Don’t let the travel restrictions hold you down — virtually explore the world with these films.
As coronavirus cases continue to increase in the US, many countries aren’t allowing American tourists to come visit. So let’s go to the next best thing. The warm encompassing embrace of screen, and travel to different countries through movies!
I’ve compiled a list of movies (dramas, musicals, comedies, documentaries, etc…) that take place around the world so that you can safely “travel” from home. They are set in different countries and show off the country’s natural landscapes, culture or picturesque cities. If you think of any other ones, please let me know!
I’ve categorized them by continent to make it easier!
Kenya — The First Grader
Based on a true story, this inspirational tale follows an 84-year-old man who takes advantage of Kenya’s newly established free education to enroll in elementary school and learn to read. We get to see rural Kenya on his route to and from school!
Where to watch The First Grader: Hulu
Niger — The Wedding Ring (Zin’naariyâ!)
As Niger’s first entry submission for the Foreign Language Oscar category, this is a movie you don’t want to miss! Also, look at the cinematography
Where to watch The Wedding Ring (Zin’naariyâ!): YouTube
Multiple Countries — The Endless Summer
Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa aren’t the first countries that come to mind when you think of surfing, but this ode to surf proves that its appeal is worldwide. The subjects of the documentary also travel to more traditional surfing parts of the world, like Oceania and Hawai’i.
Where to watch The Endless Summer: Tubi
Tunisia — Raiders of the Lost Ark
What passed as Egypt was actually the Tunisian desert! Incidentally very near where they shot Star Wars: A New Hope. If arid climates are your thing, here’s your opportunity!
Where to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark: Netflix
Adélie Land — March of the Penguins
The easiest way to visit Antarctica (in my experience). Plus, I’ll take any excuse to watch penguins for an hour and a half!
Russia — Doctor Zhivago
If you want a taste of both Russia and Romanticism — here’s your movie! You can see Moscow, Siberia and a passionate love affair.
Where to watch Dr. Zhivago: HBO Max
China — The Farewell
If you want to see Beijing and you enjoy crying, then The Farewell will satisfy both of those things!
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video (purchase)
Singapore — Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians gives you a taste of what it’s like to be part of the elite in this booming and beautiful nation.
Japan — Memoirs of a Geisha
Transport yourself to the ancient neighborhoods of Kyoto and visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine Gates.
India — Veer-Zaara
Mountains, flowers, fountains, colors, romance, song and dance numbers and a sensitive portrayal of India-Pakistan relations, what more could you ask for?
Where to watch Veer-Zaara: Amazon Prime Video
Austria — The Sound of Music
Ever wanted to visit the Alps? This is your chance with this classic family musical.
Where to watch The Sound of Music: Disney+
Belgium — In Bruges
This dark comedy is a laugh riot and you can see quite a bit of the medieval city in it, too.
Italy — The Trip To Italy
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s antics, impressions and conversations are fun to watch, even more so with the backdrop of the Amalfi Coast.
Where to watch The Trip To Italy: Hulu
France — Amélie
The oft sought out trip to Paris is one click away in this heartwarming and creative movie.
Turkey — Kedi
This adorable documentary not only explores the beautiful city of Istanbul, but does so from a cat’s point of view!
Australia — Walkabout
The wilderness is breathtaking, you’ll feel like you’ve been outside for a long time! However, the reason why the main characters are in the wild is disturbing, so beware sensitive souls.
Where to watch Walkabout: Amazon Prime Video (purchase)
New Zealand — Whale Rider
An inspiring story with gorgeous views of the ocean and of nature. If you want the coastal experience, watch this!
Samoa — The Orator (O Le Tulafale)
Gorgeous views of the South Pacific island and a compelling and nuanced drama, too. It’s also the first feature film to be shot entirely in Samoa — worth watching for that alone!
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video
Argentina — Gauchos Del Mar
If you’ve always wanted to trek and surf along the Patagonian coast, watch this stunning documentary!
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video
Brazil — Amazonia
Check out the wildlife and feel like you’re hiking through the Amazonian jungle (without getting mosquito bites!) when watching this breathtaking adventure documentary.
Where to watch Amazonia: Vudu
Ecuador — Qué Tan Lejos
With a beautiful countryside and the most picturesque bus stop I’ve ever seen, Qué Tan Lejos looks at the impact that traveling can have on the rest of your life.
Where to watch: Filmingo (to rent)
Multiple Countries — The Motorcycle Diaries
Itself a travel movie; you get to see Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia and more all in one!
Hopefully that’ll cure your wanderlust until the restrictions are lifted and it’s safe to travel again. If you’re more interested in the philosophy of why we travel, here’s a compelling documentary.