Five Films You Need To Watch To Fulfill Your Wanderlust

If you’re reading this article, you probably love to travel as much as I do. But sadly, simply loving travel doesn’t mean that we’re always traveling. Whenever I’m in a funk of not having been somewhere in a while, I tend to take solace in things that get me out of where I currently am and take me somewhere new, even if it means figuratively. I think my most Google searched page is “movies to inspire wanderlust.” So if you’re having some itchy feet like I always do, but don’t have the funds or means to go on your next adventure, grab a bottle of wine and get comfy on your couch with these five wanderlust-inducing films. And trust me, this isn’t even an eighth of all the brilliant ones that are out there.

1. Copenhagen

I can happily blame watching Copenhagen for ruining Scandinavia for me. And by ruin, I mean make me compulsively obsess over everything that has to do with it. Before heading to the Danish capital last summer, I watched this film, and not only did it become of my favorite films, but it had unknowingly inspired me to discover one of my all time favourite cities. If you read the synopsis of the story, you may feel compelled to skip this one. A 28-year-old man on an adventure to find his father’s last remaining relatives falls for a Danish girl working at a hostel, 14 years his junior. While it may seem strange at first, the film truly pulls you into the connection that can form between two people, despite an age and a maturity difference. The film does an exceptional job at showcasing and weaving the city within Effy and Will’s story, almost as though the city itself is a character. I guess it’s apropos that the title of the movie is named as such. The ending will leave you with so many questions and visions of the future for the two main characters, but a sequel would just ruin the magic of how their story ends.

2. Hector and The Search For Happiness

This film was truly inspiring. To me, it felt like watching the male version of Eat, Pray, Love. Hector is living a mundane life in England as a psychiatrist. He constantly tells his patients that the only way they will be happy is if they seek out happiness. In turn, Hector suddenly realizes that he himself is not happy and so, he begins the quest for happiness, too. The rollercoaster of adventures that Hector goes on is overwhelming at first, as he finds himself in all sorts of trouble on his search for happy. What I loved about this film was how realistic, albeit ridiculous, some points of his journey were. Traveling is risky and this film does a fantastic job showing viewers that not everything always runs smoothly when you’re abroad. But in the midst of all the crazy within his adventure, he finally finds solace and happiness in the place he knew it could be found all along. He just had to look.

3. A Coffee in Berlin

While I can’t make this generalization, I find that a lot of people my age have little interest in foreign films. “Reading subtitles is too much work,” they say. I disagree, but I could be biased having seen so many. If you want to start getting into foreign films start with A Coffee in Berlin, known as Oh Boy! in its native Germany. It tells the quirky story of college dropout Niko Fischer. Throughout the film, the running theme (literally running, since that seems to be the only thing Niko does), is his desire to have a cup of coffee. However, many circumstances and events occur throughout his life in Berlin that he never seems to make that happen. The final scene ends at a bar where Niko meets a strange, drunk older gentleman who gives him the answers he needs to get himself back up, and perhaps the best route for his much desired kaffee.

4. Mr. Morgan’s Last Love

This isn’t your typical love story, despite it being set in the city of love itself. Mr. Morgan is a widowed, older English man living in Paris – a city his wife was very fond of. Though she is no longer alive, Mr. Morgan feels compelled to stay in Paris even though he still does not speak a word of French nor has any friends or family around him, except for his caregivers. That all changes when he meets a beautiful, French cha-cha teacher, named Pauline, on his bus ride home. Like I mentioned, this isn’t your typical love story, but a story about love within an unexpected friendship. The scenery will make you fall in love with Paris more than you already were and the ending will leave you both happy and sad. It’s a true portrayal of love existing without borders. And what better city to have it play out than Paris?

5. Before Sunrise

Directed by Richard Linklater (the same Linklater that directed Oscar winner Boyhood), Before Sunrise is your typical European love story. But don’t write it off as another cliche romance film. This film does an incredible job at dialogue. In fact, when the film isn’t focusing on having us sight-see Vienna along with its two main characters, the majority of the film is in fact, dialogue. And that’s why it works so well. It’s realistic, relatable, gives you the good feels and makes you wish you had a Jesse and Celine moment yourself. I’ll be the first to say that if you’ve experienced a situation of falling in love with a complete stranger abroad, this movie will soon rank among your top 10 rom-drams (…it’s now on mine). Why it made it to this list is because it makes you want to take risks and take chances, which is exactly what you should do when you’re traveling abroad (of course safely and within reason). It’s one of those “feel good” films that makes you want to go abroad, do it all, see it all, and hope that somewhere along the way, you’ll find someone to share that with, even if it’s only for a day. I haven’t seen the two sequels that follow in the trilogy, but maybe I don’t have to. The first one has me ‘in my feels’ forever.

What are some of your favourite travel films? Leave them in the comments below! 

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Diana Figueroa

Diana Figueroa is a NYC native and graduate of Fordham University, where she graduated with a degree in Communications, concentrating in journalism and creative writing. She is currently pursuing freelance writing projects and recently launched her own website,, dedicated to her passion for travel and her life in the Big Apple. She is off to pursue her Master's degree in Berlin, Germany at the end of this year. You can find her on route to the next music festival or curing her wanderlust as she plans her next adventure abroad. Feel the fernweh at @dianadoesntknow for photos.


  1. I love films like Under the Tuscan Sun or Eat, Pray Love which show the spiritual journey next to the physical one. I also like man versus nature”” type – like Into The Wild but I don’t think I would be game enough to try it. 🙂

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