Where was the Princess Switch filmed, and is Montenaro a real place? What about Belgravia? If you’re wondering where to find the Princess Switch Castle in real life, along with all the other Princess Switch filming locations, this post is for you.
If you live on Netflix like I do, it’s very likely you’ve encountered the fluffy Christmas rom com The Princess Switch, or perhaps its sequel, The Princess Switch: Switched Again… or its threequel, The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star.
The first film’s premise is simple and features High School Musical it-girl Vanessa Hudgens as two doppelgängers who meet in a twist of fate and decide to swap lives for two days, one being a princess-to-be while the other, a humble baker from Chicago…
Of course, both unintentionally fall in love and their lives are steered by a mysterious Santa/god figure who keeps popping up (and is never fully explained).
Save this list of Princess Switch filming locations for later!
You’ll be very glad you did.
It’s unashamedly cheesy, but it’s the stuff of Christmas movie dreams, with royal splendour, romance, winter wonderlands and a glorious fairytale setting to tie it all together. Needless to say, I gobbled it all up… and both of its sequels too!
I must confess though, one of the biggest questions I had after the first film was of course, where they filmed it. To my surprise, the entire film was pretty much shot in one of my favourite underrated gems in Europe: Romania!
After discovering that, I knew I needed to dig deeper and write a post about it.
And so, if (like me) you were curious about the fairytale lands depicted in the film, read on.
I’ve put on my detective hat, sleuthed through Romanian newspapers, and spent an embarrassing amount of time on Google Street View to assemble together the most thorough list of The Princess Switch filming locations possible, with some add-ons for filming locations from The Princess Switch: Switched Again, and The Princess Switch 3. Enjoy!
First off – is Belgravia a Real Place?
Sadly, I need to confirm that Belgravia (much like its fellow movie “ia” countries Aldovia and Genovia) is not an actual country.
That said, before you get swept up in a tidal wave of tears, Belgravia IS a place that exists by name. In fact, it’s a mega-fancy neighbourhood in London that is regularly ranked as one of the wealthiest in the world.
While it’s no fairytale country with its own royal family, it’s a ridiculously pretty neighbourhood with floral facades to die for in the Spring, an endless stream of darling bakeries, and an optimal location a stone’s throw from the (very real and very royal) Buckingham Palace.
But while the London Belgravia is lovely, you should know that the Belgravia depicted in the Princess Switch 1 is actually the Romanian town of Carei, in the Satu Mare county, close to the Hungarian border in north-western Romania.
Not only can you find the Belgravia Royal Castle here, this is also where they set up the set for the rest of the film as well. As Margaret might say, “SUPER!”
The few Belgravia scenes we see in the Princess Switch 2 were filmed in Scotland.
Is Montenaro a Real Place?
In the movie, Lady Margaret (AKA Vanessa Hudgens with a British-ish accent) is said to be from another country called Montenaro.
Sadly, Montenaro not a real place you can frolic in either.
That said, the name IS a pretty lazy spin-off of the real (gorgeous) European country Montenegro, which I can confirm is wonderful… so you can just go there and pretend it’s Montenaro if you really feel like it.
But if you are wondering where they filmed the Montenaro scenes from The Princess Switch: Switched Again, all those were filmed in Scotland. (More on this below!)
Where did they film the Chicago scenes of the Princess Switch?
The Princess Switch 1 starts in Chicago, where the protagonist Stacy (AKA Vanessa Hudgens WITHOUT a fake accent) runs a bakery and is high-key stressed all the time/heartbroken from being dumped by Paul (who we all hate).
And while the film does take place in Chicago, it seems the Princess Switch 1 scenes in “Chicago” were actually just a resourceful mix of stock footage and a cleverly disguised set in Romania, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Since the majority of the Princess Switch 1 was filmed in Carei, it’s a pretty safe bet that this is where they staged their faux-Chicago as well, made all the more authentic by Stacy’s in your face “CHICAGO” cap 😉
In The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again, the few Chicago scenes we had were filmed in Edinburgh, Scotland.
For example, the Sweets & Treats Bakery was actually the iconic Mimi’s Bakehouse. See some set photos here!
Where is the Belgravian Princess Switch Castle?
Okay, now let’s move onto the good stuff.
As a girl who grew up on Disney, my first question while watching the Princess Switch was (mouth foaming) “where the heck is that amazing Belgravian castle?!”
Unsurprisingly, like Netflix’s Christmas hit last year (the Christmas Prince), the Princess Switch castle can be found in Romania.
The castle is in fact Károlyi Castle, located in Carei, in the Satu Mare county in north-western Romania.
They used both the interior and exterior of the Karolyi Castle for filming the Princess Switch, and while the castle already attracts upwards of 50,000 visitors a year, I’m sure that number is sure to grow among diehard romantics soon 😉
Where did they film the Belgravia scenes in the Princess Switch 1?
As I said earlier, the Princess Switch filmed in the Romanian town of Carei. According to the Gazeta Nord-Vest, filming took place in February and May and over 100 locals were recruited as extras for the movie.
According to my research, they definitely shot at the following locations:
Károlyi Castle: Again, the fancy magical castle that is home to the Belgravian royal family in the film.
Inside/in front of the former Town Hall: [SPOILERS!] They don’t give details about what specific Princess Switch scenes filmed here but I assume it was either the Royal Wedding scene or maybe they used it for the shelter (where Margaret and Edward visit/read with the children).
1 Decembrie 1918 Street: Where they set up a Christmas fair (all the stalls and booths that Margaret, Kevin and Olivia walk by when they’re stopped by that reporter who wants to write a feature on them, and right before they walk into the toy shop).
