Game of Thrones season 7 has come and gone and, quite frankly, we’re at a loss without it. As we brace ourselves for the long wait until the arrival of season 8, we’ve taken the time to find new ways to get our fix of White Walkers and fire-breathing dragons!
From repeatedly re-watching favorite episodes to arguing over plot points on social media, there are many ways in which fans like us can quench our Games of Thrones thirst. But at Fluid and Form, we think we’ve found a better way; one which combines the hit TV series and our passion for travel. And we think you’ll love it!
6 Game of Thrones Filming Locations For You To Explore
As most Game of Thrones fans will know, the TV series has shown us a wide range of breathtaking settings. And while some of these are created with a touch of studio magic, most are very real places that you can visit. The idea of visiting Game of Thrones locations is not one that occurs to everyone. But when you see some of the Game of Thrones filming locations, we think you’ll soon see why they’re growing in popularity.
Take Iceland, for example. Since being a Game of Thrones shooting location, the magical land of fire and ice has seen a huge surge in visitors. In 2011, the annual visitors numbered 566,000 – this was the very same year that Game of Thrones premiered. But 2016 saw some 1.8 million visitors. It’s little wonder that it’s being referred to as “The Game of Thrones effect”.
Where is Game of Thrones Filmed?
So where was Game of Thrones shot? Let’s take a look at just some of the Game of Thrones filming locations that you can visit yourself. For the most part, the following 6 locations are very affordable and offer plenty of opportunity for adventure!
A Game of Thrones tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Northern Ireland. Arguably the hub of all things Game of Thrones, it’s there that you’ll find The Paint Hall which is the largest film studio in Europe. Located in the capital city of Belfast, it’s used for the various interior sets such as the Iron Throne and the Red Keep. While not open to the public, there are plenty of other Northern Ireland Game of Thrones locations for you to explore.
Northern Ireland is split into six counties, each of which has its own unique charm. There are mountains and moorlands, forests and fantastical castles. Basically, it’s perfect for those seeking an outdoor adventure! The diversity of its landscape made it a popular filming location. In particular, we recommend you pay a visit to Castle Ward in County Down. The 18th century National Trust property was home to House Stark. But beware the Boltons!
Nearby is Tollymore Forest which was used as a filming location for numerous scenes including the Stark encounter with the six orphaned direwolves. Luckily your chances of coming across a direwolf are about the same as those of meeting a White Walker – slim to none! Nevertheless, Tollymore Forest is where the White Walkers began their infamous march. Why not follow in their footsteps?
Next, we’ll head to County Antrim. Remember the scene in which Melisandre gave birth to the shadow creature? That scene was shot in Cushendun Caves. Enter if you dare! Formed over a period of 400 million years, it’s fair to say the caves have seen their fair share of drama. As you’ll no doubt experience on your trip to Northern Ireland, the weather is very changeable so be sure to take an Eagle 4K camera with waterproof housing so that you never miss a moment!
Cast your mind back to season 1 of Game of Thrones. Do you remember your first sighting of King’s Landing? What about Pentos? It seems so long ago now but it’s a blink of the eye in the history of Malta. The small Mediterranean island’s warm climate perfectly suited the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms and was one of the first Game of Thrones shooting locations. We think you’ll agree that it’s quite the contrast when compared to the Northern Ireland setting of Winterfell!
What better way to start your Game of Thrones tour in Malta than with a grand entrance. Make the same journey as Catelyn and Ser Rodrik by going to Mdina Gate which served as King’s Landing. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you could make a stop at Fort Manoel (the Great Sept of Baelor) in the town of Gzira. Here one of the most memorable Game of Thrones scenes was filmed – the very public execution of Ned Stark!
Malta is an archipelago and filming also took place on the beautiful island of Gozo. On this small island was the Azure Window – a natural arch on the coast. Unfortunately, the arch collapsed in adverse weather conditions in 2017. However, a visit to this location will feel familiar since it was the site of the Dothraki wedding between Daenerys and Drogo. While production moved to Croatia following season 1, Malta very much goes down in Game of Thrones history. This Game of Thrones location is well worth experiencing for yourself!
Famous for its Medieval walls which encompass it, the Croatian port city of Dubrovnik first featured in season 2 of Game of Thrones. As you’ll almost certainly recognize, it was used for the exterior shots of King’s Landing. A walk around the city can include a visit to almost a dozen filming locations set in this UNESCO world heritage site.
