It’s always thrilling when we see a movie come to life; whether it’s a glimpse of a favourite film star or seeing a familiar location up close. If you’re jetting off to Greece for a glorious holiday, watch these movies to get you in the mood and then visit some of the locations in real life. Maybe you could even re-create Shirley Valentine’s classic dream of drinking wine while gazing out to sea?
For Your Eyes Only – Meteora
James Bond’s adventures take him all over the world and in this film we see the dramatic backdrop of Meteora, located 400 metres above the Peneas Valley in Thessaly. Translated as ‘suspended in air’, Meteora has six isolated monasteries held in their astonishing elevated positions atop natural sandstone rock pillars.
The largest monastery, housing the main museum, is the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron constructed in the 14th century; but it is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity that is featured in the scene that 007 attempts to complete his mission. The monks that lived there tried to sabotage filming, hanging out their washing and preventing helicopters from landing after it was decided that the movie makers would pay the government rather than the monks.
Shirley Valentine – Mykonos
Filmed on the island of Mykonos, the Hippie Fish restaurant stands opposite the ‘Shirley Valentine Beach’ which is actually called Agios Ioannis Beach and is one of the most popular stretches of sand on this vibrant island. Hippie Fish proudly boasts of its Hollywood heritage and you can dine there while gazing out at the glittering turquoise sea.
Windmills are dotted around the island and you’ll find an orderly row high up at Chora, overlooking the sea. You may want to visit Little Venice, so named because the sea comes right up to the villagers’ houses, many of which have been converted into cafés and bars. With its romantic reputation, Little Venice is a popular place to watch the sun set.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Kefalonia
Much of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed in the village of Sami on Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands. The port was used as Argostoli where the Italian soldiers landed and is backed by tall mountains rolling into the distance, overlooking the fishing boats and pleasure boats alike as they compete for space. To film in Sami, the movie makers had to bargain with local shopkeepers and business owners.
While exploring Kefalonia, you’ll also find large sweeping beaches overlooked by rolling green hills and towering mountains beyond. The stunning Antisamos Beach – a huge stretch of white sandy coastline lapped by impossibly blue waters – features in the movie, representing a breathtaking postcard come to life.
Summer Holiday – Athens
To follow in the footsteps of Cliff Richard and the gang, head to the National Garden of Athens, a huge tropical paradise in the centre of the city with a thriving population of ducks. Take lunch overlooking Marathon Reservoir, also featured in the movie, and enjoy the view of the impressive Marathon Dam, standing 54 metres high and 285 metres long. Later in the film, you may remember seeing the Acropolis, as Cliff Richard sings on Philopappou Hill, which is practically at eye level with the iconic Parthenon.
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 1 & 2 – Santorini
The Greek filming locations featured were mainly in Oia, a quiet and picturesque village on the glamorous island of Santorini. Santorini is one of the most popular Greek islands and it’s easy to see why it was chosen for the big screen. With gleaming, white washed walls, steep hills providing breathtaking views, winding narrow streets and iconic blue-domed churches; Oia, Santorini is the very image of the Greece we fantasise about.
Built on the side of a cliff with views over the volcano of Palia and the island of Thirassia, you could book a volcano boat tour to get up close or enjoy a sunset tour of Oia, with its 300 steps leading to the port of Ammoudi, where huge red cliffs dominate the sandy coastline.
Whether it’s the lively nightlife of Mykonos, the glamour of Santorini or the dramatic scenery of Kefalonia, the Greek islands provide the backdrop to your own picture-perfect holiday in Greece. If you’re planning a holiday to Greece, are there any famous scenes you’ll be recreating?