In the pursuit of love and living happily ever after, there’s an initial step that can’t be skipped. Before you can get married, fall in love or even introduce yourself to your soulmate, you have to do one thing first: you have to meet them. But how? Or even more importantly, where? That’s the million-dollar question, or the multimillion dollar question, depending on the budget. Movies have been telling us how to find love for, well, ever. Some ideas are relatively realistic, while others might as well be categorized as science fiction.
For this list, we’re revisiting our favorite cinematic love stories to see how they did it. All of their meetings come down to three things: location, location, location. Some movies make us believe that to find the one we need to travel to a far away destination, while others make us believe love will literally come knock on our door. From small towns to big cities, beachside resorts to the middle of the desert. Movies make finding love look easy, as long as you know where to go. So grab your passport and pick from one of these 25 destinations to go find your soul mate.
25 Finding a man to build us a house in South Carolina
In The Notebook teenagers Allie and Noah meet while Allie's family is spending the summer on the island of Seabrook. Despite their different upbringings, the two fall madly in love until Allie’s parents abruptly head back to Charleston and cut off communication between the two. Years later, a grown-up and engaged to another man, Allie revisits the island to find Noah. After professing his love for her, she makes the difficult decision to end her engagement in order to spend the rest of her life with Noah.
This 2004 film made us all believe we had our very own Ryan Gosling waiting for us in South Carolina. It may be worth the roadtrip to SC to find yourself a man who wants to build you a house!
24 The Greek Isles will have us saying Mamma Mia!
On the (fictional) Greek Island of Kalokairi, bride-to-be Sophie is preparing for her wedding to Sky. Sky was traveling through Greece to "find himself" when he met Sophie, whose mother runs a hotel on the island. After a dramatic lead up to the nuptials, Sophie tells Sky they should postpone their wedding to travel the world, and they sail off together at the end of the movie. In the sequel, we find out that the two are still in a relationship with a baby on the way, proving you can sing and dance your way through anything, even a canceled wedding.
23 Eat Pray, and, of course, love, in Bali
Elizabeth Gilbert was living the life she always thought she wanted: she had a loving husband, a great job, a fabulous apartment, etc. But on the cusp of a messy divorce, she finds herself lost and unsure that she really got what she wanted out of life. She sets out to travel the world in search of finding her purpose. She ends her journey in Bali, where she falls in love with businessman Felipe and finally finds the inner peace she was searching for.
From the book’s release in 2006 to the film’s release in 2010, Gilbert’s story has inspired an entire generation of men and women to find love and peace through spontaneous travel.
22 Take a trip on the love boat
In the iconic movie Titanic, separated by the class system of the time, first-class passenger Rose and third-class passenger Jack meet and quickly fall in love, despite Rose’s fiancé’s disapproval and her mother's best efforts to keep them apart. Even though our childhood history class revealed how the story of the Titanic ends, Jack and Rose’s love story has become a classic.
Apparently, days at sea are counted like dog years, because the epic romance only spans over the course of 4 days (before they know the ship is going to sink), but we all still believe it was true love, and that it can conquer all.
21 Forgetting Sarah Marshall in Hawaii
When Peter gets dumped by his celebrity girlfriend, the famous Sarah Marshall, he makes a last-ditch effort to get over her by taking a vacation to Turtle Bay. When he arrives to check in, he awkwardly runs into Sarah and her new boyfriend, who she’s been seeing behind Peter’s back for months. Rachel, the concierge, witnesses the awkward encounter and takes pity on Peter. She upgrades his room and starts spending time with him. She encourages Peter to work on his music, and eventually comes out to California to be with him.
While getting dumped and subsequently running into your ex is tough, a presidential suite and a new love interest definitely soften the blow, it's good to know we may not even have to leave the hotel to find romance.
