 May, 2020

There are lots of benefits to traveling and going on vacation. They relieve stress, help you learn more, and let you meet new people. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not safe to go anywhere that isn't your own home anymore. For the past few weeks, everyone has had to remain at home to curb the virus's spread. Thus, making travel impossible this 2020.

But it's still important to find ways to stay happy at home, though, especially in these modern times. Though you can't travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still "travel" the world—through the magic of movies! Watching famous films set in popular vacation spots lets you forget the worries of the outside world for a few hours and explore your dream destinations. 

While you can't exactly go on vacation in real life, you can satisfy your wanderlust by watching travel movies that make you feel like you're in your favorite famous film locations. 

Here's a list of the ten best travel movies of all time for international locations, and ten of the best travel adventure movies for sites in the Philippines! Check out these famous films that'll make you feel like you're on vacation from the comfort of your own home:

Films with International Locations

1. Roman Holiday (1953)

Photo courtesy of Julius Silver via Pexels

Location: Rome

The film “Roman Holiday” is a Hollywood classic. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a princess wanting to experience the magic of Rome as a commoner, and Gregory Peck as a journalist who becomes her tour guide.

These famous movie characters explore Rome together, and with this romantic city as their backdrop, fall in love. It’s the perfect romance story for anyone who wants to visit this gorgeous city.

2. The Endless Summer (1966)

Locations: South Africa, Senegal, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii

This seminal documentary will take you straight to the ocean waves without you ever leaving your home. Bruce Brown's 1966 surfer documentary follows Robert August and Mike Hynson through their worldwide surfing trip and will take you for a ride on the waves. Though most of the surfing was shot in Cape St. Francis in South Africa, you'll also get to visit the beaches of Senegal, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii through this summer surfing classic.

Though most of the surfing was shot in Cape St. Francis in South Africa, you’ll also get to visit the beaches of Senegal, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii through this summer surfing classic.

3. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Photo courtesy of Johannes Hofmann via Unsplash

Location: Eastern Europe

Though there was a stunning 2017 remake of this Agatha Christie classic novel, you simply can’t beat this 1974 classic. This travel movie follows the story of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot as he solves the mysterious case of a murder on the Orient Express, a renowned trans-European train from the 1930s.

The cast of characters is rich with Europe’s elite and powerful, with princesses, counts, countesses, and gang lords all being suspects in this thrilling crime. Train travel along the snowy Eastern European countryside has never looked more exciting.

4. Before Sunrise (1995)

Location: Vienna

Unlike the previous entry on this list, “Before Sunrise” is an intimate, quiet, and lovely indie, featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Considered one of the best travel movies on Netflix, this first part of a trilogy follows Hawke and Delpy as they wander the streets of Vienna before the sunrise.

It’s a romantic piece wherein the city itself becomes a character in the story. With the following travel movies in this series, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, being set in Paris and Messenia, Greece, these stories will take you on romantic tours all over these European cities.

5. Amélie (2001)

Photo courtesy of Elina Sazonova via Pexels

Location: Paris

This quirky but sweet film features one of the most famous movie characters: Amélie. In this 2001 classic, the character Amélie sees the city of Paris through candy-colored lenses and finds even more beauty in the city of love.

The movie takes you to famous places like Notre-Dame de Paris, and quainter locations like Rue Lepic where Amélie enjoys a crème brulée. Paris has never looked so sunny and dreamy in this fantastic classic.

6. The Lord of the Rings series (2001-2003)

Location: New Zealand

You may be wondering why a fantasy film has made it onto a list of the best travel movies of all time. What some may not know is that “The Lord of the Rings” series was shot almost entirely in the vast New Zealand expanse. From snow-capped mountains to sunny plains and fields, New Zealand has it all, landing it considerable fame as one of the most famous film locations on the planet. 

Ever wanted to visit a fantasy world? Turn your screen on and check out the magical world of New Zealand in this beloved trilogy.

7. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Pasaric via Pexels

Location: Greece

Who can forget this lighthearted musical hit? Built around the songs of the hit group ABBA, “Mamma Mia!” tells the story of a daughter's search for her birth father. The upbeat music numbers and the funny story made it an instant classic.

One thing that cemented it as one of the best travel adventure movies was its stunning depiction of Greece. This classic showcased the best and most beautiful of the country - Damouchari, Skiathos, Skopelos - and took you on a gorgeous tour of the Grecian seaside.

8. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Locations: Italy, India, Indonesia

This self-discovery story follows a woman’s quest to find herself after “achieving” successes like a husband, house, and career, and still feeling lost. She embarks on a solo-traveler destination adventure by going to stunning and famous film locations and making you feel like you’re there with her.

Try to eat, pray, and love on your own solo adventure around the world! Once traveling becomes safer and more feasible, discover yourself again by visiting Italy, India, and Indonesia as she does in this classic story.

9. Kita Kita (2017)

Location: Sapporo

“Kita Kita” is a Filipino romantic comedy, but it’s set in Sapporo, Japan. Alessandra de Rossi plays Lea, a Filipina living in Japan who loses her sight after witnessing her fiancé cheating on her. Meanwhile, Empoy Marquez plays the charming Tonyo who befriends the blind Lea in surprising ways.

Their love story leans on the importance of locations and sight, and with their romance set against the peaceful backdrop of Japan, it’s no wonder why this film is one of the best travel movies on Netflix in Filipino.

10. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Photo courtesy of Kin Pastor via Pexels

Location: Singapore

The last and most recent entry on this list, “Crazy Rich Asians” showcases the most daring and dazzling of the country of Singapore. The craziest and richest of Asians fill this film world with brilliant glimpses of Singaporean yacht parties, royal weddings, and food trips. 

Alongside the story, audiences get to “visit” the exquisite tourist spots of the country: Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown, and the hawker centers.

Films with Local Locations

There are lots of international travel movies with famous movie characters and gorgeous settings. But are you missing the wild parties of Boracay or the fresh air of Laguna? Do you want to see famous film locations that are a little more familiar and a little closer to home? 

There are just as many films with locations in beloved places all over the Philippines! Check out these ten local films that showcase some of the most beautiful on-the-go travel destinations in the country:

11. Trip (2001)

Photo courtesy of Crizaldy Diverson via Pexels

Location: La Mesa Reserve

This oldie but goodie follows a group of friends on a crazy adventure that changes their lives forever. In this fun comedy, a group of eight friends get into one van and travel the country, discovering love, betrayal, loyalty, and the true meaning of friendship along the way.

One of the famous film locations they visit is the stunning La Mesa Nature Reserve. “Trip” takes you on a trip to the reserve’s fresh air and impressive natural landscapes, right from the comfort of your own home. 

12. Baler (2008)

Location: Baler

Witness this surfing paradise as you’ve never seen it before in this 2008 movie featuring Ann Curtis and Jericho Rosales. “Baler,” tells the story of Feliza (Curtis) and Celso (Rosales) as they struggle with their forbidden love during the Spanish colonial period.

Baler is a well-known tourist spot for surfing, but in this famous movie, you get to see it as home to some of the country’s heritage sites such as the Baler Church, Museo de Baler, and the Aurora Quezon House.

13. When Love Begins (2008) 

Photo courtesy of Laurentiu Morariu via Unsplash

Location: Boracay

“When Love Begins” follows the story of two lovers afraid to commit to one another. What began as a casual relationship becomes complicated over time, and at the heart of this romance is one of the most renowned islands in the country, Boracay. Witness how love begins and falls apart on its pristine, white-sand beaches and explore the routes of Boracay in this 2008 film.

14. That Thing Called Tadhana (2014)

Location: Sagada

If you’re a lover of Filipino films, then you’ve probably already watched this popular Filipino film featuring Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman. One of the Philippines’ best travel movies on Netflix, this romantic story changed everyone’s view on love, destiny, and the wonderful town of Sagada.

