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Star style tRAVEL

There’s something about the colours and locations that makes Greece a perfect backdrop for many Hollywood blockbusters

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ollywood’s love affair with Greece and her picturepostcard islands started a long time ago, with legendary screen classics like Zorba the Greek, Never On A Sunday and Shirley Valentine. Zorba the Greek, which earned the late Anthony Quinn an Oscar nomination in the 1960s, was set on the island of Crete, while the romantic Never On A Sunday was filmed in the port of Piraeus. Later favourite Shirley Valentine in the 1980s was filmed on Mykonos and also won Pauline Collins an Oscar nomination, while the James Bond adventure For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore showcased the magnificence of Corfu. It has been over recent years that Hollywood has returned to Greece again to make a range of popular blockbusters. Set on various islands, the films have turned their locations into big-business tourist attractions, and the stars acting in them made sure they had a good time in the Greek sun while they were there.

Skiathos shot to international fame after Mamma Mia!.

Islands IN THE SUN

The opening scene of the 2003 sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life was dramatically filmed on the island of Santorini. Perched on top of multi-coloured volcanic cliffs Santorini, with its whitewashed houses and churches with blue domes, has to be the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. Like living in a postcard, it has the best of everything Greece has to offer: shopping, glorious panoramic views, swimming and fine dining. This unique island also featured Blake Lively and America Ferrera in 2005s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel. Filming took place in the picturesque village of Oia with its windmills, terraced cave houses carved from volcanic rock and myriad of alleyways and paths lined with terracotta pots bursting with flowers. It also included scenes just below the village at the little port of Ammoudi with the best sunset views and fish tavernas on the island, all easily accessible via the donkey trail of 300 cliff stairs.

Blake

Mykonos

The Acropolis appears as a backdrop in My Life In Ruins.

Amanda, Meryl, Pierce and the cast on location on Skiathos and Skopelos.

Skiathos and Skopelos

Tom Hanks returned to Greece in 2009, this time to co-produce the film My Life in Ruins, starring Greek-Canadian actress Nia Vardalos. The screen romance followed on from the huge success of her film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and co-starred Richard Dreyfuss in the tale of a Greek-American travel guide trying to cope with a bus load of misfit tourists. Set in and around the capital, central Greece and the Peloponnese Peninsular in Southern Greece, the film showcases the country’s most famous and historical archaeological sites including the Acropolis in Athens, and the ancient sites of Delphi and Olympia, and the magnificent theatre of Epidauros.

Nia

Words by FRANCESCA MUIR

Mainland Greece and archaeological sites

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Santorini

Filming took place all over the spectacular island of Santorini.

In 2008, these two tiny islands in the Sporades chain were catapulted to international fame thanks to Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried singing and dancing the days and nights away in the monster musical hit, Mamma Mia! Produced by Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, this legendary stage musical, featuring music by the Swedish pop group ABBA, was brought to the big screen featuring all the magical colours of Greece as it was filmed on Skiathos and Skopelos. Known as the ‘green island’, popular Skiathos has more than 60 fabulous beaches surrounded by azure seas, wooded hillsides of pine forests and plenty of fresh water. Skopelos is a romantic retreat with its quiet beaches, unspoilt island life, simple Greek food, peaceful mountain walks, and of course its biggest attraction – the little church of Agios Ioannis in Castri which is perched 100 metres atop a cliff and featured in the memorable wedding finale of Mamma Mia!.

The party island of Mykonos is featured in some of the final scenes of The Bourne Identity, when Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) tracks down his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) running a scooter rental business beneath the island’s famous windmills. With its cobblestone streets, blue and white cubed houses and perfect turquoise waters, Mykonos is a haven in the Aegean Sea. The prettiest part of town is Little Venice, with its wooden houses painted rainbow colours sitting right at the water’s edge. The most romantic part of the island, many have fallen in love here. Mykonos was also the setting for the 2010 Australian comedy sequel The Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos starring Nick Giannopoulos along with Vince Colosimo and Alex Dimitriades. SW

Matt

Mykonos is famed as a party island, and a place for romance.

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Islands in the Sun  
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