Travelling to a location that you have seen countless times in films can be so exciting, and the feeling of finally being in that castle, or that street that someone famous once was can feel unreal. But some movies are beyond just one famous location and are about the inspiring choice of travelling and all the exciting possibilities that come with discovering the unknown.
INTO THE WILD (2007)
Based on a true story, the movie follows Christopher McCandless as he tries to shed his material life after graduating from college and get in touch with nature and real life. To do this he abandons all his possessions, donates his entire savings to charity and hitchhikes his way across the USA before ending up in Alaska. His life is full of random experiences and much of his story is based on second-hand accounts. His story shows the ultimate long term travel experience and how a series of characters he encountered shapes his life.
LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003)
This movie may feel slow moving and more mellow than other travel films, but it doesn't fail to inspire you about cutting loose from routine and exploring the environment you find yourself in. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johnansson play two characters who form an unlikely friendship as they discover the wonder in this strange city. It touches on the feeling of loneliness in a foreign city filled with millions of people, while also showing how funny and interesting a new country can be. Beautifully shot film about the random little experiences that present themselves while travelling.
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (2003)
This movie may be more of a romance than a travel film, but it highlights the beautiful backdrop of the Italian countryside. Following Diane Lane's character, a writer, who impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life. With all the delightful wines, mouthwatering food, remote cottages and scenic rolling hills, this romantic flick will inspire you to travel to this Italian paradise.
UP IN THE AIR (2009)
Though this movie may not feature the sweeping landscapes and epic destinations of other travel movies, this one is focused on the less glamorous side of travel, airports. When travelling is for business and not pleasure it can become more of chore. The movie follows George Clooney's character who travels for work and feels at home in airports and planes. His life is constantly on the move and as he says, "moving is living." It's a movie that brings up all the mixed emotions of being a long-term traveler with a life in constant motion.
THE BEACH (2000)
No list is complete without the movie, inspired by the book of the same name, that makes everyone droll over Thailand. With a young Leonardo DiCaprio playing a backpacker who travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumors state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise and he sets out to find it, but ultimately ends up destroying it. The movie is all about finding that oasis that as travellers we dream about discovering, a place still untouched. It shows a great reflection of the hopes and then the realities of travel.
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (2004)
This movie is based on the memoirs of Che Guevara as he takes a motorcycle road trip in his youth before he became an iconic Latin American revolutionary. Guevara and his friend Alberto "Mial" Granado ride across South America for eight months over 14,000 kilometers. The film highlights the stunning beauty of South America but also the heartbreaking poverty of the time period. This critically acclaimed film has gone on to inspired many travellers to complete their own motorcycle adventures.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
This sweeping epic is a classic film and with it's stunning shots of the deserts make for a beautiful feast for your eyes. The film follows T.E. Lawrence, a British soldier during World World I, and his interactions with the nomadic tribes. T.E. Lawrence went on to untie the Arabian tribes against the Turks and though he may remain a controversial figure, there is no denying the epic scale of his story and the breath-taking location it is set in.
SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET (1997)
This movie is about a German mountaineer, Heinrich Harrer, and his time with the Dalai Lama. It takes place during the time of China's takeover of Tibet and shows the character journey on how his outlook changed when confronted with new experiences in a very foreign land. Though the film may not be 100% accurate it still illustrates how travel adventures can transform your life.
THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007)
This quirky film from alternative director Wes Anderson illustrates the journey of three brothers travelling together across India by train. A year after their father's funeral, these wealthy and spoiled brothers decided to take a crazy trip to heal and bond with each other. It starts off as a disaster as they bicker and nothing seems to be going right. But these crazy experiences start to put things into perspective and they begin to overcome barriers and learn to love India. A beautifully shot film and definitely makes you want to jump on a plane to India.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011)
Though Paris may be a little over hyped these days this movie will not failed to make you fall back in love with it. The movie follows Gil, a writer on vacation with his fiancee and her family. At night he wanders the streets before stumbling back in time to a 1920s Paris with Jazz Age Icons of art and literature. It deals with the danger of nostalgia, imagining a time and place could be better than the here and now, but it also makes Paris magical. Even though it plays to all the cliches of Paris you'll eat it up and be eager for more.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (2013)
The movie follows Walter Mitty, a guy who hates his job and has constant day-dreams of a more exciting and adventurous life. Part of his job is being the liaison between Life magazine and the mysterious photographer Sean O'Connell. When Walter ends up loosing one of Sean's photo for the last issue he goes in search of him which leads to some epic adventures. Along the way Walter breaks out of his shell, becomes more confident and starts to turn his daydreams into reality.