20 just a girl, standing in front of a man, in Notting Hill
Famous actress Anna Scott wanders into a bookstore in Notting Hill, owned by Will Thacker. The two continue to have chance encounters throughout the London neighborhood that eventually lead to a romantic relationship. But they struggle to reconcile their radically different lifestyles. After months of trials and tribulations, Will eventually professes his love for Anna at her press conference, and the two start a life together in London.
The classic romantic comedy sets out to prove anyone can find love…but it helps if you’re a movie star.
19 Any Cute, Small Town in Canada can have love as seen in any hallmark holiday movie
All of Hallmark’s holiday movies follow the same formula for success. There is always a heroine: a woman with a very important job to do. She will always be single, because she is way too wrapped up in said job. Then there’s the man, with whom she will see several times by complete accident. Then, out of the blue, the magic of the holiday season will cause them to realize they are in love. This will, of course, cause it to snow and everyone in this little fictional town will cheer. The end. Does Air Canada have any good deals right now?
18 Before sunrise in Vienna, Austria
The start of a trilogy, Before Sunrise tells the story of two travelers who share an instant connection on a train ride through Europe. On his way to Vienna, Jesse meets Celine, who is on her way to Paris. By the time the train stops in Vienna, Jesse convinces Celine to get off with him. With a flight back to the US in the morning and no money for lodging, the two spend all night taking in the experiences of Vienna.
Maybe it’s time to break the ‘no talking to strangers on public transportation’ rule, you might meet the love of your life, maybe be very selective though.
17 Spend a summer finding love in Barcelona!
In Vicky Cristina Barcelona, good friends Vicky and Cristina visit Barcelona for the summer. Vicky is practical, traditional, and engaged to her reliable partner, Doug. Cristina is her opposite: spontaneous, free-spirited and unsure of commitment. While attending an art exhibition, Cristina becomes intrigued with an artist named Juan Antonio. He boldly approaches the two girls and invites them to join him for the weekend to the city of Oviedo. Over time, both girls fall in love with him. Vicky marries Doug only to eventually leave him to pursue a relationship with Juan Antonio.
This film made us all believe that a love triangle could actually work out…at least for two hours, and definitely makes us believe in love in Barcelona.
16 When in Rome, looking out for our very own Josh Duhamel
Beth is an ambitious New Yorker with a cynical outlook on love. She takes an impulsive trip to Rome, where she removes pennies from the iconic Trevi Fountain. In doing so, she attracts the men that threw them in. When a charming reporter named Nick starts pursuing her as well, Beth struggles to figure out if he's one of the men she attracted from the fountain, or if he's the real deal. On their wedding day, Nick reveals to her that he never threw a penny into the fountain, revealing that they did indeed find true love.
So you don't technically have to throw pennies into the Trevi Fountain, but it certainly couldn't hurt. Everything about Italy screams romance, take a trip to Rome and admire all of its beauty, you may even find 'the One'.
15 Leave it all behind for the Australian Outback
Tracks, based on a true story, is the story of Robyn Davidson, a woman who leaves her life in the city to travel alone through almost 2,000 miles of Australian desert to the Indian Ocean. Equipped with just a backpack, her dog and four camels, she embarks on a sixth month journey of self-discovery and reflection. Along the way she is found by National Geographic photographer, Rick. He initially joins her simply to document her journey, but he begins to care deeply for Robyn and the relationship turns romantic. Rick constantly goes out of his way to help Robyn, giving us serious relationship envy.
Maybe we should just leave in all behind and head to the Aussie Outback for a new love adventure.
14 Break through the language barrier and don't get lost in translation in Tokyo
Bob Harris is a lonely, declining movie star who comes to Tokyo to film a commercial. Charlotte is a neglected newlywed following her celebrity-photographer husband to the same city. They meet by chance at their quiet hotel bar and quickly bond over the shared notion that neither one knows exactly what they’re doing with their lives. Over the course of a week, the two develop a meaningful bond while exploring the city together. While the audience never sees physical romance between the two, their chemistry and connection by the end of the film is undeniable.
