You’ve seen Europe on screen, now see it in real life! This continent is home to countless beloved movie franchises, musicals, sci-fi stories and fantasy series. Here are our top five favorite movies to inspire a trip to Europe.
1. Rome, Italy: “Roman Holiday”
In this 1953 classic film, Audrey Hepburn plays Ann, a crowned princess frustrated with the rigid schedule of her state-governed life. During a state trip to Rome, she secretly escapes her embassy, leading to a series of fun escapades and charming encounters with Joe, an American reporter.
The duo’s chemistry matches the endearing beauty of their Italian setting. On an Italian Family Adventure, visit the Spanish Steps where Joe “accidentally” runs into Ann, the Italian streets where she has the time of her life on a Vespa scooter and the famous Mouth of Truth where Joe “loses” his hand. This family-friendly movie is a throwback to one of America’s most renowned actors – not to mention the splendor of Rome!
2. Greek Islands: “Mamma Mia!”
This modern musical is probably the most recognizable movie shot in Greece – the catchy ABBA soundtrack is fun, lively and so easy to sing along with. Much of the movie was shot on the island of Skopelos in Greece’s western Aegean Sea. The turquoise waters and hillside villages are beautiful, but they aren’t unique to Skopelos – you can find them on many Greek islands. Santorini, for example, offers amazing white-and-blue buildings that protrude over the sheer cliffs above the sea. Crete, the largest island in Greece, is also a hotspot of beautiful beaches, ancient palaces and traditional artisan crafts.
3. Olympia, Greece: “Hercules”
Disney’s 1997 take on the Greek myth of Heracles (the original Greek spelling) takes some liberties with the hero’s story – something that Grecians take seriously – but still gets some of the facts right. Early in the movie, young Hercules travels to ancient Olympia to speak with a statue of Zeus.
This temple isn’t fictional – the Zeus statue at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World before it was destroyed in the 5th century A.D. Even without it, Olympia is an amazing place: you can explore the site of the first Olympics in history and even challenge other kids to race in the ancient stadium!
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia: “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones”
The HBO-hit series “Game of Thrones” and Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” didn’t take place in Croatia, but they were filmed there! The city of Dubrovnik is known for its medieval charm: limestone streets, towering walls and terra cotta roofing. This old town is unlike anything your kids have ever seen – it captures the essence of fictional worlds like no other city can.
That’s Stradun, the main street in Dubrovnik!
5. Edinburgh, Scotland: “Harry Potter”
Harry Potter needs no introduction – the boy wizard has been capturing the imaginations of audiences since J.K. Rowling released the first book in 1997. The Scottish city of Edinburgh has a deep connection with the series. Walk the cobblestones of iconic Victoria Street, the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and sip tea in the Elephant House, the café where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first book. It’s a town of enchanting castles and winding streets that the Chosen One himself would have called home.