THE WAY (2010)
An inspiration but also emotional movie about Tom, an American doctor who travels to France to pick up the ashes of his dead son. His son died on the Camino and he walks it to finish what his son started. Along the way he's forced to make friends with complete strangers and examine his life during the 800km journey. It features a very eclectic mix of characters, all walking the path for their own personal reasons. It's an eye-opening and emotional journey but will leave you inspired to travel Spain's Camino de Santiago trail yourself.
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights is otherworldly and is created at high altitudes in the Earth's atmosphere when charged particles from the sun become trapped in the Earth's magnetic field. The result creates this colourful dancing show of lights in the night sky. One of the earth's great wonders and a sight many inspired to one day see. Check out this list of some of the best locations to glimpse this incredible display.
Even without the attraction of the Northern Lights, Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular destination to visit, with glaciers, geysers, massive waterfalls, and volcanoes. Both the latitude and longitude of the country favours aurora viewing, but the weather doesn't always cooperate. Some of the best viewing of the Aurora can be done from Kirkjufell mountain on the west coast.
When to Go: Late August to early April
Located just two degrees below the Arctic near international airport and close to the impressive Denali National Park, Fairbanks is the best place in the U.S. to take in the northern lights but be sure to move away from the city lights. Explore the region's vast wilderness areas of Denali and the Yukon Territory.
When to Go: Late August to mid-April
Faroe Island Archipelago, Denmark
North of Scotland between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, the Faroe Island achipelago is mostly known for puffins and Viking folklore. While its stormy weather reminds you more of the British Isles, visitors to this Denmark-owned province have a chance to see to the iridescent lights from any of the islands.
The British Isles are known for stormy, foggy, and cloudy weather - far from ideal conditions for observing the sky, but on the rare occasions when the cloud breaks during the dark winter months, you've got a good chance of witnessing the display in Scotland's North. Best viewing locations to explore are Aberdeen, Isle of Skye, Northern Highlands and Dunnet Head.
Canada is an aurora viewing paradise, thanks to its northern latitude and low light pollution. Areas around pristine Lake Superior in Ontarlo and Northern Canada's tundra back-country are prime viewing spots. Head to the town of Whitehorse within the Yukon Territory to best see the swirling lights. Other popular viewing spots are Wood Buffalo and Jasper National Park, but even though sometimes the glowing sky can be seen as far south as the American border stick to Canada's vast wilderness for the best views.
When to Go: Mid-August to late April. For Churchill and Wood Buffalo, early August to early May
The northern town of Tromso teems with Aurora Borealis activity when the long summer days are gone. With it's location above the Arctic Circle, and within the Northern Lights zone, makes it one of the top places to view shimmering green lights. Norway has beautiful scenery, magnificent fjords and the Lyngen Alps to make it a great location to view the spectacular auroras. Other popular locations is the village of Ersfjordbotn, 12 miles from Tromso, Lofoten Islands and the far northern towns of Alta, Nordkapp, and Kirkenes.
When to Go: Mid-September to late March
Sweden's northernmost town of Kiruna is a gateway for nearby attractions. There is the Icehotel, mountainous Abisko National Park, the local Sami culture, and plenty of reindeer. A short drive from this town takes you to a good spot for Aurora viewing. The weather here is almost much more stable than the Norwegian coast but it's colder. The area around Abisko in Swedish Lapland is scientifically proven to be an ideal viewing spot due to it's unique micro-climate. Close to Abisko National Park, the dark winter night is perfect for sky watching. The long lake helps create the infamous "blue hole of Abisko" - a patch of sky that remains clear regardless of the surrounding weather patterns.
