Alaska,  Iceland,  Sunday social travel talk,  Utah

Movies that made us want to travel

Quite often movies are not filmed anywhere close to where they are featuring. However, with all those great (Hollywood) techniques, they can make us believe anything nowadays, no? It doesn’t matter really; movies will always inspire people to travel more. At least it has inspired us and sometimes we still let ourselves be amazed of natural beauty that can be found in movies. As it’s Sunday that means social travel talk time … here are our 5 favorite movies that totally made us want to travel.

1. Into the Wild
Who hasn’t seen this epic road trip movie by Sean Penn? Young Christopher McCandles (a brilliant role by Emile Hirsch) travels around the US to eventually reach wild land Alaska. What happens to him there, we won’t tell. Although not entirely shot in Alaska, the setting is gorgeous and it immediately makes you want to pack your bags and head out into the wild. But beware: the Alaskans have become annoyed by the (inexperienced) hikers that try to reach the bus where Chris spends his summer. They are tired of having to put up a rescue for people stuck there because the river is too high. Tourists have died trying to cross that river. You get our point, right? If you want to see the bus, just go over to the 49th State Brewing Co in Healy where the one that was featured in the movie is exposed.

The music by Eddie Vedder is as awesome as the movie by the way. The soundtrack album became one of our favorite road trip sounds to listen to while on the way.


2. Lord of the Rings
This movie, or better said, these movies, don’t need introduction. We are not into fantasy (or however you may call this genre) but LOTR is just a must-see. Period. Even we were fascinated by the adventures of Frodo and his fellowship. Will he make it to Mount Doom or will he captured by the Orks? While traveling in New Zealand you will notice that they make good use of the fact that the movies were shot here. You can make LOTR tours everywhere and pay good money for them. No need to do that really, since the dramatic nature is pretty much all around you. The one tour we did make (as we couldn’t access it by ourselves) is to Hobbiton, the places where the Hobbits live. It´s not accessible on your own and still we wanted to see this with our own eyes, which was, in our opinion, totally worth it!

lotr-1 lotr-2 mt-cook-view


3. 127 Hours
Not for the faint hearted, this is a movie about young adventurer Aron Ralston who heads out to Canyonlands National Park (Utah) for some canyoneering. However things don’t go as planned as his arm gets stuck between a boulder and the wall of a slot canyon. Canyonlands National Park is simply gorgeous and even though we didn’t come close to the filming location (it is located deep inside the park and you need serious mountaineering/canyoneering skills to be able to get here) the pieces of Canyonlands we did get to see were stunning enough to satisfy our curiosity. Oh, and just to find out how it feels to clamp yourself between two walls, we went canyoneering too, but in Zion NP instead.  With a guide and … a helmet.

overlook 2 canyoneering

4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

In all honesty, we are not fans of Ben Stiller but he does an outstanding job in his role as office worker Walter Mitty. The plot of the movie is too bizarre to expose here but no matter what, you will love it. The scenes where he is in Iceland made us want to go back instantly (lucky Martijn, he’ll be back there for 3 weeks during the summer) and did not fail to impress us. This is probably the best promotion Iceland could have for the tourism industry. The only shame is that the parts that are supposed to be Greenland and the Himalaya are also shot in Iceland, but then again, can you ever get enough of Iceland? We sure can’t…

iceland-1 iceland-2 iceland-3


5. Insomnia
This is the movie that made me (Anto) fall in love with Alaska. And made me want to go there. Los Angeles detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is called to Alaska to solve the murder on a young woman. While there, it’s light 24 hours a day which makes him suffer from insomnia. How this messes up his brain and how this affects his job, you can see in the movie. Although most of the movie wasn’t actually shot in Alaska, the whole setting was beautiful. According to resources on the internet, locations used for filming were Hyder and Valdez in Alaska for the glacier shots and various places in British Columbia (Canada). After having been to Alaska a couple of times (locals may disagree) I think it comes close in some ways to what Alaska is really like, the filled with rough landscapes, loneliness and in my case always, insomnia …

alaska-glacier-1 alaska-3

We love watching movies, so tell us, which movies inspired you to travel? Which ones did we miss on our top 5? And which of the ones we mentioned did you like? Looking forward to hearing from you!

