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!
The Movies – Amsterdam
The Movies is the oldest movie theatre in Amsterdam that’s still at work. “Dating back to 1912, this cinema has kept its original Art Deco style which makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time!” Although it has been renovated, the cinema kept its historic style elements, it’s truly fascinating.
Cinema Cartoons – Antwerp
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 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“.
Cines Renoir – Barcelona
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. “The cinema itself offers a great mix of the common blockbusters and some art house films“.
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”.
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“.
Kino Rex – Bern
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. As our Spotter Sebastian says about the ‘Kino’: ”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.”
Lumière – Bratislava
“Lumière Cinema is the best art cinema in Bratislava. Its programme is far away from main stream, the movies played here are not played in multiplex cinemas, so they give you an insight into top artistic, non commercial cinematography.” They have a great program and shows films in their original language. The place was closed for about two years, but luckily it opened back up in the summer of 2016.
Cinematek – Brussels
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“.
Urania Cinema – Budapest
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. Our local Claudia: ‘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.”
Weisshaus Kino – Cologne
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“.
Empire Bio – Copenhagen
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“.
The Irish Film Institute 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. Our local Maria agrees: “it’s one of the safest bets whenever there’s a screening going on of a lesser-known, hype-free type of movies“.
Cameo Cinema – Edinburgh
Do you like to watch a great movie in a perfect location? Cameo Cinema is must visit cinema for you. It is one of the oldest cinemas in Scotland. According to our Spotter Stu “Film fans of all genres can expect to find something for them in The Cameo.” They have a great programme which mixes mainstream, independent film and world film. And they also have nice events like Vintage Friday, where they show classics.
Cinema Odeon is situated in a building with quite some history, according to our Florence Local Francesco “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)“. 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.
Mal Sehn – Frankfurt
According to our Frankfurt local Christian “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 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”.
Studio Skoop – Ghent
If you like to catch a movie and prefer avoiding the commercial atmosphere of the big chains this 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
Did you know Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of The GFT? 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
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“.
Orion – Helsinki
Orion is one of our Helsinki local Janiina’s favorite places, and for good reason “it 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“. The place 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.
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. “It’s one of those places with a charming everyday feel and a neighborhood atmosphere“.
Zhovten Cinema offers a great selection of festival movies, arthouse and short films. Our 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 has a peaceful atmosphere and is located away from local tourist attractions. According to our Spotter Zuzanna, 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“.
Cinemateca – Lisbon
“Ever since it was created in 1948, the Portuguese Cinematheque has been working as an institution dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Cinema.” Cinemateca takes place 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.
Kinoteka – Ljubljana
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!”.
The Barbican Cinema – London
Inside of a brustalist style architectural beauty you can find the Barbican Cinema. “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“. Apart from just viewing films, you can often have a little discussion or Q&A after screenings.
Artistic Metropol – Madrid
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”.
HOME – Manchester
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”.
Cinema Mexico Rocky Horror House – Milan
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“.
The Solovey Cinema Center – Moscow
The Solovey Cinema Center is a true cinema for the people. The films shown are screened for a certain amount of time, based on visitor feedback. So ‘Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain’ for example was shown for 37 months because it was so popular, it is a true classic after all. “I often come here in the morning: the tickets are much cheaper, it’s not overcrowded, and I may watch not only one movie a day“.
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“.
Kunstnerens Hus– Oslo
Kunstnerens Hus 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. “The cinema 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)“.
KIC Budo Tomovic, Podgorica
KIC Budo Tomovic is a public institution, therefore the focus lies on hosting cultural and informational events. Amongst others they show films, which our local Maja is very happy about, “my favorite thing about this place is that they often organize movie nights“. 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
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 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“.
Sabota is a place to have a beer, a chat and have fun in general. People here are very approachable, which is why this a great place to get to know locals a bit better. On Mondays they usually show movies. The content varies quite a bit, expect anything from LGBT+ rights to Kurdish music. “The beer is cheap, rakia and the tea are good, and there are two adorable rescue dogs that you can play with if you have had enough of human company“.
Splendid Palace – Riga
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“.
Cinema dei Piccoli – Rome
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. “Don’t expect any Hollywood productions though, it’s mostly European independent productions that are shown there“. 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.
Lantarenvenster – Rotterdam
This arthouse cinema is located on Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam. Kop van Zuid is a great location with a view over the haven and great spots like restaurants, hotels and cocktail bars. You can spend a whole day on this location. Whatever you do, make sure you go to Lantarenvenster first. What makes this cinema interesting, is that it organizes short festivals dedicated to a different theme every time. Check their schedule beforehand!
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, according to our Local Dmitriy: “its 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“.
Kino Bosna – Sarajevo
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
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“.
G8 – Sofia
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. “The place combines good films with a nice glass roof café where you can benefit from the fast Internet“. In summer they often host outdoor screenings, with a free drink!
Sõprus Cinema – Tallin
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“.
Cine Makedonikon is perfect for relaxing movie nights. “The program features mostly European films of a variety of genres. Many of them are sort of low-budget or artistic, thought-provoking or controversial; generally the selection contains films that offer more than pure entertainment.” This place is great for a more chill type of movie night, no loud crowds or long lines.
Cinema Massimo– Turin
Cinema Massimo will always have a nice surprise for you when you visit. They have a very diverse selection of films to show. “Every week at this cinema you can find something different to see, in addition to the classic programming they plan numerous events and festivals“. For example they have original language movies, monographic moves and multiple festivals such as the Torino Film Festival.
Burgkino – Vienna
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
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. Skalvija center is the biggest non-commercial center in Vilnius. Our Vilnius local Kamilė prefers this cinema because “it offers quality, non-commercial European and World cinema“.
Kinoteka – Warsaw
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 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
“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).” The place came into being in the 80s, and has moved around a lot ever since. Luckily it has been in its current spot for about 30 years, and its here to stay.