You can make your backpacking adventures all the more epic when you visit some of the world’s most famous filming destinations. From pristine beaches to quirky city cafes, the following spots have that special touch of cinematic romance and magic.
Las Vegas, USA – Las Vegas lends itself well to heists and capers, as the whole city feels a bit like a Hollywood set piece with its faux Eiffel Tower and Sphinx. Its numerous resort hotels have been the scene of a number of recent films, with Caesar’s Palace serving as the centre of hijinks in The Hangover, and the famous fountains of the opulent Bellagio appearing as a backdrop for Ocean’s Eleven.
Paris, France – Film lovers with a taste for whimsy may wish to fly to Paris to have a crème brulee in the lovely art deco café where Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie worked, the Café des 2 Moulins. Strolling the streets of Montmartre and other neighbourhoods lets you relive the storylines of French New Wave classics Breathless and Alphaville, as well as the more recent Woody Allen production Midnight in Paris.
Tokyo, Japan – The city of Tokyo stars as itself in Sofia Coppola’s ode to disorientation, Lost in Translation. Much of the film’s chaotic outdoor scenes were filmed in the Shibuya district, while the Park Hyatt Hotel is where Bob and Charlotte meet each other. The hotel bar now has a drink named after the film to please the numerous film geeks who come to visit.
Prague, Czech Republic – A trip to Prague has long been almost mandatory for international film students and bohemians, although it has also served as the set for a number of Hollywood action flicks. Mission Impossible was primarily filmed here. The Bourne Identity begins in Prague as well, though it is meant to be Zurich. The Barrandov Studios just outside of Prague are also used to film many international productions, including Casino Royale.
Manhattan, USA – Although New York City’s most famous borough of Manhattan has been the set for many big-time films from Spider Man to The Devil Wears Prada, it is also world famous as the setting for many television productions. Law and Order draws its storylines directly from New York headlines, while Manhattan served as the stomping grounds for the underage socialites on Gossip Girl and the ladies of Sex and the City.
Salzburg, Austria – The charming Austrian city of Salzburg will be familiar to most travellers as the setting for The Sound of Music, with the Leopoldskron Palace becoming the Von Trapp’s family home. You can prance around the Mirabell Palace and Gardens to relive the Do-Re-Mi scene if you feel like singing when you see the spectacular scenery.
Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand – It’s every backpacker’s dream to find that perfect isolated beach before everyone else comes along to ruin it, which is the premise of the book and film The Beach. Tourists can now visit the beach where this was filmed in Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand. Although you can’t stay overnight, you can visit as part of an organised tour to view the strikingly clear waters of the lagoon and the stark limestone cliffs rising above them.