The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Filming Locations You Can Visit In Real Life
GoT fans, you'll want to add these to your travel bucket list.
The “Game of Thrones” series finale may have come and gone, but if you can’t bear to bid farewell to Westeros and Essos just yet, you may be able to get your “GoT” fix in a slightly different way.
Several locations around the world will forever be tied to the fantasy drama TV series that captivated audiences for eight years. While most of the interior sets were located at the main “Game of Thrones” headquarters — The Paint Hall studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland — many exterior shots came courtesy of some spectacular backdrops, all over the world.
These are, undoubtedly, bucket list hot spots for every “GoT” devotee.
Croatia’s capital city, Dubrovnik, was used for many King’s Landing scenes from season two onward. The walls of the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, appear in the battle of Blackwater and during walking, market and tournament scenes. During one of season five’s most memorable scenes, Cersei Lannister is led on a walk of atonement down the streets of the old city by the High Sparrow’s constituents.
The Minčeta Tower, Dubrovnik
The base of Dubrovnik’s Minčeta Tower was used as the exterior of House of Undying in the town of Qarth, where Daenerys Targaryen searches for her stolen dragons in season two. This large, strong fort is the highest point in the city’s walls and is topped with a great Gothic crown that spreads over its sides. Originally built in 1319, it is widely regarded as the symbol of the city.
Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik
On the western side of Dubrovnik’s old town, on a 37-meter high cliff, sits Fort Lovrijenac, or Fort of St. Lawrence. It doubles as the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the setting for memorable “GoT” scenes such as the tournament thrown in honor of King Joffrey’s name day in season two. The triangular-shaped fort has three levels and was defended with 10 large cannons, including the famous “Lizard.”
Croatia’s medieval town of Sibenik was featured in season five as Braavos, one of the Free Cities across the Narrow Sea. It’s home to the famous Iron Bank and also shelters Arya Stark in her flight from Poniente. In real life, Sibenik boasts Croatia’s most important architectural monument of the Renaissance: the Cathedral of St. James, which contains many stunning decorative elements, including a frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women and children.
Krka National Park, Croatia
Named after the Krka River, the lush, tranquil Krka National Park (about 13 kilometers or eight miles inland from Sibenik) provided breathtaking backdrops for numerous Seven Kingdoms locations. The Park covers an area of just over 142 square km, including two-thirds of the river itself. It’s also home to the Skradinski Buk waterfalls, a collection of 17 waterfalls with a height range that differs from the tallest to the smallest by over 45 meters.
The Walls of Ston, also known as the “Great Wall of Europe,” served as part of King’s Landing in “Game of Thrones.” The fourth-century defensive construction stretches over seven kilometers (four miles) around the western part of the Dalmatian town, which is in southern Croatia. Among the longest defensive walls in the world (the Great Wall of China is the longest), the Walls of Ston were designed to protect the salt pans that contributed to Dubrovnik’s wealth. These evaporation ponds, designed to extract salt from seawater, are still being worked today.
Alcázar de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
The Water Gardens of Dorne, the palatial private residence of the Martells, is represented by Alcázar de Sevilla, a royal palace that dates back to the year 913. “GoT” producers were lucky to be granted permission to film there, due to the palace’s historical status.
“Once we realized we were allowed to shoot in the gardens, we realized that there’s nowhere on earth that looks more like the water gardens as we pictured than this place,” producer D.B. Weiss told Business Insider.
The Roman Bridge, Cordoba, Spain
“GoT”‘s Long Bridge Of Volantis, a huge bridge located in the Free City of Volantis, is in real life the Roman Bridge of Cordoba. The city of Cordoba and its iconic bridge lie in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. In season five, Tyrion Lannister and Varys explore the Long Bridge when Tyrion demands to be released from the carriage they’ve traveled in since leaving Pentos. There, they visit shops and see the severed hands of thieves on display.
