Game of Thrones is not just an addictive television program, but a true phenomenon of modern pop culture. The show not only intrigued the audience with its complex characters and fantastic worlds, but also showed us some of the most remarkable travel destinations in the world. Many fans wondered where Game of Thrones is filmed.
So after the final season, it's time to travel through all the Game of Thrones locations that have helped bring about the many worlds of the show we all love. No matter who comes out victorious in the eagerly awaited series finale, these places will surely be on your list.
Of the many Game of Thrones locations, this was a destination that was already on the list for most visitors to Seville. The Alcázar of Seville is full of sumptuous rooms, courtyards and gardens that reflect the Moorish past of the city. It is this extravagant and unique style that has made the Alcázar perfect as a backdrop for thorns. With House Martell, the Palace and its gardens, scenes were shot in Sunspear and the water gardens, including Oberyn Martell, Ellaria Sand and Cersei's daughter Myrcella.
One of the first locations in the series, which is becoming increasingly popular with fans, is the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland. This street, Bregagh Road in Armoy, is lined with twisted, gnarled beech trees and looks so different, as if it were not surprising that the fans would like to visit them. Although the King's Road does not look particularly sinister, the real road can be a mysterious, even scary sight. The dark hedges are so popular that local authorities did not have to ban substantial traffic to protect 18th century trees from damage and degradation.
Although the connection to the White Walkers is not particularly positive, visitors to Kirkjufell are not worried when they look at the spot of this popular photographer. The distinctive mountain and nearby waterfalls on Iceland's Snaefellsness peninsula will charm you in every season. Fans will most likely recognize this Game of Thrones attitude in winter as not only the place where Jon Snow and others fought the Night King in Season 7, but also the Flashbacks that created the first White Walker from the children of The forest showed.
Dubrovnik has always been regarded as a beautiful coastal city but it’s one city that has grown wildly popular due to GoT. Thanks to the historic city’s giant city walls and photogenic stone streets and buildings, it easily transports visitors back in time. This ability has also made it one of the most important Game of Thrones locations, and a natural fit for the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, King’s Landing. The list of scenes Dubrovnik has been used for is far too long to properly go through, but everywhere from the city walls, to Fort Lovrijenac, to Pile Gate, and various parks, have appeared throughout the series. Even Cersei’s long Walk of Penance (“Shame!”) was filmed along Stradun, the city’s main street. Visit and you’ll constantly find places you recognize from the show.
The Dothraki Sea, the vast home to the nomadic tribes of Dothraki, may have been at its most mystifying when it was nothing but a barren landscape. Interestingly, the actual landscape used for this side of the Dothraki Sea, the Bardenas Reales badlands, is just as barren and alien. Found in the northern province of Navarre in Spain, this wide expanse of badlands, canyons, and plateaus covers 42,000 hectares and is a testament to nature’s powers of erosion. This is where Daenerys is taken prisoner by the Dothraki and delivered to Khal Moro at the start of Season 6.
The Wall, a towering barrier of ice that stretches from one coast of Westeros to the other, is surely one of the series most famous settings. While most of our time at the Wall is spent at Castle Black, we do get a glimpse of one end of the wall by the castle known as Eastwatch by the Sea. In reality, this black sand beach by the castle is Reynisfjara, found on Iceland’s scenic south coast. Both Reynisfjara and the nearby Dyrhólaey peninsula have served as backgrounds for this remote Night’s Watch castle. Besides the tiny black pebbles which lay in contrast against the white waves that roll in, this Icelandic beach is also home to impressive coastal cliffs like Hálsanef, marked with curious hexagonal rock formations.
Poor old Ned Stark had a hard time of it as the Hand of the King in King’s Landing. His run-ins with Littlefinger, Cersei, and Jaime Lannister were just a few of the challenges Ned had to contend with inside the walls of Mdina in Malta, not to mention seeing his wife Catelyn for the last time. This ancient fortified capital of Malta was home to several scenes in the 1st season, including when Ned had to visit Littlefinger at his brothel, and his showdown with Jaime which ultimately led to Ned’s capture. The beautiful sandstone gates of Mdina will also be recognizable as a gate of King’s Landing which Catelyn is seen passing through to see her husband prior to his downfall.
With a name like Highgarden, it’s easy for your mind to conjure up an image of a lofty and grand castle. It’s not until Season 7 that we finally get to see Highgarden, even if it is just a short time before it falls to the Lannisters. When we do finally see Highgarden atop its hill, the castle truly lives up to its name. Castillo de Almodóvar del Río in southern Spain is just as spectacular as it is portrayed as Highgarden. Built by the Moors in the 8th century, this mighty fortress definitely deserves more screen time.
