Zubrowka might be a fictional town, but many of the film’s iconic scenes were shot on location in Germany, taking references from towns across Eastern Europe. Production designer Adam Stockhasen and director Wes Anderson pulled entire vistas from neighboring countries to create their highly stylized world. Whether it’s a panorama of Zubrowka’s colorful town in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, or the bakery case at Mendl’s in Dresden, Germany, browsing these real-life filming locations will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into the movie itself without the need for inheritance disputes or assassins (or, frankly, international travel!).
While the Eastern European city of Zubrowka is fictional, production designer Adam Stockhausen and director Wes Anderson spent time across the Czech Republic pulling inspiration from various multicolored towns including the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary. In this Czech city, you’ll find a strikingly similar hotel, The Hotel Imperial, sitting atop a mountain overlooking the city.
The Grand Budapest Hotel’s interior was a built set, but the references were mostly pulled from The GrandHotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary. The town, once known as Karlsbad, has entertained visitors for over a century at the historic hotel, which is famous for it’s intricate plasterwork and red carpets.
The interior of The Grand Budapest Hotel was shot in location in Gorlitz, Germany. The art department utilized the abandoned structure of an old department store, the Gorlitzer Warenhaus, as the frame to build out both versions of the highly stylized hotel.
Flocks of fans have re-invigorated tourism in Gorlitz and given the Warenhaus, which sat abandoned for years before the movie, an excuse to re-open as a department store once again. Fans of the movie will recognize the sweeping staircases from the chase scenes and can admire the iconic glass ceiling and chandeliers.
Basteibrücke lies in south of Dresden, close to the border of the Czech Republic in a natural park known as Saxon Switzerland. The snowcapped mountains served as a backdrop for Zero and Agatha’s wedding, the iron and stone structure a perfect nod to the time period.
The pink and blue cake shop is both Agatha’s employer and the site of the Courtesan au Chocolat, a sweet treat loved by characters in the town of Zubrowka. The interior was shot entirely in a real shop in Dresden, Germany with minor alterations. The original painted frescoes and embossed ceilings really exist in the dairy shop, regularly visited by villagers and tourists alike for milk, cheese, and, strangely, cosmetics.
Zubrowka’s art museum is played by the Zwinger, a former Dresden palace that is now an an art museum, orangery, garden, and festival grounds. Having undergone extensive reparations in the 1960s after the Dresden bombings of WWII, the site was period appropriate for the assassination meeting between Jeff Goldblum and Wilhelm DaFoe in the film.
Visitors to the Sphinx Observatory in Switzerland, which has surveyed the Alps since 1937, can take in views of nearby mountain-tops from the public viewing deck, but Anderson may have found in hard to capture his signature panoramic shots in the harsher weather of the observatory’s mountains.