Where was Damsel filmed? Portugal locations for the Netflix film that you can visit

Here are the settings behind the Kingdom of Aurea in Millie Bobby Brown’s new adventure fairy tale

Natalie Wilson
Friday 15 March 2024 14:57 GMT
The sci-fi spectacle was filmed on location and sound stages to create the fantasy land
The sci-fi spectacle was filmed on location and sound stages to create the fantasy land (John Wilson / Netflix)

Netflix’s Damsel has been a fantastical hit since its release on 8 March, and viewers have been left enchanted by the maximalist medieval kingdom.

The sci-fi adventure stars Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie, a damsel set to marry the prince of the Kingdom of Aurea to save her own. Alas, the happily ever after goes awry when her charming prince (actor Nick Robinson) and his family attempt to sacrifice Elodie to a fire-breathing dragon.

Filming for the fantasy land was split between on-site sets and sound stages, with Damsel director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, exploring a feminist twist on the ‘damsel in distress’ trope that’s studded with castles, caves, dragons and magic.

Troubadour Meridian Water Studios brought the cave systems to life (John Wilson/Netflix)

Much of the film was shot in the Troubadour Meridian Water Studios in Enfield. Several sound stages of fake rock in the 155,073 square foot film production plot, combined with visual effects, brought the cave sequences between Elodie and the dragon to life.

Castle interiors in the style of Portuguese post-gothic Manueline architecture in the Kingdom of Aurea and the protagonist’s home kingdom were also filmed in the London studios. Bobby Brown said in a post-production interview: “Everything felt real. We filmed in these warehouses in London. And when you walked in, you truly felt immersed. There was no faking it. There’s no green screen.”

From and English castle to Portuguese wine country, here are the real-life destinations you can actually visit for a slice of the subversive fairy tale world.


Raby Castle, County Durham

Raby Castle, the exterior of the Brayford stronghold (Getty Images)

The unnamed Faraway Land where Lord Brayford’s castle lies was shot at the 14th-century Raby Castle in County Durham.

Exteriors of medieval towers, terraces and embattled walls set the scene for Elodie’s father (played by Ray Winstone) and stepmother’s (Angela Bassett) stronghold home.


Primarily filmed in Portugal, production designer Patrick Tatopoulos said that the exterior shots were “less dark than what we’re used to seeing. It’s warmer and more flamboyant than the gloomy castles that are typically used for fantasy stories with dragons. And that was the trick: Aurea needed to be a very pleasant place to be on the outside.”

It’s no wonder the patchwork of blue azulejos that scatter the southern European country set the scene for several of Damsel’s exterior shots.

Portugal was the primary shooting destination for Elodie’s adventures (John Wilson/Netflix)


IMDb lists Batalha in western Portugal as a shooting location for the sci-fi flick.

The ornate real-world castle Capillas Imperfectas and Unesco-listed Batalha Monastery were likely used for a lot of Damsel’s external shots.

Batalha, like Bobby Brown’s homeland, has a history of battles with mythology suggesting that the town was constructed for the Virgin Mary as a victory token in the battle against King Joao I.


Tomar doubles as the onscreen Kingdom of Aurea (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Colourful Tomar is the maze of rivers, castles and convents that you see on screen as Elodie enters the Kingdom of Aurea.

The Covent of Christ stronghold, the 12th-century headquarters of the Knights Templar, sets the scene for the castle grounds and wedding frames within the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Serra da Estrela

Serra da Estrela’s snowy mountain ranges backdrop the harsh conditions outside of Elodie’s high-born yet impoverished home where we meet the Damsel princess-to-be.

The National Park area on the Iberian Peninsula is home to the highest mountain in Portugal (Mount Pico) and the hotspot for hikers has dramatic landscapes suitable to host sci-fi scenery including the entrance to the dragon’s lair filmed in the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela in the mountain range.

Douro Valley

The Douro Valley has been a listed World Heritage Site since 2001 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In northeastern Portugal, Pinhao in Douro Valley wine country and the Côa Valley, in the Vila Nova de Foz Côa region each lend their sloping vineyards to the action-packed scenes of the mythical world.

The World Heritage area on the Douro River has gorges, ancient forests and wildlife habitats to boot.


The mountains surrounding the Renaissance hamlet of Sortelha, one of Portugal’s oldest towns, were reportedly featured prominently in Damsel.

Elodie is ultimately led to the dragon’s lair through the peaks that represent the land around Aurea.

Unesco-listed hotspots in Batalha and Tomar welcomed the cameras in (Courtesy of Netflix)

Damsel is streaming on Netflix now.

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