"Mamma Mia! The Movie" may be the best movie to inspire Greek travel since "Summer Lovers" came out in the early 1980s, featuring several locations in the Pelion region and on Skopelos and Skiathos.
The film was built around hit ABBA songs and tells the story of a daughter's quest to figure out just who her father is, and "Mamma Mia" immediately became a smash hit when it was released in the summer of 2008.
However, the gorgeous locations used in the film may have stolen the show—at least as far as tourists are concerned—becoming one of the top reasons to travel to Greece between 2009 and 2015.
Since then, Greek tourism to the destinations that were the most-recognizable settings in the film has increased dramatically. With the 2018 release of "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"—a sequel starring Meryl Streep, Cher, Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, and Jeremy Irvine—tourism is expected to spike yet again in the coming years.
If you're a fan of the film and want to check out some of the beautiful sights in the films, you can head to Damouchari, Skopelos, and Skiathos—the three principal locations in Greece where "Mamma Mia! The Movie" was filmed.
The best way to arrive in Greece if you plan on checking out film locations for "Mamma Mia!" is by flying to the Skiathos Island National Airport, which grants you access to the nearby Skopelos Island and mainland's Pelion region.
Some fine-sand beaches on Skiathos were used for scenes in Mamma Mia, and the port where the three fathers meet for the first time is the Old Port on Skiathos. The area around the St. Nikolaos Bell Tower was where Sophie mailed her letters, but that shot was a composite and you won't find exactly the same view.
It is reported that the cast and crew stayed at the Skiathos Princess Hotel, the Skiathos Palace Hotel, and the Mandraki, and dined at Skiathos restaurants including Asprolithos, Polikratis, Sophia's Place, and the Windmill.
Skopelos—"Kalokairi" in the Film
Most of the outdoor scenes in "Mamma Mia! The Movie" were filmed on-location at various beaches and towns on the island of Skopelos, which is located off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea. You can't fly directly to the island, but you can book a flight to the nearby Skiathos Island then take a ferry. There are also plenty of great accommodations available in every price range on Skopelos, many of which were used by the film's cast and crew.
Among the locations on Skopelos—which was called Kalokairi in the film—the producers say a "mountainous peninsula" near Glisteri was used as the filming location where Sophie leaves for her wedding. Additionally, a cliff on this same peninsula was used for the cliff jumping scene with Sophie and her potential fathers, and the cast picnicked on a beach south of Agnondas off of Stafylos Road.
The official Mamma Mia Movie website reports that the movie cast and crew stayed at the Skopelos Village Hotel, the Prince Stafylos Hotel, the Adrina Hotel, and the Aeolia Hotel, but some of the stars rented villas nearby instead.
Restaurants used by the cast and crew included Agioli, Tis Annas, To Perivoli, The Garden, and Agnanti.
Villa Donna was placed on the cliffs above Glysteri Beach on Skopelos, but most of the Villa Donna scenes were shot back at the studio and married to Greek backgrounds later—only the stone gateway survives in the film. However, when the dancers go through olive groves, those groves are a long way off —they were shot at Douchari in the Mouresi area of Greece, along the Pelion Coast outside of Volos.
Damouchari, Pelion Region
Damouchari is located on the eastern coast of Greece, just about 30 minutes from Volos and directly north of Athens. Although Dmaouchari was primarily where the crew stayed during filming, much of the footage captured here was combined with images shot on Skopelos and Skiathos.
Some of the Damouchari footage was used at the beginning of Mamma Mia when Christine Baranski and Julie Walters arrive on the island and are met by Meryl Streep, and many scenes in the film featuring a beach are located at Damouchari's "Blue Beach." The Daily Mail covered Damouchari and its Mamma Mia connections in detail in "The Greek Jewel Where ABBA Meets a Donkey Named Boy George," which includes information on the crew hotel, Hotel Damouchari.
Another hotel featured in the film, Villa Donna, was portrayed as being placed on the cliffs above Glysteri Beach on Skopelos, but most of the Villa Donna scenes were shot back at the studio in Hollywood and married to Greek backgrounds later. However, when the dancers in the film flit from the Villa Donna through olive groves later in the movie, those groves are a long way off—they were shot at Douchari in the Mouresi area of Greece, along the Pelion Coast outside of Volos.