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Top 10 travel flicks of the year

Forget the Oscars: We're interested in the year's most travel-inspiring movies. Here's our top 10, with how to re-create the best moments.
Matt Damon reprises his role as Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin, in “The Bourne Ultiimatum.” It's the wildest ride yet in the series: The film was shot in six countries.
Matt Damon reprises his role as Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin, in “The Bourne Ultiimatum.” It's the wildest ride yet in the series: The film was shot in six countries.Universal Pictures

Forget the Oscars: We're interested in the year's most travel-inspiring movies.

Here's our top 10, with how to re-create the best moments.

10. ‘Once’
An Irish street musician and a young Czech pianist make sweet music after meeting in Dublin.

Street scene: The musician (Glen Hansard) is busking on Grafton Street, known for its puppeteers and acrobats, when the Czech woman (Markéta Irglová) approaches him.

Beach break: After a long night in the recording studio, the band frolics on Dollymount Strand, a beach about five miles northeast of the city center (Bus 130,, $2).

Irish joyride: The couple goes for a motorcycle ride along the country roads of Killiney, 11 miles south of Dublin. While taking in the views from Killiney Hill, a quick walk from the train station, the Czech woman declares her love for the Irishman — but he never realizes it because she says it in Czech. DART trains to Killiney depart from Dublin several times an hour (, $3.25).

9. ‘Lust, Caution’
Director Ang Lee's World War II-era thriller, about a female Chinese spy who has an affair with a Japanese collaborator, unfolds in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Fitting moment: Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei) takes Mr. Yee (Tony Leung) to a Hong Kong tailor, intending to seduce Yee by trying on a cheongsam. Hong Kong has a reputation for high-quality craftsmanship: Linva Tailors makes cheongsams (38 Cochrane St., 011-852/2544-2456, from $168).

Colonial charm: In a flashback to her days as an actress, Chia Chi and her drama troupe ride through the empty streets of Hong Kong after a show. The scene was filmed in Ipoh, Malaysia, which has spectacular British colonial architecture. Sayang Holidays runs day trips to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur (888/472-9264,, $100).

Old Shanghai: Yee buys Chia Chi a large ring on what's supposed to be Nanjing Street in Shanghai. Nanjing is all neon now, so the scenes were shot on 1930s-style sets modeled after 182 existing storefronts. Visitors can tour the sets at the studio's lot (Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center, 011-86/21-642-655-55, $8).

8. ‘Enchanted’
Princess-to-be Giselle lands in modern-day Manhattan after being banished by evil Queen Narissa from a land far, far away.

Row your boat: Giselle (Amy Adams) and attorney Robert McKenzie (Patrick Dempsey) paddle around the lake in Central Park. Loeb Boathouse rents rowboats (212/517-2233,, $12 for the first hour).

Brooklyn Bridge: Giselle and Prince Edward (James Marsden) stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. The walkway stretches just past the neighborhood of Dumbo, home to The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (1 Water St., 718/246-3963, $3.50).

Lunch counter: The evil queen's sidekick dines with Prince Edward at Katz's Delicatessen, which is known for its pastrami sandwiches — and for being where Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in “When Harry Met Sally ...” (205 E. Houston St., 212/254-2246,, $14).

The moving adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel explores love and guilt in Britain before and during World War II (opens December 7).

Manor House: The owner of Stokesay Court, the mansion in South Shropshire where the film was shot, has begun offering tours. Highlights include the manor's rooms and a grotto near the southern end of the property, about 160 miles northwest of London (011-44/158-485-6238,, $25).

Historic shores: Robbie (James McAvoy) wanders among soldiers awaiting evacuation in Dunkerque, France. The scene was shot on Redcar Beach, about three hours from London (011-44/845-748-4950,, from $102).

The blitz: Cecilia (Keira Knightley) takes cover in a Tube station during an air raid. At the Imperial War Museum London, visitors can step inside a reconstruction of a similar 1940s bomb shelter (011-44/207-416-5320,, free).

6. ‘The Darjeeling Limited’
Three dysfunctional brothers search India for their estranged mother.

Training wheels: The production team procured a train from the Indian government. Director Wes Anderson was partly inspired by an eight-day trip he took aboard the Palace on Wheels, a luxurious train that departs from Delhi (877/463-4299,, eight-day trip from $1,995).

