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Shooting films in Spain

Film and television locations in Spain


These landscapes are the setting for great audiovisual productions

While walking around the streets in Spain, perceptive lovers of the seventh art will be surprised when they recognise the settings of their favourite films and series. Whether it is due to the nice weather or wide variety of locations, Spain has played a key role from the start of the international film industry. It had a decisive influence on western cinema with a European feel—Spaghetti Westerns—and has been used for all kinds of projects imaginable. Different spots in Spain have been transformed into futuristic settings and its monuments have portrayed stories from the distance past. It has captivated great international directors such as Woody Allen, Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg. Not to mention the homegrown talent of Pedro Almodóvar, Alex de la Iglesia and Juan Antonio Bayona, who always travel around Spain to shoot their films. From north to south, Spain is a film set - all you need to do is keep your eyes peeled, and know where to look.We’re going to suggest nine settings to visit, although the list could be much longer.

  • The Madrid of Money Heist

    The famous series has a few tricks up its sleeve in terms of settings in Madrid. The heist that brought the robbers with the iconic Dalí masks to fame takes place in the Royal Mint of Spain. But that’s a fiction. In reality, the location is the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) building, whose well-known façade you’ll recognise straight away on Calle Serrano. And there are more. The Bank of Spain robbery actually takes place in the Spanish Ministry of Public Works in Nuevos Ministerios. On your visit to Madrid you’re sure to recognise other iconic locations too. Remember the money shower? That takes place in Plaza de Callao square, and the helicopters carrying all that cash fly over the towers of the Madrid Business Area.

  • Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid

    Or Madrid under the spell of the witches of Navarra.

    Witching and Bitching by Alex de Iglesia follows two unemployed men who commit a robbery and while escaping end up in the Zugarramurdi woods of Navarre. They are captured by a horde of witches and have to use all their ingenuity to escape. While filming the duo’s trials and tribulations the director used the most important streets in Madrid and the film travels all around Spain’s capital.

  • More enchanted landscapes, those of The Witcher in the Canary Islands

    Whether or not you’re a fan of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, the screen adaptation reveals striking landscapes used as the setting for this medieval fantasy series, landscapes that as you’ll see for yourself are very real.  Some are Roque Nublo and the dunes of Maspalomas, in Gran Canaria; Roque de los Muchachos and the linden forests of La Palma; and El Cedro, a place shrouded in mystery in La Gomera.

  • Views of the Roque Nublo from Tejeda, Gran Canaria

    Gran Canaria, the setting for a not-too-distant future in Black Mirror.

    Episode by episode, Black Mirror examines the relationship between society and technology. The science fiction series has gained recognition from audiences for its stories about different hypothetical versions of the near future. Tejeda in Gran Canaria was the main setting of the sixth episode of the third season. “Hated in the Nation”, directed by James Hawes, was filmed in the old town centre and busiest streets of Tejeda.

  • Lanzarote coast

    The story of the white whale of the Atlantic in La Gomera and Lanzarote

    Alajeró (La Gomera) and Yaiza (Lanzarote) were two of the destinations chosen by Ron Howard as the setting for In the Heart of the Sea. Based on the real events that inspired Moby Dick, Howard examines the consequences of the encounter between the fishermen and the gigantic whale. Part of the Canary Islands became the backdrop for this story, which portrays the terrifying but majestic aspect of the sea.

  • View of Toledo

    The geography of Spain through Almodóvar

    Almodóvar portrays many cities and landscapes in his films. Madrid is perhaps the most prominent, and his work is a journey through the last 30 years in the city. From the Madrid of La Movida Madrileña countercultural movement, to the city of today that appears in Pain and Glory. The landscape is particularly significant and evocative in some of his films. For example, his portrait of Castilla-La Mancha, the region where he was born, in Volver; his vision of Barcelona in All About My Mother; and the beautiful island of Lanzarote, which provides the setting for much of Broken Embraces.

  • Castle of Zafra, Guadalajara

    Zafra Castle,in Guadalajara, witness to the birth of a king

    From the fifth season onwards, Game of Thrones included a long list of locations all over Spain. The later seasons were shot in several places in Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, the Region of Valencia, Navarre, Extremadura and Andalusia. Zafra Castle in Guadalajara was particularly important, as the setting where one of the show’s best-kept secrets was revealed: Jon Snow’s true lineage.

  • Plaza de España, Seville

    From a galaxy far, far away to Seville

    Star Wars is one of the most famous sagas in the history of cinema. But perhaps not everyone has noticed that the Plaza de España in Seville features in Episode II: Attack of the Clones.  This Seville landmark was the setting George Lucas chose to film the arrival of Senator Amidala, Anakin Skywalker and R2D2 on the planet of Naboo.

  • Filming in the Tabernas desert

    The paranormal side of the Tabernas desert, in Almeria

    The Tabernas desert in Almería has been the scene of several film shoots. In the golden age of Westerns, several international productions were filmed here to recreate the Wild West. Despite the genre’s decline, Tabernas is still one of the locations of choice for foreign directors. One of the most famous recent series shot here was the third and final series of horror drama Penny Dreadful.

  • Sierra Nevada, Granada

    A journey through Andalusia by Tardis

    Ever since Doctor Who began in the 1960s, it has transported its audience to different points in time, and different places around the world. In 2012, the filming team went to Almería and Granada to film scenes for the seventh season. Since then, the Sierra Nevada, Granada and the Tabernas desert in Almería have been recurring locations in the stories of The Doctor. In later years, the British series has started filming in more places around Spain, such as Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Lanzarote.

  • Alicante Town Hall

    Alicante through the lens of Ridley Scott

    The Counsellor tells the story of a lawyer who gets involved in a drug trafficking operation to raise money for his wedding. Ridley Scott reflects on power, ambition, life and death as he journeys through various parts of Spain. The filming included several locations in the province of Alicante, such as the city of Alicante itself, Elche, Pego, Fontcalent and Altea. He also went to Bardenas Reales in Navarre, to film scenes involving the American-Mexican border, and to Jumillas in Murcia.But the British director has always been very keen on Spain to provide a setting for his work. For example, part of Exodus was shot in Fuerteventura and Almeria, and Kingdom of Heaven features scenes filmed in different parts of Andalusia, Aragon, and Castilla y León.

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