Wondering where to find the Princess Switch Castle, Belgravia and all the other Princess Switch filming locations? This post is for you.
If you live on Netflix like I do, it’s very likely at some point this year, you’ll encounter the fluffy Christmas rom com The Princess Switch, which debuted on Nov 16, 2018.
The movie stars 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). 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.
One of the biggest questions I had after the 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. Enjoy!
PS: Here’s The Princess Switch trailer if you still haven’t seen it:
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 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!”
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.
Where did they film the Chicago scenes of the Princess Switch?
The Princess Switch 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 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 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 😉
Where is the 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 😉
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Where did they film the Belgravia scenes in the Princess Switch?
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).
Did I miss any other notable Princess Switch filming locations?
I hope you enjoyed that short list of Princess Switch filming locations! Let me know in the comments if I missed any other ones you recognized. I thought the Princess Switch was a really fun watch, and would love to hear about any other filming locations you might have spotted! Now, onwards as we all wait for the release date of the Christmas Prince II……
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