More than just an addictive television show, Game of Thrones was a true phenomenon of modern pop culture. The HBO series not only captivated audiences with its complex characters and fantastical worlds, but also showed us some of our own world’s most remarkable destinations – leading many fans to wonder, where is Game of Thrones filmed?
So, let’s journey through the coolest Game of Thrones filming locations that helped realize the many realms of this popular show. No matter how you felt about the series finale, you’ll want to add these destinations to your bucket list!
Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain (Dorne’s Sunspear)
While the Andalusian capital is home to various Game of Thrones shooting locations, this is the one that was already on the itinerary for most visitors to Seville. The Royal Alcázar of Seville is full of splendid rooms, courtyards, and gardens that reflect the city’s Moorish past.
This Spanish palace’s extravagance and unique style made it the perfect setting for Dorne, home of House Martell. The palace and its gardens were used for scenes in Sunspear and the Water Gardens that featured fan-favorite Oberyn Martell, Ellaria Sand, and Myrcella Baratheon.
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland (Kingsroad)
One of the series’ earliest filming locations to explode in popularity with fans is the Dark Hedges on Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland. Stretching between the villages of Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, the road is lined with gnarled beech trees that give it an otherworldly look, so it’s hardly surprising that fans want to visit.
Though it didn’t look particularly eerie as the Kingsroad in the show, the road is a rather mysterious, even spooky sight in person. It’s become so popular that local authorities have had to ban nonessential traffic to protect the 18th-century trees from damage.
Kirkjufell, Iceland (Arrowhead Mountain)
Though Kirkjufell’s association with the White Walkers isn’t the most positive one, you’ll have no worries as you gaze up at this popular photographer’s spot. The distinctive mountain and nearby waterfalls on Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula are enchanting in any season. In winter, though, you’ll instantly recognize this setting of Game of Thrones not only as the spot where Jon Snow’s group fought the Night King in the seventh season, but also from the flashbacks to the creation of the first White Walker by the Children of the Forest.
Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia (King’s Landing)
Dubrovnik has always been regarded as a beautiful coastal city, but its newfound wild popularity is largely due to Game of Thrones. The giant city walls and photogenic stone streets and buildings easily make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. This historic atmosphere made it a natural fit for one of the most important Game of Thrones locations – King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.
The show filmed far too many scenes in Dubrovnik for us to list here, but the city walls, Fort Lovrijenac, Pile Gate, and various parks appeared throughout the series. Even Cersei Lannister’s long walk of penance (“shame!”) was filmed along Stradun, the city’s main street. You’ll constantly find places you recognize from the show on a visit here.
Bardenas Reales, Spain (Dothraki Sea)
The Dothraki Sea (or the Great Grass Sea), vast home of the nomadic Dothraki tribes, was most mystifying when it was just a barren landscape. Interestingly, the actual land used for this side of the Dothraki Sea, the Bardenas Reales, is just as barren and alien. This wide expanse of badlands, canyons, and plateaus covers 42,000 hectares in Spain’s northern province of Navarre and is a testament to nature’s powers of erosion. This is where Daenerys Targaryen was taken prisoner by the Dothraki and delivered to Khal Moro at the start of the sixth season.
Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland (Eastwatch-by-the-Sea)
The Wall, a towering barrier of ice that stretched from one coast of Westeros to the other, is surely one of the series’ most famous settings. While most of our time at the Wall is spent at Castle Black, we do get a glimpse of one end of the Wall by the castle of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. In reality, the black sand beach by the castle was Reynisfjara on Iceland’s scenic south coast.
Both Reynisfjara and the nearby Dyrhólaey Peninsula served as backgrounds for the remote Night’s Watch castle. Besides the tiny black pebbles that contrast strikingly with the white waves, this Icelandic beach is home to impressive coastal cliffs like Hálsanef, which is marked with curious hexagonal rock formations.
Mdina, Malta (King’s Landing)
Poor old Ned Stark had a hard time as the Hand of the King in King’s Landing. Run-ins with Littlefinger, Cersei, and Jaime Lannister were just a few of the challenges he had to face within the city walls.
Mdina, the ancient fortified capital of Malta, was the filming location for several of these scenes in the first season, including Ned’s visit to Littlefinger at his brothel and the showdown with Jaime that ultimately led to Ned’s capture. You’ll also recognize Mdina’s beautiful sandstone gates as the gate of King’s Landing that Catelyn Stark passed through to see her husband before his downfall.
Castillo de Almodóvar del Río, Spain (Highgarden)
With a name like “Highgarden,” it’s easy to conjure up an image of a lofty and grand castle. It wasn’t until the seventh season that we got to see Highgarden, the seat of House Tyrell (though it fell to the Lannisters not long after), but the castle truly lives up to its name.
