Does anything pull at your heartstrings more than a destination film? The glamour! The scenery! The studs with sexy accents! As easy as it would be to write a whole rave about the locations in Eat Pray Love, I couldn’t stand to watch Julia’s giant horse teeth blocking fine scenery for two hours, so I’m skipping it. You’re welcome. That goes for the clichéd A-team of locations as well (Paris, Rome, London, NYC). The romance of an exotic film location, whether it’s an epic trip, new leaf or period piece, I do not think is lost on many ladies. And gents, I won’t tell if you secretly enjoy these films too, purely for the travel aspect, of course.
Morocco (Sex and the City 2)
Those crazy socialites get the singular opportunity to take an all expenses paid, ultra-luxe holiday in Abu Dhabi! But wait, that isn’t Abu Dhabi! It’s beautiful Marrakech, Morocco! You can shop the souks just like the girls, in the shadow of the gorgeous Atlas Mountains, and even stay in the five star hotel they snagged, the Mandarin Jnan Rahma in the Palmarie of Marrakech. The Souss-Massa-Draa is the prime location to have a glam lunch in a Bedouin tent, like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda did, before a bumpy yet stylish camel ride. It turns out the real Abu Dhabi has significantly more stringent local laws regarding some of the scandalous sequences that were to be included in the film. If you find you and your posse of travel mates have wild tendancies, maybe Morocco would be the best bet for you as well!
Greece (Mamma Mia!)
Sorry, I know you’re going to have that song stuck in your head all day, now (Here I go again, my my, I cannot resist you). Oh well, to me it is worth singing ABBA for days on end, just to get the glimpses of Greece that are featured in this film. Fictional Kalokari is actually Skiathos and Skopelos, of the Sporades Islands. Villa Donna was built specially for the movie, but you can still soak in all of the bronzing sun, hike the rugged coastline and swim in the balmy azure waves. The achingly picturesque Chapel of Agios Ioannis Prodromos, where Sophie’s wedding is held, can be found on a jutting precipice from the coast of Skopelos, near Glossa. Have your own girl reunion on one of the most charming isles of the Mediterranean!
Barcelona (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
This movie was a total fantasy for me, and probably many other ladies, too. Exotic city, sexy-accent artist sweeping you away in his plane…Sigh! Vicky and Cristina get to delve into the best parts of Barcelona during their summer escapades. Not only do they spend plenty of time photographing the beautifully weird Parc Güell, striking Sagrada La Familia and lively Las Ramblas, (the Barcelona staples), but they also visit northern Oviedo where the landscape, stone churches and romance are enchanting. Visit Naranco Hill, where the churches of Santa Maria Del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillon and San Julián de los Prados are majestically perched. Back in Barcelona, try Can Travi Nou restaurant, where the trio wines and dines, it’s a 17th century farm house!
Cortona (Under the Tuscan Sun)
Frances makes divorce look so glamorous, doesn’t she? Flee to Tuscany and rebuild your life in a gorgeous albeit run down villa whilst being wooed by handsome Italians and partaking in delectable home cooked Italian cuisine and wine. It doesn’t sound so bad– epecially when the backdrop of your new leaf is Cortona, Italy. Frances’ Bramasole is situated in Cortona (the 16th century Villa Laura has been completely renovated and now sleeps 10 guests!), but she was lucky enough to carouse around Positano and Salerno with Marcello like young lovers do. For the vibrant flag festival scene, everyone packed up for nearby Arezzo’s town piazza, and the wedding scenes at the end were filmed at an estate in beautiful Montepulciano.
Baz Luhrmann toted his film crew across 4 of the 8 Australian Territories to film the epic Australia, from Bowen, Queensland, (which doubled for Darwin’s waterfront), to the town of Kununurra, in Western Australia where Faraway Downs was built. Trek into Purnululu National Park to Carleton Hill Station to see the sweeping vista of striped hills that Lady Ashley does when she first arrived at Faraway Downs. You don’t need to drive thousands of cattle to Stokes Hill Wharf to get the full effect of Western Australia’s rugged scenery, (not that I would mind the task, if I had the dashing Drover with me!). In Bowen, stroll through the historic buildings that gave it the perfect, pre WWII Darwin vibe. The bombing sequences were all filmed here. In Sydney, stop in at the Strickland House in Vaucluse; this ornate manor stood in as Darwin’s Government House in the film, and the ball was held here as well.
Noella Schink is a travel writer from Portland, Maine. She loves food, movies and road trips! She recommends Auto Europe as your first travel resource, especially for car hire in Ireland, car hire in the UK, and worldwide!