The Spectacular Filming Locations of Game of Thrones That Warrants a Visit
One of the most popular shows on TV with a huge fan following across the globe, Game of Thrones, adapted from the book series ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin revolutionised how one watched TV and took the world by storm. Shot on a massive scale, the fantasy epic show has showcased several visually stunning landscapes serving as the backdrop for an enthralling plot and ingenious characters.
Now that the most awaited last season has released, let’s go on an exciting journey and take a look at the locations the series was filmed in.
Northern Ireland, Popular Filming Location of Game of Thrones
Bestowed with splendid landscape, majority of the show has been shot in the Northern Ireland. The beautiful locale serves as Winterfell and Iron Islands. Part of the show was also shot at the sets constructed at the Titanic studio in Belfast Ireland. Ireland is one of the places where you can go on an official Game of Thrones sightseeing tour.
Castle Ward: County Down
Home of the Stark family, this gorgeous 16th century, 820-acre walled demesne overlooking the beautiful Strangford Lough and Audleys Field is heavily featured in season 1 as the castle of Winterfell. It was here that King Robert Baratheon and his entourage were received by Ned Stark. Take a tour of this heritage property to explore the spectacular interiors, gardens and woodland. You can also dress up as your favourite Game of Thrones character and learn archery!
County Antrim has some of the most spectacular landscapes that has lent itself to the show. Some of the magnificent sites covered are:
Ballintoy Harbour – Shown as the Iron Island wherein Theon Greyjoy returns home.
Dark Hedges – A beautiful stretch of road fringed with tall beech trees on both sides, it is the King’s Road where Arya Stark has escaped from King’s Landing.
Cushendon Caves – The beautiful caves are where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow creature.
Other picturesque locations include the Giant’s Causeway, Slemish Mountain, Shillanavogy Valley, Cairncastle, Murlough Bay, Larrybane
Tollymore Forest Park
Lying on the foot of Mourne Mountains, Tollymore Forest Park is a major attraction for nature lovers and a must visit. Lush verdant and serene, the park exudes an enchanting ambience featurings trees, woodlands, Gothic stone arches, grottos, streams, stone bridges and caves. It made its mark as the opening scene of season 1, episode 1 where the Starks discover the orphaned direwolves and White Walkers began their march into the realm of men.
The striking beaches of Count Derry, Portstewart Beach and Downhill Strand simply cannot be missed. While Portstewart is famous for its golden sand and water activities, it appeared as the coast of Dorne. Downhill Strand is where Melisandre burned the old gods. The iconic beach is the most photographed locale in Ireland largely due to the Mussenden temple perched 120 feet above a clifftop and the riveting Atlantic Ocean below.
An exquisite country catapulted to immense popularity by ‘Game of Thrones’, is an exciting destination that showcases the European history through its rich cultural and architectural legacy and also offers a plethora of outdoor and water activities. The splendid island, surrounded by crystal clear glimmering sapphire waters is host to impressive attractions and a playground for exhilarating adventures.
Dubrovnik’s magnificent Old Town was the primary filming location and you will be able to recognise the landscape as King’s Landing. It served as the setting of the Capital of the Seven Kingdoms throughout the first five seasons.
Fort Lovrijenac – The imposing 175 stone steps structure was part of many scenes that were shot in the city. Shown as the Red Keep, it was here where King Jofferey’s name day was celebrated but most importantly it serves as the residence of King of Andals and the First Men in the show.
Minceta Tower – Situated at the highest point in Dubrovnik, the marvellous tower doubled up as the walls of the ‘House of the Undying’ and offers brilliant views of the city and its red rooftops. It was here where Khaleesi walked around the exterior trying to find the entrance.
Jesuits Staircase – The beautifully elegant baroque staircase doubled up as the Great Sept of Baelor and became famous with Cersei’s iconic infamous ‘Walk of Shame’ scene in season 5. These stairs lead up to the church of St. Ignatius.
Trsteno Arboretum – 20 minutes from Dubrovnik, lies the lush verdant garden that was built in the 15th century. Overlooking the glittering Adriatic Sea, it offers spectacular views and was shown as the Palace Garden where Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns persuades Sansa to spill the dirt on about King Joffery. Also, it is here wherein Lord Varys and Olenna became allies.
Pile – Portrayed as Blackwater Bay, this awe-inspiring venue showcases resplendent views of Bokar and Lovrijenac Fort. It appeared in season 3 when Shae and Sansa watch the ships before Littlefinger discusses escape plans with Sansa at the end of the jetty.
The 1,700-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site in Split city is Daenery’s throne room wherein she trained her dragons. Excavated in 1952, visitors can now explore the basement and the eerie tunnels.
