A lot of time and effort goes into finding the perfect filming location – and, occasionally, we’ll see buildings so impressive that we’re left wondering where in the world they are, who designed them, and why they were ever built in the first place.
Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive, the most recognisable and most memorable buildings in Europe ever featured in film.
Taking its influence from Gothic forms and the natural Catalonian countryside, Casa Milà might just be one of the most controversial buildings in Barcelona.
Designed by famed Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, Casa Milà disobeyed all recognised rules of architectural style when it was built in 1912.
With its rough, stony façade, it’s easy to see why Barcelona’s disapproving citizens nicknamed it ‘La Pedrera’ (which means The Quarry, in English). However, despite the initial condemnation, Casa Milà achieved UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984.
Scenes taken from the top of the building’s rooftop have been included in a number of notable films, including the Michelangelo Antonioni directed film The Passenger, starring Jack Nicholson, as well as Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.
Metéora (which means ‘middle of the sky’, or ‘suspended in the air’) actually refers to the entire complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries which lie dotted around the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly, close to the Pindus Mountains in Greece.
But none are as spectacular as the Monastery of the Holy Trinity – a monastery founded in the 15th century, perched at a height of 1,300ft atop a natural sandstone pillar dated at 60 million years old.
The monastery is featured in the climactic scenes of the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, where it acts as the hideout for Bond villain Aristotle Kristatos.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the largest palaces in the world. Once the official seat of power in France, it’s now symbolic of the system of absolute monarchy that was in place before the French Revolution of 1789.
A place where opulence meets decadent 18th century French art, the palace is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country, and it’s seemingly endless gardens (which span across over 800 hectacres of land) remain a ‘must-see’ on any sightseeing trip to Paris.
The Palace of Versailles has featured in more films than can possibly be mentioned, but notable examples include 1988’s Dangerous Liaisons (the adaptation of Laclos’ 18th-century French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses), and Sofia Coppola’s 2006 comedy-drama Marie Antoinette.
Drawing its influence on the architectural builds of the 1930s (think the iconic Battersea and Bankside power stations) the SIS Building is one of London’s most recognizable film locations.
As the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that the building has featured prominently in more than just one of the twenty-three James Bond films.
The most notable feature, though, is in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, where Bond chases a suspect along with the Themes after a detonated bomb blows a hole in the side of the building.
The Plaza de España is one of the most notable examples of Spanish architecture’s Renaissance Revival and – marked by a broad classical French and Italian architectural influence – was built for the stylish Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.
As a filming location, the Plaza de España has featured in a number of acclaimed films, with scenes in 1962’s epic adventure drama, Lawrence of Arabia; exterior shots in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, as the City of Theed on the Planet Naboo; and recently in Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2012 comedy, The Dictator.