Spain in the Movies: Must Visit Film locations around Spain

Following my last post, “Madrid in the Movies”,  I will expand and tell you about the unlikely and curious locations around Spain. A must-visit for all film buffs! I have also included Game of Thrones because with its popularity it’s always worth a mention!

Game of Thrones

For die-hard Game of Thrones fans, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a must visit. This rocky islet is home to a 10th century hermitage, to get there you descend a path down towards the beach and then ascend a winding staircase. The location served as home to King Stannis Baratheon and his evil witch advisor and lover Melisandre.

Some other film locations for the series include Girona and Seville.

The Catalan city near Barcelona served as a filming location for the opening of episode 6 Bravoos and the final scene in King’s Landing. Girona Cathedral also features in the show and doubled as the Great Sept of Baelor.

Seville is a setting for many films, recently its accelerated popularity has grown due to the shooting of the Dorne scenes. The Real Alcazar of Seville also made an appearance as the residence of the House Martell. Maria de Padilla’s baths became the set where Sand Snakes plotted the vengeance of their father Oberyn.

Here is a little clip form the HBO documentary behind the scenes in Spain

Star Wars in Seville – Episode II Attack of the Clones

One memorable scene from the film used the backdrop in Plaza de Espana, which served as the city of Naboo. Anakin, Padme and a digital R2-D2 cross a bridge to the right (to the south) of the central structure. In the next shot, they walk along a curved hallway that is open to the right. This spot has been used in many films.

Watch the scene here:

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

An epic film set during World War I in the Middle East, directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole was shot in various countries. The desert scenes were shot in Jordan, Morocco and Spain. Though the director had initially intended on shooting more scenes in Jordan, production was moved to Spain due to costs and outbreaks of illness among the cast and crew. The attack on Aqaba was reconstructed in a dried river bed by Carboneras in Almeria.

The Sierra Nevada mountains were used to portray Lawrence’s Winter quarters of Azrak. Seville also made an appearance as Cairo, Jerusalem and Damascus, with filming taking place also in the Alcázar of Seville and the Plaza de España.

Watch the scene set in Seville here:

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This classic film starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach and set during the American Civil War tells the tale of three gunmen searching for a missing box of Confederate gold. Outdoor filming took place near Burgos and Almería. Several hundred Spanish soldiers were hired to construct a cemetery consisting of thousands of grave stones resembling an ancient Roman circus near Carazo (Santo Domingo de Silos in the region of Burgos).

Watch the trailer here:

Pan’s Labyrinth, Navarra  

Oscar-winning director, Guillermo del Toro’s film set just after the Spanish Civil War, was filmed in the countryside of Navarra, the autonomous region in the north of Spain situated between the Basque Country and Castilla-La Mancha. The nightmarish story tells of Ofelia, a little a girl who moves to an old mill with her pregnant, ailing mother and army captain stepfather. Ofelia discovers a stone labyrinth, at the centre of which she meets a faun who tasks her with several challenges.

Watch the trailer here:

Smurf Village in Ronda

This technically is not a film set but was a publicity stunt for the Smurf film by Sony Pictures.

Sony launched the creative campaign to promote The Smurfs movie And the locals of the traditional white village agreed to paint the village bright blue. This was intended to be a temporary project, but the idea caught on so well that Juzcar even started to organize a series of events and trade fairs related to this theme.

Tourists flocked to the village’s after its dramatic transformation into a fairy-tale realm, and the local economy began to grow. After a referendum organized by the mayor, locals voted to leave the village this way.

Why did Sony choose this sleepy village in the hills of Andalusia for the world premiere? Juzcar has a tradition of mushroom gathering and the smurfs are especially known for their love of mushrooms.


A small village in Northern Spain was chosen as the set for a trilogy of Heidi films starring Bill Nighy in the role of the grandfather. Production of  Heidi: Queen of the Mountains began in Pendes in the Atlantic region of Cantabria.

Some scenes were to be shot in the nearby village of Mogrovejo in the Liébana district, as the setting of the grandfather’s hut and Pendes was chosen to represent the fictional Swiss village of Dörfli.

Cantabria has fought hard to be chosen as filming location and won over sites even in Switzerland, where the novels are set, and 20 other countries as well as Austria, Slovenia, Germany, and the UK.

Some controversy surrounded the filming with The Hollywood Reporter staring that the production has been tainted with complaints and leaving a trail of disgruntled employees at every location.

Workers complained about unpaid wages and bills and general chaos on set with multiple crewmembers complaining about dangerous working conditions and numerous accidents. As yet the film hasn’t yet aired despite having a release date of December 2017.

Watch the trailer here:

So that’s all for today’s post! Do you know other films or series set in Spain? Let me know if the comments!

2 thoughts on “Spain in the Movies: Must Visit Film locations around Spain

  1. Pingback: Spain in the Movies: Must Visit Film locations around Spain | Rolandomio Travel

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