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Movies to Plan Your Next Vacation Destination

Movies are known to transport us into a different world. At times into a dream world, in the company of ones we love. To places where we would rather spend our time than within the confines of our homes.

With summer already here, it is time to start planning vacations….or at least dreaming of being in cities or countries we’ve seen in movies over the years but never actually had a chance to visit. To help you with the selection process, I am sharing a list of my favorite places (in no particular order) I have been introduced to, thanks to the wonderful world of movies. See if there are any that you either recognize or are already on your “to-visit” list. (Most of these films are either available on paid streaming websites like Netflix or on YouTube, free of cost.)

A superlative, atmospheric thriller starring George Clooney that captures the ethereal beauty of Castel del Monte in its full bloom. The cobble streets, winding roads, local cafes and lush, surrounding mountains…all creating images worth experiencing through your own eyes.


There is hardly an avid moviegoer who is not familiar with Stieg Larson’s Millennium Trilogy and the three films based on them (“The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Stirred the Hornet’s Nest”). The twists and turns in the story of Lisbeth Salander are clap-worthy. However, it is the beauty of both rural and urban Sweden that truly captures your attention. Definitely a place I would like to visit someday.


All Pedro Almodovar directed-films bear his unmistakable stamp of an emotionally-charged mysterious plots, madcap characters, vibrant colors splashed all over the screen and a glimpse into Spain like no other director has done before. While both “Volver” and “Broken Embraces” are vintage Almodovar in terms of their plot, it is the exquisite beauty of Spain that remains with you long after the films are over.



Aloha! George Clooney shows up yet again on this list…this time as a concerned father and a jealous/doting husband, looking to find out more about his dying wife’s lover. All in the backdrop of beautiful Hawaii, in an equally surreal film directed by magical filmmaker, Alexander Payne.


One of the most colorful movies I have seen that celebrates love and beauty through the eyes of the wonderful Audrey Tatou. It is an absolute joy watching Tatou’s character, Amelie, spreading happiness into the lives of people around her. The scene-stealer, however, is the city of Paris, captured throughout the film with just the right amount of romance and passion.


Over the years, countless films have captured the beauty of New York, but never before has the Big Apple looked more romantic and dreamy in Black & White than in Frances Ha, an enchanting little indie about a NY girl who aims to fulfill her dreams while apprenticing for a dance company. An absolute must-watch!


Ah….one can smell the local food, the traditional Indian culture and the playful banter representative of the twin Indian cities of Lucknow and Kanpur throughout this gem of a film. Repeated viewings over the years have not put even a dent on my resolve to watch it yet again…and again…and again.


Yet another moody thriller like The American, in which a party of law enforcement officials drive through rural inland villages of Turkey with a convicted murderer. Their conversations are lengthy and philosophical…but nothing can surpass the beauty of Turkey that is captured by the film, as the posse drives from one small town to another, searching for the buried dead bodies of the murder victims.


Arguably, my favorite film in Richard Linklater’s “BEFORE” series and the most beautiful-looking amongst all three films (“Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset”, “Before Midnight”). At times, its hard to concentrate on the delightful conversations Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy keep indulging in, without paying attention to those jaw-dropping exotic locales of Greece in the background.


An emotional powerhouse of a film that lands the main characters in a moral dilemma after a rich couple realize that their only child is in fact not theirs but was swapped at birth with the son of a poor family. While the questions raised by the film are worthy of long ponderous discussions, the only relief provided from the heavy-handed proceedings is via the amazing shots of Tokyo that instantly capture the imagination.

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