Follow the Yellow Brick Road in Andalucia

Emerald City Yellow Brick Road NBC tv series

Spain´s fantasy landscapes the star of NBC´s new show, Emerald City. 


The dramatic wilderness scenery and exotic architecture of Spain has once again been the star of a major tv drama series, just released in the US. 

Andalucia provides the main backdrop, with the karst landscape of El Torcal natural park near Antequera, the Guadix Caves and Calahorra Castle north of Granada, Almeria´s desert scenery and Seville´s Royal Alcazar palace all chosen as key filming locations for NBC´s new fantasy drama series, Emerald City. Barcelona and its Gaudi architecture also feature. 

Photo: El Torcal natural park near Antequera, a key filming location for NBC´s Emerald City.
Released in the US on 06 January and in Spain last weekend, Emerald City is an edgy new take on L. Frank Baum´s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Directed by Tarsem Singh and described by NBC as “The fabled Land of Oz like you've never seen it before.” The new show stars Adria Arjona as Dorothy and Vincent D’Onofrio as the Wizard, along with Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Lucas. Joely Richardson, Florence Kasumba and Ana Ularu play the witches. Read more about the full cast and see film clips on the NBC site.

Photo: Florence Kasumba as the Witch of the East, Emerald City (NBC). 
While the US premier received mixed reports (why do critics always have to be so negative!), most viewers have clearly been wowed by the scenery and cinematography, no doubt inspired in part by block-buster success Game of Thrones. I watched the first two parts on Friday and enjoyed it. 
"With its sweeping shots of otherworldly landscapes, the giant effigies of warriors looming over coastal cities, and the fur-clad tribesman and ethereal but steely women, Emerald City clearly had the HBO show in mind when conjuring up its dark alternative universe...”  The Atlantic review.

Photo: warriors on horseback in Emerald City (NBC).
Leading movie news website Indiewire was impressed: “…All this takes place against some of the most cinematically stunning TV we’ve seen on a broadcast network…it genuinely makes such a difference to see real locations on display as opposed to green-screening, and the visual treats this show offers cannot be overstated” Indiewire review.

Photo: Seville´s spectacular Real Alcazar palace features in Emerald City. 
So where are the Locations…? 
In addition to a few dramatic destinations in Croatia and Hungary, Spain was the key filming location chosen for Emerald City, with Andalucia and Barcelona featuring throughout. 
See our Map of the show´s filming locations below.  


If you´re planning to visit Spain and thinking of where to go - why not look at combining some or all of these¨set-jetting" destinations for a trip with lots of diversity, stunning landscapes and cultural heritage too. Add in two of Spain´s classic historic sites (Cordoba and Granada) en route and you´ll be in for a real treat of a journey though Andalucia... 
The “Yellow brick road” winds its way through the dramatic Karst landscape of El Torcal national park near Antequera – recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO .
Photos: The "Yellow Brick Road" winds through El Torcal natural park (
After El Torcal, the “Yellow brick road” continues through the dramatic desert landscape around Guadix, the Sierra Alhamilla and Cabo de Gata (Almeria).

Photo: desert landscape around Guadix and Sierra Alhamilla, Almeria (Canal Cosmo/NBC).

The Troglodyte Caves in Guadix provide the setting for much of episode 2, while the Calahorra castle near Guadix (Granada) is cast as the Palace of the Witch of the East.

Photos: The troglodyte Caves of Guadix, north of Granada (

Photo: Castillo de Calahorra and the Sierra Nevada mountains, near Guadix (Lonely Planet).
The Royal Alcazar palace in Seville (a location for Game of Thrones series 5 & 6 also) features, along with the spectacular Banos de Dona Maria de Padilla rainwater tanks found underneath the Alcazar.  

Photo: Seville´s exotic Alcazar palace as featured in Emerald City (NBC). 
Photo: the Baths of Lady Maria of Padilla, located underneath Seville´s Alcazar (NBC)
The wonderful Gaudi architecture in Park Güell clearly provides the inspiration for the "Palace of the Wizard of Oz".  

Photo: Gaudi architecture in Park Guell, Barcelona and the Wizard´s palace (
Read more on the show´s filming locations in Spain.
Read more on the Filming of Emerald City in Andalucia.
Spain´s Interior attracting record numbers
Having all this “Hollywood” coverage is obviously great news for Spain and continues to help boost the country´s image as much more than simply a destination for “Sol y Playa” (Beach & Sun). 
And it seems to be working - Spain just celebrated a record year in 2016, reaching the magic 75 million foreign visitors for the first time (almost 10% higher than in 2015). That´s four record years in a row! The UK is still the largest market - no sign of a Brexit-effect yet -  along with France and Germany. And while the coast and islands continue to be the main draw, Spain´s tourism chiefs ministers have highlighted the marked increase in tourism to the Interior of the country, away from the Costas.  

Photo: the mesmerizing Mezquita in Cordoba.
The region´s wonderful cities and cultural heritage, such as the Mezquita in Cordoba and Alhambra in Granada, are becoming increasingly talked about and its vast swathes of stunning wilderness areas are finally starting to catch the eye too. And much of this boom must be down to the "set-jetting" impact of block-buster hits like Game of Thrones. Visitor numbers to Seville are said to have jumped by 25% thanks to the "Game of Thrones effect”.
Many regions of Andalucia will now be hoping for a similarly magical impact from the wonderful Wizard of Oz...  
CASA OLEA is an award-winning 6-room B&B in the heart of Andalucia, ranked in the Top 25 small hotels & Inns in Spain from 2010-2016. Located in the Sierras Subbeticas, close to the picturesque hill town of Priego de Cordoba, an hour´s drive from Antequera, Granada and Cordoba.

Photo: Casa Olea, close to Priego de Cordoba.


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