Game of thrones (GOT), anyone? Or rather, everyone?! This TV series has gained a massive fan base ever since its first season. That could be due to its medieval but very addictive story plot that manages to break at least 10 different social barriers in every episode. The fact that each season only has 10 to 12 episodes and only gets released once a year has fans looking high and low for something or anything GOT-related, from online quizzes to fan theories, just to get them through the rest of the year.
But besides the story plot and amazing cast, it’s evident that GOT has gorgeous film sets and locations that the crew searched all over for, just to suit the medieval and detailed descriptions that author George R.R. Martin wrote about. And no, these locations aren’t just in Belfast! Here are the GOT filming locations that are just so incredibly stunning that even the non-GOT fans should visit:
This historic town in Croatia was chosen as the filming location for the infamous King’s Landing (that is currently, despicably, ruled by the Lannisters). This gorgeous town suits the description so well that barely any special effects were required to enhance the scenes. A visit to this town would not only remind fans of the scenes at King’s Landing, but the many scenes that took place in the narrow streets of Dubrovnik too.
Sibenik is used as the filming location for Braavos, a city in GOT that is crucially mentioned in every season. Braavos is also known as the richest and the most powerful of the Free Cities. The majority of the filming here took place in Season 5 and 6, and centres around Arya’s story plot.
Fun fact: depicted in art history with a sword in his hand and a dragon under his feet, Sibenik’s patron saint, St. Michael, is said to have been a dragon slayer!
Real Alcázar Palace, Seville, Spain
This gorgeous palace in Spain was chosen as the filming location for House Martell, the Water Gardens. Ah, the Martells. Remember Oberyn, sweet, charming Oberyn, that really didn’t deserve to die! The Alcázar Palace is also one of Seville’s most beloved monuments and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not surprising to see why this place is chosen for the role of the Water Gardens, especially with its detailed plasterwork, beautiful ceramic tiles, gold ceilings, and fairytale-like colonnaded patios.
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Okay, remember that scene where Arya ran away from King’s Landing with Gendry, (Oh yeah, speaking of which, WHERE IS GENDRY?!) Yoren, and Hot Pie amongst others, and they travelled along this woody tunnel that seemed almost too magical to be real? It is real, and it’s in Northern Ireland. This enchanting tree tunnel is filled with beech trees that were planted all the way back in the 18th century by the Stuart Family. The tree’s branches expanded and grew together over time, creating a picturesque view that is beautiful in every light and in all seasons!
Doune Castle, Scotland
Yes, this was the castle that Bran climbed and got pushed down and became paralysed. This castle, located in Scotland, was chosen for the role of Winterfell, the residence of House Stark, the most loved and mistreated family in the series. Dourne Castle was said to be built in the 13th century, by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. This very historic castle stretches for 8 miles (12.9 kilometres) and consists of so many rooms, proving to be a perfect place as a filming location.
Kliss Fortress, Croatia
Yes, another Croatian destination! This time, for the role of Meereen, the greatest of the three great city-states of the Bay of Dragons. Kliss Fortress was used for the majority of Danaerys and Tyrion’s storyline in seasons 4 and 5. (Remember that scene where Danaerys was entering Meereen and was greeted with 163 crucified child slaves?) This medieval fortress has a long history, said to be 2-thousand years old, and it once served as a major defence for the city Dalmatia.
Grjótagjá Cave, Iceland
Jon Snow, Ygritte, cave, Jon breaking his Night’s Watch vows … remember anything yet? Yes, this is Jon and Ygritte’s love nest. Iceland’s Grjótagjá Cave is just like most other caves and volcanic formations in Iceland. It comes with beautiful scenic formations that will make any visitor feel as if they’ve been led into a secret natural wonder. Which was exactly the role it played in the very crucial season 3. This cave also boasts natural hot springs that are heated by the volcanic activity.
Ouarzazate, a town in Morocco, was chosen to play the role of Yunkai, also known as Yellow City, one of the three great Ghiscari city-states of Slaver’s Bay. Filming in Ouarzazate first started for season 3, and the majority was for Danaerys’ scenes. It was also where Daario broke his contract with the Wise Masters of Yunkai to declare that he’s on Danaerys’ team. A traditional town of Morocco, its name means “without noise” or “without confusion”.
Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
Ballintoy is a small village located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This was the location for Pyke and Iron Islands. The Castle of Pyke lies on Pyke Island, which served as the seat for House Greyjoy, whose lord is Lord Reaper of Pyke. The Castle of Pyke was once said to be located within Pyke but is now located on stone stacks after segments of land fell into the sea. During the filming of the series, limited public access was granted, which caused unhappiness with the locals in Ballintoy, especially the fishermen, who had to temporarily berth their boats in Ballycastle. They were, however, compensated by the production crew.
Magheramorne Quarry, Northern Ireland
Also in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, lies another filming location for one of the major sets: The Wall, or Castle Black. And no, contrary to popular believe, the in-real-life location isn’t filled with endless snow and definitely does not experience winter all year round. In fact, author George R.R. Martin said that the place was “wet and rainy, and the mud is thick”. This abandoned quarry had its courtyard, stone wall, and more as the basis for the Ice Wall. For the filming, an elevator and a castle with real rooms and an elevator were built 400 feet (122 metres) high. However, the scenes that were filmed at the top of the wall took place in Paint Hall Studios in Belfast.
Tollymore Forest, Northern Ireland
Remember that scene where the Starks met the direwolves? Yes, that scene took place in this very forest in Northern Ireland. The direwolves are said to be the most intelligent and largest species of wolf, and the House of Stark sigil features a grey direwolf on a white field. This area was also the first state forest park in Northern Ireland. Tollymore Forest is home to quite an impressive variety of animals, including deer, red and grey squirrels, woodpeckers, Mandarin ducks, and more. It was also the location for other scenes in GOT as well.
Hold the door!
So, hopefully that helped to cure some of your GOT withdrawal symptoms! Also, most of the places listed also feature their very own day tours that are exclusively GOT-themed. So go on, re-enact your favourite scenes and plan your trip!
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