PEOPLE chatted with Giannis Sotiropoulos to find the gorgeous Grecian spots you can visit — from an ancient olive grove to a dreamy hilltop village
These stunning filming locations from My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 will have fans shouting, “Opa!”
Writer and director Nia Vardalos's third installment of the beloved comedy franchise officially hits theaters Friday, Sept. 8, and the Oscar nominee stars as Toula once again — alongside her on-screen husband, Ian (John Corbett). This time, fans will see their love story go abroad (to Greece, naturally!) in a hilarious and heartfelt next chapter.
The film follows Toula's mission to give a journal that belonged to her late father Gus (Michael Constantine) to his childhood best friends, but she's in for a wild ride when the whole Portokalos family decides to make the trek with her — including her strong-willed daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris).
The film takes fans on a fun-filled journey around Greece as the family explores Gus’ ancestral village, visits an ancient olive grove, parties at a lavish beach bar, and learns about “Greek voodoo” from the superstitious theias — Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) and Aunt Freida (Maria Vacratsis).
To create the ultimate Portokalos-inspired Greece travel itinerary, PEOPLE spoke to location manager Giannis Sotiropoulos about the real-life filming locations seen in the movie.
The Governor’s Olive Mill in Corfu
While Toula is determined to track down her father’s childhood friends, her brother Nick (Louis Mandylor) is hung up on finding the oldest olive tree in their dad’s village. The film takes viewers on a beautiful journey through ancient olive groves as Nick tries to complete the task. In real life, those groves are located at The Governor’s Olive Mill on the popular island of Corfu.
The family-run olive oil business offers tours of the grove and explains the oil production process with delicious tastings. It is home to their monument tree called Miterra — Gus’s tree in the movie — which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old.
“Corfu is an island where there are very old olive trees,” Sotiropoulos tells PEOPLE. “Once we saw the whole setup of the tree itself, it was kind of a magical moment because we were able to provide Nia what she had written in the script.”
Varipatades Village in Corfu
While a tourist attraction called Danilia Village was used to depict Gus’s hometown in many scenes, the crew also took advantage of Varipatades to reflect what a real Greek village feels like.
This destination was one of Sotiropoulos’ favorites because, he says, the locals “were very welcoming,” especially when a large crew came to film in their small town of about 20-30 permanent residents. “It was a nice experience in the village,” he says, adding, “I will always remember the people.”
Nestled atop the hills of Corfu, the tiny village boasts stunning views of the surrounding Ionian Sea. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through the narrow alleyways and admire the “neoclassical architecture” that Vardalos envisioned for the film, Sotiropoulos says.
Bolivar Beach Bar in Athens
Perhaps one of the liveliest sites they ventured to was Bolivar Beach Bar. In the movie, Paris sneaks off to the bustling nightclub with her ex Aristotle (Elias Kacavas) after the town mayor, Victory (Melina Kotselou), convinces them to tag along with some friends.
“Bolivar Beach Bar is one of the biggest clubs in the Athens Riviera,” Sotiropoulos tells PEOPLE. “We ended up in this location because even though it's supposed to be on an island, we needed the size and the effect that a beach bar like Bolivar would have.”
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While the happening site is known for hosting live concerts and DJs every week, visitors can opt to relax underneath on the club’s beautiful white sand beach or enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine at the Bolivar restaurant.
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