In our Sunday Social Travel Talk we always share something other than travel tips or hiking guides. Click here to read all the previous entries.

Want to read more about the above mentioned destinations? You may like any of these:
5 really cool (and cold) things to do in Alaska
24 hours in Mount Cook National Park
Iceland’s Hidden (hot)spot!

Psst: sharing is caring!


  • Solveig

    From the movies above, only LotR makes me want to travel.. One day I’d like to go to New Zealand as well, because of all this beautiful nature.. The other movies I haven’t seen yet..
    As we don’t watch a lot of movies, I only have one other movie, that make me want to travel: “Elizabethtown”.. A young man is flying to the funeral of his dad and is travelling back home by making a road trip and spreading the ash of his dad at special places.. It is filmed in the southern states of the USA.. there are more tv shows and books that wants to make me travel through the world.. 😉

    • anto

      Thanks for suggesting Elizabethtown, I’ve heard from the movie but didn’t see it yet. We’re not huge movie watchers nowadays anymore (we used to watch 3-4 a week) but prefer series and especially the Nordic ones, that seem so popular nowadays…

  • Tikva

    I already knew all of the movies except the last one. Yeah!, something new to watch.
    As much as whe loved Iceland we really hated the “secret life of walter mitty” movie. It was so boring! end the end to cliche. We ended up fast forwarding most of it just to see the scenery parts.

    • anto

      Even though I loved Walter Miffy, I can also somehow understand why people didn’t like it, it’s a movie that has to grow on you…

  • Dave Cole

    Fun post! I have not been to any of these places yet, but they are all high on my list due to their natural beauty. Insomnia was filled with such gorgeous images.

    I was very excited to travel to Kenya after watching Out of Africa. And I can’t even begin to list the movies that have served as travel inspiration over the years. I feel like every time I see a movie based in a new location my wanderlust is sparked.

    • anto

      Oh yes, I’d love to see Out of Africa one day, even my mum speaks about that one. We’ve never been to Africa before so that’s maybe why we never watched it, although it must be beautiful….

  • Serena

    #1 and (expecially!!) #2 are among my fave movies, so now you are making me curious to see the others as well.
    LOTR is making me dreaming about NZ since 14 years, and I do hope I will be able to see it soon

  • Alli

    What a creative and interesting idea for a blog post! Nice work. I am surprised with Movie #1 though! The scenery was indeed beautiful, but I was disturbed for days after watching that movie! I still get goosebumps and heebie jeebies just thinking about it 🙂

    • anto

      Hi Alli, yeah I totally get what you mean about the movie. I had read the book before so I knew how it was going to end, however each time I’m watching it makes me want to cry over and over … it’s a very sensitive movie indeed!

  • Ashley @ A Southern Gypsy

    Love all these movies! I was surprised to see some people didn’t like Walter Mitty – I thought it was great 🙂

    Even the ones that aren’t really about travel – Insomnia – inspire me to travel as well!

  • Ben @ Road Affair

    We are movie buffs so we have seen all of them except 127 Hours. The summary on Imdb didn’t really peak our interest. But if it made you want to travel we might have to give it a watch.

    The movie that made us want to travel and hitchhike the USA was “Into the Wild”.

    • anto

      The scenes of the slot canyons are just gorgeous so it’s well worth checking out the movie. You may have to move your eyes off the screen towards the end of the movie though … that’s all I’m gonna say about it!

  • G. Maria

    Cool post – I’ve seen Insomnia & haven’t seen Into the Wild – although these are not super happy movies, I do want to go to Alaska!

    Movies that have inspired me to travel… “Under the Tuscan Sun” – I just had to go to Positano – and I did. I’ve seen many movies about Venice – and will make it there one day.

    Great posts!

    PS: I also love traveling – and have started to write about it @ Check it out when you are in b/t travels 🙂

  • elaine schoch

    All great movies! I think Lords of the Rings really made me want to visit New Zealand more than I had wanted to before seeing the movies. And I had know idea Hobbiton really existed…

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