With ruthless battles, revengeful plots, fiery gigantic dragons and the scary white walkers, the most anticipated drama, fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones has won so many hearts over the years. The TV show has witnessed an epic elevation of 12.1 million views for its season 7 finale (The Dragon and the Wolf).
Besides its engaging characters, the TV show has shot on various wondrous locations; making them the most wanted travel destinations among avid travellers, especially from its huge fan base.
So fans of the east, fans of the west, fans of the north, fans of the south, and avid travellers of the world, get ready to discover some of the stunning locations shot for the Game of Thrones TV show, while waiting for its season 8.
IRELAND- Game of Thrones
Located in Strangford, the northern part of Ireland, this classic 18th century mansion served as the Winterfell Castle of the show. It is nestled on an enchanting rolling hillside overlooking the Strangford Lough.
The castle has been designed with a blend of Georgian and Gothic architecture. It is owned by the National Trust, where you can book for the guided tour (main house), but you can also visit the property freely. The 322 hectares of walled demesne is composed of a theatre, restaurant, bookshop, landscaped gardens, tea room, Victorian laundry, saw and corn mills, including the fortified tower house.
For the adventurous spirits, there are fun activities such as canoeing to the Lough, abseiling the cliffs, or building raft. You can take a leisurely stroll through the woodlands to meet animals such as ducks, swans, rabbit, and butterflies.
The impressive Ballintoy Harbour (Northern Townland) is home to the sublime 17th century Ballintoy Parish Church. It features some stunning volcanic rock formations, such as the ‘elephant rock’, and also has a shoreline with metamorphosed chalk. This small fishing harbour has welcomed the Game of Thrones crew, where Theon Greyjoy met his sister Yara for the first time, and where he was also baptised.
This place is ideal for those who are keen on taking pictures of fabulous landscapes. Find picturesque sceneries, including the cliffs, green rolling hills, winding roads, stationed boats, seabirds, and the Parish Church with Rathlin Island as a backdrop. The region is also known for its teeming Atlantic wildlife such as dolphins and birds of prey.
The incredibly beautiful 18th century Mussenden Temple was erected in the honour of Frideswide Mussenden, the cousin of the Earl Bishop (Frederick Augustus Hervey). The circular temple is perched on a 120 ft cliff in the north-western part of Northern Ireland. The temple gloriously overlooks the Downhill Strand and the Castlerock beach. Its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.
Mussenden Temple was once served as a summer library, and it was here where Melisandre (the priestess) burned the old gods. You can enjoy the blissful views of the northern coast of the country and some far-away Scottish Western Isles as well.
The Tollymore Forest is a park of 630 hectares of lush trees located at Bryansford, northern Ireland. The forest is blessed with enchanting views of the Mourne Mountains, and the Shimna River, which flows through the park crossing 16 bridges. At its entrance and exit, there are some captivating Gothic gate arches.
For hiking enthusiasts, the park provides 4 walking trails having signposts of different colored arrows. There are also fun outdoor activities like camping and even horse riding. It is equally an ideal location for picnics with a wonderful children’s corner.
The Tollymore Forest was the shooting set of Winterfell, where Ned Stark came across the orphaned direwolves. It was also used as the set where Theon was stalked by Ramsay Snow.
Served as the King’s Road, the Dark Hedges has become one of the admiral tourist attractions of Northern Ireland. The rows of the 18th-century beech trees were meant to embellish the road leading to the estate of the Stuart family. Over time, they have matured, which caused their upper branches to intermingle creating a shadowy hedge.
CROATIA- Game of Thrones
Depicted as a sublime historical city in southern Croatia, the captivating Dubrovnik is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage site. Its main highlight is its Old Town, which is encompassed by massive stone walls dated back to the 16th century. It is nestled on the Adriatic Sea, featured as one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediterranean sea.
This place was likely the set of King’s landing where Cersei did the walk of shame down the steps in front of the Church St. Ignatius of Loyola. The city was once served as a haven of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world. It was inhabited by diplomats, sailors, merchants, and other rich people who led a sophisticated lifestyle. There are well-preserved historical buildings, notably, the Gothic Rector’s Palace, the baroque St Blaise Church and the Renaissance Sponza Palace, among others. The city is well contrasted with the orange tiled roofs, azure Adriatic sea from one side, and green mountain from the other side.
