Film locations that will have you grabbing your passport
Whenever we book a trip to Europe, I always have a little look to see if there are any movies shot in that particular location. We love discovering new places, and so often, when you watch a movie, you’ll get to see regions of a city or captivating landscapes that you may not have been aware of.
You may spot a scene in a movie that will inspire your next travel adventure. I remember watching the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale and falling in love with Lake Como.
Some years later, when we were touring the Italian Lakes, we spent a few nights around Lake Como and couldn’t resist hiring our own boat and spending a few hours cruising the lake.
Whenever we watch the film again, it brings back to us our lasting memories of the incredible scenery, charming lakeside villages and chilled Prosecco.
When I wrote 10 Movies for European Wanderlust Part 1, which includes Casino Royale, my mind immediately started whirring around, and thinking of other beautiful European towns and cities that we’ve visited.
My next 10 movie destinations are igniting even more wanderlust for me, and I’m sure they’ll tempt you into planning the next European mini-break.
We have a couple of family favourites; one or two thrillers, and it wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t some high action from Ethan Hunt and James Bond.
Our next 10 movie locations
Well, I say high-octane antics, I’m not too sure if a ‘tank chase’ around the post-Cold War streets of Saint Petersburg quite nails it, but you get my drift.
In the 2006 James Bond movie, ‘GoldenEye’ starring Pierce Brosnan as 007 is in hot pursuit of Sean Bean (Alec Trevelyan), a rogue MI6 agent.
James Bond heads to Russia in search of a crime syndicate that is intent on causing a global financial meltdown by using a satellite weapon. Does he or doesn’t he save the day, no spoiler alerts here.
The 007 GoldenEye is the first movie that Dame Judi Dench plays the role ‘M’.
Now when we watch GoldenEye, Saint Petersburg looks so grey and uninviting. However, this beautiful Russian city has been a considerable transformation, and it now looks magnificent.
St. Petersburg is an incredible city to visit. It will continue to be a land of mystery and intrigue to me.
Where to stay in St Petersburg
If you've yet to discover the incredible history and architecture in St. Petersburg, you're in for a treat. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our St. Petersburg adventure, now you can grab the revised copy.
In the 2006 Ridley Scott movie ‘A Good Year’, Russell Crowe plays an arrogant investment banker from London who has inherited his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in Provence.
His character Max Skinner sets off on a drive to renovate and sell the enchanting chateau. Slowly his childhood memories drift through his thoughts along with the captivating Provence landscape and, of course, his adoration for the beautiful Fanny Chenal played by Marion Cotillard.
If you love Provence as much as we do, you'll want to start planning your visit now.
I so enjoy using the DK Eyewitness books, as they are extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Provencal road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
The Way is another movie that will truly lure you in and will get you grabbing your hiking books.
The 2010 film directed and starring Emilio Estevez will really touch your heart. Martin Sheen plays the father of Emilio Estevez and decides to embark on the 500-mile journey to Santiago de Compostela in memory of his son who lost his life on the Camino.
Along the way,Martin Sheen (Tom) meets an unusual mix of characters who are all on the pilgrim trail to discover themselves and unearth a greater meaning in their lives.
The scenery across northwest Spain is beautiful, primarily through the rural landscape and the tiny rustic villages.
We’ve visited a few historic towns and cities where the Camino de Santiago weaves its way across Spain, full of incredible architecture, and the culture is so welcoming.
Where to stay in León
In Rogue Nation, one of the standout locations for me was Vienna in Austria and especially the beautiful State Opera House. Vienna is a stunning city, full of magnificent architecture, tranquil parks and of course, the elegant Viennese cafés serving delicious cakes.
Ethan Hunt and his posse of Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames hurtle their way through the streets and lanes of various cities in Rogue Nation to track down the ‘Syndicate’, a corrupt organisation. If you also love the city of Marrakech in Morocco, this movie is one to watch.
Where to stay in Vienna
- Boutique Hotel am Stephansplatz - The accommodation for our 3-night mini-break in Vienna was at the Boutique Hotel am Stephansplatz.
It was in a fabulous location in the centre of Vienna with stunning views of St Stephen's Cathedral.
If you've yet to discover the beautiful architecture and the delicious cakes in Vienna, you're in for a treat. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Vienna adventure, now you can grab the revised copy.
The 2009 film Angels and Demons, directed by Ron Howard, is a sequel to the equally captivating movie The Da Vinci Code.
The character Professor Robert Langdon played by Tom Hanks, sets off on a mystery thriller through the streets of ancient Rome in search of an assassin working for the Illuminati.
Angels and Demons takes us on an intense journey around the Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica. Tom Hanks keeps us guessing all the time and treats us to a visit to the magnificent Pantheon and some enchanting piazzas, one in particular that I adore is Piazza Navona.
We’ve visited Rome on a couple of occasions, and this beautiful city never fails to impress, as Gary and I love history. Rome is incredibly fascinating with its magnificent architecture and monuments. You feel like it has a tale to tell around every corner.
If you've yet to discover the incredible history and architecture in Rome, you're in for a treat. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those tranquil courtyards.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Rome adventure, now you can grab the revised copy.
I’ve chosen another movie starring the fabulous actor Tom Hanks, and that’s the 2015 film directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies.
