Greece

Written by Grace Gordon-McGlone, Endless Travel Student Intern

All around me I see the faces of naked men and women staring back at me. Some look heroic, others appear modest and young. Some have broken fingers, others have no ears. I see some with no heads at all. Each statue looks graceful, beautifully crafted long ago by the same hands that built the marble temples holding so much history. Greece is a perfect balance of history and modernity, a mix of art and culture. I loved it all.
I came to Greece on a school trip, with a group of eight girls from my high school as well as students from four other schools around the U.S. It had been planned for a year, and when the trip came I was beyond pleased.
In the twelve short days spent exploring all the country has to offer, every puzzle piece and every story I’d learned came together and felt very real. I saw in person king Minos’ infamous labyrinth where the Minotaur was kept, the temple from which king Aegeus threw himself into the sea after mistakenly believing his son was devoured by the Minotaur, the helmet of Achilles, and the Oracle of Delphi. The history coming together with the ancient religious myths was stunningly flawless. Everything made sense; there was no question of real or fake because everything was seamlessly blended.


ancient theater in Delphi

Greece wasn’t only old crumbling buildings and artifacts. Uniform white buildings with blue accents, gorgeous calm beaches, and delicious street food made the trip exciting, rather than simply educational. On Mykonos, we got terribly lost as we ate crepes and watched the sun set behind the famed windmills. In Oia, Santorini, we walked the rooftops in search of the best view, and watched street artists sell paintings of the well-known island. In Athens, we roamed the Acropolis and looked over the ancient city, then explored the street vendors and town squares in the Plaka, soaking in the bustling activity.


sunset on Mykonos

We traveled for 12 full days. In the tour group, everything was perfectly organized down to every hour. With the trip completely planned out, the group did not need to worry about the next activity, or getting lost, or missing out on anything. We traveled a lot by bus, but the long hours were split up by visiting new towns and palaces and temples. The trip was packed full, with only two free days to roam. However, the lack of freedom was made up for by the constant sightseeing that I’m glad we didn’t miss. Finally, the last five days consisted of deporting our luxury ship and arriving at a new island every morning, and we spent the majority of each day learning and exploring each new destination. We explored popular restaurants and beaches, and at night we spent drinking milkshakes on the cruise ship learning traditional Greek dances.
The people in Greece were incredible. Everyone was lovely, and most men were named Costa. There was not a single person we met who didn’t treat us kindly and weren’t more than willing to offer any help they could. The friendliness was amazing, and so was every moment. As I learned, danced, and ate, I fell in love with a country.


windmills on Mykonos

Endless Travel is Obsessed with Game of Thrones

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!

 

Iceland:

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.

Höfðabrekkuheiði

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.

Lake Myvatn:

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.

Croatia:

King’s Landing:

Dubrovnik, Croatia
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.

Spain:

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.

Northern Ireland:

Westeros

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
sightseeing tour!

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.

Downhill Strand

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.