The gangsters of McMafia are running global, criminal operations – from the palaces of Versailles though the Egyptian desert to the ports of Mumbai.


We’ve written a location guide so you can discover which parts of the world Alex Godman’s various dodgy dealings were filmed in – and some you might find quite surprising…

Croatia stood in for nine different countries

Croatia is an increasingly popular filming location for producers, having been famously used for Game of Thrones and Star Wars.

For McMafia, the country was reimagined as the South of France, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Istanbul, Moscow, Prague, India, Pakistan and, most surprisingly, London – for scenes set in the Norwegian embassy.

Speaking about the scouting trip the crew took to Croatia, McMafia creator James Watkins told “In Zagreb, the Old Town really could be Prague. You go two hours to the coast to Opatija and you really could be in the South of France, in the Croatian Riviera.

“And then you head down the coast towards Split, and you get into more Turkish architecture, so you can double Istanbul. Or there's an island called Prvić which is an island covered in sort of saltwash and sea, which is where we shot some of the Mojave desert material.

“And it really does feel like you're in Egypt, or Israel.”

Lancaster House was disguised as the Palace of Versailles

In the first episode, Alex Godman meets Vadim Kalyagin for the first time. They're supposed to be in the Palace of Versailles, where the Sun King welcomed his diplomats – but the actual filming location was Lancaster House in London.

The mansion, which is situated in west London’s St James’s district, was built in 1825 for the Duke of York.

It has been used extensively for filming, and has appeared in the movies Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The King’s Speech, as well as in the Netflix series The Crown.

London as a whole served as the location for many of McMafia’s scenes, most notably the V&A museum (used for a big Russian banquet scene), Sky Gardens, Chelsea Physic Garden, the British Museum and St Pancras Station.

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Belgrade stood in for three different cities

The Serbian capital Belgrade was used for scenes in Moscow, Prague and Istanbul.

Mumbai was used for, well, Mumbai

Apart from London, one of the few places that played itself was Mumbai.

Watkins said that the biggest scenes were filmed here. “In terms of actual scale,” he explained, “the biggest thing was probably shooting in India, just shooting market stuff on the street, probably with 2000 extras.”

The city also doubled up as Bangalore.

Other filming locations

Russia, Cairo and the Arabian Peninsula were also used for filming.


This article was originally published in December 2017