56 of Europe’s Nicest Art House Cinemas (2021)

Spotted By Locals
November 16, 2021
19 min read

In alphabetic order, we present a list of the nicest and coziest Art House cinemas spotted by our locals in 59 European cities. All of them are local favorites and many of them off the tourist track, so going to one of these theaters is a great chance to have a local experience!

Cinecenter – Amsterdam

Cinecenter Amsterdam
Cinecenter Amsterdam (by Felix Hildenbrand)

Cinecenter is a very nice Amsterdam venue specialising in art-house movies plus interesting series featuring a certain actor, director or theme.

It has four showrooms that are rather cosy, with the smallest feeling like a living room. They recently started “Expat cinema nights” – where original language movies are subtitled in English (not Dutch)!

Danaos cinema – Athens

Danaos Cinema, Athens (by Dimitris Hall)

Danaos is one of the cinemas you can count on because you know it will play the good ones.

Not the overly underground art house ones, not the unashamed blockbusters either; the good ones, be they Hollywood, animated films, European, or even Greek cinema, which have been flourishing in recent years.

“Watching a film and then going for a beer nearby is a combination that’s quickly becoming a personal favourite of mine, especially on Wednesdays when entrance goes for just €5” —Dimitris Hall

Cines Renoir – Barcelona

Cines Renoir, Barcelona (by telefono-gratis.com)

In the Raval neighbourhood, you can find many great bars, but also cinemas. One of these cinemas is Cines Renoir; one of the great things about it is that they show films in their original language, not only dubbed films like many other cinemas in Spain do.

It also has a great bar opposite it, El Laurel, which is nice to visit after your movie visit.

Illegal cinema – Belgrade

Illegal Cinema, Belgrade (by tkh-generator.net)

Illegal cinema is the place to see hard-to-find documentaries, activist, queer, anarchist, forbidden and underground films.

The entrance is free, but the space is limited to only 30 seats. Screenings take place every Sunday at 18:00 in a small cultural centre Magacin. “Illegal Cinema” became a kind of an institution which is still going strong seven years later”.

The Moviemento – Berlin

Moviemento, Berlin (by Sharon Mertins)

Moviemento is a favourite place for local independent filmmakers to show their films.

It’s also for those who are tired of mainstream arts. International movies are being shown mostly in their original languages with subtitles.

“The venue itself is well worth a look, and you can always sit down and have a cup of coffee or beer while you check the program”. —Sharon Mertins

Kino Rex – Bern

Kino Rex (by Sebastian Meier)

Kino Rex has carefully selected its films as their interior. All of the films are played in their original language with German and French subtitles.

”It has become a hotspot for the city’s established artists, journalists and critics alike. In my opinion, this makes the place only more interesting though. Even if I don’t plan to see a movie, I often come to the stylish retro-chic bar just to have a drink, talk about movies and watch the Bernese cultural scene preparing for the latest arthouse flick.” —Sebastian Meier

Kino Film Europe – Bratislava

Kino Film Europe Bratislava (by Lenka Encingerová)

Kino Film Europe is one of Bratislava’s smaller but more authentic cinemas.

It’s located in a grand building with a unique history – it once was the residence of the Third Reich and later Lenin’s Museum. The building recently got a beautiful new facade.

Their main focus is European cinema, but they screen all kinds of recently released independent movies from around the world, so you don’t even need to speak Slovak.

Screenings take place four times a week and cost €4, way cheaper than big multiplexes, and you get to experience that special atmosphere of the building too.

Cinematek – Brussels

Cinematek, Brussels (by CINEMATEK)

Cinematek offers a great variety of classics, rare cult movies, experimental cinema, directors/actors or genres from very old to more recent highlights of movie history collected by the Royal Movie Archive.

Better to buy your tickets upfront; on busy nights, they are sold out quickly.

“Founded in the thirties last century, the Royal Movie Archive started to build one of the most important quality movie collections in the world”, —Wouter Spitters

Cinema Europa – Bucharest

Cinema Europa Bucharest

Cinema Europa is the only Europa Cinemas cinema in Bucharest, as far as we can tell. Our Spotters haven’t covered it yet, but the films they show are the best in the art-house today, so we thought it would be worth putting on this list!

