The 20 Best Travel Movies to Watch on Netflix This Summer
Because layovers were made for binge watching.
Whether you're looking to queue up your Netflix for a long train ride or to find a films for an evening in, movies like the scenic Seven Years in Tibet, the French and quirky Amelie, and the Cuba-based Una Noche will inspire your wanderlust. Read on for our favorites, available on the streaming service right now.
If you haven't been to Paris before you'll want to plan a trip after stepping into Amelie's world. This whimsical, contemporary French classic shows the life of an imaginative waitress (played by Audrey Tautou) living in Montmartre as she goes on quite the personal adventure throughout the city. Scenes take place in a Parisian cafe, the metro, and the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, and there's also beautiful landscapes shots and one of the loveliest moped scenes you'll ever watch.
A thoughtful coming-of-age film that gets into the rather messy topic of a May-August romance; which in Copenhagen is between a stunted late twenty-something traveler and a grown-up teenager. The film also features the theme of searching for one's family, and has a number of beautiful and alluring shots of the city. The trailer alone wants to make you fly over and go on a bike ride.
Xavier (played by Romain Duris) is a French graduate student that decides to study in Barcelona for a year in this smart, blissful film from Cédric Klapisch that may bring up nostalgia to those who have lived in abroad at some point during young adulthood. Taking place in both in Paris and Barcelona, the film provides shots of several distinct sites in Barcelona such as the Royal Plaza, Park Güell, Barceloneta beach and the Sagrada Familia. L'auberge Espagnole (or the Spanish Apartment) is also the first in a trilogy series that follows some of the characters to other destinations.
While Funny Face is unfortunately no longer on Netflix, Charade still is to get your Audrey Hepburn in France fix. The 1960s whodunit thriller takes us on chases throughout Paris and moments in the Palais-Royal Theatre, Marginy Square in the gardens along the Champs-Elysées, along (and on) The Seine, and even a little bit of the French Alps while Hepburn's character is on holiday.
The third installment in the Spanish Apartment trilogy—the second, Russian Dolls, is unavailable on Netflix—follows a 40-year-old, divorced Xavier moving from Paris to New York. A contemporary coming to America story that is enjoyable for both fans of the series and newcomers.
How to Steal a Million
In case you need more Audrey Hepburn in Paris in your life, How to Steal a Million (the heist comedy film in which she co-stars with Peter O'Toole) is also available. Scenes take place across Paris's Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Carnavalet Museum, and The Ritz Paris (which reopens this summer after its renovation).
New York, I Love You
There are a number of quintessential classic New York films on Netflix to watch—Breakfast at Tiffany's, Annie Hall, Taxi Driver—but New York, I Love You is a modern classic that takes you all over the city with several different kinds of New Yorkers. Filled with beautiful landscape cinematography and moments throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
View from the Top
While even Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly said this film was terrible, View from the Top is a simple, feel-good movie about a girl born on the wrong side of the trailer park wanting more out of life. And she does this by becoming a flight attendant. If you ever wanted to be one, the film does paint realistic moments (and also some over the top scenes).
Take Me Home
A character-driven romantic comedy that focuses around a New York woman whose life starts to fall apart so when she gets into a cab she tells the driver to "just drive." He does—all the way to Pennsylvania as she falls asleep and he sees it as an easy way to make money since he is broke and illegally working as a taxi driver. The women decides he should keep driving and it's a trip to California—with the whole movie pretty much spent on the road with scenes of empty deserts, beautiful canyons, and cities along the way.
This charming, feel-good '90s film stars the late Jessica Tandy as Camilla, a worldly free spirit who used to be concert violinist. She meets an aspiring young musician named Freeda (Bridget Fonda) by chance when Freeda is vacationing with her husband, and they bond over their music. Eventually they set off and take a road trip from the Georgia coast to Toronto that ends up being quite the adventure.
The Guilt Trip
How does a road trip with a parent—or your child if he or she is a post-grad adult—sound? It all depends on your relationship, but Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen’s film about a Jewish mother and son trekking from Jersey to San Francisco can help you paint a picture. This pleasant comedy stops in Tennessee, the Grand Canyon, and Vegas.
Take a trip across the pond for a British black comedy about a sightseeing expedition through the English countryside that accumulates a body count. The homicidal caravan holiday is filled with British weirdness and scenes in Derbyshire, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, and throughout North England.
A Long Way Down
Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, and Imogen Poots star in this British “dramedy” about four strangers living in London who meet New Year's Eve on the roof of a building with each planning on committing suicide. Yeah. Without giving much away (as you'll see in the trailer), they all choose to not jump that night and make a pact. Their adventure takes the viewer all over London and even out to the Canary Islands.
Two British actor friends/rivals (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in fictional versions of themselves) end up taking a tour of north England's finest restaurants together in what turns out to be a rather hilarious and fresh adventure. Scenes feature Malham Cove and restaurants and hotels in Cumbria, Lancashire ,and North Yorkshire. While this technically was British TV series, it was edited into a film.
The Trip to Italy
The fictional Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon team up again for a second restaurant tour, this time in Italy. The characters eat at some of the finest restaurants and beautiful hotels across the country from Piedmont to Capri—following the footsteps of romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.
A Coffee in Berlin
A modern black-and-white German indie flick, A Coffee in Berlin follows the life of a young man named Niko. A day-in-the-life film, you get a sense of what could be a real local's day to day in Berlin. While not much scenery is shown, as much of the plot takes places indoors, there is one gritty landscape montage.
Get to know the beautiful Bruges, Belgium in this black comedy film that stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen hiding out in a bed and breakfast after a job in London goes bad. Gleeson's character has a passion for sightseeing, which brings on a tour of the city from the canals and bridges to the Belfry of Bruges and a number of churches.
Seven Years in Tibet
Brad Pitt stars in this ‘90s film adaptation of the autobiographical travel novel written by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer on his experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951 during World War II. Filled with scenic shots and views of The Himalayas, Potala Palace, and other sites, most of the filming actually took place in Argentina. However, two crews allegedly secretly shot footage in Tibet, providing authentic visuals.
Giving you a gritty look of Cuba along with sun-kissed imagery, the energetic Una Noche follows a young man living in Havana who dreams of escaping to Miami.
While we wait—and cross our fingers—for Wild to land on Netflix, hiking and trekking enthusiasts can enjoy 2013's Tracks, based on the novel by Robyn Davidson about her 1977 Australian journey of walking 1,700 miles across the desert. The film's Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska) is not totally alone like Reese Witherspoon's Cheryl Strayed. She has four camels and a dog for company at the start of her nine-month journey that begins in Alice Springs and out to the west coast.