Mamma Mia movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Mamma Mia filmed?

2008

About Mamma Mia

Set on a beautiful island in Greece, Mamma Mia is a 2008 comedy/musical/romance film based on one of the longest-running Broadway musicals in history. It is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Catherine Johnson. If you haven’t seen the movie, we’ll give you a spoiler alert -– just in case!

The story is about a twenty-year-old bride-to-be, Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), who dreams of a perfect wedding, which includes having her father walk down the aisle and “give her away.” The problem is that she doesn’t know who her father is, and her mother, Donna, played by Meryl Streep, doesn’t want to discuss it with her.

After reading her mother’s diary from 20 years ago, she discovers three names of potential fathers and concludes that one of them must be her dad. So to make her dream come true and unbeknownst to her mom, she invited all of them to her wedding by pretending to be Donna. Just imagine her mom’s surprise to see the three men she once dated and hadn’t seen for over 20 years arriving on the island!

Sophie believes she’ll immediately recognize her father among the trio. With the help of her bridesmaids, Ali (Ashley Lilley) and Lisa (Rachel McDowell), she tries to figure out which of them is her father. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy feat. The confused and displeased mother and the men who all think they are the father didn’t make the task any easier for Sophie.

Along with the movie characters, you’ll experience a whirlwind of emotions as Sophie, her fiancé (Sky), Donna, her lovely friends, and the potential fathers prepare for the wedding. Since it’s based on a hit musical, expect some dancing, singing, group performances, and of course, ABBA songs. Even ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus had cameos in the movie.

Besides its characters, there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with the Mamma Mia filming location. This star-studded movie adaptation of the Mamma Mia! musical is fun, refreshing, and definitely sunny, just like its island setting. It became a blockbuster hit and was so loved by viewers and musical fans that a sequel was made ten years later.

City Locations

Greek Islands, London, UK

Location Types

Beach/Oceanview, Studios, Religious, Nature Scapes

Location Styles

Beachfront, Beach house, Resort

Mamma Mia Locations

The movie is set on a fictional Greek island called Kalokairi. However, the main filming location of Mamma Mia the Movie was Skopelos, giving it an idyllic feel. It’s a beautiful island between Skiathos and Alonissos and is considered Greece’s greenest island.

Although Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios in London were used as Mamma Mia film sets, many outdoor scenes were shot in different parts of the island, particularly the Kastani beach. Some of the best scenes in Mamma Mia were filmed on this sandy beach. These include Sophie and Sky’s sweet moment singing the Lay All Your Love on Me and the I Have a Dream scene where Sophie bids her mom and dad goodbye. It’s also where Tanya, one of Donna’s best friends, sings Does Your Mother Know.

There’s no question that the movie has played a vital role in making Kastani beach the Skopelos island’s most famous location today. And if you’re a fan of the film, you can join a tour, taking you to the different Mamma Mia locations across the beach.

The Glysteri beach is another production site worth mentioning, located on the island's east coast. If you watch the Our Last Summer scene in the film, you’ll get a glimpse of this charming beach. You’ll also see the Skiathos island used as background in several musical numbers.

Fun fact:

Phyllida Lloyd is the musical's original director, and the movie is her debut as a film director. The British playwright Catherine Johnson is the writer of both the musical manuscript and screenplay.

Sophie reading Donna’s diary scene in Mamma Mia

Cape Amarandos, Skopelos

Perhaps, it’s that part of the movie where we know something interesting is about to happen at Sophie’s wedding. Set against a breathtaking ocean view, Sophie reads her mom’s diary with her two friends, Ali and Lisa.

They all feel giddy as they read the July 17th entry from the diary, describing the time Donna spent at the beach with Sam when they were dating. And that’s when you’ll hear the famous line, “Dot, dot, dot – that’s what they did in the olden days.”

The memorable spot where Sophie reads the diary and sings Honey Honey with her bridesmaids is Amarantos. It’s a rocky cape with pine trees, white rocks, and clear blue waters, creating a magical landscape. It’s also where Sophie and the three dads sing Our Last Summer.

Cape Amarantos has become a unique symbol of Skopelos. It’s situated on the island’s southwest coast, accessible through a dirt road near Agnontas. If you’re leaving the village of Agnontas, you’ll find a road on your right with a sign that says ‘Amarantos.’ The route can be uneven and rocky, so always drive with attention. Make sure you wear comfortable footwear as you’ll have to continue on foot through the forest.

Donna picking up Tanya and Rosie scene in Mamma Mia

Glysteri Beach

In the initial scene of the three friends together, you’ll be convinced about their friendship and closeness. The adorable trio has finally reunited as Tanya and Rosie arrive on the fictional island of Kalokairi. Donna picks them up, and they make their way up to Villa Donna in a jeep. Their road trip is full of laughter and fun, and it’s when Tanya declares it’s time for Rosie “to find Mr. Right” now that her book is a best seller.

The entrance to Villa Donna you’ll see in this scene is on Glysteri beach. The villa is on the cliffs above the beach in the movie, but you wouldn’t find the exact Villa Donna there. However, you’ll likely discover many accommodations with a similar look and vibe throughout Greece.

