Mamma Mia! Top 10 beaches made famous by movies
As the shores of Croatia’s Vis island are set to shine in this week’s release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, we look at some of the best beaches from films
Croatia’s tiny and remote Vis island, pictured here, is enjoying its final days of obscurity as it takes on the role of a Greek Island in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, due to hit the cinemas this weekend.
Croatia’s tiny and remote Vis island, with its endless beaches, is enjoying its final days of obscurity as it takes on the role of a Greek Island in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, due to hit the cinemas this weekend. It’s not the first movie to give a starring role to a beach with these 10 sandy backdrops giving the dancing queens a run for their money.
The movie: Casino Royale (2006)
The beach: Coral Harbour Beach, Paradise Island, The Bahamas, USA.
The scene: Reminiscent of Honey Ryder’s (Ursula Andress) entrance to Dr No (1962) as the first Bond girl, Casino Royale’s blonde James Bond (Daniel Craig) emerges from the surf to become the MI5 agent 007 for a new generation and to create a short, fashionable splash in men’s swimwear.
What’s there? While Bond stays at the pricey One and Only Resort, a short distance away along Cabbage Beach is the fun and enormous 3,805 bedroom Atlantis Resort which played a cameo in the movie and is much kinder on the wallet. Expect 50,000 exotic animals spread over 14 lagoons, a casino (of course) and a six-storey Mayan Temple slide where guests can skim by shark infested waters.
Getting there: Trailfinders offers rates from Dublin from €649.
The movie : Brooklyn (2015)
The scene: “I’d forgotten-” Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) says, gazing across the vast, deserted beach in author Colm Tobin’s sweeping tale of emigration from Ireland in the 1950s“-this.”
This sandy stretch of Co Wexford’s east coast was also used as the bloody backdrop to the D Day landings in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.
What’s there? Drop by the Green Gables Deli in Selskar, Wexford, to buy a gourmet sandwich before settling for the day on the beach dunes.
Getting there: 20 minutes on the R741 from Wexford.
The movie : The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
The scene: Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) has arrived in Italy and stages a chance encounter with Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) who is sunbathing on Bagno Beach. It’s the first lie to be told in their twisted and toxic relationship that ends in murder.
What’s there? Ancient Aragonese Castle ( € 10), is on a giant sea stack facing Ripley’s beach (which is a restaurant) and connected to Ischia Island by a causeway. Head inland for one of the world’s most dramatic restaurants, La Grotta di Fiore, carved into a mountain with Capri as a backdrop.
The movie: Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The beach: Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge St Croix, US Virgin islands.
The scene: Wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) dreams of escaping prison to live on Zihuatanejo Beach on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The cinematic landmark final beach scene was actually filmed thousands of miles away from the pacific, in a turtle reserve on the Caribbean island of St Croix.
What’s there? The wildlife refuge park is only open on weekends and closed during turtle nesting season from April until August, so plan ahead and bring provisions as there’s no shelter or facilities on site. It is one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean and well worth the diversion.
The island and one time home of Irish Technicolor movie star Maureen O’Hara has plenty of ocean hugging properties like the Buccaneer (€200 per night) Resort or AirBnB cabanas. Take some island time to visit a rum factory or eat Crucian dishes at Balter in Christiansted.
Getting there: Trailfinders fares from Dublin via Barcelona and Miami to St Croix from €969.
The movie: Castaway (2000)
The beach: Monuriki, Fiji
The scene: Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is marooned on an island beach after his plane plunges into the Pacific Ocean during a storm. He has no one to talk to for four years except a volleyball called Wilson.
What’s there? Known locally as Tom Hanks Island, uninhibited Monuriki with its wide lagoon is snorkel heaven. Iguanas and other indigenous wildlife have re-emerged on the island since its rise in popularity and eco development post-Castaway. Don’t forget to bring along a Wilson volleyball for company.
Getting there: Trailfinders offer fares from Dublin €1685 to Nadi (Fiji). Monuriki is connected to the island by the ‘Sea-spray schooner’ for €120, including lunch.
The movie: From here to eternity (1953)
The beach: Halona Cove, Oahu, Hawaii, USA.
The scene: Pulses were racing and bibles were bashed throughout America when Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) took an adulterous tumble in the Hawaiian surf with Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) in the lead up to the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Halona Cove also starred in the world’s most expensive movie as a mermaid’s hangout called Whitecap Bay in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011).
What’s there? The place to feel the full force of the Pacific Ocean is over Halona Cove, where water erupts powerfully through a blowhole. Cast an eye along the horizon to catch a glimpse of islands with the enchanting names of Moloka‘i and Lana.
Getting there: Trailfindres rates from Dublin to Honolulu start at €865.
The movie: Bourne Supremacy (2004)
The beach: Palolem Goa, India
The scene: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) sprints across Goa’s tropical sandy beach with a backdrop of fishermen’s boats and lush jungle growth in an effort to stimulate his fractured memory, just before the murder of girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) thrusts him into another international escapade.
What’s there? Goa’s most southerly beach is one of the finest in India, but this crescent shaped one mile stunner is no longer the preserve of backpackers and lotus eaters. The crowds have discovered it, and development is sure to follow. However, shabby beach shacks still up sticks as Monsoon season approaches each year, so it’s not too late to discover its hippy, lazy days essence.
Getting there: Qatar Airways - Dublin (via Doha) to Goa from €735
The movie: Mamma Mia! (2008)
The beach: Kastani , Skopelos, Greece
The scene: It’s 10 years since Mamma Mia! was unleashed in cinemas across the world, and here we go again, with the sequel due for release this summer. Kastani Beach is the location where the bride and groom are singing as the stag party arrives from the sea to dance like frogs along a pier while wearing flippers. Viewer’s discretion is advised.
What’s there? Unlike the movie, Skopelos is tranquil and for the most part, devoid of synthesisers and tone-deaf actors. Kanstani Beach can attract crowds, so for somewhere quieter hire a boat from Skopelos Marine Service at Panormos Beach and discover the lesser seen beaches of Hovolo or Neraki.
Getting there: Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to Athens. Fly Olympic to Skiathos Island and Skopeles is a one hour ferry away.
The movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
The beach: Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
The scene: The young Pevensie siblings are standing on London’s Strand Station platform waiting for a train. As it approaches, walls disintegrate and grey turns to turquoise as the dome shape of the ceiling moulds into an arched stone cavern, from where they walk onto a tropical bay in fictional Narnia.
What’s there? Cathedral Cove’s popularity has soared higher than a sun bird since it was appended to Narnia, so the best way to explore this sandy beauty is from the ocean by a great local outfit, Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours.
The movie: Jaws (1975)
The beach: Joseph Sylvia State Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, USA.
The scene: With a movie tagline that goes ‘You’ll never go in the water again’, a first encounter with Jaws probably won’t immediately inspire a dip in the ocean – but the Martha’s Vineyard backdrop is exquisite. Jaws (Junkyard Bruce) has retired to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, but Martha’s Vineyard is still the all American dream beach location (minus the shark attack.) Watch Sabrina (1995) starring Harrison Ford for a gentler storyline.
What’s there? Despite the fictional backstory, this beach is ideal for swimming and has spectacular views across the Cape to Nantucket. Hire a bike (€20) to explore Aquinnah’s clay Cliffs or drop by Oak Bluff to discover the collection of 318 brightly painted, gothic cottages(known as the gingerbread houses) built in the 19th century to house the local Methodist community.
Getting there: Fly Dublin or Shannon to Boston. Bus ($34) to Woods Hole for the two hour ferry service.