Pack your popcorn, we’re taking you on an epic journey to some of Europe’s most cinematic destinations…
Kerry, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens: When scouting for locations for Star Wars The Force Awakens VII, the rugged good looks of Co. Kerry’s Skellig Michael captured the imagination of producers. And the love affair didn’t end there. LucasFilm was so taken with Ireland’s west coast that they shot scenes for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal.
Dublin, Once: Once, the little Irish indie film that went all the way to the Oscars, was filmed on location around Dublin’s city centre, most notably Grafton Street where the main characters meet for the first time. In 2008 Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won an Academy Award for their ballad “Falling Slowly.”
Girl with a Pearl Earring: Although based in the town of Delft in the Netherlands, much of 2003’s Girl with a Pearl Earring was actually shot in specially constructed sets within the chocolate-box surroundings of Luxembourg.
Amsterdam, The Fault in Our Stars: The cobbled streets and waterways of Amsterdam played a leading role in 2014 tear-jerker The Fault in Our Stars. Famous and not so well-known attractions have become places of pilgrimage for teenage fans of the film, not least the canal bench located at Leidsegracht 4, where the Herengracht and Leidsegracht canals meet.
Paris, Amélie: 2001’s magical French comedy Amélie features over 80 locations in Paris. From Café des Deaux Moulins on rue Lepic (where Amélie worked as a waitress), to Canal Saint-Martin where she’s shown skimming stones, most of the beautiful backdrops from the movie are part and parcel of real-life Paris.
Dordogne, Chocolat: Starring Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche, Chocolat tells the story of a small chocolate shop and its unexpected effect on the lives of the locals in a sleepy French village. Set in the fictional town of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, most of the filming took place in the pretty villages of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy and Beynac-et-Cazenac in the Dordogne region.
Bruges, In Bruges: Specially themed tours have been popping up all over Bruges ever since 2008’s In Bruges put the Belgian city firmly on the map. The Belfry of Bruges, Basilica of the Holy Blood and Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce hotel are just some of the hotspots to look out for if you’re planning to follow the Colin Farrell/ Brendan Gleeson trail.
Barcelona, Vicky Cristina Barcelona: When writing the script for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen is quoted as saying “I wasn’t thinking of anything other than creating a story that had Barcelona as a character. I wanted to honour Barcelona because I love that city very much.” True to his word, the romantic comedy starring Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, pays tribute to plenty of Barcelona’s best bits including Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and Casa Milá.
Santiago, The Way: Emilio Estevez’s 2010 adventure flick, The Way shines a light on Spain’s traditional Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, also known as The Way of Saint James. The film was shot on location over a 40-day period and followed the traditional pilgrim route through Northern Spain’s countryside taken by thousands of walkers and hikers every year. The final scenes were recorded inside the famous cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun: Showcasing the Tuscan countryside in all its beautiful, sepia-toned glory, you’d be forgiven for wanting to up sticks to Italy after watching Diane Lane make the move in 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun. In case you’re wondering, Cortona, Montepulciano and Florence provided the real-life backdrops in the movie.
Verona, Letters to Juliet: 2010’s Letters to Juliet sees Amanda Seyfried solving the mystery of a love affair between two long lost sweethearts. Fancy following in her footsteps? Visit Juliet’s House, the fabled home of Shakespeare’s heroine, located on Via Cappello. Don’t leave without getting a photo on the famous balcony.
Venice, Casino Royale: Having also appeared in From Russia With Love and Moonraker, Venice is no stranger to the Bond franchise. But in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig makes the ultimate entrance when he sweeps into the Grand Canal in a 45ft yacht. St Mark’s Square and the the 17th century Palazzo Pisani Moretta also make cameo appearances.
Gladiator: Strange but true – for Ridley Scott’s epic blockbuster Gladiator, Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara, Malta stood in as ancient Rome. Rather than film in the Italian capital, a replica of the Colosseum was built to around one third of the actual size and outdoor market sets were constructed around the site to give the right look and feel.
Scottish Highlands, Rob Roy: Unlike that other Scottish epic, Braveheart (which was mostly filmed in Ireland), 1995’s Rob Roy was shot entirely in Scotland – Glen Coe, Glen Nevis, and Glen Tarbert are just some of the Highland settings that made the cut.
Surrey, The Holiday: Cameron Diaz swaps her plush LA mansion with Kate Winslet’s cute English cottage in this romantic comedy, also starring Jude Law and Jack Black. The snow covered countryside of Surrey provided the backdrop for much of the UK-based drama, especially the charming village of Shere.
Kings Cross Station, London, Harry Potter: In the Harry Potter series, King’s Cross Station is where the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry board the Hogwart’s Express. Harry and co. reach the platform by disappearing through a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. In the actual King’s Cross Station in London, platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks. The good news for fans is that there’s a plaque marking platform 9¾ on the wall in the station. Selfie, anyone?