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  • A cinephile’s European holiday

    Colosseum in Rome

    Colosseum ©Jeremy Vandel/Flickr

    Cinephiles looking to explore the locations of their favorite films have an obvious treasure trove in America and Japan, but what about Europe?

    European cities feature frequently in high profile films, but usually as an anonymous substitute for American locations, leaving a cinematic ramble across Europe considerably harder to do.

    With that in mind, here are the best European locations to re-live some of the most iconic moments in European film history.

    Austria

    Hofburg in Vienna

    Hofburg Palace, Vienna ©Francisco Antunes/Flickr

    An unlikely location and one not featured as a setting particularly often. But when it is, the film in question usually achieves instant classic status. The Third Man, Before Sunrise and Amadeus were all shot on location in Vienna, and each offers a different vision of one of Europe’s most underappreciated cities.

    France

    An obvious choice for sure, but with so many different types of film set in Paris, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

    Fans of the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) can admire the city of Goddard and Truffaut as seen in The 400 Blows, Breathless and Shoot The Piano Player, while fans of more eccentric independent films can enjoy the history depicted in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris or Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie.

    Italy

    Colosseum in Rome

    Colosseum ©Jeremy Vandel/Flickr

    The colosseum vividly brought to life by Gladiator, the working-class cafés and neighborhoods of Bicycle Thieves or the glamour of La Dolce Vita, what’s not to enjoy about Rome?

    It’s also a great city to find tours that cater to the city’s cinematic history and most Rome hotels are within easy access of their locations.

    Spain

    Though more of a tourist promo than a film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona packs in so many iconic Barcelona locations that it’s a great starting point for newcomers to the city.

    Spain holidays wouldn’t be right without one trip to the Ramblas, Park Güell or the Sagrada Família, and they are all there. For anyone looking for a more debauched and local tour guide, following the locations of Almodóvar’s All About My Mother won’t disappoint.

    Sweden

    Though Sweden is only a fairly small country, its contribution to cinema over the years has been immense. Largely due to Ingmar Bergman, Sweden has been the setting of dozens of classic works, many of which were set in Bergman’s location of choice; the island of Fårö.

    There is an organised bus tour that will take you round all the most famous locations as well as the great man’s former home.

    Fårö Island

    Fårö Island beach ©Geological Survey of Sweden/Flickr

    If it is a little too out of the way, there’s always Stockholm, where you can take in the Filmstaden, where Bergman shot some of his films, or the film archives at the Swedish Film Institute. Stockholm also offers a chance to see the locations of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, as well as Let the Right One In.

    Portugal

    An unlikely final choice but one that has seen On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Ninth Gate, The Dancer Upstairs and The Boys From Brazil shot on location there.

    Like Rome, there are plenty of Portugal hotels in close proximity to the locations of those well known films.

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