Urania Cinema – Budapest

Urania Budapest (by Claudia Leporatti)

Budapest has amazing movie theatres, but Urania is considered by many the most beautiful. It’s also the first, built-in 1894 as a nightclub and screening movies since 1917.

‘There’s something very fitting in watching a film in a historic building. In Florence, where I was born, old cinemas like this were shut down years ago, and Urania reminds me of the most beautiful my city had, the rather famous Cinema Gambrinus.” —Claudia Leporatti

Weisshaus Kino – Cologne

Weisshaus Kino, Cologne (by Julia Krakau)

Weisshaus Kino shows films for people from all walks of life. Anything from art house to the newest James Bond.

“I especially like the 50s-style entrance hall and stairway. A great vintage counter (which perfectly fits with the architecture) is the eye-catcher in the entrance hall. Here you can order a beer or ice cream before your film starts” —Julia Krakau

Empire Bio – Copenhagen

Empire Bio, Copenhagen (by Pernille Grønnegaard Møller)

Empire Bio is a hidden cinema, tucked away in a small street where you wouldn’t expect to find it. It has a cosy, charming vibe and a little café on the inside to make you feel even more at home! They show must-sees but also smaller independent productions.

“All in all, they make room for the narrow films and a different movie experience than the regular Hollywood theatre offers – before and during the film” —Pernille Grønnegaard Møller

The Irish Film Institute – Dublin

The Irish Film Institute, Dublin (by Maria Kurpskaya)

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) is a hidden treasure in a narrow Georgian building on Eustace Street. It is one of the first cultural centres which moved into the area and trigger its regeneration. Come here to enjoy newly realised independent films and classics.

This is a great place for people with more interest in the film than the occasional blockbuster.

“The Irish Film Institute us one of the safest bets whenever there’s a screening going on of a lesser-known, hype-free type of movies”. —Maria Kurpskaya

The Dominion – Edinburgh

The Dominion Edinburgh

This classic old cinema with a luxury makeover is not your average multiplex.

Expect complimentary crisps on your way into a screening where you will get a seat on a large leather sofa, complete with a footrest, all the legroom you could ever want and a small table for your snacks and the glass of beer or bottle of wine you might have purchased at the concession stand on the way in.

This place is an absolute delight to visit–especially after a long day in the city. It feels like stepping back in time and gives a feeling of the glamour of the golden age of Hollywood with a Scottish twist.

“If there is ever a film that I really want to watch at the cinema, this is the venue that I like to come to.” —Alasdair MacQuarrie

Cinema Odeon – Florence

Cinema Odeon, Florence (by Davide Vecchio)

Cinema Odeon is situated in a building with quite some history. The interior is especially charming. It is a one of few places where you can watch movies in their original language, only with Italian subtitles.

“Cinema Odeon is situated in the very centre of the town, in a beautiful historical building named Palazzo dello Strozzino, once owned by the Strozzi family, one of the most powerful and influential in town (they used to be bankers)” —Francesco Cipriani

Mal Sehn – Frankfurt

Mal Sehn, Frankfurt (by Christian Paulus)

Kino Mal Sehn is for all cinephiles arthouse-movie-lovers. It’s a smaller cinema, combined with a cute and cosy restaurant bar. Mal Sehn was the first arthouse cinema in Frankfurt and started in 1984!

Cinéma BIO – Geneva

Cinema BIO Geneva (by András Barta)

Cinéma BIO used to call BIO72 decades ago. Since then, it closed, and almost became a McDonald’s but was valiantly rescued by the citizens of Carouge and reopened under the name Cinema BIO. It’s a lovely movie theatre full of character!

Studio Skoop – Ghent

Studio Skoop, Ghent (by Studio Skoop)

If you like to catch a movie and prefer avoiding the commercial atmosphere of the big chains, Studio Skoop is your cinema.

