Traveling with the Stars: Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger returned to her native Germany to film the Quentin Tarantino-written and -directed WWII film Inglourious Basterds, which premieres next month at the Cannes film festival, according to Variety. She shares her travel highlights and tips with USA TODAY.

Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?

A: Australia, hands down. Ever since I was little I had dreamed about going to Australia. Rather than just staying in one place, my boyfriend and I decided to take a road trip. We started out in Sydney. We traveled up the coast north towards the Gold Coast and stayed at little places along the road. Our first stop was the wine country about two hours outside of Sydney, where we found a converted convent to sleep in and enjoyed the delicious Australian wines and local foods. The next day we traveled quite far, stopping along the way at deserted beaches to cool down or eat at beach shacks. We ended up at a small little town called Byron Bay and stayed at a hotel called Rae's on Watego's, one of the most charming boutique hotels I have ever seen.

(Then we headed) to Hayman Island, where we dived the Great Barrier Reef, one of my most memorable experiences. I had never seen so much live coral and fish and water so clear you could see the bottom of the ocean! I have to include the incredible hospitality of the Australians. We got pulled over twice for speeding and got off with a friendly "g'day" by the local police who didn't want us to have a bad impression of their country!

Q: What's the best place you've ever visited?

A: I'm a big wine lover and living in France for half of the year spoils me in that domain, but I also love Italian wines. So one summer I went to Tuscany to visit all their local wineries and learn about the differences. I felt like I was in a movie all summer. I chose a small boutique hotel called La Suvera, which is about an hour outside of Siena, literally in the middle of nowhere and embedded in vineyards. The place looks like something out of a children's fairytale book. Over the course of 10 days, all I did was get up, have fresh fragolini (strawberries) out of the gardens, drive to a different vineyard every day, walk the fields, have lunch there with one of their wines and chat with the charming locals. Heaven.

Q: What's the most surprising or unexpected place you've ever visited?

A: I was completely taken aback by New Orleans. When I was shooting National Treasure, Nicolas Cage invited me and my co-star to go for Mardi Gras and needless to say it was memorable. Apart from the craziness that is Mardi Gras, we went to listen to a great amount of jazz and I took myself to visit the French Quarter. Being European, I felt completely at home and thought it was a very spiritual town.

Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?

A: One of my favorites is Argentina, starting with the great city of Buenos Aires. The city has so much to offer. I sat for hours in the small cafes watching people tango and smoking cigars. The countryside surrounding the city is breathtaking, so lush. If you're a meat lover — I have never tasted better steak in my life. From there you travel an hour by plane to Punta del Este, in Uruguay. It's beautiful, but so young and vibrant it'll take your breath away. And did I mention the people? In my life — I swear! — have I never seen such beautiful women and men.

Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?

A: If you plan a trip to Italy, try to visit the Amalfi Coast and stay in Positano at a hotel called Il San Pietro. The hotel is built into a rock, right at the water. Every room has a terrace overlooking the sea and some have a view toward the Faraglioni, the rocks outside of the island of Capri. Some rooms even have a hot tub on the terrace. It's the most romantic place I've ever been to.