From the Dalmatian shoreline and Istrian Riviera to the endless islands, Croatia continues to captivate beach lovers with its stunning coastal scenery and bountiful Mediterranean charm. Its timeless beauty is becoming better known, as can be seen in the number of famous films & TV shows that have chosen it as a production base. Here’s a sample of five of our favourites below…
1. Mamma Mia 2
Of course, with the much-anticipated release of Mamma Mia 2, its backdrop of turquoise waters and rugged coastal cliffs already got our holiday spirits racing. Although set on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi for the movie, filming for the sequel took place on the Croatian island of Vis. This is one of Croatia’s farthest inhabited islands from the Adriatic coast – it can be reached by ferry from Split in just over two hours.
While Vis may provide the ultimate secluded island paradise, there are in fact over 1,000 islands belonging to this small Balkan country, with 48 of them claiming inhabitants. Some of the more accessible ones you may have heard of include Hvar, Korčula and Brač. All boast gorgeous rocky beaches, clear aquamarine waters, pine-clad forests and dramatic white-stone cliffs.
If you’re heading to Hvar for a leisurely island holiday, we recommend staying at the scenic Adriana hotel.
2. Game of Thrones
Another clear winner of Croatian screen time has to be Croatia’s southernmost city of Dubrovnik for the famous TV series Game of Thrones. Fans of the fantasy series will find their mojo in Dubrovnik’s port, otherwise known as the setting for the fictional city of King’s Landing. In Game of Thrones, it is the iconic capital of the Seven Kingdoms and home to the sought after Iron Throne. You can even seize the throne yourself by visiting the Dubrovnik City shop down a side street of the Old Town.
In real life, the Pearl of the Adriatic has even more to offer than other-worldly medieval charm. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik is truly a city of heritage mixed with modernity. From the terracotta-tiled roofs and ancient city walls, to the restaurant-lined streets and azure blue of the Adriatic Sea, it’s a gem that will enchant visitors from the off. No wonder the Game of Thrones crew opted for it to be the show’s most legendary location!
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Released in 2017, The Last Jedi was also filmed in Dubrovnik during Spring 2016. Stradun, the city’s white-tiled main street, was transformed into sci-fi central during the short stint of filming. Despite being another out-of-this-world phenomenon, the final product was only a little enhanced from the original surroundings. So you’re bound to feel a sense of déjà vu when walking through the set of Episode VIII!
4. Doctor Who
Perhaps slightly more under the radar – both by location and TV show – are a couple of Doctor Who episodes filmed in Croatia. Both Episode 6: The Vampires of Venice and Episode 10: Vincent and the Doctor from Series 5 were filmed in the town of Trogir on Dalmatia’s coastline. The TARDIS hit the shores of Trogir’s Old Town market area, disguised to appear as 16th Century Venice for Episode 6. Meanwhile, it returned in Episode 10 to recreate the look of 19th Century French suburbia.
Located about halfway down the Adriatic Coast, Trogir is a medieval island connected by bridges to mainland Dalmatia. A breezy marina, historic Old Town and cobbled streets await visitors. Meanwhile, the main square can be found filled with laughter and locals on a summer night, providing an authentic insight to its laidback Mediterranean culture.
5. Bond 25
With Dubrovnik already gaining a pretty sweet resume of films and TV shows, it’s set to continue with the 25th James Bond film. Along with France and Japan, we can expect Croatia to be featured as a backdrop to the action. Known by its working title of Bond 25, the world’s most famous spy – as played by Daniel Craig for the final time – is due to hit our screens in November 2019.
Still in doubt about which part of this iconic country you should explore? Take a look at our hotel options dotted along the coastline and throughout the islands here for inspiration.