Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – at last! Following the success of the feel-good movie of the decade, the long-awaited sequel (and prequel) is released in summer 2018, timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the original. And after a long, hard winter at home, that glorious backdrop of cobalt-blue skies, endless sunshine and crystal clear waters is set to inspire the same longing to join the film’s flamboyant characters for a simple, carefree, Greek island life.
Many are of course already aware of the enchanting nature of islands such as Skopelos, where most of the first Mamma Mia! movie was filmed. Aficionados may find it hard not to burst into a rendition of ‘Does Your Mother Know?’ on a visit to the popular Kastani Bay, or ‘The Winner Takes It All’ looking up at the tiny Agios Ioannis chapel, perched precariously on top of a rocky promontory on the north of the island.
Skiathos, too, played a part in setting the scene for the heart-warming romantic comedy that saw some of our favourite actors cast in roles that seemed far outside their comfort zones. Yet here they all are, back for more, suggesting it was probably every bit as much fun as it looked the first time.
It isn’t hard to see why a cinematographer would grab the chance to film here with both hands and a very wide-angled camera lens. The movie’s fictional island of Kalokairi (‘summer’ in Greek) brings together all of the islands’ most charming attributes: superb light quality; glittering, secluded bays; lush pine forests; bustling harbours dotted with colourful fishing boats and dazzling white cottages with brightly painted shutters and terracotta roof tiles.
What could be more appealing than sitting beneath the stars at the table of a local taverna, sipping ice cold beer or local wine to accompany mouth-watering meze, freshly caught fish, tasty dolmades and succulent souvlaki? You may not get to be serenaded by the familiar melodies of ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Voulez Vous’ or ‘When All Is Said and Done’, but on a balmy summer’s evening, that special ambience that’s such an integral part of the movie’s appeal is easily recreated – flares and platforms optional.
Along the west coast, the Ionian island chain features some of the most spectacular Greek locations. Corfu, Paxos, Antipaxos, Lefkas, Ithaka, Kefalonia and Zakynthos boast varying degrees of blissful seclusion, ancient historical sites and sparkling nightlife, while sharing the same breathtaking beauty.
The release of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin back in 2001 let the secret of Kefalonia’s now renowned loveliness out of the bag, though not enough to spoil its adorable pastel coloured fishing villages, acre upon acre of olive groves and magnificent golden beaches. You’ll find a wide choice of our villas in no fewer than 16 different locations across the island, from mountainside retreats to those within a stone’s throw of the stunning turquoise waters.
Parts of the island of Corfu have embraced a supremely cosmopolitan flavour while elsewhere you can still relish the rugged simplicity and old-fashioned beauty depicted in the TV series The Durrells. Dotted around the island, mostly in the more tranquil locations, our villas are within easy driving distance of the historic Corfu Town with its Venetian-style churches, exquisite palaces and thriving heart. No matter how peaceful a setting you may seek for your stay, the fact that there are two superb waterparks elsewhere on the island means you can still succumb to the odd adrenaline craving should the mood take you.
To the south of the mainland are the iconic islands of Crete and Rhodes, steeped in history, and offering their own unique style of holiday. From ultra-luxurious beachfront resorts boasting spa facilities Donna and Sophie could only dream of, to enchanting villas set in rolling countryside, Crete has oodles of charisma. Meanwhile, sleepy sugar cube villages and striking medieval architecture conceal a secret sophistication on the island of Rhodes, where the views across the sapphire waters of the Aegean Sea are simply spectacular.
Throughout both Mamma Mia! movies you’ll spot dozens of boats of one variety or another, bobbing or gliding along the wonderful coastline, with the glowing sky providing yet another incredible stage set. One of the joys of these islands is taking to the water to explore hidden coves, secret caves and breathtaking beaches that are inaccessible by land. We can’t promise Colin Firth’s guitar strumming, Pierce Brosnan’s sketches or Stellan Skarsgård to hoist the sail, but the views will be just as memorable.
Now, it just so happens that (shhh) Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was actually shot mostly on the gorgeous Croatian island of Vis, a few hundred kilometres north on the Adriatic coast. It may be less well known than the Greek Islands now, but the movie will soon put this little slice of heaven on the map, despite it being a little tricky to get to. More accessible are the neighbouring islands of Hvar and Brac, where elegant, farmhouse-style stone villas overlook beautiful sheltered harbours and divinely clear waters. And you can always hop on a local ferry for a day trip to Vis to satisfy your movie buff curiosity.
With a few additions to the exceptional cast, including no less a superstar than the iconic Cher, this summer’s song and dance extravaganza will soon have you swinging your hips, flailing your arms and spinning around in time to another crop of unforgettable Abba tracks. So thank you for the music – and an idyllic Greek island holiday.
Find your dream Greek island and start planning your blockbuster villa holiday! Or perhaps that cameo from Croatia has you itching to explore the Dalmatian Islands?