23 Game of Thrones set locations which appear on the screen but really exist!
The new and greatly-awaited last season of Game of Thrones is sadly coming to an end and we can't believe it's already been 10 years since the first time we had a glimpse at what was going to become the biggest television success of our century.
So we think that in this emotional time it's just fair to take a small trip down memory lane to relive all the magic set locations of GOT where this masterpiece was filmed. The majority of scenes shot outside were in fact filmed in real places that exist around the globe: Spain, Croatia, Malta, Morocco, Ireland, Iceland ... and they make the imagination of thousands of fans soar.
Get your tissues ready: it's time to visit for once last time the places that made us fall in love with our heroes!
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Spain
Spain has hosted the series many times in different places. Starting in the north, surely you remember the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen to Dragonstone, the fortress island. Wel,l the island used as a base is Gaztelugatxe in the Basque country, slighly modified thanks to the support of computer graphics. Going up 231 steps you'll reach an antique monastery, substituted in the series for a fortress. Even the beach of Itzurun in the city of Zumaia was used for other iconic scenes, for example the cave where Jon Snow found the Dragon Glass.
How do you get to Gaztelugatxe? The island is 45 minutes by car from Bilbao, but it's also reachable by bus if you get off at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe bus stop. Choose one of our best hostels in Bilbao to stay in and discover the most beautiful beaches in the north of Spain.
Gaztelugatxe Island @Daniel Garcia Flickr
In the autonomous region of Aragon, two important Game of Thrones set locations can be found. The first is the natural park of Bardenas Reales, known in the series as the Dothraki Sea. It's a semi-desert area in which the rain has consumed the rocks in unique shapes which gave life to a breath-taking landscape. The park is open from eight in the morning until an hour before sunset and there are different access gates. Before giving it a visit however, we recommend consulting the official tourist website.
The Bardenas Reales in Navarre: photo credits @jabisanz
The second set location is the Zafra Castle, nicknamed in the series as the Tower of Joy, where we finally learn the true origin of Jon Snow. Unfortunately, the inside of the castle is not accessible, but it's still possible to admire it from the outside. The most simple way to reach it is definitely by car. We recommend staying in Saragozza for the night, seeing both places are only an hour by car out of the city.
Zafra castle @Diego Delso flickr
Have you dreamed of visiting Dorne? The royal palace seen in the series is none other than the Alcázar of Seville, the emblematic monument of the city and one of the most visited places in the country. If you are thinking of visiting the splendid architectural structure, tickets for the guided tour should be booked long in advance as the demand is very high. Andalusia is an area full of beauty and definitely deserves to be explored. If you are organising a trip to this Spanish region, have a look at our advice for a Road Trip in Andalusia where we indicate the best hostels in Malaga and Seville, as well as Cordoba and Granada.
Alcázar of Seville: photo credits @rubendvillegas
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Malta
Do you want to widen your knowledge on Dothraki? Hop over to Malta, or more precisely to the Island of Gozzo, a location where the famous wedding of Daenerys and Khal Drogo took place. The celebration was shot in front of the Blue Window, a magnificent limestone cliff in the shape of an arch.
The Blue Window: photo credits @gumps79
As beautiful as Malta is, it's not a surprise that it's actually one of the most popular Game of Thrones set location ever! Some of King's Landing alleys are actually Malta's hidden streets: you will also recognize the Palace of San Anton and its splendid gardens, Mdina (otherwise referred to as L-Imdina or Medina), the ancient Maltese capital, or Fort Manoel, where Ned Stark saw his tragic end.
How to visit these places? Many agencies have taken advantage of the opportunity given to them by this series and they organise themed guided 'Game of Thrones' shooting locations. The only thing that unfortunately cannot be seen is the Blue Window, as it has been washed away in the fury of the sea and buried following a violent storm in 2018. The choice of accommodation in Malta is very wide and varied.
The entrance port to Mdina, which acts as the backdrop to the entrance of the King's Landing.