The fortified village of Ait Benhaddou in central Morocco has many claims to fame – Game of Thrones is just one of them. This historic ksar is a UNESCO world heritage site, celebrated for its earthen clay homes, some of which are hundreds of years old. And yet, it’s better known as one of Morocco’s premier filming locations, with movies like Gladiator, the Mummy, and the Jewel of the Nile, keeping Game of Thrones good company. In GoT, Ait Benhaddou was the setting for Yunkai, a city of slavers which Daenerys lays siege to in Season 3. After freeing the slaves, Daenerys is seen outside the gate of Ait Benhaddou surrounded by the adoring masses.
The Iron Islands, home to the Greyjoys, seem like quite a harsh, brooding, and unforgiving place. In real life Ballintoy Harbour looks just as dramatic as the islands, though much cheerier when the sun is out. Found along the coastline of Northern Island, the harbor of Ballintoy was used for scenes set in Lordsport, a town of the Iron Islands. It was at this harbor that Theon Greyjoy first landed in Season 2 as envoy for Robb Stark and awkwardly ran into his sister Yara.
For a time, Arya Stark called the city of Braavos home as she trains to become a Faceless Man. Arya spends plenty of time moving about the city of Braavos, which is actually the Croatian city of Sibenik. Whether it’s pushing an oyster cart or hunting people on her list, many of these Arya scenes were filmed on the streets of this historic coastal city. Even Sibenik’s UNESCO listed Cathedral of St. James gets in on the act, portraying the exterior to the headquarters of the renowned Iron Bank. Not all of Braavos was shot exclusively in Sibenik, but much of it was and a visit to this scenic city certainly won’t be a waste.
Game of Thrones has had its fair share of steamy romances, but few were as steamy as the first time Jon Snow and Ygritte got together in an underground hot spring. That’s because that hot spring in a cave is actually a real geothermal pool in northeastern Iceland. Known as Grjótagjá, the cave where the star crossed lovers hooked up is near Lake Myvatn and can be visited by travelers to Iceland. Unfortunately, because the water temperatures are so unpredictable, it’s not possible to bathe in the hot spring but you can dip a toe in if you like.
Two things which Game of Thrones is never short on is fan theories and backstory. These two aspects collided when we got flashbacks via a Bran Stark vision to a moment where Ned Stark and several bannermen are seeking his sister Lyanna Stark outside the Tower of Joy in Season 6. What follows has major implications for a fan favorite character, cementing this tower as a crucial locale in the series. To see this tower for yourself, you don’t need to be the Three-Eyed Raven, simply journey to the Castle of Zafra in the Spanish region of Guadalajara. Built in the 12th century, this castle stands apart among the wild landscape, making it all the more memorable.
With her brutal honesty and cutting wit, Olenna Tyrell may have been one of the most likeable characters in Game of Thrones. Many of the great lines delivered by the matriarch of House Tyrell were given in the palace gardens of King’s Landing as she plotted to position her granddaughter, Margaery among the city’s court. This lovely backdrop is courtesy of the Trsteno Arboretum, just north of Dubrovnik. So strongly linked is this garden of a stately summer residence to the character of Olenna, that it’s nickname these days is actually the “Tyrell Garden”.
With so many separate storylines, it’s rare to see all of our favorite characters in one place. That’s why it was such a big deal when the Dragonpit Summit occurred as Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen parlayed during their war for the Iron Throne. The two queens were surrounded by plenty of major characters, from Jon Snow to Tyrion Lannister and Theon Greyjoy. It’s only fitting that this auspicious moment take place in a place like the ancient amphitheater of Italica. Just outside Seville, in Spain, these ancient Roman ruins made for an atmospheric meeting point and are just as impressive without the GoT characters.
Since the show is based on a series of books called A Song of Ice and Fire, it was important to include ice in the television version, and there’s no better place to find ice than the Nordic island of Iceland. Beyond the name, Iceland also happens to be home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. So could there be any more fitting place to film the scenes Beyond the Wall than at this expansive stretch of ice and its outlet glacier Svínafellsjökull? Strap on a pair of crampons, clutch an ice axe, and you too can walk out on this glacier in eastern Iceland like Jon Snow and the Wildlings. Iceland can often feel like the edge of the world and in GoT it actually is.
