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VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Cinephiles with wanderlust, this one’s for you! Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Trips Inspired by Iconic Films. For this list, we’ll be looking at trips to famous destinations as inspired by both classic and contemporary popular films. We won't be including destinations used as stand-ins for fictional places, like New Zealand in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”.

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Top 10 Trips Inspired by Iconic Films

Cinephiles with wanderlust, this one’s for you! Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Trips Inspired by Iconic Films.

For this list, we’ll be looking at trips to famous destinations as inspired by both classic and contemporary popular films. We won't be including destinations used as stand-ins for fictional places, like New Zealand in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”.

#10: West Bengal, India

“The Darjeeling Limited” (2007)

Wes Anderson’s keenly aesthetic eye can make just about any setting feel like something out of a fairytale. But in this travel film about estranged family and reconnection, the setting admittedly didn’t need much help to captivate or inspire. Though there isn’t an actual train by the name of the Darjeeling Limited, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, from which Anderson took his inspiration, does take you on a truly unforgettable journey through the Indian state of West Bengal, from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, the railway offers just a small taste of the unique culture, landscapes and colors of India.

#9: Casablanca, Morocco

“Casablanca” (1942)

There are few films more synonymous with high-stakes romance than this iconic drama starring silver screen legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Since the film’s release in 1942, countless travelers have made their way to Casablanca in Morocco in search of love, drama, and some of that old world charm. The funny thing is… the film’s production never went there; it was all filmed on a film lot in Burbank, California! Regardless, it’s a testament to the magic of Hollywood that the film has inspired so many travellers. Bogart and Bergman might not have walked those streets, but visit Casablanca for yourself, and you’ll understand why the filmmakers set their story in this culturally-rich, magical city.

#8: Tuscany, Italy

“Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003)

This famed region in Central Italy might be one of the country’s most popular destinations, but there are still plenty of authentic experiences to be had in this picturesque land of rolling hills, great food and even better wine. In the 2003 film, Diane Lane’s Frances Mayes leaves San Francisco, and the mess of her recently-upended life, for Tuscany and a journey of self-discovery. Now, we wouldn’t recommend purchasing a dilapidated villa and trying to start a new life for yourself in Tuscany, but you can take a cue from Frances by staying at a charming villa, exploring the countryside and immersing yourself in the local culture alongside the hospitable and friendly locals.

#7: Vienna, Austria

“Before Sunrise”(1995)

Like Wes Anderson, no one makes films quite like Richard Linklater. In this wonderful 1995 offering, which began an eventual film trilogy spanning decades, he takes a deep dive into love, interpersonal connection, and fate. And, while treating these subjects with the utmost attention and insight, he also manages to paint a stunning portrait of Vienna, the city in which the central one-night whirlwind romance takes place. The film captures the Austrian capital in all of its rich, exquisite and romantic detail. From the Naschmarkt (an open-air market) and the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn greenhouse, to the many historic buildings and countless picturesque cafes, you’ll find yourself, much like Jesse and Céline, lost in the magic.

#6: New York City

“Manhattan” (1979)

As one of the world’s most famous cities, NYC has served as the setting of more iconic and influential films than we can count. Whatever your taste in film, there’s sure to be a movie set in New York that’s going to give you an overwhelming desire to visit. Of all those films however, “Manhattan,” despite Woody Allen’s ongoing controversies, remains a notable standout. From that opening montage of snapshots of everyday life in NYC, you’re immediately drawn in by the energy and style of this unique metropolis. Though a lot has changed since 1979, this city is still as lively and unique as ever, so why not lose yourself in that iconic skyline?

#5: Tokyo, Japan

“Lost in Translation” (2003)

This 2003 film hasn’t really aged all that well in certain ways, primarily with the often- stereotypical depiction of Japanese characters. But there’s no denying Sofia Coppola’s success as a filmmaker in the way she managed to capture the allure of Japan’s capital city. Tokyo is presented as a place of rare wonder, in which technology and modernity blend with traditional culture to create a rather surreal space. Though we can’t guarantee that you’ll bump into Bill Murray on your trip, we can promise that you’ll love visiting the spots where he and Scarlett Johansson filmed. But that’s just a starting point: Tokyo has oh so much more for you to discover.

#4: Hollywood, USA

“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)

There’s nothing like a classic of Hollywood cinema set in Hollywood to get you in the mood for a trip to Los Angeles! A film noir involving murder, intrigue and the dangers of dreaming big in Tinseltown, “Sunset Boulevard” isn’t exactly the sort of plot that you should relive on your trip, but it does capture the spirit and glamor of this one-of-a-kind neighborhood in a way that makes you want to see and experience it for yourself. Sadly, many of the landmarks from that time have since disappeared, but there are still plenty of relics from old Hollywood like the Chateau Marmont to appreciate. You can also check out Norma’s mansion!

#3: Rome, Italy

“Roman Holiday” (1953)

Shot on location in this ultra-historic Italian city, “Roman Holiday” is a gem, and features two wonderful performances courtesy of legends Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. This romantic comedy makes the city as much of a lead character as those two humans; and throughout the film’s nearly two-hour runtime, you’ll fall in love with all three, multiple times over. Walk in the footsteps of crown princess Ann and journalist Joe Bradley by seeing all the sights, but equally by taking in the simple pleasures of gelato, or an evening dance with someone you care about. (And for a more modern film inspiration, we also recommend checking out Paolo Sorrentino’s glorious “The Great Beauty”.)

#2: Paris, France

“Amélie” (2001)

Paris is such a popular tourist destination, that for many Europe-bound travellers, it’s the first stop almost by default. For some, the city’s popularity has taken away from the enjoyment of Paris, but with a little help from this film, and the charming performance of Audrey Tautou, you’ll quickly rediscover the romance of Paris through the magic of its countless quirks and charms. Take a self-guided walking tour that follows the film and live out all of your favorite Amélie-inspired moments. Explore the city on bicycle to appreciate the small stuff, stopping in at any little cafe or boutique that catches your fancy. When you manage to escape the crowds, there’s still plenty of magic to be found.

Before we unveil or top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

South America

“The Motorcycle Diaries” (2004)

Bruges, Belgium

“In Bruges” (2008)

#1: Alaska, USA

“Into the Wild” (2007)

It’s one thing to take a trip inspired by a film, but there’s an extra layer of satisfaction when that film is a true story. The tale of Cheryl Strayed, as portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the film “Wild”, has inspired numerous people to find themselves on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you’re looking to go even deeper into pristine wilderness however, why not take inspiration from Chris McCandless’ journey, as depicted in Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild”? We’re by no means suggesting that you abandon civilization for a dangerous, solitary, survivalist life, but Alaska’s wilderness does offer unparalleled natural spaces and beauty. Just remember to bring a friend . . . for as McCandless put it: “Happiness is only real when shared”.

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