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Ever wondered where Game of Thrones is filmed? Want to visit for yourself?
Whilst Spring may well be upon this (at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), Winter is of course still coming.
April 2019 finally sees the world premiere of the climactic Series 8 of Game of Thrones. And it’s gonna be the last season ever!
For nearly a decade now, Game of Thrones has entranced audiences the world over with its epic mix of murder, magic and mystery. The forthcoming final series is sure to be the most awesome yet and we are all eagerly wondering what will happen? Will the forces of the undead overwhelm the world of the living? Will Jon Snow and Daenerys get it on again?! More importantly though, will Theon Greyjoy’s d*** grow back?!
As a passionate travel geek, what I really love about GOT is playing spot the location (I always win in my house). I love the way the series utilities some of the most awesome and inspiring places in the world as its stunning backdrops and turns these places into the fictional places evocatively brought to life in the books of George R. R. Martin.
Fancy sunbathing in Dorne? Well how about bartering for trinkets in Kings Landing? Because you know, it is kind of possible to do both of these by visiting the real versions.
In a celebration of the greatest TV show ever (yes we know the books are even better…) let’s take a look at some of the best Game of Thrones locations which you can visit independently or on a GOT themed tour…
Kings Landing –Dubrovnik, Croatia
The poster boy of the former Yugoslavia is now the poster boy of Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik’s old city is one of the most atmospheric and mesmerizing in the world. Dubrovnik has been regaining popularity as a tourist hotpot ever since Croatia emerged triumphantly from the post Yugoslavia Balkan meltdown. The city then then found a whole new fan base after been used as the location for Kings Landing in Game of Thrones.
Because of this, it does tend to get crowded during high summer so our insiders advice is to try and visit in early spring, autumn or even winter. Dubrovnik makes a perfect stop on a Balkan itinerary and easily be combined with visits to UNESCO listed Kotor in Montenegro and Bosnia’s fascinating little capital city of Sarajevo
Highlights are strolling around the old city, taking the view over the walls and paddling in the azure blue Croatian med.
A lesser frequented Croatian gem is Sibernica which was used as Braavos. There are also quite a few other Croatian destinations featured in the show; the city of Meereen is actually Kliss Fortress Croatia.
Headed to Croatia? Then check out our Croatia hostel guide to find the best budget digs!
Kings Road (Road from Kings Landing) – The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one the United Kingdoms true treasures. It receives a tenth of the attention Scotland gets and yet is equally as beautiful and complex. This is at last being recognised. The famous Dark Hedges on was used as the famous road from Kings Landing (from where many an adventure begins). Other highlights are of course the geological phenomena Giants Causeway.
Flights from most mainland UK airports to Belfast can be found for as little as £20 or you can sail there from Hollyhead. Alternatively, you an simply drive up from Dublin in 2 hours and you wont even need to do a passport check.
Belfast has a turbulent history but the troubles are now over. The city is rapidly reviving and fast becoming one of the UKs most happening. It has a delicious culinary scene and some lively, welcoming bard. The Northern Irish capital is great for weekend getaways makes a perfect base for your Game of Thrones adventure.
Northern Ireland has been used extensively in the show. The real life Winterfell, Doune Castle, is also in Northern Ireland and Murlough Bay doubles as the foreboding Iron Islands. In fact, so much of th series has been shot here that NI is the perfect place to take an awesome Game of Thrones location tour.
North of Westeros – Thingvelli, Iceland
Iceland is the most throne-siest game of thrones destination imaginable. The country is basically built on active thermal volcanoes which are then covered in ice and snow – It is quite literally the land of fire and ice and therefore the absolute definitive GOT location.
Iceland is serviced by Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport which handles affordable, budget flights from across Europe. On the ground costs however, are pretty high. Iceland is amongst the most expensive countries in the world so do make sure you have the budget.
Iceland capital city of Reykjavik is unique, a small welcoming Christmas card which feels more like a small, cosy town than a European capital. It is a perfect base for short breaks. Highlights of Iceland are the Golden Circle tour which you can easily do as a day trip from Reykjavik ($75 – $100) and of course, it’s a favourite destination to view the Northern Lights.
GOT fans however, should head to Thingvelli which has been used extensively in the show. Iceland is of course famous for its thermal springs. Rather than visit the tourist trap that is he blue lagoon though, Throne Fans should visit Grjotagja Cave where Jon Snow broke his vow of Chasity with the late Ygritte.
If you reach Iceland during the long winters, you will feel like you are north of the Wall pretty much wherever you are. In Summer, the snows do thaw giving way to lush, green mountain-scapes.
If you are headed to Iceland then you should definitely check out our epic Backpacking Iceland guide!
Dorne – Seville, Spain
The dreamy Moorish landscapes of Southern Spain were surely George R Martins inspiration for the scorched kingdom of Dorne. Furthermore the passionate, flamboyant Spanish people bear more than a passing resemblance to Dornes beautiful and deadly inhabitants.
The stunning Royal Alkcazar in Seville doubled as the opulent Royal Palace of Doon, and the stunning Cordoba bridge also featured as part of Valantis.
(If you need a Seville hostel then this run down may prove helpful)
Spain is one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations and it’s easy to see why. The country offers great weather, an embarrassment of classic cities, sandy beach’s and rolling mountains. It’s also a lot more budget friendly than people realize. I will personally spending some time here in summer 2019 so maybe I’ll see you there!
If you are headed to Spain then you should check out our awesome guide to backpacking Spain.
Astapor – Essaouria, Morocco
Morocco is another one of budget backpacking’s best kept secrets. It’s cheap, it’s beautiful and there is history & adventure at every twist and turn.
Essaouria straddles the country’s Atlantic coast. It is a haunting and evocative ancient fishing port which was used as the city of Astapor where Daenerys Tygarion famously freed all the slaves and raised her army of unsullied warriors.
Highlights of the city include walks along the ancient ramparts, bartering for gorgeous designer clothes in the Souk, and sampling the delicious fresh fish and sweet mint tea.
Essaouria is easy to combine with a short(ish) break to Marrakesh or you can make it an integral part of a longer Moroccan backpacking itinerary. The rail network around the country is extensive and cheap so you can take a trip here relatively easily. Other Moroccan destinations featured in the series are Pentos: Ourzazate and Yunaki & Pentos: Ait Benhaddou.
If you want more information about backpacking Morocco, then check out our awesome guide.
That’s All For Today Folks!
Of course, there are many more incredible locations used in the Game of Thrones series and I expect even more to come. It could take a lifetime of travel to visit them all, but the ones featured here are the best.
We hope you enjoyed that little round up. Mostly though, we hope you are excited to go and see these places for yourself, and excited for the new season of Game of Thrones. I know we are!
See you on the road.
Freeborn Aiden. Failed musician turned adventurer and writer. Breaker of a thousand hearts and father to as many illegitimate children. Can say “Fuck Off” in 5 languages but tends to stick to English. Has a surly unemployable face. Loves cats, mountains, Daal Bhat and travels with a hair dryer. Approach with caution.