Fans of the Mamma Mia! films will be richly rewarded for making the trip to Skopelos island in Greece, where they were shot. Culture Trip headed there to check out some of the best locations from the movies.
It’s easy to see how Skopelos captured the imagination of the Mamma Mia! team when they began scouting for locations over 10 years ago. The verdant northern Greek island offers some of the most spectacular landscapes in the area, with diamond-clear waters and sensational green vistas. For true Mamma Mia! film lovers, a trip to Skopelos will not only give you the chance to relive some of the best scenes from the original film, but also to create some lasting memories of your own.
Arguably there is no scene more unforgettable in Mamma Mia! than the one in which Donna (Meryl Streep), her raspberry pashmina billowing in the breeze, turns from a morose Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and flees up the steps of the church of Agios Ioannis Kastri. And while the striking and cinematic location of this small Greek church was undoubtedly a perfect spot for the scene, visitors to the location will soon realise that no rendition of ‘The Winner Takes It All’, however heartfelt, could propel Meryl to the top of this extremely steep clifftop church. Suspension of disbelief aside, the journey up this majestic cliff top is a powerful experience. Once you have ascended the stone steps you can enjoy scenic views of the surrounding coastline. The marriage scene wasn’t actually filmed inside the church, but there’s still a palpable sense of ABBA cinematic history being made here. Visit in the late afternoon as the sun is beginning to wane for peak atmosphere.
The picturesque setting in Agnontas was where the decadent fantasy scene in Mamma Mia! takes place, as Donna prowls the moored boat and sings about what she would do with her imagined wealth. You don’t need to sing ‘Money, Money, Money’ to feel rich while looking out at the vivid turquoise waters and pine trees of Amarandos Beach and the fishing village of Agnontas. The cove and surrounding area are best accessed by boat, and watching the sun go down here is an unparalleled experience.
The relatively untouched Glysteri beach is where the fictitious Villa Donna is meant to be located. Typical of the beaches found throughout the Sporades islands, the pebbly Glysteri beach sits in a deep and protected cove.
While some may feel that getting to spend an afternoon with Bill (Pierce Brosnan), Harry (Colin Firth) and Sam (Stellan Skarsgård) is already a dream come true, seeing the idyllic location where ‘Our Last Summer’ was filmed will only increase your envy. Sophie’s first rendition of ‘Honey, Honey’, as she reads Donna’s diary to her friends, was also filmed along the cliffs here.
This family hotel housed the cast of Mamma Mia! while they were filming and it’s easy to see why the stars chose this spot. There is a warm, welcoming atmosphere and you will be treated to family cooking, often using the owner’s grandmother’s recipes. Located at the end of Skopelos main town, the hotel and restaurant are perfectly situated to explore the best of island while also enjoying a tranquil environment. Guests should make sure to check out candid pictures of the cast that are framed on the walls of the restaurant.
The long and glittering sands of Kastani beach are the location for some of the more theatrical numbers in Mamma Mia! Tanya (Christine Baranski) performs ‘Does Your Mother Know’ here, and this is also the beach where a sun-kissed Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and Sky (Dominic Cooper) give an impressive rendition of ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’.
During the summer months the beach offers a gorgeous getaway which feels relatively untouched given that it’s now part of cinematic heritage. Visitors can still swim in the crystal waters in isolation and access the beach by a dirt path.