20 minutes from the city of Split, Klis Fortress was transformed as the city of Meereen, the largest of the three Slaver’s Bay cities which Daenery’s successfully overthrows in season 4. The peaceful yet dramatic fort offers splendid panoramic views of Split city. Hike up to the top to witness where the Khaleesi answered ‘injustice with justice’.
The captivating island which was portrayed as City of Qarth, also houses the original replica of the ‘Iron Throne’ gifted by HBO. On display at the Benedictine Monastery from 12th century, visitors can sit and take Instagram worthy pictures.
Other fabulous locations include the St. Dominca street, Trogir Island and the Sibenik city which doubled up as the city of Braavos.
Spain is a breath-taking beautiful country with a mélange of rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Characterised by charismatic historical architecture, gleaming coastlines, rugged terrains, snow capped mountains, vibrant nightlife and famous delicious cuisine, it draws a huge populace from all over the world to experience the attractions and adventures enhanced by the wonderful Mediterranean climate.
The 12th century castle situated in Campillo de Duenas in Guadalajara was shown in season 6 as the ‘Tower of Joy’ in the Red Mountains of Dorne in Bran Starks vision. The remote fortress played a pivotal role as it was here Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark married in secret.
This beautiful medieval city in the Catalan region served as the Free City of Braavos in Essos in season 6. The cobbled laneways were where Arya Stark trained to become the Faceless No One and also escapes from the waif.
The splendid Girona Cathedral was portrayed as the Great Sept of Baelor which was burnt down by Cersei Lannister in a wildfire due to vengeance.
The iconic intricately carved stunning palace, the Royal Alcazar, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, represented the palace of Dorne and Water Gardens, House of Martell in season 5.
Other fascinating places in Seville that are a must visit are Santiponce for the dragonpit in King’s Landing and Osuna for the bullfighting ring in Meereen.
The expansive coastal town served as the city of Meereen in season 6. Visit Calle Mayor, Portal Fosc and Parque de la Artilleria to explore the areas used for shooting.
Other captivating filming locations in Spain are the desert of Almeira that was shown as the land of Dothraki, Torre de Mesa Roldan tower and Cabo de Gata park. Itzurun beach in Basque country that was portrayed as the volcanic island of Dragonstone and the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe as the Dragonstone Castle. The Castell de Santa Florentina in Canet De Mar is a striking castle shown as the House of Tarly.
A visually arresting country, it’s popularly known as ‘The Land of fire and Ice’ due to the beautiful juxtaposition of vast swathes of snow draped landscape with magnificent glaciers and active volcanoes. A land of long winters and short summers, its the perfect location for ‘Beyond the Wall’. Since the popularity of the show rose, so did the tourism of Iceland as it allured tourists from all over the world to witness the gorgeous locales. There are many tour operators offering special Game of Thrones tours for the fans.
Called the Arrowhead mountain in the series is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. The majestic mountain appears when Jon Snow and his band venture north of the wall to fight the White Walkers. It is also here the Children of the Forests created the first White Walker.
Grjótagjá – A gorgeous volcanic formed cave in the Lake Myvatyn region, it became popular as the locale where the iconic scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte was shot.
Dimmuborgir – This wonderful lava field and popular tourist attraction is where Samwell Tarly and Lord Commander Mormont were attacked by White Walkers and Mance Rayder had set camp with the Wildlings.
Vatnajökull and Svínafellsjökull
Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull and Svínafellsjökull represent the location of the Wildlings in season 2 and 3. These resplendent glaciers are an enchanting sight and offer stunning views of the Ring Road.
Thingvellir National Park
Featuring heavily in season 4, this World Heritage Site sitting on two drifting tectonic plates was used to show the path to the impregnable Eeyrie and the brilliantly shot sword fight between The Hound and Brienne of Tarth. It is also popular for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Other beautiful locations are the Reynisfjara beach – an awe-inspiring black sand beach that was portrayed as the Eastwatch by the Sea and Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon where Jon Snow fought the Night King beyond the wall.
Apart from these prominent locations, the show has also been shot in various other attractive locales that have lent itself to pivotal scenes in the series such as:
The wedding between Daenerys Targaryen and Kahl Drogo – Gozo, Malta
Daenery’s adventures to Yunkai and Pentos – Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco
House of Aryn, also known as ‘The Eyrie’ – Meteora, Greece
Game of Thrones fans, so far you have witnessed these places from the comfort of your home. It’s about time you experience these resplendent locations for yourself and recreate your own memories from the show. And, if you have been to any of these larger than life Seven Kingdoms, then share your story with us.