Doune Castle, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Doune Castle, which sits just north of Stirling in Scotland, was featured as the location for Winterfell in the pilot episode of “Game of Thrones.” Winterfell is the site of a great battle between the army of the dead, led by the Night King and the White Walkers, and the alliance between House Stark and House Targaryen during season eight’s Great War. As with many of the show’s settings, Doune Castle was only one representation of Winterfell; Castle Ward in Northern Ireland was also used to recreate the original Stark family home.
Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
When Arya and Gendry escape from King’s Landing at the end of the season two premiere, they flee along Kingsroad, which is actually a tourist attraction in Northern Ireland known as the Dark Hedges. When the two real-life lines of stately serpentine beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in 1775 at the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion near Armoy, County Antrim, they numbered 150 — but only around half of them remain. Some have come to the end of their natural age, while others have been destroyed by high winds.
Murlough Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Known in the Seven Kingdoms as Slaver’s Bay, Murlough Bay is part of the County Antrim coastline. It’s the precise spot where Tyrion and Ser Jorah are discovered by a slave ship and captured in season five. It’s also where Yara shares a horse ride with Theon in season two, and where Ser Davos is rescued in season three, following the Battle of the Blackwater. Murlough Bay is surrounded by steep rock walls and on a clear day, has amazing views of Scotland.
Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Season two’s infamous “Burning of the Seven” at Dragonstone, where Stannis Baratheon rejects the Seven Gods of Westeros and allows Melisandre to burn their effigies to show his allegiance to the Lord of Light, was filmed at Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple in County Londonderry. The burning takes place on Downhill Strand, whose clifftop is home to a tiny temple called Mussenden; the temple can be seen in the background of the scene.
Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
In season two, when Theon Greyjoy returns home to Lordsport Harbour, he’s actually in Ballintoy Harbour. The charming coastal retreat, which is also where Theon admires his ship, the Sea Bitch, and first meets his sister Yara, is the perfect place to experience Irish rural life. The harbor location was also used for many exterior Pyke and Iron Islands scenes.
Tollymore Forest Park, County Down, Northern Ireland
Located at the foot of the Mourne mountains near Newcastle, Tollymore Forest Park features regularly in “Game of Thrones” — as The Haunted Forest where the three Night’s Watchmen encounter a White Walker and Ned Stark discovers a dead stag in the show’s pilot episode, where the direwolf pups are found, and as the setting for Theon Grevjoy’s attempted escape from Ramsay Snow in season three. The park is home to many exotic trees, such as monkey puzzle and eucalyptus, as well as the oldest tree in any arboretum in Ireland: The original slow-growing spruce, Picea abies “Clanbrassiliana Stricta,” developed in the area in about 1750.
Larrybane Quarry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Located adjacent to the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Larrybane Quarry features in season two of “GoT.” It’s where King Renly Baratheon sets up camp in The Stormlands and where Brienne of Tarth defeats Ser Loras Tyrell to win King Renly’s sword tournament. From the quarry, you can see Sheep Island, which is designated as a Special Protection Area and an Area of Special Scientific Interest because of its population of a particular species of the aquatic birds known as cormorants. The area had long been of interest to salmon fishermen, but fishing here was stopped in 2002.
Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
The seat of House Greyjoy, the great castle of Pyke, is actually the now-ruined medieval castle in County Antrim, which dates back to 1500. Located on the edge of a basalt outcropping overlooking Northern Ireland’s stunning Causeway Coast, it’s accessible only via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. As one of the Great Houses of Westeros, Dunluce Castle appears as House Greyjoy in every season of the show. There’s even a sea cave underneath!
Most of the scenes featuring Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch after season one were filmed in Iceland, including in Thingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and the site of the formation of the Alþingi (the national parliament of Iceland) in the year 930 was a major filming location for season four, providing the backdrop for Arya and Sandor Clegane’s journey between villages in mid-Westeros. Located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Reykjavík, it is also seen in season one when Catelyn Stark takes Tyrion to the Eyrie to be questioned.
