Glenfinnan Viaduct

When I travel I don’t deliberately seek out places that have been used as film locations, but every now and then I happen to stumble into one. Here is a round-up of the 10 best movie locations that I have discovered while travelling

1. Glencoe, Scotland: ‘Skyfall’ 

Movie: Skyfall

I like watching Bond movies because, these days, I have been to many of the filming locations; but the gorgeous scenery in Scotland from Bond’s most recent adventure Skyfall has got to be one of the most hauntingly bleak and desolate locations ever used. It is impossible not to drive along the famous road without blasting Adele’s title song as loud as the speakers can manage, which I did a few times on my road trip to Skye.

Reality: Glencoe is just as spectacular

Reality: Glencoe is just as spectacular

Bonus: Only an hour’s drive from Glencoe is the picturesque Glenfinnan viaduct (see top image) from the Harry Potter movies.

2. Iceland: ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ 

Movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Iceland’s sweeping vistas are the perfect choice for stunning cinematography. The recent remake of ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ came out after my trip to Iceland, and watching the movie brought all my wonderful travelling memories flooding back.

Reality: As wild and bleak as the movie suggests.

Reality: As wild and bleak as the movie suggests.

3. Goa, India: ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ 

Movie: The Bourne Supremacy

Movie: The Bourne Supremacy

I spent around 3 weeks in Goa in 2005, with a large part of that time being spent on Palolem beach. Watching Matt Damon jogging along that familiar beach, and spotting the hotel I stayed at in the background, reminded me of what a great place Goa is to visit.

Reality: The beach where Bourne ran.

Reality: The beach where Bourne ran.

4. Maya Bay, Thailand: ‘The Beach’ 

Movie: The Beach

Movie: The Beach

This is one of the movies that first inspired me to travel; having watched it back in my student days, I vowed to one day visit the famous beach of the movie. Despite the negative effects of tourism being horribly apparent by the hoards of tourists flocking to the island daily, it is still pretty cool to see the beach; and I remain hopeful that there is an undiscovered colony of travellers living on a secret island nearby – and that one day I might join them!

Reality: More tourist circus than traveller paradise.

Reality: More tourist circus than traveller paradise.

5. Tiffany’s, NYC: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ 

Movie: Breakfast At Tiffany's

Movie: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

I will probably never own an item of jewellery from Tiffany’s, and I don’t really want to, but Breakfast at Tiffany’s is such an iconic movie that it is impossible not to at least walk past the store when you’re visiting NYC. I didn’t go in, because I suspect I would face a Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) enters the posh store on Rodeo Drive moment, with a snooty assistant telling me that it’s all very expensive.

Reality: Out of my league

Reality: Out of my league

6. Ubud, Bali: ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ 

Movie: Eat, Pray, Love

Movie: Eat, Pray, Love

Speaking of Julia, she’s up next. I didn’t like this movie at all, but I include it because I visited Bali during filming. Despite our attempts to try and hunt Julia Roberts down for an autograph, we didn’t see her—so I went to see the movie instead (even though I had hated the book), just to see beautiful Ubud again.

Reality: We didn't cycle, but we enjoyed the view.

Reality: We didn’t cycle, but we enjoyed the view.

7. Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina: ‘The Mission’ 

Movie: The Mission

Movie: The Mission

A waterfall of this size and scale is an obvious contender for a movie location, and it is featured in the Robert DeNiro epic that is most notably remembered for the opening scene of a priest on a cross being carried down the huge Devil’s Throat fall.

Reality: I would not wish to be thrown over this!

Reality: I would not wish to be thrown over this!

8. Siem Reap, Cambodia: ‘Tomb Raider’ 

Movie: Tomb Raider

Movie: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider was the first movie to be filmed in Cambodia since the genocide of the Khmer Rouge in the 70s. Angelina Jolie, portraying popular computer game character Lara Croft, ran amok amongst twisted tree trunks and the centuries-old ruins of Ta Prohm on the Angkor Wat heritage site. It is impossible not to feel similarly adventurous when visiting the temples.

Reality: Impressive

Reality: Impressive

9. Bogota: ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ 

Movie: Mr & Mrs Smith

Movie: Mr & Mrs Smith

Angelina Jolie makes a second appearance on this list, but not for the right reasons. After seeing Bogota portrayed as a humid, tropical, jungle paradise (just look at that lush vegetation through the balcony doors!) in the hotel scene of the movie, I was surprised to discover a sprawling modern metropolis that struggles to reach 25c at the hottest.

Reality: Rainy, grey skies are more likely than tropical weather in Bogota.

Reality: Rainy, grey skies are more likely than tropical weather in Bogota.

10. Casa Rosada, Argentina: ‘Evita’ 

Movie: Evita

Movie: Evita

The casting of Madonna as Argentina’s beloved heroine, Eva Peron, in Alan Parker’s movie caused controversy in Argentina, and large parts of the movie were actually filmed in Budapest. The balcony scene of the flamingo-coloured Casa Rosada building was filmed in Buenos Aires, however.

Reality: Pretty in Pink

Reality: Pretty in Pink

Have you ever visited a place that has been used as a film location? Or have you ever been to any of these? Please leave a comment!

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