Few world filmmakers have portrayed their homelands as lovingly as Pedro Almodóvar, Spain‘s best known director and a true groundbreaker of global LGBT cinema. The man who’s given us Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz has also painted vivid portraits of his beloved country, using scores of intriguingly beautiful Spanish backdrops located mostly in and around his adopted hometown of Madrid.
Here are some of the most memorable, most of which are still yours for the visiting.
Villa Rosa, Plaza de Santa Ana 15, Madrid
In 1991’s High Heels, Miguel Bosé plays the drag queen Letal, whose act is based on the career of a famous torch singer who also happens to be the mother of the film’s protagonist. Letal performs in a bar near Madrid’s Parque de El Retiro called Villa Rosa, better known in real life for its flamenco shows.
Conde Duque, Calle Conde Duque 9-11, Madrid
Law of Desire
“Water me down! Don’t be shy!” Carmen Maura demands of a city worker with a massive hose on a hot Madrid summer night in one of Almodóvar’s most memorable scenes of all time, from 1987’s Law of Desire. It happens in front of Conde Duque, once the barracks for Spain’s Royal Guard Corps, and now a cultural center.
Granátula de Calatrava Cemetery, Ciudad Real
2006’s Volver opens in a cemetery in Granátula de Calatrava, a little town about 130 miles south of Madrid, not far from Almodóvar’s hometown of Almagro in the Ciudad Real region.
Calle de Montalbán 7, Madrid
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Most of the action in 1988’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown takes place on a set made to look like a top floor terrace at Calle de Montalbán 7, with Madrid’s famed Gran Vía skyline in the background.
Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal T4
I’m So Excited!
Understandably distracted by husband Antonio Banderas, Madrid Barajas Airport worker Penélope Cruz crashes her luggage cart on the T4 tarmac in the opening scene of 2013’s I’m So Excited! It was the second time Almodóvar teamed up with Cruz and the terminal — she also played an airport cleaning woman in Volver.
Benimaclet neighborhood, Valencia
Gael García Bernal shares a flat with his brother in Valencia’s Benimaclet neighborhood in 2004’s Bad Education.
La Bobia, San Millán 3, Madrid
Labyrinth of Passions
Located near Madrid’s famed El Rastro flea market (where Almodóvar worked when he first moved to the city), La Bobia cafe is a key setting in one of the director’s early feature-length films, 1982’s Labyrinth of Passions. Once a punk hangout, La Bobia recently reopened as a trendy tapas bar.
Plaza Mayor, Madrid
The Flower of my Secret
In one of the final scenes from 1995’s The Flower of my Secret, Leo and Angel stroll Madrid’s striking and eerily empty Plaza Mayor by night, reminiscing about their meeting years earlier.