Who said ‘Hollywood’ was the only place you could experience the magic of the movies? Far beyond their Hollywood borders, film and television have extended their reach into the beautiful cities of Europe.
Here’s a list of 10 film locations to visit while in Europe, these amazing cities have served as backdrops for some of today’s most recognized films. Any film lover will agree that adding these stops to your itinerary is a must!
1. Cortona, Italy is a small hillside town, tucked away in eastern Tuscany. The town sits in the Italian countryside and is full of medieval architecture. In the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003), rekindling her love for life and in search of a fresh start, Diane Lane’s character relocates to a Tuscan villa. Nothing mends a broken heart more than the beauty and serenity of a town as unique as Cortona, or better yet, a visit to the famous Villa Laura itself!
Cortona doesn’t stop impressing us there. It was also featured in the 1997 Italian film, “La Vita É Bella (Life Is Beautiful)”. Directed and starring Roberto Benigni, the film follows a father and son duo amidst the chaos of the Holocaust. Visit the famous Opera house from the film by making a stop at Teatro Signorelli.
2. Matera, Italy is a southern remote town which sits atop a cliff and also has access to many cave dwellings. The unique aesthetics of Matera were featured in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” (2004), which retells the life and final moments of Jesus Christ. Though Matera is not often a visitors destination, the town’s outstanding cliffs, narrow alleys and stone buildings will have you feeling like you just stepped into a part of history. Make sure to step off the beaten path and linger into the last-supper at San Nicola dei Greci as seen in the film.
3. Oxford and London are both big destinations for foreign travel. While London offers visitors with the energy of a major modern city, Oxford provides an even more historical look into British life. Oxford and London can be seen in all of the “Harry Potter” films (2001-2011). England is a must-visit destination for any Hogwarts fan, so make sure to visit all that Oxford and London have to offer. How about starting where the Harry Potter magic first began, at the great hall located inside England Christ Church College? During your stop in London, pose for a memorable photo at King’s Cross 9 3/4 platform, and then carry your wand over to the behind the scenes tour at the Warner Bros. Studio, where you’ll get to experience Diagon Alley and the actual Hogwart’s structure used in the film.
4. Glencoe, Scotland is a village in the Scottish Highlands, made up of breathtaking luscious green landscapes, it’s no wonder James Bond decided to make a stop here, and now so should you. Visit the village that appeared in “Skyfall” (2012) and make it a point to feel like you’re a secret agent.
5. Salzburg, Austria calls on travelers every year to recreate the infamous photo that made “The Sound of Music” (1965) an instant classic. With the Eastern Alps behind her, Julie Andrews twirls around in her frock dress, inviting you to come experience the music for yourself. Visit the Mirabell Gardens and prance along to the rhythm of Do-Re-Mi.
6. Savoca, Sicily, although a very small community in southern Italy, it played a very large role in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (1972). Savoca is made up of roughly 1,600 people and although not many visitors make their way out to this community, there’s something exhilarating about having the town all to yourself. After a long day of sightseeing, stop for drinks at Bar Vitelli and feel like Don Vito Corleone himself.
7. Dubrovnik, Croatia is definitely no stranger to the spotlight. With television now more of a cinematic experience than years past, it’s no surprise that productions are making their way to Europe. Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia that encompasses all that an extraordinary show like “Game of Thrones” would call for. From the neighboring Adriatic Sea, to the incredible Baroque architecture of the city, it’s easy to see why the HBO series claimed Dubrovnik as its new home. Make your way through the gate of time by visiting the Pile Gate and admire the beautiful stone walls of Dubrovnik.
8. Dublin, Ireland is a bustling and vivacious city located in eastern Ireland. Walking the eclectic city streets of Dublin will give you an instant trip down memory lane, as you reminisce about singers Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard falling in love through music, in the movie “Once” (2007). Make sure to check out Grafton Street and commune with the local buskers and musicians that make up the street.
9. Barcelona, Spain is the center for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008) Make sure to take in all of the unique works of art and architecture by Spanish architect Gaudi. Visiting Casa Mila, will really make you feel like you just walked into Woody Allen’s movie set.
10. Skiathos, Greece is an island with all you would want to unwind and de-stress. Skiathos is made up of golden beaches and a great nightlife scene. This beautiful seaside town was the center for “Mamma Mia” (2008), starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. To recreate your own memorable wedding scene, step into the Agios Ioannis chapel and breathe in the nostalgia of singing along to every word, of every song in “Mamma Mia”.