Although Villa Donna doesn’t exist, Glysteri Beach does. It boasts an enchanting landscape with lush pine trees and crystal-clear aquamarine waters. It’s about 4.2 kilometers from Skopelos Port and will only take you around ten minutes by taxi or car to get there. To get to the beach, you’ll pass through a gorgeous olive grove you’ll also see in the movie scene.

Harry and Sam’s arrival scene in Mamma Mia

Old Port of Skiathos

Another notable Mamma Mia production location worth exploring is the Skiathos island in the northwest Aegean Sea. The film features various parts of the island, especially as a backdrop in musical scenes.

You might not notice it immediately once you see the Honey Honey scene, but eagle-eyed fans might recognize the Old Port of Skiathos in the musical number. Pay attention to the location where Harry and Sam arrive in Greece in identical cars and meet for the first time. As soon as they get to the port, the ferry to Kalokairi island leaves. This leads to the memorable quote from Harry to Sam, “Bugger – My sentiments exactly.”

Today, locals and tourists use the Old Port for water taxis, Mamma Mia tourist boats, and other marine tours. It is located in Skiathos Town, the heart of the island, where all activities and major events take place. So various modes of public transportation could take you there. To your right, you’ll notice a stretch of a harbor that leads to the Bourtzi. It’s the new harbor, home to the town’s yachts, fishing boats, and ferries.

Lay All Your Love On Me scene in Mamma Mia

Kastani Beach

Who would forget the sexy and hot yet silly and playful scene of the couple, Sophie and Sky, as they perform the musical number Lay All Your Love on Me at the beach? The choreography, the song, and their heartwarming lines convinced us how in love they are with each other. It also helped that the actors, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, have incredible chemistry emanating through the screen.

Before they start singing, the conversation between the couple will warm your heart. Sophie, who lost track of time wandering around the island, met with Sky, who was on his way to his stag party. Instead of calling it the last night of his freedom, as others may say, he reveals, “it’s the last night before the greatest adventure of my life.”

You’ll also fall in love with the spectacular setting, the picturesque Kastani beach located on the island’s western coast. Thanks to the movie’s popularity, this white-sand beach is now Skopelos island's most popular tourist spot.

Kastani beach is only about a 25-minute drive from Skopelos town. Although it’s easily accessible by car, drivers should be careful while arriving at the area due to the dirt road and rocks.

The wedding scene in Mamma Mia

Agios Ioannis Chapel

We can’t discuss Mamma Mia and not talk about the wedding scene. It’s probably not the wedding ceremony you would expect where Sophie and Sky would finally be pronounced as man and wife. Instead, it was Donna and Sam who got married, while Sophie and her fiancée decided to postpone the wedding and take a trip around the world together.

Such an interesting turn of events! Donna gets to say, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” for both Harry’s proposal and wedding. She is finally marrying the love of her life, and the wedding party isn’t wasted.

What makes the scene extra special is the ceremony venue held at the chapel of Agios Ioannis. It’s an iconic Mamma Mia film scene location perched on a rock. You’ll have to climb over 200 narrow steps to get to the top.

But don’t worry, as the steps are solid and well constructed. Although they’re pretty steep, there are safe handrails to assist your climb. Once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing view of the beach and the rugged coastline.

As soon as you enter the chapel, you’ll realize that it’s too small to accommodate all the wedding guests in the movie. Although they use the exterior of the site as a wedding venue, they built a larger version in the Pinewood studios for the interior shoot.

The chapel is located in the region of Kastri, around seven kilometers east of Glossa. You won’t find any public transportation to the site, so you’ll have to walk about 2.3 kilometers from the main bus route. But you can always rent a car.

The Winner Takes it All scene in Mamma Mia

Coastal Path to Agios Ioannis chapel

Filmed at the bottom of the rock along the path to Agios Ioannis chapel, The Winner Takes It All musical number is one of the touching scenes of the movie. Sam wants to discuss Sophie’s wedding and who will “give her away” on her big day. You’ll feel the characters’ intense emotions and Sam’s desperation, especially when he says, “This is about us.”

Donna responds by singing the emotional ballad to Sam. Her interpretation of the legendary ABBA song is impeccable, and the stunning coastal setting takes the scene to the next level. By the end of the musical number, you’ll see Donna running along the rocks to the path leading to the Agios Ioannis chapel while Sam is left at the bottom of the rock.

Even if you can’t ascend the rock and go up the chapel, it’s still worth a trip. Below the Agios Ioannis chapel is a small secluded beach with clear waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming. You can also stay around the base and take pictures. You may have to hire a taxi or rent a car to get there since it’s not accessible through public transportation.

Conclusion

If you haven’t been to an island in Greece, the Mamma Mia movie is a fantastic introduction to the scenic Greek islands. While many indoor scenes were filmed in studios, the movie captured the spectacular Greek scenery and charming atmosphere through its lively and heartwarming scenes and incredible musical numbers.

This musical adaptation will take you to the unspoiled islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. They’re among the Sporades islands known for their natural beauty, featuring turquoise waters and mountain slopes carpeted with pine forests. You’ll love the laid-back and peaceful atmosphere, which is ideal for anyone who wants to relax and get immersed in nature.