Sunrise view to gaztelugatxe island at basque country, Spain
Home to House Targaryen, Dragonstone came back in a big way during Season 7 as Daenerys took back her ancestral home. Although Stannis had held it earlier in the series, there was now a Targaryen back in the castle. Now, while the castle itself along with Daenerys’ dragons may have been computer generated, the long snaking bridge that leads up to Dragonstone is actually real. Found in Basque Country, in northern Spain, this bridge runs along the islet of Gaztelugatxe and allows you to follow in the footsteps of the Mother of Dragons and her entourage. Even without the immense castle, this is one heck of a sight.
We’ve already talked about how Dubrovnik has embodied so much of King’s Landing, but did you know that one part of the city was used for somewhere very different? When Daenerys visits Qarth, her dragons are taken from her and imprisoned in the House of the Undying, it is the exterior of Dubrovnik’s Minceta Tower you see when Daenerys stands outside the House of Undying in search of her dragons. This tower on the corner of the city walls of Dubrovnik is the highest point of the walls and unmissable when visiting Dubrovnik.
Looking back to Season 1, certainly one of the most crucial moments in the story of Daenerys was her wedding to Khal Drogo. Khaleesi may have lost her husband not long after, but this pivotal moment in the first ever episode set the tone for how brutal and complex the series would prove to be. Just as Khal Drogo is no longer with us, so too is the large arch seen in the background of the wedding feast during the episode. The scene was shot on Malta along the rocky coastline by the famous Azure Window, a large coastal arch which collapsed in March of 2017. Still, the coast here is quite scenic, with the inland sea and nearby Dwerja Bay.
The return to Dragonstone for Daenerys was a personally important moment for the queen at the start of Season 7. While the moment she and her closest allies rode towards the castle on her boat was stirring, it paled in comparison to seeing Daenerys kneel down on the beach and feel the sand of her homeland. The fact that Itzurun Beach in northern Spain fits the look of Dragonstone so perfectly, certainly made this moment even more palpable and real. To see this fascinating coast for yourself, you’ll need to find the small town of Zumaia in Spain’s Basque Country.
Winterfell has long been a key location in the world of Game of Thrones. Home to the Stark family and characters like Jon Snow and Hodor, we’ve spent a lot of time watching characters there grow, but also suffer. For all this drama involving the Stark children, we have Castle Ward in Northern Ireland to thank. Now very much a “Game of Thrones destination”, you can do themed tours through the castle grounds, including a recreated archery range like the one used by Bran, Robb, and Jon early on. For the most part Castle Ward was used for exterior and courtyard scenes of Winterfell, as well as other assorted locales as needed.
A major moment in Season 5 is when the Sons of the Harpy attack during a gladiatorial contest at Daznak’s Pit in Meereen. Events turn from Jorah Mormont fighting in hopes of regaining his honor, to Daenerys and many of her closest allies surrounded by all sides inside this huge arena. While the arena was expanded for the show, the real life Plaza de Toros in Osuna is still quite a marvel. Built in 1904, it’s actually not a far cry from what we saw during the ambush, and is a noteworthy landmark in its own right.
Before Daenerys had amassed such a large army, her forces first started with Grey Worm and the Unsullied in Astapor. It was in this coastal city that Daenerys bought the elite force of warriors before turning the warriors on the masters who had once owned them. This is also when we see the infamous moment of Drogon incinerating the master holding his chain. These exterior shots of Astapor all come from the quaint city ramparts of Essaouira, a city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. There’s actually much more of the city to visit beyond the few parts seen in these scenes, so be sure to explore if you go.
Daenerys’ rise to power took the Khaleesi to many cities early on, including that of Meereen. Another slaver city, it was here where she continued her tour of emancipation before things started to go wrong. Meereen quickly became a home to the queen and her advisors over several seasons and the mighty walls of Klis Fortress was often a backdrop to those events. While you won’t find any pyramids in this part of Croatia just outside the city of Split, what you will find is a striking medieval fortress atop a rocky cliff. Thankfully, you also won’t find a trail of crucified slave-owners either along the zigzagging path which takes you up through the fortress.
Game of Thrones has had plenty of intense moments over the years, and the Loot Train attack in Season 7 surely sits chief among them. Watching a dragon swoop down and incinerate a convoy of men like napalm is certainly unforgettable. This dramatic and action-packed scene between Daenerys’ forces and the Lannister army was filmed in the Los Barruecos nature reserve, though you may not be able to recognize it without all the carnage. Off in western Spain, this dry craggy landscape is actually quite beautiful when it’s not being incinerated by dragonfire.
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