The final season of Game of Thrones will soon come to its epic conclusion – who will sit on the Iron Throne once it’s all over?! – but that doesn’t mean the adventure is over! Part of what makes the show so captivating is its use of beautiful real-life filming locations around the world. It’s time to add Essos and Westeros to your bucket list.
The coastal city of Dubrovnik, Croatia has been one of Game of Thrones’ most prominent filming locations, mostly for the exteriors of Westeros’ capital city, King’s Landing. Dubrovnik’s Lovrijenac Fort was the set for most of the Red Keep scenes, the West Pier for Blackwater Bay, and the Jesuit Stairs off St. Dominka Street for Cersei Lannister’s walk of atonement. Elsewhere, the Minceta Tower was used to represent the House of the Undying in Qarth, and in a small museum on the island of Lokrum, just a 15-minute ferry ride away, sits the Iron Throne itself.
You’ll have plenty of time to explore Dubrovnik (as well as Split, another key location for Game of Thrones) on the Explore Croatia tour.
The town of Split, on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, has also helped shape the landscape of Game of Thrones – most notably, Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd Century and the location of Daenerys Targaryen’s throne room in Meereen, and the Klis Fortress, which overlooks the city and represents the exterior of Meereen, as seen in Season 6 when Varys and Tyrion Lannister walk through the city dressed as peasants.
A Sailing Adventure from Split to Dubrovnik is a great way for Thronies to tick both these iconic Game of Thrones filming locations off their bucket lists.
"Grjótagjá" by John of Wirral is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Many of Game of Thrones beyond-the-Wall scenes were filmed among – where else? – the dramatic landscapes of Iceland, including one memorable scene from the third season during which Jon Snow and wildling Ygritte find themselves in a cave and Jon Snow breaks one of his vows from the Night’s Watch...
In real life the cave is Grjótagjá, located near Lake Mývatn in northern Iceland and famous for its beautiful geothermal hot spring. Make a trip here on the Iceland Walking Explorer tour.
Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
The medieval town of Aït Benhaddou, Morocco has featured in a number of high-profile films over the years – including Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and Jesus of Nazareth (1977), for which much of the town was rebuilt – but most recently it was chosen as the scene for Game of Thrones’ slaver city, Yunkai, in which Daenerys arrives in the third season.
The real-life Aït Benhaddou, located around 190km from nearby Marrakech, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and, with its centuries-old mud-brick buildings, is a striking example of Moroccan architecture. Visit one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas on the Morocco Uncovered tour.
Alcázar of Seville, Spain
The Alcázar of Seville in Andalucia is recognised as the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use – its upper chambers are still used by the Spanish royal family as their residence in Seville. Dating back to Roman times, and later used by both Moorish and Christian rulers, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
In season 5, the Alcázar and its gardens are introduced as the seat of House Martell in Dorne. While the Martells’ plotline may not have won over fans, a visit to the breathtaking real-life Alcázar surely will. Visit the Alcázar on our tour of Authentic Andalucia.
Trsteno Arboretum, Trsteno, Croatia
"Opening to the sea" by jan.stefka is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The serene Trsteno Arboretum in Croatia is a fortified garden landscape with cobblestone paths and scenic ocean views, which also doubles up as the extensive gardens of the Red Keep. First introduced in Season 3 shortly after the Tyrells arrive in King’s Landing, the Trsteno Arboretum features prominently in Game of Thrones for the next couple of seasons, as a favourite haunt of Margaery and Olenna Tyrell (whose house sigil is a rose).
Bring the kids along on a Family Adventure to Croatia which takes in, not only the Trsteno Arboretum, but the cities of Dubrovnik and Split.
The port city of Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, is the perfect antidote to frenetic Marrakech 160km to the East. The town’s name translates from Arabic as “little picture”, a name it lives up to with its charming painted-shutter houses, sprawling beaches and beautiful coastal ramparts.
Game of Thrones’ fans will recognise it as the fictional city of Astapor, home of the army of the ‘Unsullied’ until Daenerys liberates them in the third season. Take in Essaouira on our Cycling Tour of Morocco’s Great South.
Svínafellsjökull Glacier, Iceland
The outlet glacier Svínafellsjökull is around 1,000 years old, one of the bluest glaciers in Iceland, and a favourite spot for glacier hikers. It has an otherworldly landscape and has been a filming location for famous films such as Batman Begins, Star Wars, and Interstellar. It was also the set for many of the ‘beyond-the-Wall’ scenes of seasons two and three of Game of Thrones, for example when Jon and the Night’s Watch captured Ygritte.
Enjoy some fantastic photo opportunities at Svínafellsjökull on the Iceland Northern Lights tour.