They’re very intimate and make your movie-experience unique, “no screaming children, no popcorn, no buckets of coke. Just pure cinema as it should be!”.

Studio Skoop offers not only independent movies but also the best commercial ones.

Glasgow Film Theatre – Glasgow

Glasgow Film Theatre (by GFT)

Did you know Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of The Glasgow Film Theater (FFT)? Nothing else to say about this classic old gem.

The place also hosts the Glasgow Film Festival, which is also well worth a visit. According to our local Gill, “there’s always a superb choice of films and even some freebies at 10:30 am on some days”. Just go there and enjoy its eclectic program yourself!

FilmRaum – Hamburg

FilmRaum, Hamburg (by Sebastiana Turra)

Dedicated to the cinematic cultural life in Hamburg, FilmRaum shows movies considered off-the-beaten-track.

“As a repertory cinema, their program offers a lot of exciting, intellectual arthouse movies (usually in original language), oftentimes with the director present and available for discussions about their work”. —Sebastiana Turra

Orion – Helsinki

Orion, Helsinki (by Elokuvateatteri Orion)

Orion has been showing films since 1920, so it’s quite a historic gem. Besides the great films Orion shows, the buildings’ architecture and the interior are also beautiful.

“Orion is the only cinemathéque in Helsinki, showing films from the very first films ever made to great classics and rare gems but also new, interesting films”. —Janiina Knuutinen

Moda Sahnesi – Istanbul

Moda Sahnesi, Istanbul

Twelve friends banded together and created a source of culture and art in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul in 2013.

It’s a complex hall for concerts, theatre, cinema and more. Its name is Moda Sahnesi. “Sahne” means a stage in Turkish.

“I love Moda Sahnesi because I can find independent movies, that is feature films produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies.”—Yucel Babadag

Zhovten cinema – Kyiv

Zhovten Cinema, Kiev (by Кінотеатр «Жовтень»)

Zhovten Cinema offers a great selection of festivals, arthouse and short films. Our Kyiv Spotter Alex’s favourite is a short film night – when they show short movies all night long.

The cinema also hosts an international movie festival called Molodist, which is popular among arty people.

Kino Kika – Krakow

Kino Kika, Krakow (by KIKA)

Kino Kika has a peaceful atmosphere and is located away from local tourist attractions. It is a nice and cosy place to rest, have a coffee, relax, and watch a nice film.

“Apart from cinema rooms, where films are played, there is also a nice cafe, where you can come for your morning coffee (it is great!) or just order one of their decent beers”. —Zuzanna Dziurda

Cinemateca – Lisbon

Cinemateca, Lisbon (by Nuno Lopes de Paula)

Cinemateca is located in a 19th-century, well-preserved building in Art Nouveau style with an impressive Neo-Mudejár atrium. Inside this fascinating cinema, you will find a coffee shop, a museum and a very charming open-air terrace.

“Ever since it was created in 1948, the Portuguese Cinematheque has been working as an institution dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Cinema.” —Nuno Lopes de Paula

Kinoteka – Ljubljana

Kinoteka, Ljubljana (by Jost Derlink)

Kinoteka is one of two art cinemas in Ljubljana with a nice cinema interior from 30s. You can watch movies of different genders from all over the world but never too commercial.

“Usually, they show two films daily, and I think you can see each film only once, so be careful not to miss your favourite movie on the big screen!” —Jost Derlink

The Barbican Cinema – London

Barbican Cinema, London (by Barbican Centre)

Inside of a brutalist style architectural beauty, you can find the Barbican Cinema. Apart from just viewing films, you can often have a little discussion or Q&A after screenings.

“For me, what makes this cinema great is its impeccable selection of films – a mixture of the best new releases and timeless classics from every era”. —Kamla Pillay 

Artistic  Metropol – Madrid

Artistic Metropol, Madrid (by Artistic Metropol)

Fans of bizarro cinema shouldn’t miss their horror, cult and B-series movies selection. Don’t forget  to visit Artistic Metropol‘s store where you can find DVDs, books, limited editions, packs, out-of-stock editions, plus cult/collectors stuff like original posters or toys.

