Travel to these Game of Thrones filming locations
and know more than Jon Snow.
Winter has arrived in Westeros, but we won’t get to see any signs of it until 2019 when the last season of Game of Thrones glues us to our screens once again. Until then, don’t be Jon Snow who knows nothing. Find out more about how and where your favourite TV show was made, and fill the void by travelling to its filming locations in Europe to get a taste of Ice & Fire.
Best time to visit: April–June and September–October
The Alcázar, Seville
A royal palace built for King Peter of Castile on the site of a Moorish fortress, the Alcázar today is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. In the fifth season of Game of Thrones, this palace served as the home of Prince Doran Martell, Oberyn’s older brother, of the southern kingdom of Dorne.
Plaza de Toros, Osuna
Located in the district of Seville, Osuna is home to baroque palaces and churches, and the second most beautiful street in Europe — Calle San Pedro — as declared by UNESCO. The Plaza de Toros or the Bullring in Osuna stood for the Great Pit of Daznak, the largest fighting pit in the city of Meereen, as seen in the fifth season of Game of Thrones when Daenerys escapes on the back of her dragon after the gathering is attacked by the Sons of Harpy. You can take a guided tour to the bullring, which opened in the 1900s and has a seating capacity of 6,500, and also check out other nearby locations such as the church, the university, and a local quarry.
Girona is the capital of the Girona province in Catalonia and is situated 98 km from Barcelona. With a rich history and culture, the old town of Girona stands on a hill along the eastern shore of the river Onyar. One of the most famous landmarks of the area is the Girona Cathedral, a Gothic-style church built between 11th and 18th centuries, which featured on the show as the exterior of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing, where Jaime Lannister arrived with the Tyrell army to stop Queen Margaery’s walk of shame in season six. The labyrinthine cobbled streets, medieval churches, and the ancient fortresses in the Jewish Quarter of Girona’s Old Town have also been used to depict the Free City of Braavos, where a blind Arya Stark is seen begging and being attacked by the Waif. Girona’s festival square Plaça dels Jurats provides the outdoor setting for the theatre where Arya watches the enactment of the Purple Wedding. Book your walking tour here.
Best time to visit: May–June and September–October
Dubrovnik is a historic city that flourished as trading powerhouse in the 15th and 16th centuries. It remained war-torn for many years after the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, but has re-emerged after repair and restoration to become, since the early 2000s, one of the tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. The hard-to-miss red rooftops will immediately help you identify this place as the setting for numerous deceits and lies, gruesome beheadings, and the infamous walk of shame — King’s Landing! Book your tour here.
Fun Fact: The city also featured in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the casino city of Canto Bight.
Overlooking Croatia’s second-largest city, Split, this nearly 2,000-year old fortress is most well known for its 16th century defence against Ottoman invasion. It served as the site where Daenerys Targaryen purges the city of Meereen of it slave owners by crucifying them along the way. Book a tour of Split and the fortress here.
Less of a palace and more of a large fortress, this ancient monument located in the centre of Split was built in the fourth century AD in preparation for the retirement of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. As the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. During the fourth and fifth seasons of the series, it was used for filming the interiors of the city of Meereen.
The Cathedral of St. James’
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this cathedral in the city of Šibenik is one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Croatia. Keen-eyed fans will identify this area as the House of Black and White in Braavos, where Arya Stark went to train with Jaqen H’ghar.
Best time to visit: June–October
Thingvellir National Park
Located 40 km away from the capital city of Reykjavík in southern Iceland, Thingvellir is a historical site where Iceland’s democratic parliament, one of the first in the world, was founded in 930 AD. The rugged rift valley with its dramatic landscape featured in the fourth season as the impregnable Eyrie, when Arya Stark and The Hound are on their way to hopefully reunite with the former’s aunt. When that plan fails and the two meet Lady Brienne, Thingvellir also provided the backdrop for the ensuing, now famous battle between her and The Hound. Plan your tour here.
This is the famous Love Cave of Jon Snow and Ygritte from season three. Although the actual place was not used for filming as the natural pool in it is too hot for a dip, its model, created in a studio, served the purpose. It is located in the northeast of Iceland, close to Lake Myvatn, which was also used as the location where Mance Rayder and the Free Folk set up camp. Take a tour here and enjoy its dreamy atmosphere.
Kirkjufell, or the Church Mountain, is the most photographed mountain in Iceland, and is located in the north coast of the country’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður. Referred to as the Arrowhead Mountain on the show, it appeared in season six as the place where the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker. We got another glimpse of it in the seventh season when Jon Snow and the “heroes” go Beyond the Wall to capture a Wight. Here is where you may book a tour.
Skaftafell National Park and Myrdalsjokull Glacier
The Skaftafell Area is located 140 km away from the coastal village of Vík and 319 km away from Reykjavík. Jagged snow-covered mountains surround many glacial tongues and add to the majestic scenery of this area. With a history of a strong volcanic eruption that wiped out an entire community in 1362, this site does the most justice to the title, A Song of Ice and Fire. It served as the area Beyond the Wall that Jon and Ygritte have to traverse in the third season to reach Mance Rayder. The Myrdalsjokull Glacier, near Vík, also served as the Fist of the First Men, a landmark Beyond the Wall that is used by ranging parties from the Night’s Watch as a fallback position in case of any altercation with the Free Folk. Book your tour here.
Best time to visit: June–August
Voted by Architectural Digest US as one of the most beautiful places in the world, the already famous Dark Hedges in County Antrim shot to greater fame after it featured on the HBO series. In season one, we saw the place as King’s Road, whereas in the next season, it is the place to which Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, flees in an attempt to join the Night’s Watch.
A church dating back to 1785, this circular building has been holding civil wedding ceremonies since 2007. Located on cliffs near Castlerock in County Londonderry, this place was transformed on the show as Dragonstone, the ancestral home of the Targaryens and briefly the stronghold of Stannis Baratheon.
Located right near the cliffs of the Mussenden Temple, this Special Area of Conservation (SAC) with its vibrant bird life was where Melisandre burned the Seven Gods worshipped in Westeros and declared, “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”
Tollymore Forest Park
Spread over an area of 1,600 acres in the county of Down, the Tollymore Forest Park served as the setting for the Haunted Forest in the first season where — with and without snow — we see the first White Walkers, and the Stark children find their direwolves.
After you’re done sightseeing, check out Bushmill’s in Antrim, the oldest whiskey distillery in the world.
Featured Image Courtesy: vogue.com