Creative quarters: The crew stayed at the Rohet Garh, a 36-room hotel south of Jodhpur (011-91/291-243-1161,, from $113). "Several of the rooms are covered in murals," says production designer Mark Friedberg. "Wes wrote a chunk of the script there."

To the nunnery: The trio (Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson) find their mother at a hilltop convent near Udaipur, Rajasthan. For a comparable panorama, head to the Monsoon Palace, built 1,100 feet above the city (011-91/294-241-1535, from $1).

5. ‘Into the Wild’
To adapt Jon Krakauer's book about Chris McCandless, a college grad who skips law school for a cross-country trek, director Sean Penn shot in eight states and Mexico.

Mighty river: Chris (Emile Hirsch) conquers his fear of water by kayaking in the Grand Canyon. Hualapai River Runners leads the only one-day white-water tour of the canyon (888/255-9550,, $318).

Man-made mountain: In California, Chris visits Salvation Mountain, a hand-painted adobe structure built by Leonard Knight in the Sonoran Desert. Anyone can paint new scenes onto the creation (, free).

Alaskan outback: Chris hitches a ride along Stampede Road, a former mining trail that cuts into a spruce forest near Denali National Park. Alaska Travel Adventures runs Jeep tours (800/323-5757,, $119).

4. ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’
Robert Ford has an obsession with Jesse James in a film that appears to be set in the American Midwest. The movie's real backdrop: Canada.

Riding the rails: James (Brad Pitt) robs a steam train in Blue Cut, Mo.; the scene was filmed at Fort Edmonton Park, a living-history village in Alberta (780/496-8787,, $13).

On frozen pond: Gun in hand, James walks across an icy lake, contemplating suicide. "We wanted James to look like Jesus walking on water," says producer David Valdés of the scene shot on Wedge Pond, about 60 miles southwest of Calgary. GearUp Mountain Sports and Rentals has canoes and kayaks (403/678-1636,, from $45 per day).

Crime scene: The house where James met his demise, in St. Joseph, Mo., is now a museum. A wall still bears a hole from the bullet that pierced his head (816/232-8206,, $2).

3. ‘Ratatouille’
Remy, a cartoon rat, teams up with a kitchen worker and revives a formerly top-tier restaurant in Paris.

The silver standard: The fictional Gusteau's was modeled after La Tour d'Argent, a legendary restaurant on the Left Bank that dates to 1582. The opulent dining room, on the top floor of a quay-side building, has a view of Notre-Dame (011-33/1-43-54-23-31,, three-course lunch $100).

Anyone can cook: Le Cordon Bleu offers three-hour, translated cooking demonstrations on the art of making ratatouille and duck à l'orange (011-33/1-53-68-22-50,, $60).

Subterranean city: Pixar's team scoped out Paris's sewers to create the tunnels inhabited by Remy's family. At the Paris Sewer Museum, you can tour a section of tunnels not in use (011-33/1-53-68-27-81,, $5.50).

2. ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’
Queen Elizabeth I of England fends off Spain's powerful armada — and her attraction to Sir Walter Raleigh.

Romantic backdrop: Sir Walter (Clive Owen) and Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) race horses through Petworth Park, a 700-acre estate in West Sussex that houses part of the National Trust's art collection (011-44/1798-342-207,, museum $19).

English cathedral: When Queen Elizabeth confronts the Spanish ambassador in Ely Cathedral, about 70 miles northeast of London, her threats echo within the Norman church's vast nave (011-44/1353-667-735,, one-hour tour $11).

Cliff-top pep talk: As the Spanish Armada sails into sight, Queen Elizabeth delivers a fiery speech to her troops. The scene was filmed at Brean Down, a coastal headland in North Somerset. (For more locations, download a free map at

1. ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’
Matt Damon reprises his role as Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin. It's the wildest ride yet in the series: The film was shot in six countries.

A London minute: The tête-à-tête between investigator Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and program head Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), a scene supposedly set at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, was actually filmed at the Renaissance Chancery Court in London (252 High Holborn, 011-44/207-829-9888,, from $255).

Madrid Café:Journalist Simon Ross and bureau chief Neal Daniels meet at Café del Príncipe, near Puerta del Sol (5 Plaza Canalejas, 011-34/91-531-8183).

Hot pursuit: Bourne and agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) are chased through Tangier's medina. "We filmed during Ramadan, and fights would break out around 4 p.m. because no one had eaten all day," says producer Patrick Crowley. Casablanca Travel and Tours lead excursions that include lunch (800/624-4732,, $120).