The province of Valencia, exceptional setting for “Andor” and “La última”

Valencia has become a very popular setting for the filming of series, attracting renowned productions. Both “Andor” (2022) and “La última” (2022) are two of the series that have chosen Valencian locations for filming, giving us the perfect excuse to travel to Xàtiva and Cullera and immerse ourselves in these fascinating stories. 

Disney+ is one of the platforms that is committed to carrying out important shoots in the province of Valencia and, in order to achieve this, the work of Film Valencia has been fundamental.

The medieval castle turned galactic port in “Andor” is in Xátiva

True fans of the Star Wars universe surely already have their eyes set on Xàtiva, one of the filming locations for the second season of the “Andor” series. While the world eagerly awaits the new episodes, the presence of Xàtiva in the production provides a unique opportunity to experience what you see, as there are few places in the saga that can be visited in our country.

The castle of Xátiva in all its splendour / Turismo de Xátiva

The castle of Xàtiva, mostly of medieval origin, is nowadays one of the most visited monuments in the city. It is an imposing fortress, located on top of a hill overlooking the city and providing an ideal setting to let the imagination run wild. For five days, the Sur Film Pilgrim production company and Imperial soldiers took over this stronghold and turned it into, arguably, an intergalactic marketplace. Black market enclaves are common in Star Wars, where the resistance moves underground within the Imperial borders. Other planets in the series, such as Coruscant or Corellia, also show these characteristics. What secrets will be hidden this time in Xàtiva?

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor / Disney+

“Andor” tells the adventures of Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, a rogue who becomes an important member of the Galactic Resistance. The plot is set five years before the events of “Rogue One”, which are supposed to be connected at the end of this second and final season.

Although a production of this scale is shrouded in absolute secrecy, the presence of the stars in Valencia did not go unnoticed. And it is hard to resist trying an authentic Valencian paella, as the actors in the series, Diego Luna (Cassian Andor) and Stellan Skarsgärd (Luthen Rael), did at the Ca Pepico restaurant. The restaurant itself shared the visit on Twitter. Located in Alquería de Roca, this establishment is known for its rice and for hosting film and television stars, having previously welcomed actors from “La casa de papel” or “La chica de nieve”.

On your trip to Valencia to follow in the footsteps of “Andor”, you must include the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia, where numerous scenes were also filmed. Something they are more than used to at the Valencia Film Office, as they almost, almost, specialise in hosting science fiction related filming. 

The truth is that this is not the first time that Xàtiva has become a film set. Back in 1964, the city hosted the filming of an adventure film inspired by the Tintin comic “The Mystery of the Blue Oranges”. With the new century came new productions such as the French film “Nothing easy” (2003), which tells the story of the journey of the children of a Republican exile. From the same year came Kepa Sojo’s eclectic film “El síndrome de Svensson” (2003), a comic road movie that culminates in Xàtiva. And if we are going to remember, it is worth mentioning the period miniseries “Arroz y tartana” (2003), starring Carmen Maura and José Sancho.

Xàtiva is brimming with history and offers a wide variety of activities for all tastes. The Royal Hospital, the Plaza de la Trinidad, Montcada street or the history of the Borja family, who raised two Popes from Xàtiva, are some of its proposals.

‘La última’, the series in which Aitana triumphs in Cullera

Disney+’s latest hit among teenage audiences, “La última”, is the series in which singer Aitana makes her debut as an actress. It is a story of love, struggle and friendship between young people trying to make their way to achieve their dreams. Candela (Aitana Ocaña), a young worker in a logistics company who dreams of becoming a singer, and Diego (Miguel Bernardeau), a former high school classmate who aspires to be a professional boxer.

Aitana and Miguel Bernardeau in “La última” / Disney+

One of the locations of the series is in one of the most beautiful coastal towns of the Levante: Cullera. This old fishing village is where the most iconic scene of the series was filmed: the exciting concert that launches Candela as a singer at the Medusa Beach Club. This open-air club, with a large stage, provides the perfect setting for that moment in the series. 

Aitana has discovered for young people a city that we already knew from other productions. For example, Miguel Albadalejo shot “Rencor” (2002). The film, starring Lolita Flores, tells the story of a singer at a low point, who performs in restaurants and beach bars. Several scenes were shot on the beach of Les Oliveres and in the restaurant El Coloso in Cullera. Years later it was the turn of “Atasco en la nacional” (Josetxo San Mateo, 2007). The story explains the vicissitudes of a family facing the dangers of holidays, starring Pablo Carbonell and Anabel Alonso.

In 2020 Movistar+ filmed here “El embarcadero”, a love triangle surrounded by mysteries, lies and deceit. All of this in a mysterious atmosphere in locations surrounding the Albufera of Valencia and the beaches of Cullera. In 2022, Atresmedia’s “La Ruta”, a miniseries set on the Cod Route of the 80s and 90s, and HBO Max’s “Cómo mandarlo todo a la mierda”, which explains an initiation journey of a group of teenagers from the interior of the peninsula to the beaches of Cullera, passed through here. More recently, Mediaset’s “Escándalo, relato de una obsesión” (2023) tells the story of a woman who, after attempting suicide, becomes obsessed with her saviour, a fifteen-year-old teenager.

Cullera is a modern and fresh destination, ideal for families / Turismo de Cullera

It is only natural that Cullera has been chosen to host so many film shoots, given the possibilities it offers. To the charming atmosphere of a Mediterranean village, thanks to its old town, we must add its enviable natural environment. The mild climate all year round is another factor that makes it an ideal destination for a family holiday. Its 15 kilometres of beaches stand out, where the best known, although also crowded, are San Antoni and Racó. However, just in front of the Medusa Beach Club, in the area near the mouth of the river Júcar, is the Escollera beach, with a much quieter environment, as it is a huge space and is a bit far from the centre.

Cullera, a family destination

After the wake of Aitana, it is logical to think that there are many families with teenagers who wish to come and enjoy Cullera, a destination for the whole family. It is an ideal place for active tourism, there are several signposted routes for walking or cycling, including the Laguna del Estany, the expanses of rice fields and the viewpoints. We invite you to discover the old quarter, stroll through the charming Barrio del Pou, climb the castle or visit the Cave-Museum of the Pirate Dragut.  In addition, the municipality has a water park, Aquopolis, and we cannot forget the exciting adventure activities that can be practised in the area, such as the skatepark, scuba diving, windsurfing and paddle surfing. And, of course, the youngsters will be looking forward to the event of the summer: the Medusa Sunbeach Festival, with the best DJs of the moment. The most difficult task will be to organise so many proposals to make the most of your visit!

The Estany is an idyllic place / Turismo de Cullera

Whether thanks to the impact of Disney+ or the undeniable appeal of its towns and beaches, the province of Valencia has become an ideal location for screen tourism. This is undoubtedly possible thanks to the work of Film Valencia, which works to attract and facilitate numerous film shoots in this area, making it the perfect place for an unforgettable getaway.

By Víctor Cervello

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