Written by Joyce Masyga
Get Inspired to Visit Your Favorite Film Locations
If you are as obsessed as I am with the Game of Thrones series then you are probably
know that most of the landscapes and old castles are filmed right on location. Let’s look
at these destinations and plan a Game of Thrones adventure!
Filming Beyond the Wall
Iceland is a good choice as you fly nonstop from Denver into Reykjavik and drive
to active glaciers that make a perfect back drop for events beyond The Wall. The
producers wanted as much of the scenery to be as true to life as possible, and that they
weren’t “doing anything in post-production to add mountains or snow or anything.”
Hence, many of the locations used in these scenes are available to be visited.
The Höfðabrekkuheiði hiking area near Vik, on Iceland’s south coast, also
appears as the frozen wastes of northern Westeros. The Mýrdalsjökull glacier
becomes the Fist of the First Men.
Located in North Iceland this area is protected but is easily accessible for visitors. The
lake is littered with unusual lava formations, aptly known as “black castles”. It is hard to
pinpoint exact locations but Lake Myvatan is a favorite area to film. Also, in northern
Iceland there’s the otherworldly lava fields of Dimmuborgir, where Mance Rayder
sets up his camp in season three, the corner of the “Haunted Forest” where
Samwell Tarly and Lord Commander Mormont are attacked by white walkers,
and Grjótagjá, the cave that becomes Jon Snow and Ygritte’s love nest.
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, Iceland
At the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon in Iceland, the Vatnajokull Ice Cap — Europe’s largest
ice cap — serves as the ideal setting for the Land Beyond the Wall.
Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Skaftafell National Park in Iceland lies in the South and can have agreeable climate in
the summer months but judging the snow-capped scenery it was filmed in the winter.
With a vacation to Dubrovnik, Croatia, you may find yourself wandering around the
streets of Kings Landing. It’s hard to say which locations were used but if you look at the
city, it’s easy to picture it as the fictional capitol. The outer walls look as if they were built
for the show.
Lokrum Island, Croatia
Technically part of Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island is a former monastery. This location was
used for scenes that take place in Qarth. Keep your eyes open for families of peacocks
that inhabit the island.
The surrounding waters of Lokrum Island were put to good use, providing the setting for
the epic Battle of Blackwater, whilst Fort Lovrijenac became the new Red Keep.
Sections of Qarth in the Essos continent were also filmed here, with the Minceta
Tower used as the exterior of the House of The Undying.
Take a trip to Highgarden
The fourth episode of season seven introduced us to Highgarden, the ancestral home of
House Tyrell, but seized in series seven by Jaime Lannister. Highgarden is
really Castillo de Almodóvar del Río in the Andalusian province of Córdoba. The castle
sits of the banks of the Guadalquivir, which can be explored on a river cruise, and dates
back to the 8 th century, when the Moors ruled this corner of Europe. Visitors can explore
its towers, dungeons and browse a collection of weapons (whether anything in the
armory will take down a dragon, we’re unsure). The castle is a short drive from the city
of Córdoba. Córdoba is within reach for weekend breaks by taking a high-speed train
from Málaga or Madrid.
Where is the real Dragonstone?
Daenerys Targaryen finally returned to the shores of Westeros in season seven to
Dragonstone. The real-life location is remarkably easy to visit. That rocky beach seen
so frequently in the show is called Itzurun, and it lies beside a Spanish seaside town
called Zumaia, in the province of Guipúzcoa. For the best views, there is a coastal
walking trail – but keep an eye on the tides and consider hiring a guide. Just up the
coast is San Sebastian known for one of Europe’s finest cities for foodies.
And where we see Jon Snow and Daenerys walking along the footbridge is the islet
of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, topped with a hermitage and connected to the mainland
by a winding path. It lies to the west of Zumaia, not far from the city of Bilbao.
Most of Westeros is actually in Northern Ireland. Given Ireland’s average 300 rainy or
cloudy days a year, many of the filming locations were used to depict Winterfell, the
North, and other less sunny parts of the Seven Kingdoms.
In fact, it is one of the few locations where you can go on an official Game of Thrones
Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Located just south of Belfast, the exterior of the castle was converted to Winterfell’s
courtyard. This is the first scene in the show and it is in the courtyard where viewers
are introduced to all the Starks, the Lanisters, and the King Robert Baretheon. Today
the castle is open to the public and is home to landscaped gardens, a theater,
restaurant, gift shop, as well as a working corn mill.
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland have played a major role in the Game of Thrones
story, serving as the setting for the Kingsroad. But the area that surrounds the Dark
Hedges should be a must-see for any fan, since it has been used to film Winterfell,
Castle Black and the Stark family war encampment.
Among the most notable filming locations from previous series are a seven-mile beach
overlooked by Mussenden Temple, which is visited by Stannis Baratheon and his
frequently disrobed companion Melisandre (“for the night is dark and full of terrors”),
the oft-photographed Dark Hedges, a spectacular collection of beech trees that line a
road near Stranocum, County Antrim, and the little seaside village of Ballintoy, which
becomes Pyke, capital of The Iron Islands
The Wall itself is in Northern Ireland, though CGI magic has been used to turn
Magheramorne Quarry into something far more impressive.
The show’s production base is Titanic Studios in Belfast, and last year the Game of
Thrones crew were spotted on a private estate near the village of Saintfield, to the south
of the city. It is the same spot where last season’s epic ‘Battle of the Bastards’ was shot.
We’ve visited many of the locations “where is Game of Thrones filmed?” The best way
to get around in any of these popular filming destinations is with a rental car. Many of
these locations have Game of Thrones tours already which makes visiting the areas
very convenient. Call us at Endless Travel to assist you in planning your next vacation.
If you’re not familiar with the show, you should probably consider watching it immediately. It’s
one of the most refreshing novel adaptations in recent memory, possibly ever. Based on the
novels in the George R.R. Martin series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” Game of Thrones is the
television adaptation that airs on HBO. The season finale for season 7 just aired.