The 15th century Minceta Tower is an iconic defensive citadel of Croatia, which was featured as the exterior of the House of the Undying in Qarth, where Daenerys goes looking for her dragons. The rounded tower was named after the Menčetić family, who owned the land in which it was built. The walls of the tower are 6m thick, and it has a Gothic crown as the roof. Enjoy some breathtaking views over the azure sea and part of the splendid city.
Just some 20 kilometres north of Dubrovnik, find the splendid Trsteno, a seasidy settlement from the 5th century. Trsteno is mostly appreciated for its arboretum, where Olenna Tyrell held court in the King’s landing palace gardens.
It is believed that in the early 14th century there were settlements in this region, which eventually became part of the Republic of Ragusa. The arboretum covering an area of over 60 acres was created by a noble family in the late 15th century. You can expect over 300 variants of exotic plants from all over the world, including olive trees and different Mediterranean tree species.
SPAIN- Game of Thrones
San Juan Gaztelugatxe- Basque Country
San Juan Gaztelugatxe is among the top impressive film locations of the Game of Thrones, where it was used as Dragonstone. This islet is located in the Basque country in Spain, where it can be accessed by a connecting man-made bridge from the mainland. There is a church on the top of the islet, some 80 metres above the sea level. Expect to walk about 241 steps along the meandering stone bridge from the mainland, way up to the church. There is a bell in the front of its facade, so don’t forget to ring the bell three times to make a wish.
Alcázar of Seville
The paradise realm of the Alcázar was rightly chosen by the Game of Thrones team as the Dorne’s Water Palace-the enchanting abode of the Martell family. Alcázar showcases the harmonious blend of the Moorish/Arabic, and Gothic architecture from the Medieval Iberia (8th to 15th century). It is a protected World Heritage Site, due to its historical and cultural sublime architectures and impressive garden-orchards with numerous water fountains.
In season 7 we saw the epic Loot Train Attack, where the Mother of Dragon took matters into her hands by unleashing drogon and dothraki to attack the Lannister army. This whole scenario took place at the Los Barruecos National Park, where there are precambrian granite formations, cave paintings, remains of a Neolithic village, granite anthropomorphic tombs and wildlife. It is located in western Spain’s Extremadura region.
One of the long-awaited episodes was the gathering of all of the major Game of Thrones characters at the Dragonpit. That was set at Itálica-an area of Roman ruins with a 20,000- seat amphitheatre built in 206 BC. It was the birthplace of emperors like Trajan and Hadrian.
If you are visiting that place, do enjoy the incredible views of the ruins, aqueducts, and temple dedicated to Trajan, and also the environment, where you can find the cypress trees everywhere.
MOROCCO- Game of Thrones
Ait Ben Haddou
Majestically nestled in Ouarzazate province, along the old caravan trade route in southern Morocco, the Ait Ben Haddou earthen city is a protected site by the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This fortified city is made of mud bricks with thick defensive walls, making it a popular film shooting destination. It has featured in many movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Jewel of the Nile, and of course in Game of Thrones as the Yunkai. The 17th century city consists of kasbahs, ksour, mosque, caravanserai, and a public square.
ICELAND- Game of Thrones
Vatnajökull is Europe’s largest glacier located in Iceland. It is represented as ‘beyond the wall’ of the show. It covers over 8% of Iceland, with an average thickness of 400m and maximum thickness of 1000 m of ice. One interesting fact about this place is the fact that there are several volcanoes under the glaciers. Many hiking and ice caving tours are organised, the ice caves are normally formed during the winter.
Another Icelandic shooting spot of the show was at Grjótagjá, a small volcanic cave featuring Ygritte and Jon Snow’s subterranean love scene. It is located at the Lake Mývatn area, which is mostly used as a bathing spot. The natural hot spring is caused by volcanic activity deep in the earth.
Thingvellir National Park
The World Heritage Site Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is a national park in Iceland, which has a historical and geological significance altogether. The name itself can be translated to ‘fields of parliament’-an open air assembly which was established in 930. Here, the Asatru belief system (Old Norse paganism) was abandoned to replace with Christianity in 1000 AD for the fear of a Norwegian invasion. Game of Thrones fans will recognise this place where Brienne and the Hound fought in a bloody battle.