“In addition to all these screenings, the cinema also works as a window to new filmmakers who just want to have an official release of their projects”. —Elena Quintero

Spegeln – Malmö

Spegeln, Malmö (by Ella Holttinen)

Spegeln is located in Stortorget in the centre of the city. It has been an active cinema in the same building since 1934. The indoor decoration of this combination of bistro and cinema pays homage to its origins.

In fact, the speciality of Spegeln is its Art Deco-styled salon where you can enjoy films and, for example, a glass of wine at the same time.

Savoy Cinema – Manchester

The Savoy Manchester

The Savoy Cinema is an independent movie theatre in Heaton Moor with a lot of charm. The building itself is just beautiful. The inside is decorated like an old-style theatre.

Its one screen is covered by a thick red curtain pulled back in time for screenings, and the red velvety seats are very comfy.

The Savoy screens a mixture of commercial, indie and classic films and puts on film events now and then.

Cinema Mexico Rocky Horror House – Milan

Cinema Mexico Rocky Horror House, Milan (by Ivan Kalinov)

If you are interested in original version movies with an inexpensive price Cinema Mexico Rocky Horror House is your cinema! A true gem, considering there aren’t many cinema’s in Milanthat screen movies in English.

“Tip – Complete your night out at the Rocky Horror Cinema with dinner at the neighboring restaurant “Fiore” that serves excellent Italian fair in relaxed setting”. —Ivan Kalinov

Falcon Club Cinema Boutique – Minsk

Falcon Club Cinema Boutique Minsk (by Mash Romanovskaya)

Falcon Club Cinema Boutique is the most luxurious movie theater in Minsk. The movie halls are equipped with comfortable reclining chairs and lots of space for your legs and elbows. But the best feature are the movies that play here: “good” movies and also sometimes documentaries.

Illyuzion Theater – Moscow

Illyuzion Moscow
Illyuzion Moscow (by Evgeniya Koroleva)

Illyuzion is a wonderful Moscow art-house cinema with a long history. Cinematic art figures watched forbidden foreign and Russian masterworks here… Stil they’re showing the best Gosfilmofond movies, Russian and foreign. Some of them are even accompanied by live instruments. Tickets are extremely cheap in comparison to prices of the rest of Moscow’s cinemas.

Museum Lichtspiele – Munich

Museum Lichtspiele, Munich (by Chloe Templeton)

is actually a cinema, and over a hundred years old. The building has a history of its own, reflected in Munich’s own history over the past 100 years so to speak, riding the waves and taking the good times with the bad. And yet, it still stands and you can really feel why when you go there…  And it has the longest-running of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’!

Kunstnernes Hus Kino – Oslo

Kunstnernes Hus Kino, Oslo (by Sinead Wyer)

Kunstnernes Hus Kino in Oslo is based on an artist-run foundation. The building features a gallery showing both Norwegian and foreign art, a restaurant/bar, a bookstore and an art house cinema.

“Kunstnernes Hus Kino runs from Friday to Sunday and focuses on films that wouldn’t usually be shown at mainstream cinemas and they have a good overview on their website (also in English)”. —Sinead Wyer

Le Louxor – Paris

Le Louxor Paris
Le Louxor Paris (by Frédéric Moussaïan)

Le Louxor is a famous Art Déco building (with so-called neo-Egyptian variations) which hosted a cinema since the 1920s (with a short break in the 80s when it was an unsuccesful gay nightclub).

“Recently restored, it reopened in 2013 as a cinema, and offers 3 different screens, one of which located in the historical room (named Youssef Chahine) exuberantly decorated with Egyptian patterns.” —Frédéric Moussaïan

KIC Budo Tomovic, Podgorica

KIC Budo Tomovic, Podgorica (by Maja Markovic)

KIC Budo Tomovic is a public institution, therefore the focus lies on hosting cultural and informational events. They host movie screenings twice a month. One is organized together with an embassy, so it shows foreign films. The other usually has a genre, artist or director as its theme.

