What is ‘Game of Thrones’? Not just another TV series that you can simply watch on HBO over Cable TV during your spare time.
George R. R. Martin’s creation is a worldwide phenomenon with millions of followers. It is a cultural emblem of human complexity with a quasi-historical twist. It is a fantastical depiction of the purest quest ever—i.e. to rule over the world. More importantly, it is exhilarating.
One of the factors which add to the mind-blowing impact of the show is its diverse setting. Landscapes from real-life, unknown to us, are brought into the limelight by the character playouts. If you’re interested in heading over to these shooting locations this summer to enhance your GoT immersion experience, then do consult the list below.
Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland
A haunted air lingers about this forest in Northern Ireland, utilized perfectly by the GoT producers back in season 1 for filming the first white walker attack scene on the Night’s Watch guard. The main opener of the show. You can wander about this place on your own or with a local tour company.
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Seeing the execution of her father and escaping capture herself, Arya Stark disguises herself as a boy in season 2 and travels through the gloomy King’s Road with her band of boys. This walkway of about 150 beech trees is actually known as Dark Hedges in reality. It is a wonderful natural preservation site and is open 24 hours for a visit. Simply call +44 28 2766 0230 to book your tour.
Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Winterfell’s exterior was filmed at the ancient Castle Ward, which is located near the village of Strangford in Northern Ireland. This 18th-century castle’s “square tower” near the gate is a sharp feature that GoT fans can see throughout the seasons.
Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
Theon Greyjoy’s home, Pyke in Iron Islands, was shot at this dark fishing harbor. It is open from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. for the tourists and can be accessed via a coaster ride.
Magheramorne Quarry, Northern Ireland
An abandoned quarry near the hamlet of Magheramorne stands for Castle Black and the Wall in Game of Thrones. You cannot exactly enter this place, but view the dismal property from afar.
Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
This granite mountain range in County Down includes the highest peaks in Northern Ireland that you can see from afar. It was also the main filming location for Vaes Dothrak or the home of the Dothraki clans.
Doune Castle, Scotland
Central Scotland houses a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune that’s the main filming location for Winterfell in Game of Thrones. Though this fort doesn’t much look like the Stark home from the outside, its interior (particularly the courtyard and the Great Hall) will give you a strong resemblance to the place our favorite characters grew up.
Talk about a steamy underground hot spring! This lave cave next to the Lake Mývatn in Iceland is the place where Jon Snow loses his virginity to the attractive wildling Ygritte. It’s located on road 860, so you can drive to the place and enjoy a steamy experience yourself.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Termed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located at the east of Reykjavík, Thingvellir is the birthplace of the Icelandic folk, as the first Viking parliament was held here. In the show, it is maintained as a backdrop of the Bloody Gate where Sansa passes with Littlefinger to go to the Vale in season 4.
Majorly featured in seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones, this 463m high mountain is the ‘arrowhead’ mount which the Hound sees in the fire. It is located along road 54 and is a 2and half hour drive from Thingvellir.
Svinafell Glacier, Iceland
This stunning blue glacier is the place where Jon and the Watch first capture the wilding, Ygritte, in season 2. You can trek on the testy ice and experience the troubles faced by Snow back then.
Itzurun Beach, Spain
With soaring cliffs and crashing waters, the sandy Itzurun Beach is depicted as the famous Dragonstone beach in Game of Thrones. At the start of season 7, you can find Daenerys and her train of followers stepping on to this beach after finally crossing over the Narrow Sea. Itzurun is reachable from the town of Zumaia.
This spectacular outdoor stairway located in the Basque region of Spain is another Dragonstone location where Daenerys has many strategizing sessions with her advisers in season 7. You can take public transport from the town of Bilbao and then hike up to three miles up to reach this gorgeous place.
In the heart of Seville, you’ll find the lush palace of Alcazar which is the location for House Dorne in Game of Thrones. Its Ambassador’s Hall is where Jaime Lannister and Prince Doran meet in the first place. You can get a guided tour of the Alcazar palace, provided you book in advance.
Castle of Trujillo, Spain
Lannisters are a force to be reckoned with throughout the series. Their famous abode, the golden Casterly Rock, is exteriorly shot at the Castle of Trujillo in Spain. You can sign up for a tour of the place for a small price.
Castillo de Almodóvar, Spain
House Tyrell, one of the greatest in Westeros, signified bounty due to its hold on the fertile rich lands. Its seat, Highgarden, as shown in season 7, was primarily shot at the vast Castillo de Almodóvar in Spain.
Azure Window, Malta
This picturesque 28m tall stone arch on the island of Gozo is the location where Dany is tied into forced matrimony with Drogo in season 1. You can walk along the beach to reach it and have a sip of evening margarita there.
Fort Manoel, Malta
This magnificent 18th-century star-fort in Gżira, Malta, can be identified as the Great Sept of Baelor in Game of Thrones—the holiest place in all of Westeros until Cersei blew it to smithereens in season 6.
St. Dominic Convent, Malta
The garden spot in the Red Keep where the Stark-Lannister rivalry first fired up, as Ned threatened to reveal Cersei-Jamie’s illicit relationship to King Robert.
Located in the Northern region of Malta, this fortified city was a major filming location for Game of Thrones’ season 1 and included more than one locale shots of the King’s Landing. For instance, the spot where Jamie Lannister first captures Ned Stark, Littlefinger’s brothel, the city’s gate and the square where Ned reunites with Catelyn, etc.
Verdala Palace, Malta
This historical palace in the Buskett Gardens is the locale where we first come face to face with Dany and her brother, living in Illyrio Mopatis’s castle at Pentos, before meeting with Khal Drogo.
Cercei’s mortifying walk of shame was shot along Stradun, the main street of this coastal city. In addition to that, a number of King’s Landings scenes have been filmed at this historic city’s giant walls and parks.
Arya becomes a Faceless Man at Bravos, which is filmed in this grey city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, acting as a gateway to the Kornati Islands.
On the Atlantic coast of Morocco, lies Essaouira, which is a port city known for its antique seafront ramparts and old brass cannons along the walls. This is Astapor in GoT’s world, where Daenerys went with her dragons to acquire the Unsullied army.
Ait Benhaddou, Morocco
Depicted as Yunkai in Game of Thrones’ season 3, this fort is the spot where Dany and her Unsullied army frees the slaves from their masters’ chains.
The list of GoT’s filming locations goes on.
However, for now, you can safely add the aforementioned magical places on your travel list this year, and relive the real-time Game of Thrones experience, as it meets its end on the television.