When to Go: Mid-September to late March
In Finland's Lapland region, Rovaniemi serves as a gateway town to nearby national parks - where in winter you can spot frozen snow-covered trees called Tykky sculptures along with the northern lights. Head to Luosto in Northern Finland to the Aurora Chalet where, upon arrival, you'll be handed an "Aurora Alarm" which beeps once Northern lights appears. On chilly cloudless nights, you're also bound to catch the lights shimmer in the skies over the town of Nellim, close to Lake Inari - Finland's third largest lake.
When to Go: Mid-September to late March
It is possible to be too far north to see the Northern lights - such is the case in northern Greenland. But head farther south for beautiful auroras and attractions like Qaleraliq Glacier, which has small floating icebergs even in summer.
When to Go: Mid-August to late April in the South
In Northern Russia, you've got a good chance of seeing Aurora Borealis. The Kola Peninsula's proximity to the Northern Lights zone also makes it a key area and the town of Murmansk is a popular base if you can handle the below freezing temperatures of a typical Siberian winter. Best viewing locations are Murmansk, Siberia and the Kola Peninsula
The US has something to see for everyone, from culture to nature, from history to music. Check out this list of some the experience not to be missed across this different and diverse country.
The Pacific Nortwest is one of the lesser gems, with expansive plains, soaring mountains and a rugged coastline all waiting to be discovered. Explore the vineyards along the Columbia River and hike through stunning national parks.
The West Coast is blessed with a number of world-famous and lesser-known national parks, from Yosemite and Sequoia with their mighty drawcards to the haunting landscapes and desert blooms of Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.
Cruise down Highway 1
Follow one of the world's most celebrated highways on a coast-hugging drive. Starting or ending in San Francisco, visit quaint villages, elegant Santa Barbara, award-winning wineries and bustling Los Angeles and stop at beautiful beaches along the way.
Sample Delicious Wines
California's famed wine country covers so many diverse areas, from the grand, expansive estates of the famous Napa Valley and the sun-drenched North Coast wine country to the zinfandels of the Gold Country, where vines were planted back in the Gold Rush days
TEXAS & SOUTH WEST
There's so much to see and do in the 'Lone Star' state. Home to some of the largest cities in the US, Texas is a culture and arts hub with a history more varied than any other part of the country. And don't forget the cowboy culture that's alive and thriving.
Arizona showcases the history of the Wild West like no other state. Head to the dusty mountain town of Tombstone for a recreation of the gunfight at the OK Corral. But it's the grandest landmarks in the country, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, that you must see.
New Mexico bears the most obvious traces to the numerous pioneers that have called the region home, from Native American pueblos in the north of the state to former Spanish colonial towns like Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque.
The Wild West
The Rocky Mountain region is one of the best places in the US to experience authentic Western ranch life. In Montana, saddle up for trail rides, barn dances and chuckwagon races or bunk down in a ranch in Wyoming.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone offers over 9000 square kilometres of unspoiled natural splendour. Camp by a crystal-clear lake as a bald eagle soars overhead, observe free-roaming elk and bison in their native habitat or gaze in wonder as one of Yellowstone's famous geysers thunders skyward
From the highest sand dunes in the north and 54 Rocky Mountain peaks that rise over 400 metres to red-rock formations that seem to rip from the earth to the rolling grasslands of the eastern plains, Colarado has one of the most unique and varied natural landscapes in the world.
When it comes to American music, all roads lead to the Deep South. The region is a tour through America's musical landscape - the bluegrass in Kentucky, jazz in New Orleans, country music and the world famous Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee and the Mississippi blues.
Charleston, the oldest city in South Carolina, is one of the most visited destinations in the south, thanks to its charming historic buildings, antebellum architecture, rich history, delicious cuisine, Southern graciousness and unique blend of Southern US, English, French and West African cultures.