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Croatia
Dubrovnik, nicknamed the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', has also become one of the symbols of the series as it is none other than King's Landing, the city that appears in practically every episode. Demonstrative of the media phenomenon that has developed thanks to this series, the tourism of the city has literally doubled in the last years. Other places in Dubrovnik that were used as set locations: the beautiful busy port, the backstreets of the city, and above all the Fort of Lovrijenac that represents the Red Fortress in the series.
Another magical place, crucial to the series, is the gardens of King's Landing. Here we see the true side of the relationship between Lady Olenna and her niece Margaery. Well, no green screen was used to film those scene! The garden is real as it's called Arboretum of Trsteno, around 30 minutes from Dubrovnik. This enchanting location is an ancient botanical garden with rare and exotic plants sourced from all over the world. Entrance costs around 6 euros, and it's easily reachable from Dubrovnik even by bus.
Arboretum of Trsteno @Shadowgate Flickr
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Morocco
Daenerys it's not only the ultimate queen of the Seven Kingdoms, is also apparently Queen of Morocco! The city of Essaouira has been turned into Astapor, one of the cities of the Bay of Slaves, with the iconic huge gate dominated by jezebel statue. Ait-Ben-Haddou instead is the real name of Yunkai, another slave city conquered by Daenerys in season three. We recommend sleeping in Essaouira, the city offers a great variety of accommodation.
The city of Ait Benhadou: photo credits @_kmil
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Ireland
We return to the north to discovers other amazing Game of Thrones set locations choosen to rapresent Westeros, the epic western continent. The county of Antrim has recently hosted new scenes of the 8th season, while along a secondary road of the village of Armoy we find the The Dark Hedges, the mysterious forest in which Arya Stark run for her life. The intertwined branches of the trees and the general dark atmosphere of the forest do for the perfect filming location!
The Dark Hedges: photo credits @wheniamroaming
If instead your more a House Greyjoy kind of guys, then you may want to visit the set of the Iron Islands. Ballintoy, a small fishing village located (once again) in the county of Atrim, is seen as the port where Theon Greyjoy arrives to find his family. The long (and very awkward) walk between Theon and his sister occurs along the beach of Murlough Bay. The Dunluce Castle acts instead as model for Pyke Castle, the heart of the Greyjoy Household.
Murlough Bay @Kyle Monahan Flickr
If you decide to stay in Derry, the nearest city to the filming locations, you can experience one of the many themed guided tours departing from there.
Game of Thrones shooting locations in Iceland
Do you want to hop "beyond the wall" and visit the ultimate Game of Thrones filming set? Then your destination must be Iceland! The island appears in many panoramic shots of the Land of Always Winter, that dreadfull piece of ice beyond the wall where the White Walkers used to spend their time (before marching towards Winterfell with a dead dragon). The snowy landscapes of Vatnajökull National Park were used to shoot outdoor scenes while the Svínafellsjökull glacier inside the park was turned into the impressive hill of the Fist of the First Men. Excursions are organised in this park and the organisers make sure that adequate equipment and touristic guides are available.
The glacier of Svínafellsjökull: photo credits @asasch
A second place to visit is the Grótagjá cave, located on the eastern shores of lake Myvatn, where the wilding Ygritte finally told Jhon what we have always known to be true: "you know nothing, Jhon Swon". If you were wondering how the two actors didn't freeze to death, buked naked in the middle of an iced cave, the answer is that the cave is home to a thermal spring with really hot water. The temperature is so high that it's absolutely forbidden to go for a swim!
Grjótagjá Cave: photo credits @michael_schmidmeister
The beaches of black sand seen in the series have sparked your curiosity? The scenes were filmed in Vik, where the sand turned out pitch black thanks to the volcanic origins of the island. Even in this scenografic location, it's not possible to swim, due to the glacial temperature of the water; however it's possible to take a really beautiful photo even from the cliff.
The black beaches of Vik: photo credits @_marcelsiebert
Remember that in order to visit these places in Iceland the car is mandatory: you can hire one even once you have already arrived on the island.
Our tour around the (real) world on the search for the most famous shooting locations of Game of Thrones has ended, as well has the serie TV itself... we just have to find out who's finally gonna sit on the Iron Throne!
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