Gorlitz: The Home of The Grand Budapest Hotel

The German town of Gorlitz was one of the primary film locations of Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. It is here where the interior of the Grand Budapest itself was filmed.

Back in the summer of 2015 I journeyed to the Gorlitz, situated to the south of Dresden and right on the Germany-Poland border. Wes Anderson filmed his magnificent comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel in this charming little town.

The town itself is beautiful and you get a real sense that you are back in the 1910s. The cobbled roads, the preserved medieval churches and buildings, and the unique architecture of the town makes it feel otherworldly.

To make this trip even more spectacular, I was lucky enough to enter the disused department store that would serve as the lobby of the prestigious Grand Budapest.

“It was an enchanting old ruin. But I never managed to see it again”, the final lines of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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Bruges: The F***ing Winter Wonderland

The Belgian town of Bruges is a famous cultural hotspot in Central Europe. However, one of the most memorable things about it was the black comedy that was filmed there, IN BRUGES. So how does this film reflect the medieval town?

In 2008, British director Martin McDonagh released the hit black comedy In Bruges starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. Not only was it a fantastically crafted and an all round great film, but it was also the greatest advert for the small Belgium town of Bruges.

It may not seem like it at first, Colin Farrell’s character struts around the old cobbled streets declaring that the well-preserved medieval town is a “shithole”, but In Bruges shows off all the beautiful and intricate architecture that lines every street and canal.

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Dubbed as the “Venice of the North”, Bruges may not be as technically and culturally impressive as the Italian city, but you’ll be surprised to know that it’s a far greater experience. This experience is enhancded further if you go during winter, when the snow begins to fall and the snow makes the cobble streets sparkle at night. You then have the swans in the canals to make it truly like a fairytale experience.

Its main draw is that, unlike Venice, it’s not as busy and commercialised. As Ralph Fiennes put it: “It’s just a shame it’s on in Belgium, really. But then, you think, if it wasn’t in Belgium, if it was somewhere good, there’d be too many people coming to see it, it’d spoil the whole thing.”

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Just as the film highlights, churches and art galleries are certainly places that every tourist in Bruges has to go see. Whether it’s the Basilica of the Holy Blood (where the holy relic of Jesus Christ’s blood is on display) or the Groeningmuseum (where works of art by the likes of Jan van Eyck, Gerard David and Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgement are on display) the town is rich in history and culture.

The town of Bruges is well worth a visit. Even if you’re not a fan of the film it’s still a wonder to walk about the well preserved streets at day and night. Plus, with the local area filled with distilleries, it’s a great place to go beer tasting (aka totally pissed) with many shops showcasing the grand selection of beer that Belgium has to offer. Plus there’s swans, which is nice.