The anticipated Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is set to premiere in the United States on 19 July.

Directed by Ol Parker, most of the stars from the first movie will be making a return, including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, and Dominic Cooper, along with bringing some fresh faces to the screen, the likes of Lily James, who will be playing a younger version of Meryl Streep’s character Donna, and Andy Garcia.

However, despite the fact that the film itself is supposed to be based on the fictional Greek island of ‘Kalokairi’, in a surprise twist, the second instalment has not been filmed on a Greek island.

While the majority of Mama Mia! was filmed on scenic Skopelos located in the western Aegean, this time Universal Pictures decided to move the film’s location further west to Vis, an island in Croatia.

Skopelos island in Greece, where ‘Mama Mia!’ was filmed.

Largely unknown to many, Vis is located two-and-a-half hours away from Split. Having served as a military base until 1989, up until a few years ago its existence remained a mystery even to the locals. Nowadays however, it is beginning to attract crowds, drawn there mainly thanks to its low cost, marvellous beaches and great food.

Tucked away along the Dalmatian Coast, its climate is ideal for summer exploration, known for its vineyards and wide selection of white wines.

The most popular landmark of the island, distinguished by its white pebbles, is none other than Stiniva beach and is where a major part of Mama Mia 2 was filmed. Meanwhile the nearby village of Komiza also features, with locals benefiting from the construction of a new road, created specifically for the production.

While it was no doubt exciting to have such a large scale production full of A-list names on the island, it wasn’t without its challenges, particularly when it came to accommodating the cast. With limited accommodation available, some stayed in Vis town, while others stayed on yachts.

Behind the scenes filming ‘Mama Mia! Here We Go Again’ in Croatia.Photo: hollywood.com

With Greece having experienced an increase in spending in the region during Mama Mia!‘s production, and growing tourism to the sites featured in the film post-premiere, mayor of Skopelos Christos Vailoudis wasn’t too happy about losing the second instalment.

“The islanders are upset. The film was very important to us and for tourism,” said Mr Vailoudis.

While Universal Pictures hasn’t officially commented on why they opted for Croatia over Greece, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, a senior production source revealed the decision was made on the grounds of cost and bureaucracy, with Croatia not requiring permits before filming and offers subsidies to filmmakers.