Cruising the Mississippi River on a paddlewheel riverboat conjures up romantic images of America's Deep South. Glide past rolling farmlands and southern plantations, devour delicious cuisine and visit vibrant cities and Civil War battlefields.
Well-known as the birthplace of America, from the landing of the pilgrims to the American Revolution, Massachusetts has so much more to offer beyond its history - hundreds of kilometres of coastline, charming small towns, sophisticated Boston and so much more
Food & Wine
New England's regional produce is second to none. There's nothing like apple cider, a clambake by the beach, pumpkin, peach and apple pies and the region's very own clam chowder. A number of microbreweries and vineyards also dot the region.
Fall in New England
Autumn, or fall, in New England is one of the best times to visit. The region bursts with colour as the foliage changes from green to a brilliant kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, golds and yellows. The colours splash across hillsides and valleys, down mountains and along the coast.
With so many iconic sights in San Francisco sometimes it easy to forget about the most iconic part of the city, its authentic and cultural streets. From windy roads up steep hills, cable cars and colourful backgrounds, San Francisco has a mixture of history and entertainment remaining on their pavements.
Maybe the most iconic is the street that runs the length of downtown San Francisco. Beginning at the Ferry Building and turning into Portola Blvd. around Twin Peaks, Market st. catches all the bustling action of San Francisco. Popular attractions include the Westfield Mall and the Trolley Rides in Union Square, San Francisco City Hall in the Civic Center, and the Castro Theater further down in the Castro.
Another distinct street is the winding and hilly hairpins of Lombard St, which make for a exciting car ride on a sunny San Francisco day. Billed as "the crookedest street" in America but you will find some of the nicest and most expensive homes in San Francisco along the paved brick and lush landscape of the street. This road crosses through several historical, high-end neighborhoods, including Russian Hill and the Marina.
This street is a San Francisco Icon with its most popular intersection is at Haight St. and Ashbury St. Only a few blocks from the infamous Golden Gate Park Panhandle. Haight-Ashbury has been home to generations of San Francisco hippies since the 1960s. On Haight Street, you'll see thrift store, used CD and record stores and dance clubs. This part of the city is grittier than other neighborhoods but still friendly and easily accessible via public transportation.
This street is the busiest of The Castro, San Francisco's LGBT-loving neighborhood, and one of the first openly gay neighborhoods in the United States. This street booms every summer during the vibrant San Francisco Pride Parade, and even when the crowds aren't around, rainbow flags and paintings decorate the entire district. Go at night and enjoy the colourful buildings lit in neon that runs up and over the base of the hill. The Castro Theater was built in 1922, and in addition to being a historical monument, it's a great place to watch a movie.
One of the hippest streets in the City and as well as crossing through some of San Francisco's trendiest sites. Divisadero is the perfect street to take in the classic San Francisco hipster and be sure to check out the breakfast/coffee hotspots including The Mill or Brenda's Meat and Three
Part of the Mission District this street was hit the hardest with the recent hipster makeover that has hit the area. This street houses plenty of bizarre, niche, restaurants, bars and vintage stores. Check out Tacolicious and Craftsman and Wolves for a bite, and browse the street for various secondhand boutiques. Also look out for the gorgeous street art when you duck into almost any alley, depicting political themes, wealth and greed and the history of the neighborhood. The area has deep Latino roots, including an original Spanish-era mission and traditional taquerias and Mexican groceries can still be found.
Steiner St. (Above)
You will see this icon image in postcards and paintings all over the city but this street houses the city's famous Painted Ladies - the row of six Victorian Homes on the eastern side of Alamo Square. The picturesque view of Downtown from the hilly park is not to be missed, and more stunning homes surround the park as well.
If you want to see more of the world and cruise down its legendary rivers, look no further than Avalon Waterways. Their one-of-a kind Panorama Suites offer the widest opening windows in river cruising, as well as their shore excursions and Adventure center onboard will help with all your exploring needs, to see the most out of every destination. And when it's time to refuel your dining options on board are as wide open as your views.
