Journey Through the Reel: Discovering Europe's Most Iconic TV and Film Locations

Journey Through the Reel: Discovering Europe's Most Iconic TV and Film Locations

Discovering Europe

Europe, a continent rich in history and culture, has long been a favoured destination for filmmakers and TV producers, offering a myriad of stunning locations that have captivated audiences worldwide. From the bustling streets of London to the picturesque villages of the Mediterranean, these destinations have become more than just settings - they are characters in their own right, integral to the stories being told. For travellers seeking the best city breaks in Europe, embarking on a journey to these memorable locations offers a unique way to experience the magic of their favourite TV shows and films. This article explores some of the most iconic European settings featured in popular media, providing a guide for your next cinematic-inspired trip.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia: The Real King's Landing

‘Game of Thrones’ Phenomenon

Dubrovnik, a stunning coastal city in Croatia, gained worldwide recognition as the filming location for King's Landing in the critically acclaimed TV series ‘Game of Thrones’. This medieval city, with its ancient walls and historic architecture, provided the perfect backdrop for the fictional capital of the Seven Kingdoms. A 2019 survey revealed that 50% of the series' fans expressed a desire to visit Dubrovnik, showcasing its impact on tourism.

Exploring the City

Visitors can explore the iconic Fort Lovrijenac, the setting for the Red Keep, and walk the city walls where pivotal scenes were shot. The nearby Trsteno Arboretum, another filming location, offers a serene escape and a glimpse into the lush gardens of King's Landing.

2. Edinburgh, Scotland: The Wizarding World Comes to Life

Harry Potter's Magical Alleys

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is intrinsically linked with the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling penned much of the early novels in the city, drawing inspiration from its enchanting streets and historic buildings. The picturesque Victoria Street is said to be the real-world inspiration for Diagon Alley, captivating fans with its vibrant shops and cobbled paths.

Literary Pilgrimage

The Elephant House café, where Rowling wrote parts of the series, has become a pilgrimage site for fans. Additionally, the Balmoral Hotel, where Rowling completed the final book, offers a special Harry Potter package, complete with a tour of locations that inspired the author.

3. Paris, France: Romance in the City of Lights

‘Amélie’ and the Charm of Montmartre

Paris, often dubbed the city of love and lights, has been the backdrop for numerous films, but none perhaps as charmingly Parisian as ‘Amélie’. Set in the bohemian Montmartre district, the film showcases the quintessential Parisian experience, from quaint cafés to scenic streets. A 2018 study found that locations featured in ‘Amélie’ saw a 30% increase in tourist visits.

Following Amélie's Footsteps

Tourists can visit the iconic Café des Deux Moulins where Amélie worked, stroll through the vibrant Place du Tertre, and take in the views from the steps of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, all pivotal locations in the film.

4. Salzburg, Austria: A Musical Journey

‘The Sound of Music’ Legacy

Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is also known for its association with ‘The Sound of Music’. This beloved musical, filmed in and around Salzburg, continues to attract fans to its picturesque settings. Mirabell Gardens, where the song 'Do-Re-Mi' was filmed, and the Nonnberg Abbey, are must-visit spots for enthusiasts.

Organized Tours and Festivals

The city offers organized ‘Sound of Music’ tours, taking fans to various filming locations. Additionally, the annual Salzburg Festival celebrates the film and the city's musical heritage, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

5. Matmata, Tunisia: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

‘Star Wars’ and the Desert Planet

Matmata in Tunisia may seem an unlikely tourist destination, but its unique landscape made it the perfect setting for Tatooine, the desert planet in ‘Star Wars’. The troglodyte dwellings of Matmata were transformed into the home of Luke Skywalker, bringing an otherworldly charm to the small Tunisian town.

Ongoing Attraction for Fans

Despite the decades since the original ‘Star Wars’ release, fans continue to flock to Matmata to visit the iconic Hotel Sidi Driss, which served as the interior for Luke's home. The site remains a testament to the enduring appeal of the "Star Wars" universe.

