Whether you are a huge Game of Thrones nerd like us, or just don’t care about the show, you have to admit that it is shot some pretty amazing locations! Right from Season 1, they have been shooting in locations that gave us some serious wanderlust. These are the top contenders on our bucket list.
Kings Landing – Dubrovnik
Source: Pixabay and HBO
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Dubrovnik was the main filming location in Croatia for King’s Landing. The Gothic and Baroque architecture of this beautiful city are visible in Game of Thrones across the seasons. Whether it is Tyrion talking to Varys or Olenna Tyrell’s gardens, the locations are breathtaking. The jewel of the Adriatic as it is lovingly called is filled with picturesque city walls, guard towers and red roofs.
Highlights : Fort Lovrijenac, Tresteno Arboretum, Dubrovnik walls
Source: Pixabay and HBO
The landscape of northern Ireland is quite a contrast to the vibrant Dubrovnik. Crumbling castles, grasslands and ancient ruins give it a mysterious vibe which makes it a fabulous shooting location for a show like Game of Thrones. Right from the first episode, we see parts of northern Ireland in the castle of Winterfell. Castle Ward, the 18th-century farmyard where the Starks hosted the Baratheons is now promoted as a shooting location where visitors can actually wear costumes and hone their archery skills like Bran.
Highlights: Castle Ward, Cushendun Caves, Pollnagollum Cave, Marble Arch Caves, Inch Abbey
Yunkai and Astapor – Morocco
Source: Pixabay and HBO
Remember the city of Yunkai? It was shot at the fortified village of Aït Benhaddou which lies on the way from Sahara to Marrakech. Aït Benhaddou is a group of earthern buildings at the bottom of the red Atlas Mountain. It’s neighbour, Astapor was shot in Essaouira. This seaside city has an undeniable medieval feel. Walking along its massive fortress might just give you the illusion that you are Khaleesi.
Highlights: Aït Benhaddou, Medina of Essaouira
Qarth – Island of Lokrum
“We call Qarth “the Greatest City that Ever Was or Will Be”. Such grand claims aside, Qarth does seem like a fascinating place to visit. It was shot in the botanical gardens on Lokrum and in the Former Benedictine monastery. The Island of Lokrum lies on the eastern Croatian coast has an interesting landscape. There is a lake called Mrtvo More which translates to Dead Sea. Clear and calm water in this lake makes it a popular choice for bathing. Lokrum also has a nature reserve which is famous for peacocks.
Highlights: Fort Royal Castle, Mrtvo More, Benedictine monastery
The House of the Undying – Minceta Tower, Dubrovnik
Built in 1319, the Minceta Tower in Dubrovrik served as the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones. The narrow tower that we recognize from the show were designed in 1464 by architect and sculptor Juraj Dalmatinac. If you are not looking for stolen dragons, you can climb up the tower to get a spectacular view of Dubrovnik.
Highlights: City Bell Tower, Gothic crown of the Minceta Tower
The Water Gardens, Dorne – The Alcázar of Seville, Spain
Source: Pixabay and HBO
Although the show has butchered the Dorne storyline which we loved in the books, we cannot stop marvelling at the location. The Alcázar of Seville is a gorgeous royal palace built on the site of an Abbadid Muslim fortress destroyed after the Christian conquest of Seville. It showcases Mudéjar, Gothic and Mannerist architecture built by Alfonso X and Peter of Castile. Just look at those ornate details!
Highlights: Puerta del León, Baths of Lady María de Padilla, The Gardens.
Here are the locations we have been to so far:
Vatnajökull, Iceland – Beyond The Wall
Vatnajökull is one of the largest glacier in Iceland. It is quite popular for activities like glacier walking which btw needs to be prebooked. We can see why it was chosen for shooting scenes beyond the wall. This beautiful location does look like it could belong to the cold north or even as lands of always winter.
Girona – Braavos
To be honest, Arya’s storyline in Braavos is not our favourite. Hoping the books are better than the TV show for this storyline. Nevertheless, Girona is such a lovely town to visit! We have a post on 5 things to do in Girona with more details if you are interested. Get your best walking shoes for this excursion and wander around the cathedral and cross the Onyar River. You can reward yourselves with some yummy delights at the cafés around the Placa de la Independencia.
Grjótagjá, Iceland – Jon and Ygritte
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Well, this one is a bit of a cop out, since we only reached the cave, but did not enter. For those of you who are visiting Grjótagjá in summer, you can definitely try to explore it. Make sure you carry a flashlight and climb down carefully. The safest way to explore this cave would be to ask a local to accompany you. Here’s a picture of Siddharth outside the cave. We decided against trying to enter through this tiny entrance by ourselves. Would you have dared?
Read More: Our misadventures at Grjótagjá
Dimmuborgir – Wildling Camp
Since the wildling camp scenes were shot in winter, we experienced it exactly how it was in the tv show. Dimmuborgir rocks at Mývatn are unusually shaped lava fields. It is said that Dimmuborgir is the place where Satan landed. If you are a black metal fan, the name might sound familiar since the Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir is named after this dark fortress.
Thingvellir National Park – Arya and Sandor Clegane’s journey
Most people who visit Iceland will be familiar with Thingvellir as it is a part of the Golden Circle and perhaps one of the more popular tourist attractions. This was a bit of a surprise when we did our research. We never would have guessed that Sandor Clegane and Arya’s journey was through Thingvellir National Park! Since we visited it in winter and the landscape looked so different, that when we saw a picture of the park in summer we were amazed. Gotta revisit and have a picnic here in the summer.
Locations we have missed a chance to visit worth mentioning:
The Dark Hedges – Northern Ireland
You might recognize this tree tunnel from the Kingsroad. Unfortunately in 2017, Storm Doris destroyed parts of this iconic landmark. 150 trees were planted in the 18th century. 90 of them have survived the damage. Two of these ancient trees were planted by the Stuart family were completely destroyed. There’s been many petitions online by fans and locals to save the Dark Hedges.
The Azure Window – Malta
Remember Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s marriage? This mega rock arch at Gozo was used as a backdrop. The powerful gale winds in (again) 2017 led to its fall. It submerged into the sea and now is being explored by divers. Marine life is beginning to take over its white rocks.
How many of these locations have you visited so far? Any of these on your bucket list? Let’s geek out in the comments below!
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