This cult classic reminds us just how powerful friendship can be in our lives, especially when traveling to a foreign location, and maybe it's time to hop on a plane to find love in a foreign country.
13 Spend a good year in Provence, France
A young orphan named Max Skinner grows up spending his childhood summers living the good life at his Uncle’s vineyard in the South of France. 25 years later, Max is a successful bond trader in London who inherits the property when his Uncle passes away. While in Provence he becomes infatuated with Fanny, who has sworn off men…until she meets Max. After briefly returning to London, Max puts his London residence up for sale and returns to Provence to be with Fanny and embrace the vineyard life.
A Good Year makes everyone want to find love and settle into a vineyard on the south coast of France. The movie makes us all want to take a long, hard look at our priorities. And own a vineyard and hope Russell Crowe shows up.
12 Out of Africa, into a wild romance
Settling for a marriage of convenience, Karen sets out to Kenya to establish a farm with her new husband. On the way to the capital city of Nairobi she meets Denys, a local big-game hunter. Karen and her husband live separately and eventually separate, while she and Denys fall in love. Though the relationship ends when she realizes Denys does not want to get married, we still get the gist of it, it's time to travel to Kenya.
Their love story, as told through the narration of Karen, makes us all want to run off to Africa in hopes of falling in love with Robert Redford.
11 Under the Tuscan sun
When Francis falls into a depression after her marriage ends, her best friend encourages her to take a tour of Italy. During her trip, she makes the impulsive decision to purchase a villa in rural Tuscany. Frances starts her new life with a massive renovation of the Tuscan property with the help of a colorful cast of characters. After struggling to jumpstart her new life, she focuses on others by helping a young couple get married. At their wedding reception, Frances meets a writer who is also traveling through Italy, and all signs point to a romantic future together.
HGTV lovers rejoice, it looks like a home renovation really can bring people together, as long as it's in the beautiful town of Tuscany.
10 Breakfast at tiffany's, and love in our own backyard
Holly Golightly is a girl-about-town with an anything-goes attitude towards pretty much every aspect of life, especially love. When a nice guy named Paul moves into her building, she starts to confide in him about the life she left behind to become a Manhattan socialite. Despite their connection, she continues to pursue wealthy men in order to continue living her lavish lifestyle. In the end, Paul stands by her through her tribulations and he wins her over. Holly’s independent spirit causes her to constantly push Paul away, but he always sees through her fear of commitment and refuses to give up on her.
Maybe that type of persistence only exists in the movies, but we’d like to think it’s possible in real life, too, and that maybe we don't have to travel too far to fall in love.
9 meeting your sister's sister at the cabin
In Your Sister's Sister, a year after he loses his brother Tom, Jack has become an emotionally unstable slacker. After Jack makes a scene at a party, Tom’s ex-girlfriend offers up her family cabin on a small island so Jack can mourn in solitude. There, he is surprised to find Iris’ sister, reeling from the end of a seven year relationship. After a long night of drinking, Iris joins them at the cabin, surprised to find her sister there. After an array of complicated and awkward situations, Iris admits that she is in love with Jack, and the two return to the city to pursue their relationship.
If only we could all offer our crush a secluded refuge so they can realize their love for us.
8 Taking those Motorcycle Diaries to Argentina
A semester before Ernesto is due to graduate from medical school in Buenos Aires, he and his friend Alberto leave to travel across South America. While the end goal is Peru, the true purpose of the journey is to find fun and adventure. Initially, Ernesto’s girlfriend, Chichina, agrees to wait for him expecting him to return to Argentina and live a conventional life with her. Though he is constantly drawn back to her, she eventually breaks up with him. Even though they don't end up together in the end, she makes Ernesto realize what he truly wants out of life and continues to pursue a life of adventure.