6. Bruges, Belgium: Medieval Backdrop of a Dark Comedy

‘In Bruges’ and the Medieval City

The medieval city of Bruges in Belgium was the primary location for the dark comedy ‘In Bruges’. With its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and cobblestone streets, Bruges provided an idyllic yet melancholic backdrop for the film.

Exploring the City's Charms

Visitors can explore the Belfry of Bruges, where key scenes were shot, and enjoy a boat tour along the canals, much like the film's protagonists. The city's blend of history, art, and unique Flemish culture makes it a must-visit destination.

7. Florence, Italy: Renaissance in the Spotlight

‘A Room with a View’ and the Italian Romance

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, gained cinematic fame through movies like ‘A Room with a View’. This film showcased the city's romantic allure, with its art-rich galleries and scenic vistas. Florence's Palazzo Vecchio and the surrounding Tuscan countryside have since become synonymous with the film's exploration of love and beauty.

Walking Through Art and History

Visitors can take guided tours highlighting locations from the film, including the Uffizi Gallery and Piazza della Signoria. The city's blend of art, history, and cinematic nostalgia creates a deeply immersive experience, making it a top destination for film buffs and art lovers alike.

8. London, England: A Cinematic Melting Pot

‘Notting Hill’ and Urban Romance

London's cosmopolitan vibe has been captured in numerous films, but ‘Notting Hill’ stands out for its portrayal of the city's charming, eclectic neighbourhoods. The film's use of Portobello Road Market and the iconic blue door of William Thacker's house has made Notting Hill an essential stop for rom-com fans.

Beyond the Big Screen

London's cinematic appeal extends beyond specific films, with landmarks like the Tower Bridge, the British Museum, and the Houses of Parliament appearing in countless movies. A tour of London offers a multifaceted experience, combining historical grandeur with modern cinematic appeal.

9. Prague, Czech Republic: A Fairy Tale Setting

The Magical Backdrop of ‘Amadeus’

Prague's historic and bohemian charm was beautifully captured in the Oscar-winning film ‘Amadeus’. The city's baroque architecture and old-world streets perfectly depicted 18th-century Vienna, the setting for Mozart's life story.

Exploring the City's Cinematic Beauty

Visitors can explore the Estates Theatre, where scenes from ‘Amadeus’ were filmed, and wander through the ancient streets of the Old Town. Prague's enchanting atmosphere, rich in history and culture, makes it a favourite for filmmakers and tourists alike.

10. Barcelona, Spain: Architectural Marvels on Screen

‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ and Gaudí's Masterpieces

Barcelona's unique architecture, particularly the works of Antoni Gaudí, played a starring role in Woody Allen's ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. The film's use of locations like Park Güell and the Sagrada Família highlighted the city's artistic flair and Mediterranean charm.

A Tour of Gaudí's Creations

Tourists can embark on a journey through Gaudí's architectural wonders, experiencing the vibrant culture and artistic spirit of Barcelona. The city's blend of art, history, and modernity makes it an irresistible destination for movie enthusiasts.

11. Reykjavik, Iceland: Otherworldly Landscapes

‘Interstellar’ and Iceland's Extraterrestrial Terrain

Iceland, with its dramatic landscapes, has become a popular filming location for sci-fi movies, most notably in ‘Interstellar’. The country's glaciers, black sand beaches, and rugged terrain provided the perfect stand-in for alien planets, captivating audiences with their ethereal beauty.

Experiencing Iceland's Natural Wonders

Visitors to Iceland can explore the same locations used in ‘Interstellar’, such as the Svínafellsjökull glacier and the volcanic beaches of Vik. Iceland offers a unique opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring natural settings that have become synonymous with otherworldly cinematic adventures.


Europe's tapestry of cities and landscapes has not only provided breathtaking backdrops for some of the most memorable films and TV shows but also offers travellers a chance to immerse themselves in these cinematic worlds. From the Renaissance streets of Florence to the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland, each destination offers its own unique allure, blending art, history, and the magic of the movies. As you plan your next European adventure, consider these iconic locations for an experience that transcends the screen, bringing the stories and settings you love to life.