Movie Travel: 5 Favorite Film Locations to Explore
Is movie travel included in your future travel plans, now that you’ve probably been watching more movies and TV shows than usual? It’s definitely in my travel plans. There’s nothing that makes me more eager to visit a place than seeing it beautifully photographed in a film I enjoy. Before the pandemic, film tourism was big business and I have no doubt that it will be again when travel resumes. Recently, we’ve all had the chance to preview many wonderful locales from the comfort of our couches. Now it’s time to choose a few special places to visit when we can resume real life travel.
Here are 5 of my favorite shows for their film travel possibilities:
- Westworld – Singapore and Spain
Season 3 of this show filmed in some wildly futuristic locations that perfectly highlight the unfolding story line. While much in Westworld is created through visual effects, the locations are real and look intriguing to visit. Singapore is known for its amazing architecture, and it does not disappoint as a filming location in the show. The Helix Bridge, ION Orchard Mall and the Park Royal on Pickering Hotel are all featured. The iconic Marina Bay Sands resort, with its 3 towers connected by a rooftop patio can also be seen in many shots. The resort claims to have the world’s largest rooftop pool, as well as a permanent exhibit appropriately called Future World: Where Art Meets Science. I’m ready to book a stay here.
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain is perfectly cast in the show as Delos corporate headquarters. Some of the shots there are spectacular and draw you into an extraordinary, futuristic world. I missed this place on my last trip to Spain, but I’ll be sure to see it next time.
- The Durrells in Corfu – Corfu, Greece
This show aired on PBS a while back and is based on the autobiography of Gerry Durrell. Durrell left England and moved to Corfu with his widowed mother and 3 older siblings in the 1930’s. The spectacular scenery of Corfu becomes a character in the show, as the family adjusts to their new life and surroundings. Their shabby but wonderfully situated TV home is in Gouvia. The nearby village is rustic and charming and the shots of the Mediterranean Sea make me want to hop on the next flight to Greece. Corfu is larger and far less over run with tourists than Santorini or Mykonos. Hopefully, it will stay that way, in spite of the wonderful promotion this show gave the island as a desirable place to visit. Corfu is definitely on my travel agenda when I next visit Greece.
- Downton Abbey – Great Britain
If you’re a fan of this show, you know the action centers around the Crawley family and their grand estate of Highclere Castle in Hampshire. The real life owners are Lord and Lady Carnarvon, who made so much money from tourism as a result of the show that they were able to do some much needed repairs on the castle. I’m partial to castles, so Highclere is definitely on my list for any future travels to Britain.
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland also made a few appearances in the show, as Brancaster Castle. The Percy family has lived in this castle for over 700 years. Castles were built to last, which is another reason I’m so fond of them.
- Midnight in Paris – Paris, France
Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea” and I couldn’t agree more. When Gil, played by Owen Wilson, sits on the steps at midnight in this quirky Woody Allen film, it’s on the steps of the Church of St. Etienne du Mont. The city is beautifully presented in this story about a young, conflicted man transported back to 1920’s Paris. The Quai de Bourbon on the Ile St. Louis, where writer Gertrude Stein once lived, shines as the spot where Gil parties in 1920’s Paris. The movie also filmed at Claude Monet’s spectacular home and gardens in Giverny. Special access was even granted to film inside the Palace of Versailles. This film definitely brings out my inner Francophile and displays why more tourists visit France than any other country.
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy – New Zealand
In the event anyone was wondering whether visiting New Zealand was worth the long flight, the 3 films based on Tolkien’s masterpiece trilogy put that thought to rest. Tourism to New Zealand grew exponentially after the films’ release, and to fans of the films, it will forever be known as the location of Middle Earth. Hobbiton, the location of the shire, is easily visited, as is the location of Rivendell, in Kaotoke Regional Park in Wellington. Numerous other, more remote filming locations can also be visited. I was enchanted by the books and films, so New Zealand is definitely on my travel list, long flight be damned.
So that’s my current movie travel destination list. A complete list of all the destinations that I’ve ever seen in a movie or TV show that I’d like to visit would number in the hundreds, so I’m concentrating on this short list for now. What locations would you like to visit that you’ve seen on screen?