Certain movies and series enable us to travel to some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations where diverse viewpoints help us rediscover our planet.

Now that the concept of taking a vacation as we knew it is temporarily on hold due to our current situation, movies and series become the perfect mental outlet for travelling to so many different destinations these productions showcase from vastly contrasting perspectives. If you’re a seasoned traveler and have taken advantage of your holidays to visit some of the settings you’ve seen on the screen in person, well, now maybe it’s time to do the opposite, in what could be a great way to rediscover the world. Cinema affords us the opportunity of customizing our trip anywhere, almost like Arnold Schwarzenegger did when he chose to become a secret agent for his stay on Mars in “Total Recall”. It gives you free reign to ignore the laws of space and time like in “Midnight in Paris”, which includes a round trip ticket to the 20th century’s capital city of creativity. Or you might like a double stay in Seattle and New York as offered by “Sleepless in Seattle” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

“Before Sunset”

If you seek out some space for introspection and a chance to delve into the issues you dare not discuss at home, then we’d like to suggest a marathon journey with “Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” , that’ll take you on a walking tour through the streets of Vienna, Paris and Greece in different life stages. If, on the other hand, what floats your cruise ship is a more hedonistic offer, then we bring you the light and the joy of Tuscany in “Much Ado About Nothing”, one of Kenneth Branagh’s best adaptations of Shakespeare’s work. And let’s not forget the opportunity to share in Meryl Streep’s “Out of Africa”, especially since any project that includes the music of John Barry is infinitely more evocative.

Or, maybe you’re looking for a less earthly, more reckless journey. In that case, look no further than action spy cinema. You can choose anything from the long-playing Bond saga or the adventures of Jason Bourne, stopping off along the way for some “Mission: Impossible”, where you’ll be treated to a sightseeing tour of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as you’ve never seen it before. And even if you’re one of those who enjoys a bit of suffering on your travels, then there’s nothing more terrifying than “A Perfect Getaway”, which bears a stark reminder of what happens when you talk to strangers, or “Wolf Creek”, where we discover Australia’s outback and how some of its inhabitants hide some truly dark intentions. Then again, if you’re looking for something truly original, I cannot recommend highly enough the documentary “Kedi”, where our guides through the streets of Istanbul are its street cats.

“The Trip”

As for series, again traveling hand in hand with a spy is one of the best ways to guarantee you have plenty of stops along the way to visit different sites. Now that “Homeland” has come to an end, we have the perfect excuse for a look inside the inner-workings of geopolitical conflicts the world over, with a special mention for the location shots in Berlin; or you might want to follow psychopathic assassin Villanelle as she meets macabre deadlines in “Killing Eve”, just recently available here in Spain.

Speaking of spies, it’s extraordinarily how little we hear about “The Night Manager”, with Tom Hiddleston chasing Hugh Laurie across Switzerland, Egypt, and Mallorca, well-worth checking out. And a compilation of travel destinations like this wouldn’t be complete without mentioning two classics; “Game of Thrones”, surely one of the modern dramas that has sparked an unparalleled  tourist drive, and if you don’t believe me, just ask the citizens of Dubrovnik, and “Lost”, which always pops into my head the minute I start hankering for that Hawaiian getaway I truly deserve.

In wrapping up, there is of course one other essential title when it comes to vacationing from the sofa: “The Trip”, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves on a restaurant tour of northern England that’ll have you green with envy and splitting your sides in equal proportions.

Pep Prieto.
Journalist and writer. Series critic on ‘El Món a RAC1’ and for the program “Àrtic” on Betevé. Author of the essay “Al filo del mañana”, about time-travelling cinema, and “Poder absoluto”, about cinema and politics.