Regular readers (and my friends) know how obsessed I am with TV shows. I watch way too many, and regularly add more to My List on Netflix. But some series and movies I love to watch purely because they are set in the most beautiful places ever.
There are probably some (read: many) movies and TV shows missing, like Midnight in Paris and Game of Thrones. Sorry guys, this is just the stuff I have personally watched and loved. I know, I am the only person in the world not addicted to Game of Thrones.
Okay, back to the story at hand. Here are over 20 TV shows and movies that inspire me to travel, and give me crazy wanderlust when I’m stuck at home. Sorry in advance 😉
1. La La Land
I watched La La Land on my birthday, which was less than two months before our trip to LA. It was so funny how many times we thought of the movie during our trip. At Manhattan Beach we thought that was the pier Ryan Gosling danced along (turns out it was Hermosa Beach Pier). Then when we visited Griffith Park Observatory it was all we could think about. Pity we didn’t spot these two celebrities when in town.
Although there are many, many movies filmed in LA, Clueless is the next movie that comes to mind when I think of the City of Stars. It’s random, but when I think of the Beverly Hills sign, I think of Clueless. Plus her revelation on Rodeo Drive, and her freakout on the freeway. Such a classic.
Motive is an excellent Canadian TV series filmed in Vancouver. At the beginning of each episode, the audience discovers who is the victim and killer in each murder. We then learn with the detectives the motive behind the killing. It’s an interesting—and highly entertaining—concept. I watched it while living in the city, and then finished the fourth season while in Melbourne. They regularly feature bird’s eye views of Vancouver in episodes, and it used to make me so so homesick. It was ridiculous. Every time I knew where they were filming, I’d be sad. Seriously.
Second place goes to basically any show filmed in Vancouver, which is a lot. I love trying to figure out where the scenes are being filmed. My top pick is Timeless, which was recently picked up for a second season after fan’s revolted. Once Upon a Time will make you want to visit Steveston too.
Outlander’s best bits are a tie between its Scottish scenery and its lead actor. Sam Heughan (as Jamie Fraser) is very nice to look at, and his Scottish accent is lovely to listen to. The TV series is about a woman who time travels from 20th century Scotland, to 18th century Scotland. It’s a history lesson and a wanderlust-inducing TV series all in one. It makes me crazy excited to visit the country, eventually!
Harry Potter! The scenes of the Hogwarts Express crossing over beautiful viaducts and surrounded by rolling, green hills? All Scotland. For people who enjoy action films, Braveheart is another great film shot in Scotland.
4. Letters to Juliet
Yes, this is a totally soppy romantic comedy, which I loved when I first watched it. Letters to Juliet follows Amanda Seyfried’s character, as she joins a group of women in Verona (the secretaries of Juliet) who answer the notes posted on Juliet’s Wall. She finds a hidden note and writes to the woman, who returns to Italy with her grandson to find her long-lost Italian soulmate. The film involves Tuscan countryside, Italian weddings and stunning road trips.
I mean, when you think of movies set in Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun definitely comes to mind. This is a fantastic movie that will also make you want to book a flight to Italy.
5. The Wrong Girl
The Wrong Girl is a book by my favourite Aussie, Zoë Foster-Blake. It follows Lily as she navigates work promotions, boys and best friend fights with total awkwardness. This is the opposite to Motive, in that the first season was released at the end of 2016, so I was watching it in Vancouver. It’s set in Melbourne and I had major homesickness watching them frolic in fountains near Parliament Station, sit in city cafes, and stroll around my old suburb, Docklands at night.
Offspring is another great Australian TV series filmed in Melbourne. It made me want to live in a cute terrace house in Melbourne when I was still living in Queensland. But now I realise how expensive they are, so it’s still just a fantasy.
6. Downton Abbey
I basically want to time travel back to the early 20th century so I can live in the Crawley’s castle. I love Downton Abbey, for its scandalous storylines, amazing actors and stunning costume designs. For those unaware, for six seasons the show followed the lives of the Crawley family, as well as their maids, butlers and cooks. It’s a very well-produced series and I highly recommend bingeing it!
This is a slightly unconventional runner-up, but a TV series that makes me want to visit England (and buy a cute cottage there in the countryside) is Location, Location, Location. It’s a show where people are taken to a few houses in the hopes they find their dream home. I used to watch reruns on Australia’s version of cable way more than I should. But looking at all the gorgeous British houses gave me crazy wanderlust. They just don’t make houses like that in Australia. Nor do we have quaint villages.
7. Hawaii Five O
I am fairly sure the only two reasons I watch this show are because it stars Australia’s Alex O’Loughlin and it’s filmed in Hawaii. I am very loyal to fellow Aussies on the big screen. Hawaii Five-O is filmed across Oahu primarily, but other Hawaiian islands sometimes have starring roles. It will make you want to visit Hawaii immediately. Funnily enough, before my trip to Hawaii earlier this year, I was watching an episode and they mentioned the malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery. You bet I went there during my holiday!
I have a couple of Hawaii-based movies that are also worth a watch. Firstly, Jurassic Park. Need I say more? Who wouldn’t want to be chased by dinosaurs through that stunning valley? I also loved 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
8. Lord of the Rings
Seriously, how could you watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy and NOT fall in love with New Zealand? Peter Jackson is a genius and this trilogy just made me love New Zealand even more. If that was possible. The movies remind me how much the country’s landscape is similar to Canada too, with its snowcapped mountains and sweeping valleys.
Another favourite book and movie of mine is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The amazing cinematography in the film is because many scenes were shot in Auckland and on New Zealand’s South Island. This magical movie makes New Zealand look postcard perfect, which it totally is in reality.
9. Leap Year
This is definitely one of my favourite romantic comedies. It definitely wouldn’t be if it wasn’t set in Ireland. Leap Year follows a woman who goes to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, but gets slightly detoured. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are rockstars and *spoiler* I wish someone would propose to me as I’m standing on a cliff in Ireland.
Many fellow chick flick lovers will say P.S. I Love You inspired them to travel to Ireland. It’s a close second, but I just loved Leap Year more, what can I say?
10. Mamma Mia
My parents will be not-so-secretly glad that Mamma Mia made this travel movie list. They are obsessed with the movie and soundtrack. I am just obsessed with the Greek setting. I already knew Greece was out-of-this-world pretty, but from the gorgeous white church on the clifftop, to frolicking in the clear sea, this movie makes me desperately want to visit the Greek islands. Side note: could I also have Amanda Seyfried’s job? Thanks so much!
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is set in the United States, but one sisterhood member is in Greece for her summer. Her Greece storyline is obviously the best part of the movie.
I’d love to hear about the movies and TV shows that have inspired your travels! Leave them in the comments below.
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