Sagada’s stunning mountain views inspire those “tadhana” feels, even in the comfort of your own home, and will make you want to go on your own soul-searching, serendipitous journey.

15. Crazy Beautiful You (2015)

Location: Tarlac

This 2015 romantic drama tells the story of Jackie who, in trying to escape her problems in life, meets the handsome Kiko on a medical mission in Tarlac. They fall in love in this remote mountainscape, and even have Mount Pinatubo as one the backdrops to their romance. Witness a love that’s as fiery as one of the Philippines’ active volcanoes in this crazy, beautiful film.

16. Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2016)

Photo courtesy of Belle Co via Pexels

Locations: Marinduque, Siquijor, Zamboanga, Batanes, Ilocos

Alessandra de Rossi features in yet another journey-themed Filipino movie. In “Sakaling Hindi Makarating” Rossi plays a woman named Cielo, who wanders all over the Philippines to find the author of the hand-drawn postcards she receives in the mail after a terrible heartbreak. 

Joined by her neighbor Paul, played by Pepe Herrera, Cielo goes to locations all over the country in search of the mysterious author. In this gorgeous showcase of the Philippines, the duo visit Marinduque, Siquijor, Zamboanga, Batanes, and Ilocos to find the anonymous postcard artist.

17. Lakbay2Love (2016)

Locations: Timberland, Benguet, La Mesa Nature Reserve

This adventure-seeking 2016 movie stars Solenn Heussaff and Dennis Trillo and explores the roads less traveled in the country. Geared to attract adventure-seekers, this story features famous film locations such as Timberland, Benguet, and the La Mesa Nature Reserve in a thrilling and fun ride of a movie.

18. I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017)

Photo courtesy of NICE GUYS via Pexels

Location: La Union

No list about the best travel movies of all time should miss out on this college graduation classic. “I’m Drunk, I Love You” starring Paulo Avelino as Dio and Maja Salvador as Carson, and follows their barkada on their last trip before they graduate.

This beloved romance is set in La Union, so not only do audiences get to follow the story of Carson’s secret seven-year love for Dio, but they also get to experience the best that La Union has to offer. La Union’s romantic seascapes, fun atmosphere, and bagnet set the tone for one of the best travel movies in Philippine film. 

19. Siargao (2017)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels

Location: Siargao

Miss the beach? Visit the famous beaches and waves of Siargao in this seminal 2017 classic. The movie “Siargao” follows the love triangle of Diego, Laura, and Abi after Diego returns to his eponymous hometown.

Siargao is an island paradise, known for its surfing culture at Cloud 9, curious locations like Sugba Lagoon and the Magpupungko Rock Pools, and the thrilling palm tree swing at Maasin Village. With lots of surfing, swimming, and island-hopping options, experience the sun and the surf at home with this beloved classic.

20. LSS (2019)

Locations: Metro Manila, Laguna

The most recent entry in this list of local favorites, “LSS” tells the story of Sara and Zack’s slow-burn love, with the music of Ben&Ben as a major character in their romance. In a series of encounters over time, they slowly fall in love, with the last act of the movie taking place in scenic locations all over Laguna. 

Go on an adventure with this couple through the ups and downs of love, and through gorgeous shots of Metro Manila and Laguna. Get that last-song syndrome in your head too with the popular music of Ben&Ben.

With the modified enhanced community quarantine and general community quarantine in place all over the country, going on vacation is pretty much impossible for now. To flatten the curve in the country and ensure everyone’s safety, you have to abide by the quarantine rules and stay at home as much as you possibly can.

But you’re probably aching to go outside already, given these past two months of quarantine. Like everyone else, you probably miss going on vacation in different places all over the world. While you’re staying at home, watch all the travel-based movies that you can, to experience the most beautiful getaways from the comfort of your own home. Explore the world through the magic of famous films and get that list of locations ready for when you can finally travel again!