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Famous European Filming Locations To Visit

By Sienna Bailey

Posted: 20th December 2016 09:09

Many of us have wished we could be in our favourite film or TV show, though sadly the reality is that the magic is only on the screen. But you can still get the next best thing: visiting the places where they were filmed. Here are some of the most beautiful must see filming locations to visit.

Dubrovnik (Croatia)

This medieval Croatian city hasn’t always been the holiday haven it is today: back in the 1990’s parts of it were destroyed from armed conflicts during the Croatian War of Independence. However, the city has transformed itself since then and today Dubrovnik is most famously recognised as the setting for King’s Landing on the popular TV series Game of Thrones. The show’s popularity has rapidly increased tourism to the city over the last few years thanks to dedicated fans of the show coming from all over to visit the locations. The Old City in particular has many recognisable sites; marketplace scenes have been filmed on St Dominika Street and Cersei Lannister took her walk of shame along Stradun. The ‘purple wedding’ scenes from season 4, where King Joffrey comes to a poisonous end, were filmed in Gradac Park on the outskirts of the city centre. Parts of the city have also been used to represent other fictional Game of Thrones locations including Qarth and Braavos. The show is not the only decent reason to go; visitors can enjoy golden sandy beaches, crystal blue waters and great seafood restaurants. The best way to marvel at the city is to take a walk around the old walls surrounding it.

Rome (Italy)

No doubt one of the most recognised cities in the world, Rome has been used as a filming location for hundreds of films and TV programmes over the years. Its ancient buildings and landmarks have provided a beautiful backdrop to several famous films. The iconic 1953 film Roman Holiday is almost like taking a tour of the city itself. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are seen exploring some of the city’s most famous sights including The Spanish Steps, (where Hepburn famously tries a gelato), the Collosseum and the Pantheon. The Vatican has been featured prominently as a film location many times including in The Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons and most recently in the HBO drama The Young Pope. There are also a few lesser known filming locations dotted around the city. The 1999 film The Talented Mr Ripley shot a few scenes here (despite the majority of the action being set in Naples); the nightclub scene, one of the most memorable parts of the film where Matt Damon and Jude Law sing together, was shot at the Caffe Latino, Via Monte Testaccio 96. One of the best ways to see the city is by open top bus tour, where you are sure to get a glimpse of all of these landmarks. The beauty of Rome is enough of a reason to visit; toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain if you want to come back the year after.

Skopelos Island (Greece)

Skopelos Island might be more recognised amongst fans of the musical hit film Mamma Mia. The movie was shot at several places around this area but the main filming took place at Skopelos. The wedding scene was shot at the chapel of Agios Ioannis Prodromos situated on top of the hill where Meryl Streep sings ‘The Winner Takes it All’.  Kastani Beach on the southwest coast is where the dance numbers ‘Does Your Mother Know’ and ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’ were filmed. Fans should note however that the jetty on the beach and the church interior were structured specifically for the film, so try not to be too disappointed if you don’t find them. Skopelos Island had been relatively unknown before Mamma Mia’s success, but after the film’s release it had a huge surge in tourism. So big is the film that there are even signposts dotted around the place pointing out the filming locations. Aside from the obvious however, there is plenty else to enjoy on the island. In the centre of the island is Skopelos Town, a lovely traditional looking Greek town located by the sea with whitewashed buildings and red tiled roofs. Around half an hour away from there is Glossa village, where the wedding church is situated nearby. There are also several old monasteries situated around the island to check out. Skopelos is well known for its delicious olives and plums which grow there, so be sure to have a try of them when you get the chance.

Oxford (United Kingdom)

This beautiful English city has been a key filming location for many well-known British TV dramas including Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. However, it is the famous university which is probably the most talked about location; parts of it have been used in countless productions, most notably in the Harry Potter series. Fans who walk up the grand staircase at Christ Church College may be reminded of the staircase leading up to the Great Hall in Hogwarts, because that’s exactly what they are! If you visit the cloisters in New College you might recognise the green courtyard where Harry and his friends hung out, and where fans will remember Draco Malfoy was transformed into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody.The School of Divinity at the Bodleian Library doubled as the Hogwarts infirmary and the room where Professor McGonagall teaches the students how to dance inThe Goblet of Fire. You may also recognise the university buildings from other notable films such as The History Boys, The Oxford Murders and the adaption of Phillip Pullman’s novel The Golden Compass which is set in a fantasy version of the city. Most of the colleges are acceptable to the public and there are walking tours available to show you around. As well as the spectacular buildings, Oxford is a hub of culture with museums and art galleries everywhere.

Salzburg (Austria)

Salzburg is the stunning location for one of the most famous musical films of all time, The Sound of Music. The film is filled with awe inspiring scenery of the buildings, landmarks and of course, the mountains. These locations are recognised the world over and millions of people have come to see them and retrace Julie Andrew’s steps. The exterior of the Von Trapp’s family mansion was actually filmed at two locations: The front exterior at Schloss Frohnburg and the lakeside rear at Leopoldskron Palace. The part of Maria’s convent where the nuns sing ‘Maria’ was shot at the Benedictine Convent on Nonnberg. The ‘do-re-me’ number was filmed at Mirabell Castle and Gardens. Fans can even visit the famous gazebo where Liesl and Rolf danced on the benches singing ’16 Going on 17’, which is also located in the grounds of Leopoldskron Palace. For die-hard Sound of Music fans, there is, of course, a panoramic tour where you can be driven around all of these iconic filming locations. The Sound of Music themed attractions don’t stop there however.  There is a popular dinner show combining songs from the show with a three course meal and even a marionette puppet show production of the musical. It is funny that despite the huge publicity the film has given the city, very few Austrians have actually seen the film! 

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