Along with the cast of Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda, we are taken on a journey of intense negotiations between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War in Berlin.
A US Air Force spy-plane pilot and his wings were shot down over the Soviet Union, the only way he is going to step back onto US soil is if the United States release the convicted KGB agent Rudolf Abel, played by Mark Rylance.
This historic thriller keeps you on edge until the exchange of the two spies on the Glienicke Bridge (Bridge of Spies), which connects Potsdam with Berlin.
Berlin is an extremely fascinating city to explore, full of so much intrigue and history. We headed to Berlin a few years ago and visited the touching site of the Berlin Wall. It is incredibly moving; however, it’s a part of our history that must be acknowledged.
Where we stayed in Berlin
- Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie - During our visit to Berlin, we stayed at the Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie.
A pleasant hotel with friendly staff. A short stroll from the Gendarmenmarkt and, of course, Checkpoint Charlie.
If you've yet to discover Berlin's incredible history, then let’s start planning. I find these DK Travel Guides invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.
You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.
For our next stop, we’re heading back to France to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in the lush Burgundy region.
I can’t believe that the movie Chocolat was created over 20 years ago. Dame Judi Dench and Juliette Binoche still look beautiful.
Chocolat is based on the novel by Joanne Harris and brings to life the sensitive story of a single mother and her six-year-old daughter. Vianne Rocher, played by Juliette Binoche, opens a chocolaterie in the sleepy village just opposite the local church; however, all are not happy with the sweet offerings.
Vianne slowly wins around the locals and encourages them to express their inner feelings while indulging in the chocolate fancies. Although it’s a whole new challenge winning around the village mayor.
Burgundy is an incredibly picturesque region of France and has exquisite wine and delicious cuisine. Ensure you try the Burgundian dishes of beef bourguignon and coq au vin and the local Dijon mustard.
It’s good to talk!
We’ve now ventured back to Austria, this time to the harmonious city of Salzburg.
Not only are the charismatic lanes of Salzburg melodious with Mozart’s symphonies, but you may also catch the soothing tones of Dame Julie Andrews from the 1965 classic movie The Sound of Music.
This really is a good old family favourite; alongside Maria is Christopher Plummer playing Captain Von Trapp.
Set in 1930s Austria, Maria is not quite ready for a nun’s vocation, so she takes up the role of governess to the seven mischievous Von Trapp children.
Initially, this is quite a challenge for Maria. Still, her devotion, fun, and understanding to the children win over their affection, along with that of Captain Von Trapp.
That’s not the end; the family need to make their escape as Austria is being annexed by the Third Reich. Luckily the Salzburg music festival allows them to escape across the border to Switzerland.
We visited the beautiful city of Salzburg a few years ago during a road trip; however, I can highly recommend it for a mini-break. The colourful lanes are so full of charm, a considerable effort is made to maintain the old character of the city.
Where we stayed in Salzburg
- Mercure Salzburg City - Our accommodation while in Salzburg was at the Mercure Salzburg City.
We had a very pleasant stay, and the hotel had secure onsite parking at a charge.
There is a little touch of culture here from the star-studded 2003 movie Girl with a Pearl Earring, featuring Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, and Cillian Murphy.
The film tells the story of 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer and the mystery that surrounds the striking painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Although, there is no historical evidence of who the beautiful girl is in the work of art. There is speculation that it was a maid that lived with the Vermeer family.
So, why not make a delightful movie out of it.
The storyline follows Vermeer (Colin Firth) and the mysterious life of Griet (the maid), who is played by Scarlett Johanssen. Vermeer has a wealthy patron, and he commissions Vermeer to paint Griet. The patron tries to win Griet’s affections; however, her love is elsewhere with Pieter (Cillian Murphy).
The artwork is secretly produced by Vermeer in his studio, without the knowledge of Vermeer's wife. She would not take the alliance lightly.
If you're thinking of heading of to the land of tulips and cheese, then grab this DK Eyewitness guide to help with your planning.
I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
Now we’re jetting to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to Valencia in eastern Spain.
Tomorrowland is a Walt Disney science fiction movie starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Hugh Laurie. In the film, a disheartened inventor and a young science genius head off on a hazardous mission to unearth the secrets within an alternate time and place known as "Tomorrowland".
This 2015 film is shot in the beautiful historic city of Valencia in the bizarrely futurist City of Arts and Science complex.
It’s a great area of the city, and it’s hard to believe that golden sandy beaches are a short distance away and that Valencia is the home of the Holy Grail and the birthplace of paella.
The City of Arts and Science is located in an old riverbed which was once the Turia River. After a disastrous flood in 1957, the river was rerouted and drained.
Construction began in 1996, with the first part of the complex L'Hemisfèric opening in 1998. Gradually more and more of the architectural area was developed with the same futuristic theme. The latest building to be opened was the L'Àgora in 2009, a covered plaza that holds concerts and exhibitions.
The City of Arts and Science elements include an aquarium, an opera house, a covered landscaped walkway, a science museum, and magnificent bridges.
Ensure you visit the City of Arts and Science in the evening. The whole place is illuminated and looks spectacular.
Where we stayed in Valencia
- Mon Suites Catedral - The accommodation we chose while staying in Valencia was in the apartment Mon Suites Catedral.
It was incredibly central, clean, and peaceful.
There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
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