Thu, 23 May, 2019
Visit the Game of Thrones shoot locations and relive your favourite episodes
After almost a decade of captivating audiences, Game of Thrones has finally come to an end for TV viewers. But if you still want your GoT fix, visiting one of the show’s filming locations may be the next best thing.
Bursting onto the small screen in 2011, Game of Thrones was quick to garner critical acclaim and be catapulted into cult-like TV status. As well as launching its actors into the public eye, Game of Thrones also helped propel its filming locations into the travel hotspot stratosphere. With shot locations as diverse as Croatia, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Northern Ireland and Scotland, travellers have the opportunity to enter the world of fire and ice as envisioned by George R.R. Martin. With the show’s final season now ended, you can begin your own pilgrimage to one (or all) of these majestic destinations and set out on your own quest for the Iron Throne.
King’s Landing’s real-world location can be found within the mediaeval walls of Dubrovnik, a coastal city in the south of Croatia. The city’s 16th-century Old Town is used for all King’s Landing exterior shots and is encircled by a three-kilometre ring of defensive limestone walls. Croatia has been used as the King’s Landing filming location since the second season and provides the setting for some of the show’s biggest plot points.
Lovrijenac Fortress is the backdrop for The Red Keep, the palace of King’s Landing occupied by the Lannisters. This limestone fortress is located just outside the western wall of Dubrovnik and stands 37 metres above sea level. The fort overshadows the two entrances to the city, by sea and by land, and sets the scene for the spectacular Battle of Blackwater Bay. The inner streets of Old Town have also played a part in bringing some major scenes from the books to life.
Head to the famous Jesuit Staircase to see where Cersei took her ‘walk of shame’ along St Dominic Street. This same street is also used in many of the series’ market scenes and was the spot where the gold cloaks killed one of Robert Baratheon’s biological children.
Pile Bay, Bokar Fortress and Trsteno Arboretum
Be sure to visit Pile Bay on your trip to Dubrovnik. Pile Bay most notably hosts the disturbing scene of the slaying of Robert Baratheon’s bastards from season two. Moving outwards from Pile sits the Bokar Fortress. The Bokar Fortress is one of the most recognisable structures in both Dubrovnik and Game of Thrones, in which this beautiful mediaeval construction features heavily in seasons two and three. The fortress hosts the scene where Varys discusses Tyrion’s work as the Hand of the King, as well as the deliberation of key battle strategies in the defeat of Stanis Baratheon’s army.
Moving out of the city of Dubrovnik, be sure to visit Trsteno Arboretum. This luscious garden which is positioned only 20 minutes’ drive outside of the city was built in the late 15th century, offering visitors panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. The majority of the palace garden scenes that take place in the show are filmed in Trsteno Arboretum.
Diocletian’s Palace and Fortress of Klis
Another filming location worth noting is Diocletian’s Palace in the Croatian seaside city of Split. The palace was constructed in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. This UNESCO World Heritage Site received modern fame for being the setting for where Daenerys trained her dragons and where the ‘kill the masters’ scene in season four took place. While in the region be sure to visit the grand mediaeval Fortress of Klis which is only a 30-minute drive north of Split. This dominant structure features heavily in season four and is the location in which Daenerys overthrows the Meereen, the greatest of the three great city-states of Slaver's Bay. The Fortress of Klis was built in the 3rd century into and on top of an isolated body of rock. The fortress is completely inaccessible from three sides and offers visitors panoramic views of Split and the Adriatic Sea.
A trip to Iceland on a Game of Thrones filming expedition wouldn’t be complete without visiting Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Skogafoss. This breathtaking cascade of water is a national icon, a representation of just how picturesque and powerful the Icelandic landscape can be. As dramatic as the series, Skogafoss spews an enormous amount of water into the depths below. The waterfall features in the first episode of season eight where Daenerys and Jon Snow ride the dragons and perch next to a series of ice-covered waterfalls.
What other location in the world could play the part of The Wall as perfectly as Iceland? Large glaciers in Snæfellsjökull, Svinafellsjökull and the hills of Höfðabrekkuheiði have been used to depict the Fist of the First Men and the Frostfang Mountains. Visit Dimmuborgir, a lava field with interestingly shaped rocks and great significance in Icelandic folklore and find yourself in the spot where Jon Snow and the Wildlings set up camp. Thingvellir National Park was also used for many of the exterior scenes beyond The Wall, and, during the warmer months, for Arya and The Hound’s travels in season four.
On your trip north of The Wall be sure to visit Hengilssvæðið to truly experience the rugged and confronting terrain that Iceland provided in the making of the series. Located a 30-minute drive from the capital (Reykjavik), the Hengill area was the filming location for the face-off between Brienne of Tarr and the Hound in season four, episode 10.
Moving further east of Reykjavik, the Þjórsárdalur Valley is a must see on every Game of Thrones diehard wishlist. It is here where the ransacking and destruction of Olly’s village in season four-episode three takes place. Olly is left as the lone survivor, leaving everyone and everything in his village dead and destroyed behind.