Lake Mývatn, Iceland
Lake Mývatn and the lava field near the town of Húsavik represent many “GoT” locations. These include the otherworldly lava fields of Dimmuborgir, where Mance Rayder sets up his camp in season three, and the corner of the “Haunted Forest” north of the Wall. That’s where Samwell Tarly and Lord Commander Mormont are attacked by White Walkers.
Grjótagjá Cave, Iceland
Also known as “Jon And Ygritte’s Love Nest,” the thermal spring cave Grjótagjá near Lake Mývatn is one of the most memorable “GoT” locations. While the outside of the cave is snow and ice, the water within the cave can reach 50 degrees centigrade. According to legend, an Icelandic outlaw named Jón Markússon used the lava cave as his home — and the hot spring as his bath — in the 18th century, but today it’s best known as the scene of another Jon’s tryst (season three). Because the water temperatures today are too hot for humans, footage of Jon and Ygritte in the water was filmed in-studio.
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, covers more than eight percent of the country. In “GoT,” it’s the home of various mythical creatures Beyond the Wall and features in many episodes in season two, including the moment Jon Snow first sets eyes on the wildling scout Ygritte and is ordered by Qhorin to execute her. It’s also the setting for Jon’s fierce duel with Qhorin, which leaves Qhorin dead and Jon free from the wildlings.
Many episodes in the early seasons of “Game of Thrones” were filmed in Morocco, including most of the Daenerys Targaryen storyline. In season three, the port city of Essaouira, one of the country’s most famous coastal spots, was used as Astapor. There, the Mother of Dragons rounds up her castrated male warriors (the Unsullied) and gives them the choice to fight for her.
Pentos, a Free City located on the western coastline of Essos, is the residence of Magister Illyrio Mopatis and a temporary home for Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen in season one. Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding ceremony takes place on the beach below Mopatis’ manse. Yunkai, a city-state of Slaver’s Bay, is known as the Yellow City that stands against Daenerys but ultimately falls to her armies in season three. In real life, Pentos and Yunkai scenes were filmed in the Moroccan village of Aït-Ben-Haddou, which lies south of the High Atlas mountains in the province of Ourzazate and is known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert.
The Azure Window, Gozo Island, Malta
A notable “Games of Thrones” landmark, the Azure Window was a 30-meter-high limestone rock formation on Gozo Island, Malta. It appeared in the very first episode of the show during some of Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding scenes. (The show’s crew reportedly covered the foreground with mesh and added sand to recreate the desert.) While “Thrones” fans still flock to Gozo Island, the Azure Window is no more; it crumbled and collapsed into the Malta Sea after being struck by heavy storms in March 2017.
Mdina, Malta’s beautiful original capital and one of Europe’s best preserved ancient walled cities, was used as a location for many King’s Landing scenes. For example, it’s visible in the courtyard scene outside the upscale Littlefinger’s brothel, where Ned Stark is stabbed in the leg by Jaime Lannister in season one. Scenes at the entrance of the city in the first season include Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel riding into King’s Landing to try to find out what caused Bran’s fall, and Ned’s later goodbye to Catelyn as she leaves King’s Landing after the death of King Robert.
Fort Ricasoli, Valletta, Malta
Malta’s 17th-century Fort Ricasoli, in the country’s modern capital Valletta, doubles as the Gate of the Gods of King’s Landing, first making an appearance in season one when the Starks reach King’s Landing. It is featured again when Arya attempts to reenter the Red Keep and is confronted by the guards who think she’s a street urchin. Fort Ricasoli is often used as a filming location and usually closed to the public, but you can view it from the Upper Barrakka Gardens on the other side of the Grand Harbour. Fort Manoel on Manoel Island, in Gżira just to the northwest of Valletta, was also used in “GoT” as the Great Sept of Baelor, where Ned Stark meets his demise.