I had a dream… taking a solo backpacking trip. So in 2013, I booked a ticket for three weeks of backpacking in Greece. Alone. After packing my backpack, bying my plane ticket and Lonely Planet, and a reservation for the first night, I started in Thessaloniki and traveled via the spectacular Meteora and beautiful Mount Olympus to the Pelion peninsula. From the first moment on Greek grounds I loved the country, but this…. insanely beautiful. I can recommend it to everyone. During my tour of Pelion, I found out that the movie Mamma Mia was shot in several places in this region. And let this movie be among my favorites. Read on and step into the footsteps of Meryl Streep.
Damouhari Greece: in the footsteps of Meryl Streep
I thought it would be fun to explore this part of Greece through the eyes of the amazing actress Meryl Streep, and decided to visit some of the film locations. Since I had seen the film many times at the time, I knew exactly where what scene took place and what it looked like in the film. The first location was located in the village of Damouhari. To get there, I walked in the heat from Tsagkarada on the mountain for kilometers through beautiful nature to the sea. Along the way, I met as many as three people. The green mountains on one side, the blue sea on the other. Wonderful! When I arrived in the village, I saw a sign at a small cafe with pictures of the filming, which just featured locals. Who, by the way, were super proud and told me in no time what was recorded where. Like Meryl Streep, I walked down the small stone path to the beach and yes: there came the first photo.
I soon found out that a scaffolding was built for the film, back there against the mountain. For those who know the movie, the scene where Meryl Streep drives the jeep to the sea and comes to pick up her friends was shot here. The second part of Dancing Queen and when everyone jumps into the sea after the song was also filmed here. That scaffolding is now gone again. And yes just like in the movie, it is also a paradise in real life. Therefore, some more pictures from Damouhari, all related to the film. Recognizable?
Greek island of Skopelos: the Mamma-Mia island
But filming was not only in Damouhari and on the island of Skiathos. So I left by boat for the beautiful island of Skopelos, east of the Pelion peninsula, part of the Northern Sporades archipelago. Also known as the Mamma-Mia Island. An island that quickly stole my heart, SO beautiful. Truly a little paradise. Several scenes were shot here, in houses, at the beach, on the stone with the three trees. But surely the most famous is the big rock with the chapel (Agios Ioannis Kastri), the many steps up, all those lights, the wedding, and where Meryl Streep sang The Winner Takes It All. The chapel used in the film is one that is further down the road, so it is not the same one as on the rock.
Skopelos: getting married on the Mamma Mia rock
After a long walk in the heat, the rock finally comes into view there, rising from the clear blue sea. I was expecting a less idyllic view, less spectacular than in a movie. Where everything is assembled and made more beautiful. But nothing could be further from the truth: this place is truly magical. After Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, I too climbed the many steps to the top. Without Pierce Brosnan and Abba, though. Once at the top, the whole picture turned out to be even more beautiful and I had a fantastic view. When I see the pictures again, all those thoughts come up again: in a stunningly beautiful dress, the wind through my hair, the lights along the nearly 200 steps, going up with my own James Bond…. sigh… A girl can dream, can’t she?
Greece: a true fairy tale
In case you don’t know Mamma Mia! or simply find the movie terrible, a visit to Pelion and the Sporades is also well worth it. When I looked back at the photos, I got that feeling of falling in love with the country again, and there aren’t many places that manage this with me. What makes that I want to go back. The beauty of Greece, in every way, is something that will always stay with me.