Where was The Little Mermaid filmed? Filming locations of the live-action Disney movie

The highly anticipated film has finally landed on Disney+, and viewers want to know more about how it was made.

Ariel and Eric lying on a beach in The Little Mermaid
(Image credit: Disney)

The live-action remake is now available on Disney+, and those watching for the first time want to know where The Little Mermaid was filmed. 

Disney fans have long been wondering when The Little Mermaid will be available on Disney+, and now the day has finally arrived. Those who didn't get a chance to see the film in the cinema can now enjoy the classic tale - and others who are worried about missing out might want to know about the different ways to get Disney+ for free.

From who plays Ursula to how the underwater scenes were filmed, there are many questions on fans' lips, and the stunning backdrop to the film has prompted many more. Rocky coastlines, blue water and white sandy beaches are enough to make anyone miss the summer holidays, and we've found out exactly where The Little Mermaid was filmed... 

Where was The Little Mermaid filmed?

The Little Mermaid was filmed in Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. With white sand, clear blue water and picturesque mountains, the island made the perfect backdrop for an aquatic love story.

The production team chose the seaside towns of Santa Teresa di Gallura, Castelsardo and Golfo Aranci to shoot the outdoor scenes between Ariel and Prince Eric. "It was important to find a location that could provide the epic setting that the story needs," director Rob Marshall said at a press conference. "Sardinia ticked all the boxes. Crystal blue waters, spectacular coastline, sheer cliffs, fortresses, vast beaches and country roads."

Golfo Aranci and the small bay of Cala Moresca in the north of Sardinia made up the setting of the fishermen’s village in The Little Mermaid

When Ariel rescues Eric from the storm, the scene where she brings him to shore is filmed on the Rena Majori beach in Aglientu.

Meanwhile, the on-screen couple's carriage scenes were shot across the rugged coastline of Rena di Metteu beach, and other scenes of rocky shore were filmed in the town of Santa Teresa Gallura.

Elsewhere, many other scenes in the film were shot at Pinewood Studios in London.

Where is Prince Eric's Castle?

Scenes including Eric's Castle from The Little Mermaid were filmed in Castelsardo, a town in the northwest of Sardinia.

The castle is a Medieval structure that sits atop a rocky cliff, but it's not quite as impressive as it appears in The Little Mermaid, which added graphics and effects using CGI to alter the castle's appearance.

Production designer John Myhre explained to Italy for Movies: "We began with the idea of the faded colours of some of the castles in the South of France and on the Italian coast, and we wanted to create something that gives the idea of a castle perched on the sea, while also being colonial and Caribbean."

The scenes from inside the castle were all filmed at Pinewood Studios.

A collage of Eric's Castle in The Little Mermaid and the real castle where it was filmed

(Image credit: Disney/Getty Images)

Where is The Little Mermaid set?

The Little Mermaid is set in the Caribbean. This decision was taken by director Rob Marshall because of Sebastian's Creole accent, and also to allow the cast to be more diverse. 

The narrative occurs during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when the Caribbean Islands were colonised by Europeans. This section of history allowed the film to include characters from different nationalities.

How was The Little Mermaid filmed?

The underwater scenes of The Little Mermaid were filmed using a blue screen at Pinewood Studios. This is a visual effects technique that works the same was as a green screen.

State-of-the-art rigs were used, with the actors often hooked into a harness with a counterweight on the backside that simulated movement underwater. Lighting effects were also used to simulate the appearance of being under the sea.

Speaking about the filming method, Rob Marshall explained in the film's press notes, "That was one of the first things that [production designer] John Myhre had to work out, in addition to the design of everything. The practicality of how we were going to do it. The actors were on tuning forks much of the time, which are these big, circular discs that go around the actors.

"They are harnessed in and can spin and move up and down. But everything had to be choreographed very specifically with a large team of stunt men and women, who helped manoeuvre our characters around."

Meanwhile, Halle Berry, who plays Ariel in the live action remake, explained that she did have to get in the water for a handful of scenes. She said of the experience: "Filming underwater was so much fun, but it was kind of brief honestly because most of the time I was on wires and in the air and in what they called a tuning fork.

"For the times I would be underwater, it was crazy. I was in this huge water tank with a wave machine. It felt like I was in the middle of the ocean."

In other news, we revealed the filming locations of the BBC's The Woman in the Wall and Netflix's You're So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah. If you're looking for more kids' films to watch, some parents were shocked to learn the Barbie movie age rating.

Ellie Hutchings
Features Editor

Ellie is Goodto’s Feature Editor, having joined the team as a Junior Features Writer in 2022, and covers everything from wellbeing for parents to the latest TV and entertainment. Ellie has covered all the latest trends in the parenting world, including baby names, parenting hacks, and foodie tips for busy families. She has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University, and previously Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies.