Europe’s Best Art House Cinemas (2020)

When you’ve visited all the museums and money is tight, going to the movies can be a great option! Screening old classics in small, rustic rooms, an Art House Cinema charges little money for a great cinematic experience.

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 specialized in art-house movies plus interesting series featuring a certain actor, director or theme. It has 4 showrooms that are rather cozy, with the smallest feeling like a living room. They recently started “Expat cinema nights” – where original language movies are subtitled in English (not Dutch)!

Cinema Cartoons – Antwerp

Cinema Cartoon’s Antwerp (by Cartoon’s)

Forget those Hollywood Blockbuster movies and enjoy some cult classics. They have a great variety of foreign movies, so if you’re lucky, maybe they have one from your country. Cinema Cartoons is a great night out for film lovers. And every room only holds place for less than hundred people! Very cozy!

Danaos cinema – Athens

Danaos Cinema, Athens (by Dimitris Hall)

Danaos is one of the cinemas you can count on because you know that it will be playing the good ones. Not the overly underground art house ones, not the unashamed blockbusters either; the good ones, be they Hollywood, animated films, European, even Greek cinema, which is 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 neighborhood 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 to it, El Laurel, 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 favorite place for local independent filmmakers to show their films. It’s also for those who are tired of mainstream arts. There are International movies 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 cities 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

Lumière – Bratislava

Lumière, Bratislava (by Kino Lumière)

Kino Lumière is run by the Slovak Film Institute. It used to be just a movie archive. Today, it screens current movies, same as big cinema complexes, but its main focus is on Slovak movies and European cinematography in general. Lumiére is one of the places that hosts a lot of film festivals with topics like refugees, climate change and LGBTQ+ community.

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 the 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

Urania Cinema – Budapest

Urania Budapest (by Claudia Leporatti)

Budapest has amazing movie theaters, 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 an 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 cozy, 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 theater 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. For people with more interest in film than the occasional blockbuster, this is a great place.

“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

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 it 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 cozy restaurant-bar. Mal Sehn was the first arthouse cinema in Frankfurt, and got started back in 1984!

Cinéma Spoutnik – Geneva

Cinéma Spoutnik, Geneva (by Juliette Bourquin)

Cinéma Spoutnik is a great catch if you’re looking for non-commercial movies to watch, as their goal is to show movies outside of the mainstream. Even the type of film they use is different,

“it takes care to show movies with different formats (Super-8, 16mm, 35mm, and video) and length such as short and featured films”. —Juliette Bourquin

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 Glassgow 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 10:30am on some days”. Just go there and enjoy its eclectic programme 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

Rexx – Istanbul

Rexx Cinema Istanbul (by Deniz Dönmez)

Rexx is one of the few independent cinemas in Istanbul. Movies are screened in their original language with Turkish subtitles, apart from movies for kids. Rexx is also a place to watch movies during Filmekimi and Istanbul Film Festival.

“REX is one of those places with a charming everyday feel and a neighborhood atmosphere”. —Deniz Dönmez

Zhovten cinema – Kyiv

Zhovten Cinema, Kiev (by Кінотеатр «Жовтень»)

Zhovten Cinema offers a great selection of festival movies, arthouse and short films. Our Kyiv Spotter Alex’s favorite is a short films 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 or 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 the nice cinema interior from 30s. You can watch movies of different genders from all over the world but never too commercial.

“Usually they show 2 films per day and I think you can see each film only once, so be careful not to miss your favorite movie on the big screen!” —Jost Derlink

The Barbican Cinema – London

Barbican Cinema, London (by Barbican Centre)

Inside of a brustalist 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

HOME – Manchester

HOME, Manchester (by Joe Holdsworth)

HOME in Manchester is not only a cinema, it is an arts centre. Have a drink, a bite to eat, visit a gallery or see a movie, you can do it all here. HOME is the place to go to if you want to see some more independent cinema.

“The curators here know their stuff and, apart from showing the latest releases, they are always devising festival programmes dedicated to different genres, eras and nationalities”. —Joe Holdsworth

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

Cinemascope – Minsk

Cinemascope, Minsk

Cinemascope, Minsk (by Katia Syrayezhkina)

If you are into independent film festivals and art-house movies, Cinemascope is the right project to check out in Minsk. There are two types of programmes: the standard one with all movies being screened at Rakieta cinema (one of the oldest cinemas, built in 1958 after Gagarin’s spaceflight) and special programmes.

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.

Werkstattkino – Munich

Werkstattkino, Munich (by Kleopatra Polyzou)

Werkstattkino is one of the unusual cinemas in Munich.  There is no place for blockbusters, the real showstoppers here are cult films.

“This looks more like a handmade small cinema: at the cinema’s foyer, a small table is the box office, and don’t expect any luxury inside the room – but this is part of its charm, anyway”. —Kleopatra Polyzou

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

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

Cinerama – Rotterdam

Cinerama Rotterdam

Cinerama, Rotterdam (by Filmladder)

Cinerama Rotterdam – built in the 1960s – is one of the cinemas where the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) screens their movies.

“I don’t go see films often, but when I do it has to be in Cinerama. It might be a luxury problem, but ever since I set foot in that cinema no other will suffice. I love the classic deep red carpet, glass ticket booth and the old-school letter board that is changed every week.” —Isabel Cimbri

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.

Cinemateque – Skopje

Cinemateque, Skopje (by Bojana Trajkovska)

Skopje has an amazing art house cinema that feels like a museum of film. Cinemateque focuses mostly on independent features and documentaries. Almost every month they pay tribute to a specific country’s cinematography by offering a marathon week program with movies from that country.

“The Cinémathèque is dedicated to bringing what they like to think of as essential cinema”. —Bojana Trajkovska

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 

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 Europa – Zagreb

Kino Europa, Zagreb (by Mirna Marić)

Kino Europa was built in the mid-1920s by the Müller family, who wanted to make it the most modern and stunning cinema in the area. “To this day its main hall remains the most beautiful cinema in Croatia and a temple of independent arthouse repertoire and festivals“.

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 79 cities!

Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)