Passos Manuel – Porto

Passos Manuel, Porto (by Fernando Ribeiro)

According to our Spotter Fernando, “the place breathes art as you enter”. Passos Manuel is more than a cinema. Besides the bar, you can also come here for concerts, festivals, conferences, exhibitions etc. Just check the agenda and find the event of your taste.

Bio Oko – Prague

Bio Oko, Prague (by Ivana Pivarníková)

Bio Oko is a single-screen cinema presenting old, first run movies as well as art projects. There is also a café/bar with a pleasant atmosphere. If you want to see a movie or just hang out with friends this is the place to for you.

“You wouldn’t find the classic seats there – every piece of seating, sofas and chairs are just randomly put in front of the screen and it’s up to you to pick out which one you consider the most comfortable”. —Ivana Pivarníková

Kino Armata – Prishtina

Kino Armata Prishtina (by Majlinda Hoxha)

This former cinema in the ‘Army House’ (in Albanian ‘Shtëpia e Armatës’, from which it gets its name) was reopened in 2018. The building was part of the Yugoslav Army’s headquarters in Kosovo and later the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) headquarters.

Kino Armata is a funky place of live music, film showings and other cultural events, with plenty of retro design detail. It describes itself as a public place that ‘promotes alternative culture and social dialogue’.

Splendid Palace – Riga

Splendid Palace, Riga (by Martins Veidemanis)

Forget about crunching popcorn. Splendid Palace is magnificent, located in a rococo historical building. Check the program and come here to watch festival award-winning movies, documentaries as well as movies from local producers.

“If you decide to give it a try please definitely catch a movie in the large Hall. You will be blown away by how glamorous the auditorium is”. —Martins Veidemanis

Art-kino Croatia – Rijeka

Art-kino Croatia Rijeka
Art-kino Croatia Rijeka (by Fred Demark)

Art-kino Croatia first opened in 1927, the venue was closed, restored, reopened and renamed several times, but it has always remained a bastion of pure Cinema.

“Art-kino Croatia is a refuge for true cinemaphiles, proudly resisting the fake glitz and glamour of a typical 21st century multiplex.” —Nikolina Demark

Cinema dei Piccoli – Rome

Cinema dei Piccoli, Rome (by Cinema dei Piccoli)

This is the smallest cinema you will ever see, literally (they’re in the Guiness World Book of Records). Cinema dei Piccoli has one movie projector, a screen and 63 seats. Although they don’t have a large capacity and can’t show many movies, their selection is great and the place is definitely worth a visit.

“Don’t expect any Hollywood productions though, it’s mostly European independent productions that are shown there” — Matteo Mueller-Thies

Angleterre Cinema Lounge – Saint Petersburg

Anglettere Cinema Lounge, Saint Petersburg (by Dmitriy Ivanov)

Angleterre Cinema Lounge is located in a conference hall at the Angleterre – a four-star hotel which has history stretching back to the 19th century. It is the perfect place for those people who are tired of dubbed commercial blockbusters.

“Angleterre Cinema Lounge’s film selection is generally slanted to the art-house side, and the films are shown in the original language, with subtitles, – much to the relief of those, like myself, who get annoyed by the overdubbed movies which dominate St Petersburg’s cinemas”. —Dmitriy Ivanov

Kino Bosna – Sarajevo

Kino Bosna, Sarajevo (by Kino Bosna)

This arthouse cinema, Kino Bosna, is part of a Sarajevan old tradition. If you like coziness, visit it on a Monday, where there’s an occasional live band. The place is so crowded that the stairs leading up to the cinema are all filled. It makes for great conversations! You might even meet someone who could tell you all about the history of this cinema.

Kotur – Skopje

Kotur, Skopje (by Kotur)

In the center of the city Skopje, right in the middle of the urban jungle there is a place where everyone who need some good art, movies, talks… KOTUR became the favourite spot for many art lovers, especially the ones who are passionate for indie cinema.