Needless to say, this is one of the most heavily used Game of Thrones locations. Situated on the Adriatic Sea coast, producers of the hit TV show immediately saw its potential as King’s Landing. Of course, you can judge this for yourself by heading to the Pile Gate. This is the main entrance to the old city and it’s flanked by Fort Bokar and Fort Lovrijenac. Several scenes were shot here in seasons 2 and 3, in particular.
A stroll along St. Dominic Street in the heart of the old city may well feel familiar. The narrow alleys were the setting of the various market scenes in King’s Landing. And should you walk down The Stradun, imagine a crowd crying out “Shame! Shame!”. Yes, this is the location of Cersei’s walk of atonement. For full effect and freedom to focus, pop in some Impala earbuds (they’re noise cancelling) and a recording of this very scene – never before has a visit to a TV filming location been so immersive! For a more relaxing experience, you can try Gradac Park. Don’t let the tranquility fool you – it hasn’t always been this peaceful – it was where Joffrey died at the Purple Wedding feast!
Our Game of Thrones journey has taken us across Europe but now we’re heading to the North African country of Morocco. The two main Game of Thrones locations used were Ait Benhaddou which was Yunkai and Essaouira which was Astapor. These cities made up part of Slaver’s Bay.
Ait Benhaddou is a city made from clay and, aside from Game of Thrones, has featured in many films including The Mummy, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. On the UNESCO World Heritage List and situated at the foot of the dramatic Atlas mountains, it’s little wonder it was chosen as a Game of Thrones location. The very walls and fortifications of this city were clearly designed to keep people out while Yunkai kept slaves in! You’ll be hard pressed to find a more enchanting location.
A trip to the coastal city of Essaouira will reveal a fascinating mix of European, African and Arab influences. The 18th-century fortified town is the modern day home of the Unsullied. It offers a wonderful walk along by the sea walls – several scenes were filmed here. Why not film your own journey in Slaver’s Bay while you’re there?
Winter is coming! If Morocco is a little too hot for your liking, you may be interested to hear about the land of fire and ice! We’re talking about Iceland of course. What better location for the frozen lands beyond the wall than a land made of ice? As with many of the Game of Thrones filming locations, it is possible to take take a tour and see the sights.
First featuring in Game of Thrones season 2, Iceland has since become a big part of the TV series. Fans have flocked to the glaciers where the wildlings roam. While glaciers such as Svínafellsjökull are obvious locations, you may be surprised to hear that there’s far more to Iceland than…well, ice.
There are few locations quite as dramatic as the lava field near Lake Myvatn which hosted Mance Rayder’s wildling army camp in season 3. Not every location is quite so cold, however. Grjótagjá cave is a hot spring which is now famous for the steamy sex scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte. And what could be better than a dip in a hot spring with the Game of Thrones soundtrack ringing in your ears? For this, you’ll be best off with something waterproof and with long battery life such as the Lion speaker. Immerse yourself in incredible sound in the chilliest of the Game of Thrones filming locations!
Game of Thrones 6 and 7 have seen Spain become a popular filming location. A trip to this diverse country will help you see why! Let’s start off in Seville. If you’re keen on visiting, be sure to avoid summer when temperatures rocket. Otherwise, take technology that is sweat proof! The capital of Andalusia, the city of Seville has plenty to offer Game of Thrones enthusiasts.
It is in Seville that you’ll find the Alcázar of Seville, a beautiful royal palace that served as House Martell in Dorne. The peace and quiet offered by the Water Gardens is a nice change of pace. However, you can experience quite the contrast by going next to the Plaza de Toros. This active bullfighting ring was used as the main fighting pit in Meereen! Not far from Seville is Córdoba where the Roman bridge served as the Long Bridge of Volantis and Castillo de Almodóvar del Río which you’ll recognize as Highgarden.
While much of the filming in Spain took place in the Southern region of Andalusia, you can find Game of Thrones filming locations across Spain including Girona in the autonomous region of Catalonia. The small historic city has a cathedral by the name of Saint Mary of Girona whose exterior was used for the Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing. Meanwhile, various Girona streets became Braavosi street markets. Quite simply, Spain is full of Game of Thrones locations!
Start Your Game of Thrones Journey
Game of Thrones shooting locations are in countries that are largely affordable. This is particularly the case with Spain and Morocco which offer plenty of great value accommodation and food options. While Iceland isn’t cheap, it more than makes up for it with its breathtaking beauty!
The diversity offered by a Game of Thrones tour across these countries is something that will excite even the most experienced of travelers. What are you waiting for? Begin your Game of Thrones adventure, explore and discover and before you know it, season 8 will soon be upon us! And who knows, maybe the final Game of Thrones season will provide us with some new places to explore.