7 Legally blonde and finding love at Harvard
Elle Woods thinks her boyfriend is going to propose over a romantic dinner date, but he dumps her instead. Determined to win him back, she applies and gets accepted to Harvard Law School in an attempt to impress him and prove she is worthy of being his wife. On her first day of class, she finds out he’s already engaged to someone else. She starts confiding in her professor’s assistant Emmett and slowly loses her infatuation with her ex, who despite all of Elle’s accomplishments never views her as an equal. By graduation, she ends up valedictorian of her graduating class and gets an offer from both a prestigious law firm and a proposal from Emmett, who saw how great she was from the start.
Maybe we could just walk around campus, sit on a bench, and find our future love?
6 the beach in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
While backpacking through Thailand, Richard meets couple Etienne and Francoise at his hostel. When a map to a secret island off the coast of Koh Phi Phi comes into Richard's possession, he convinces the couple to join him. On the journey there, Richard becomes infatuated with Francoise and they eventually begin a relationship. Their relationship causes a ripple effect of drama that eventually leads to the island community’s demise.
In the end, the island turns into a complete nightmare for everyone, but Thailand’s beautiful scenery is convincing enough to make you want to go there anyways, and of course on the off-chance that you get to meet Leo.
5 Go to the Garden State of New Jersey
Andrew Largeman, a moderately successful TV actor, returns home to New Jersey for the first time in nine years when his mother passes away. Back in his hometown he meets Sam, whom he confides in during his grieving. When the time comes for Andrew to return to Los Angeles, Sam begs him not to leave. She says their relationship has real potential, but Andrew feels he needs to sort himself out before committing to her. At the last minute Andrew gets off the plane and returns to Sam.
Despite the sad circumstances, the two prove that you can find love and happiness on the other side, but also that sometimes returning home is exactly what you need in order to find love.
4 Chocolat in France brings everyone together
In the film Chocolat, Vianne Rocher, a traveling chocolatier, arrives in a small, traditional French town to open a chocolate shop. Despite how different she is from the other villagers, she eventually wins them over. When a group of gypsies camp on the outskirts of the village, Vianne goes against the general consensus of the village and embraces them, especially a man named Roux, with whom she falls in love. When Roux and his tribe leave, Vianne is overcome with sadness and almost leaves as well, but villagers convince her to stay. By the end of the film, the narrator shares that Roux comes back to be with her, and they change their drifter ways to have a home together in the village.
See, chocolate really does bring people together.
3 House-swapping with a complete stranger in The Holiday
Two women distraught from break-ups find each other on a home-exchange website and decided to swap houses for two weeks at during the Christmas holiday. Amanda, a business exec from Los Angeles heads to Iris’ countryside cottage in Surrey, England. On her first night, Iris’ brother, Graham, shows up at Iris’ home expecting to find his sister. The two hit it off and continue to spend time together during her visit. On the day she is set to go home, she decides to stay longer to be with Graham.
The takeaway here: go to a stranger’s house and your soul mate will literally show up at your door. Okay, we don't actually mean a complete stranger, but maybe take a risk or two, even if it's just for yourself.
2 Los Angeles, California - La La Land
Mia, an aspiring actress, meets Sebastian, a struggling jazz musician the night he gets fired from a restaurant as the resident piano man. While their first interaction is unpleasant, the two reluctantly strike up a conversation at a party several months later, and start singing and dancing their way into a relationship. Throughout the course of a year, their relationship both inspires and challenges them. Though the young couple doesn’t end up living happily ever after, they realize years later that they could not have accomplished their dreams without each other’s support.
1 Spend Nights in Rodanthe
On the heels of a complicated family situation, Adrienne retreats to the coastal town of Rodanthe in the Outer Banks of North Carolina to tend to her friend’s inn for the weekend. Her only guest is a surgeon named Paul, who is also in Rodanthe to escape his personal problems. When a storm arrives, Paul and Adrienne team up to protect the beachfront inn. After a romantic weekend together, the two begin exchanging numerous love letters during their separation, expressing their desire to be together. Even though Paul passes away before he can be reunited with Adrienne, the story reinforces the age-old saying that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.