G8 – Sofia

G8, Sofia (by Yana Alexieva)

Sadly Sofia is affected by the wave of big malls and multiplexes, this makes G8 all the more special. It’s a smaller, quieter movie theater. In summer they often host outdoor screenings, with a free drink!

Sõprus Cinema – Tallin

Sõprus Cinema, Tallinn (by Kino Sõprus)

Inside a Stalin’s Empire style building you can find Sõprus Cinema. The place also hosts a casino, but the cinema is a better trip. The movies they show are art house films and old retrospectives. Sometimes the place also hosts music performances, lectures, stand up shows and more!

“It’s a pleasure to watch films there, there’s a bar in the screening room with a smoking area, no disturbing commercials and no popcorn”. —Nikolai Ostashow 

Theater De Nieuwe Regentes – The Hague

Theater De Nieuwe Regentes, The Hague (by Jorinde van der Burgh)

Theater De Nieuwe Regentes first opened in 1920. Only not as a theather… At that time De Regentes was the largest indoor swimming pool in Europe. With the help of about 100 volunteers it reopened as theater De Nieuwe Regentes at the beginning of the 21st century as a wonderful neighborhood cinema

Olympion – Thessaloniki

Olympion Thessaloniki
Olympion, Thessaloniki (by Angelos Kottas)

The elegant building of Olympion was built in 1919 by the architect J. Mose after the devastating fire of 1917. Since 1956 it works both as a cinema and a theater. Olympion hosts various activities like festivals, opening ceremonies, conferences and discussions.

“I like watching films on the main screen in the wooden velvet seats that give a sense of a bygone era.” —Angelos Kottas

 Cinema Massimo– Turin

Cinema Massimo, Turin (by Eleonora Diana)

Cinema Massimo will always have a nice surprise for you when you visit. They have a very diverse selection of films to show. For example they have original language movies, monographic moves and multiple festivals such as the Torino Film Festival.

“Every week at this cinema you can find something different to see, in addition to the classic programming they plan numerous events and festivals”. —Eleonora Diana

Burgkino – Vienna

Burgkino, Vienna (by Burgkino)

At first sight you will notice its retro style exterior. BurgKino is an independent cinema, playing movies (many are not art house though) in their original language. This cinema still has a two leveled audience, so you can enjoy a movie from the balcony like they used to! “It feels just like in the old days – or at least like I imagine them“.

Skalvija – Vilnius

Skalvija, Vilnius (by Kamilė Naraitė)

What makes Skalvija a must see in the cinema scene are all the special events organized during the year: festivals, retrospective meetings with filmmakers and much more with an emphasis on local films and documentaries. Our Vilnius local Kamilė prefers this cinema because it offers quality, non-commercial cinema.

Kinoteka – Warsaw

Kinoteka, Warsaw (by Piotr Czubaszek)

Kinoteka is a cinema located in one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Palace of Culture and Science. Expect to see some halls designed in social realism style, this place is not your average cinema. “The repertoire is varied and consists of both more commercial Polish and international features, as well as more ambitious European productions since the cinema is part of the Europa Cinema network“.

Kino Tuškanac – Zagreb

Kino Tuškanac, Zagreb (by Samir Cerić Kovačević)

Kino Tuškanac is a rather hidden and unspectacular cinema – at first sight. But don’t let yourself be fooled by its building’s unpretentious looks. Kino Tuškanac has been operating as a center for cinematic culture and education in Zagreb since 2001.

Apart from the program, there is one more spectacular part about Kino Tuškanac though. It’s the summer stage, an open-air cinema, in the midst of the Tuškanac forest.

Xenix – Zurich

Xenix, Zurich (by bigzh.ch)

Xenix came into being in the 80s, and has moved around Zurich a lot ever since. Luckily it has been in its current spot for about 30 years, and its here to stay.

“If you’re a film lover or cineast and thinking about watching a motion picture in Zurich, you should do that at Xenix. This is one of the most reputable indie-cinemas in Switzerland (and probably Europe).” —Roman Rey

More? We have tips by locals in 81 cities!


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