The filming location, Castillo de Almodóvar del Río in southern Spain, is just as spectacular in person as it looks on the show. Built by the Moors in the eighth century, this mighty fortress definitely deserved more screen time.
Aït Benhaddou, Morocco (Yunkai)
The fortified village of Aït Benhaddou in central Morocco has many claims to fame besides Game of Thrones. This historic ksar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its earthen clay homes, some dating back to the 17th century. However, it’s better known as one of Morocco’s premier filming locations, with Gladiator, The Mummy, The Jewel of the Nile, and other movies putting Game of Thrones in good company.
In Game of Thrones, Aït Benhaddou was the setting for Yunkai, a city of slavers that Daenerys lays siege to in the third season. After freeing the slaves, Daenerys had her famous “Mhysa” scene outside the gate of the village, surrounded by the adoring masses.
Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland (Iron Islands)
The Iron Islands, home of the Greyjoys, seem like quite a harsh, brooding, and unforgiving place. Ballintoy Harbour looks just as dramatic in real life, though much cheerier when the sun is out. This harbor on the coastline of Northern Ireland was used for scenes set in Lordsport, a town of the Iron Islands. This is where Theon Greyjoy landed in the second season as envoy for Robb Stark and awkwardly ran into his sister, Yara.
Šibenik, Croatia (Braavos)
Arya Stark briefly called Braavos home as she trained to become a Faceless Man. She spent plenty of time pushing an oyster cart and hunting people on her list around the city, which is actually the historic coastal city of Šibenik in Croatia for many of those scenes. Even the UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St. James gets in on the act, portraying the exterior of the renowned Iron Bank. Not all the Braavos scenes were shot exclusively in Šibenik, but a visit to this scenic city is certainly worth your time.
Grjótagjá, Iceland (Jon Snow’s Love Cave)
Game of Thrones had its fair share of steamy romances, but few scenes were as steamy as when Jon and Ygritte got together for the first time in an underground hot spring. That’s because it was a real geothermal pool in northeastern Iceland.
Known as Grjótagjá, the cave where the star-crossed lovers hooked up is near Lake Mývatn, and you can visit it on a trip to Iceland. Because the water temperatures are so unpredictable, you can’t bathe in the hot spring, but you can dip a toe in if you like!
Castillo de Zafra, Spain (Tower of Joy)
Game of Thrones was never short on backstory or fan theories, and these two aspects collided in Bran Stark’s flashback vision of when Ned and several bannermen sought his sister, Lyanna, outside the Tower of Joy in the sixth season. What follows has major implications for a fan-favorite character, cementing this tower as a crucial locale in the series.
You don’t need to be the Three-Eyed Raven to see the tower for yourself – simply journey to the Castillo de Zafra in Spain’s Guadalajara region. This 12th-century castle stands out dramatically against the wild landscape, making it all the more memorable.
Trsteno Arboretum, Croatia (King’s Landing Palace Gardens)
With her brutal honesty and cutting wit, Olenna Tyrell was one of the most likable characters in Game of Thrones. The matriarch of House Tyrell delivered many of her great lines in the palace gardens of King’s Landing as she plotted to position her granddaughter Margaery within the city’s court. This lovely backdrop is courtesy of the Trsteno Arboretum, just north of Dubrovnik. This garden of a stately summer residence is so strongly linked to the character of Olenna that its nickname these days is “the Tyrell Garden.”
Itálica, Spain (King’s Landing Dragonpit)
With so many separate storylines, it was rare to see all of our favorite characters in one place. That’s why it was such a big deal when Cersei and Daenerys met at the Dragonpit Summit for a parley during their war for the Iron Throne. The two queens were surrounded by major characters, including Jon, Theon, and Tyrion Lannister.
It’s only fitting that this auspicious moment was filmed in the ancient amphitheater of Itálica. These ancient Roman ruins just outside Seville made for an atmospheric meeting point and are just as impressive without the characters.
Vatnajökull, Iceland (Beyond the Wall)
Since Game of Thrones was based on a series of books called A Song of Ice and Fire, it was important to include ice in the TV version, and there’s no better place to find ice than Iceland. Beyond the name, Iceland is home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Could there be any more fitting place to film the Beyond the Wall scenes than this expansive stretch of ice and its outlet glacier, Svínafellsjökull?
Iceland often feels like the edge of the world, and in Game of Thrones, it actually was. Strap on a pair of crampons and grab an ice ax to walk out on this glacier in eastern Iceland like Jon and the Wildlings.
Gaztelugatxe, Spain (Dragonstone)
Home to House Targaryen, Dragonstone came back in a big way during the seventh season as Daenerys reclaimed her ancestral home. Although Stannis Baratheon held it earlier in the series, there was now a Targaryen back in the castle.
While the castle itself was as computer-generated as Daenerys’ dragons, the long bridge winding its way up to Dragonstone was real. This bridge in northern Spain’s Basque Country runs along the islet of Gaztelugatxe and allows you to follow in the footsteps of the Mother of Dragons and her entourage. Even without the immense castle, this is one heck of a sight.
Minčeta Tower, Croatia (House of the Undying)
We’ve already talked about how Dubrovnik embodied so much of King’s Landing, but one part of the city was used for somewhere very different. When Daenerys visits Qarth, her dragons are taken from her and imprisoned in the House of the Undying. It’s the exterior of Dubrovnik’s Minčeta Tower on the corner of the city walls that you see when Daenerys stands outside the House of Undying in search of her dragons. This tower is the highest point of the walls and unmissable on a visit to Dubrovnik.
Azure Window Coastline, Malta (Dothraki Wedding Spot)
One of the most crucial moments in Daenerys’ story was her wedding to Khal Drogo. She lost her husband not long after, but this pivotal moment in the pilot episode set the tone for how brutal and complex the series would be.
Like Drogo, the large coastal arch in the background of the wedding feast is no longer with us. The scene was shot on Malta’s rocky coastline by the famous Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that collapsed in March 2017. The coast here on the island of Gozo is still quite scenic, though, with the inland sea and nearby Dwejra Bay.
Itzurun Beach, Spain (Dragonstone)
Daenerys’ return to Dragonstone at the start of the seventh season was a personally important moment for the queen. She and her closest allies sailing toward the castle was a stirring scene, but it paled in comparison to seeing her kneel down on the beach and feel the sand of her homeland. Itzurun Beach fitting the look of Dragonstone so perfectly made this moment feel even more poignant and real. To see this fascinating coast for yourself, visit the small town of Zumaia in northern Spain’s Basque Country.
Castle Ward, Northern Ireland (Winterfell)
Winterfell was a key location in Game of Thrones throughout its run, being home to the Stark family as well as Jon and Hodor. We spent a lot of time there, watching the characters grow – and suffer.
We have Castle Ward in Northern Ireland to thank for many of these dramatic scenes involving the Stark children, mostly the exterior and courtyard scenes of Winterfell. It’s now very much a Game of Thrones destination, letting you take themed tours through the castle grounds. It even features a re-created archery range like the one Bran, Robb, and Jon used early in the series.
Plaza de Toros, Spain (Daznak’s Pit)
A major moment in the fifth season is when the Sons of the Harpy attack during a gladiatorial contest at Daznak’s Pit in Meereen. Events turn from Jorah Mormont fighting in hopes of regaining his honor to Daenerys and her allies being surrounded inside this huge arena.
While the arena was expanded for the show, the real Plaza de Toros in Osuna is still quite a marvel. Built in 1904, it’s not a far cry from what we saw during the ambush and definitely a noteworthy landmark in its own right.
Essaouira, Morocco (Astapor)
Before Daenerys amassed such a large army, her forces started with Grey Worm and the Unsullied in Astapor. It was in this coastal city that Daenerys bought the elite force of warriors before turning the warriors on their former masters. This is also when we see the famous moment of Drogon incinerating the master holding his chain.
These exterior shots of Astapor all come from the quaint ramparts of Essaouira, a city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. There’s much more of the city to visit beyond the few parts you see in these scenes, so be sure to explore if you go!
Klis Fortress, Croatia (Meereen)
Daenerys’ early rise to power took her to many cities, including Meereen. This slaver city was where she continued her tour of emancipation before things started to go wrong. Meereen became a home to the Khaleesi and her advisors over several seasons, and the mighty walls of Klis Fortress was often a backdrop to those events.
While you won’t find any pyramids in this part of Croatia just outside the city of Split, you will find a striking medieval fortress atop a rocky cliff. Thankfully, you also won’t find a trail of crucified slave owners along the zigzagging path that takes you up through the fortress.
Los Barruecos, Spain (Loot Train Attack)
Game of Thrones had plenty of intense moments over the years, but the loot train attack in the seventh season is surely near the top. Watching a dragon swoop down and incinerate a convoy of men like napalm is certainly unforgettable.
The action-packed scene between Daenerys’ forces and the Lannister army was filmed in the Los Barruecos nature reserve, though you may not recognize it without all the carnage. This dry, craggy landscape in western Spain is actually quite beautiful when it’s not engulfed in flames.
Well, now you know some of the best Game of Thrones filming locations that you can actually visit! Following this list will take you right across Europe and over to North Africa, and there are many smaller filming locations to find when you’re done.
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