Lastly, again, while Belgravia is not a real place and the movie was shot in Romania, I did notice some clever usage of stock footage to supplement the fairytale wonderland vibe of the film.
Most notably, I saw some Christmassy footage from Brussels’ Grand Place used as an establishing shot while Margaret and Olivia are having hot chocolate before going shopping. See for yourself!
Oh, and right after this scene is when they have that weirdly intimate snowball fight (you guys know what I’m talking about).
Where did they film the Belgravia scenes in The Princess Switch: Switched Again?
The opening scene of the Princess Switch: Switched Again takes place at the Belgravia International Baking Competition. This scene was shot in Edinburgh’s Parliament Square as seen here.
The rest of the Belgravia Castle scenes were once again shot in Romania, although the main star of the second movie is definitely the dreamy Montenaro Castle!
Where is the Montenaro Castle from the Princess Switch?
The Montenaro Royal Palace is where we see most of the action this time around in The Princess Switch: Switched Again.
The exterior of this palace is Hopetoun House in Scotland, a gorgeous stately home that is open to visitors if you fancy a trip to “Montenaro” yourself!
The dreamy interior though is a mix of Hopetoun House, Gosford House and Manderston House.
The dining room where Margaret and Antonio have tea appears to be this one at Hopetoun, and the party scene seems to have been filmed in this dining space. The dining room where we see Olivia chatting with Edward is also pictured here.
Lastly, it looks like the Montenaro Palace hallways (peep the black marble columns here), Margaret’s gorgeous bedroom, the Montenaro Palace kitchen, and that room with the pool table where Antonio confronts Kevin was filmed in Manderston House, as seen here.
The beautiful marble entry way where Fiona struts in her with her “gift” was also Manderston House, specifically this room.
NOTE: The arched entryway and courtyard where Kevin has that super cute Christmas display set up for Margaret looks very similar to this service courtyard at Manderston, but it’s not a 100% match. Let us know if you know where this was filmed!
Where Did they Film the Montenaro Scenes in The Princess Switch: Switched Again?
If you’re looking for Montenaro in real life, go to Scotland!
The establishing shot and the party interior of the Montenaro Concert Hall is the Dome Restaurant in Edinburgh.
However, the interior of the actual concert hall bit is actually the Hub in Edinburgh, as seen here.
NOTE: The Dome is seen again in The Princess Switch 3, when Fiona and Peter drive past after Fiona’s ‘meeting’ with Hunter.
The tailor where we see Edward and Olivia shopping is Stewart Christie & Co in Edinburgh:
Meanwhile, the Montenaro Airport scenes were actually shot at the Edinburgh Gateway Station.
And lastly, the interior shots from Margaret’s coronation were filmed at Glasgow Cathedral, although the exterior establishing shot was the Church of Sts. Olha and Elizabeth in Lviv, Ukraine.
Where Did They Film Pembroke Estate from The Princess Switch: Switched Again?
What about Fiona’s palace in The Princess Switch: Switched Again?
While it only appears briefly, the first establishing shot of Pembroke Estate is actually Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, England.
If you think it looks familiar, that’s because this was the property used for Wayne Estate in the Christian Bale Batman movies.
NOTE: Actual filming does not appear to have taken place there, according to Nottingham Post.
An additional establishing shot for Pembroke Estate appears to be from Manderston House, which is where they filmed other Montenaro Palace scenes.
Lastly, the interiors of Fiona’s Pembroke Estate appear to include this room in Gosford House (look for that unique silver crest in the background when Reggie is jamming out.
Where Did they Film the Montenaro Scenes in The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star?
Montenaro comes back for a lot more action in The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star.
The first scene with the arrival of the Star of Peace was filmed at Gosford House, as seen here:
We are then brought back to the Montenaro Royal Palace, which (as mentioned above) uses a clever mix of locations from Hopetoun House, Gosford House and Manderston House.
The exterior of the palace used for establishing shots is clearly Hopetoun House though, as seen here:
Next, we catch up with Fiona! If you’re wondering where her magical community service digs are, the exterior of Montenaro’s St. Michael’s Convent and Orphanage is actually Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, as seen here:
Hopetoun House’s Front Stairs here also make an appearance later just after “Fiona’s” disciplinary hearing.
I speculate the hearing itself might have also been filmed at the Hopetoun House, in the Garden Parlour pictured here, but I’m not 100% sure.
Next – we head over to Peter’s castle, which can be found at Borthwick Castle in real life. Based on this photo, it seems like the room Fiona first walks into is the castle’s Great Hall.
The garden where Fiona tries to stage her coincidental run-in with Hunter is actually a Christmafied version of the gardens at Newbattle Abbey, as seen here:
And where exactly is Hunter’s fancy hotel with the amazing candy cane martinis? The exterior is actually Gosford House once again from another angle, as seen in this photo.
As for Manderston Academy, the exterior is another section of Hopetoun House, while the Dining Hall pictured in flashbacks/later in the film is the Banqueting Hall of Barnbougle Castle, as seen here.
Finally, Hunter Cunard’s castle appears to be a mix of the Newbattle Abbey (whose parking lot and Banqueting Hall can be seen in the movie), and some other rooms I haven’t been able to identify. Let me know if you have any leads on where they might have filmed the scenes from Hunter’s bedroom!
Did I miss any other notable Princess Switch filming locations?
I hope you enjoyed that short list of Princess Switch filming locations for the first two movies! Let me know in the comments if I missed any other ones you recognized.