Avalon Europe River Cruising
Their Vision. Your View.
Avalon has mastered the art of blending luxury with comfort and now - blurring the line between outside and in. Not only are their Panorama Suites on their Suite Ships 30% larger than the industry standard staterooms, their wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows open wider than any other, creating river cruising's only Open-Air Balcony and with your bed facing the window, giving you a bed with the greatest views. Even if you're a seasoned traveller, you've never seen Europe like this.
Chart your Course and Make your Cruise your Own with Avalon Choice
Avalon has designed included excursions and onboard activities for a choice of experiences. You select the included tours, adventures, and events that interest you most, so you can enjoy your cruise your way.
CLASSIC - Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You'll marvel at the legends, lore and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites
DISCOVERY - Inspiring and interactive activities designed to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore
ACTIVE - Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go - from a guided jogging tour of Amsterdam, to biking, paddling, and hiking your way through scenic locales.
In addition, Avalon has a selection of optional excursions to allow you to personalise your experience to suit your individual interests, passions and style.
The Avalon Touch in every Detail
When it comes to the little touches, Avalon thinks big - like your choice of firmness in their exclusive Comfort Collection beds and pillows, the plushest of towels, L'Occitane bath products atop marble counter-tops, premium spirits at the upscale bar, and rich Lavazza coffees in the Club Lounge.
Savour the Local Flavours of the World
From morning breakfast to elegant dinners, Avalon frees your taste buds from the ordinary. Using the freshest local ingredients, Avalon's talented chefs prepare mouthwatering recipes from the region through which you're travelling and present them in a variety of inspiring settings. Their FlexDining approach dispenses with strict seating times and limited restaurant options. Choose the onboard dining venue that suits your mood - from a breezy al fresco lunch at the Sky Grill to an elegant four-course dinner in the glass-walled dining room. For a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere, take a more casual approach to fine dining while mingling over several satisfying selections in the Panorama Bistro.
Setting your Spirit in Motion
Meet your Avalon Adventure Host. In addition to included active excursions, your Adventure Host holds the gear, maps, and guidance for optional, and free-time pursuits on board and on shore. With a visit to the Adventure Center, you can check out a bike for scenic ride through town, grab Nordic walking sticks and hike to a hillside vineyard or castle, or join a jog or active walk through the great cities or the great outdoors. Whether you're looking for an optional kayaking excursion or a complimentary yoga class on the Sky Deck, you Adventure Host can make it happen.
Avalon Special Interest River Cruises
Avalon Special Interest Cruises unite you with your pastimes - and other like-minded enthusiasts - both on the ship and off. Including cruises like Wine Appreciation, Beer Tasting, History, Festive, Golf and Garden & Nature to name a few of the special interest Cruises on offer.
Inspiring Asia & the Avalon Advantage
A journey with Avalon Waterways along the legendary rivers of Asia is an unforgettable fusion of distinctive sights, colourful cultures, and ancient traditions. And because bigger isn't always better, Avalon focuses on intimate experiences with exceptional personalised service on their Suite Ships in Southeast Asia and the Ganges Voyager in India. With a maximum of 36 and 56 guests, Avalon gets you closer to the must-see sights and introduce you to the unique stories and people in each destinations. An expert Cruise director and carefully selected Certified Local Guides accompany you throughout your adventure, ensuring no detail is overlooked.
Explore Untouched Treasures in South America
Craving adventure and dreaming of more untamed locations? Avalon offers three exotic river cruises to help heed the call. In South America, sail through the Peruvian Amazon and into the depths of the Amazon Jungle, stopping to fish for piranha and hear ancient legends from local villages. Journey by train to awe-inspiring Machu Picchu and witness an unforgettable sunrise. In Ecuador, head to the Galapagos Islands where you can get up close and personal to giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed bobbies, and curious sea lions. Untouched by man for thousands of years, this is a nature lover's paradise and home to some of the most unique animals species in the world.