Have you ever fallen in love with a city you’ve never even set foot in?
It’s no surprise that Europe, with its wealth of history, architecture and breathtaking landscapes, has played host to some of cinema’s most iconic movies. Some, such as the Merchant Ivory classic A Room With A View, are a sumptuous love letter to the city in which they are situated (Florence). Others use their locations as a menu of stunning settings, a kind of Haribo variety pack of locations – 2016 Dan Brown thriller, Inferno, for example, was filmed in Florence, Venice, Istanbul and Budapest.
Of course, while the avid film fan may happily chart their adventure along movie location lines, it is worth adding a caveat that sometimes the external shot may not match the inside image. That can certainly be a disconcerting visit, if not flat out disappointing.
Picture by Flickr user Monik Markus. Used under the Creative Commons licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Think of Amelie’s Cafe de Deux Moulins (above), the exterior of which exists in real life in Montmartre, Paris – and is a great opportunity for a cute selfie. The internal scenes, however, were shot in a German studio.
The sumptuous Rome casino in 2015 comedy, Spy, with Melissa McCarthy? The Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest – quite a jaunt from Italy’s capital. In fact despite being set in DC, Rome, Paris and Budapest, the majority of the film was shot in Budapest.
Nevertheless, no matter where the setting is filmed, a movie can inspire an adventure. And, to help set you on the right path, here are our choice of movie locations worth a visit:
Mission: Impossible – Prague
There is quite a roster of locations in this Tom Cruise action flick, which was filmed mainly in Prague and London as well as Scotland and Virginia, USA.
The Embassy of Prague, where the first doomed mission begins, is actually Prague’s Natural History Museum (the interior of which also features as the lobby of a Venetian hotel in Casino Royale). Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) falls from Prague’s Charles Bridge into the Vltava River while villainess Max (Vanessa Redgrave) holes up in the Hotel Europa in Wenceslas Square.
In Bruges – Bruges (of course!)
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is where Ken (Brendan Gleeson) wants to touch the vial of blood that is supposedly Jesus Christ’s. Ray (Colin Farrell) isn’t quite so keen of course, which sums up his whole attitude really. The featured Basilica is in Bruges and does claim to hold said relic so you can visit it (and it is worth the visit) but be aware the interiors of this scene where shot in Bruges’ Jerusalem Church.
Another memorable In Bruges location is of course, The Belfry with its 366 narrow steps. The Belfry is located on the south side of Grote Market and yip, the view is worth that climb.
The Talented Mr Ripley (2000) – Ischia and Procida, Bay of Naples
This is one of those gorgeous, sun soaked movies that double as an Italian travel brochure. The resort Mongibello which Dickie (Jude Law) and Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) drape themselves attractively around is fictitious but the two filming locations were the island of Ischia and it’s tiny neighbour Procida. Both islands can be reached by ferry from Naples.
Midnight in Paris – Yip, you guessed it, Paris.
This breezy Woody Allen lament to the past couldn’t have made the city in which it is set look any more picture book perfect. It opens in true glory – Monet’s Garden, the former home of artist Claude Monet – and meanders through a number of sumptuous spots, including the gardens at Versailles (a 45 minute train journey from the capital).
Fancy a glass of wine a la Hemingway? The historic pub Le Polidor where Gil (Owen Wilson) bumps into his literary heroes, including James Joyce, Antonio Artaud and Jack Kerouac is real, and still going strong!
Perhaps most notable of all is the steps on which the tipsy Gil sits and is picked up to spin off into fantasy. They are the front steps of the Église Saint-Étienne du Mont in case you want to try your luck at dropping into the past.
The Sound of Music – Salzburg
The home of Mozart, Salzburg is also famous as the location for this musical extravaganza. Follow in Maria’s footsteps at the Benedictine Convent on Nonnberg, recall the Von Trapp’s farewell song at the Felsenreitschule or sing “I am 16 going on 17” at the top of your voice at the Sound of Music Pavilion in Hellbrunn Palace. And what crazy fool wouldn’t want to do that? You might even be able to buy some lederhosen made out of curtains.if you want to that is.
That’s just a snippet of some of our top movie locations – please do let us know if there any hidden gems that you visited during your European adventure!
All the best
The Interrailing Packages team 😊