Map: 27 Game of Thrones Filming Locations to Visit in Europe

April 24, 2015 by

Europe, Places to Go

The otherworldly landscapes seen on-screen in the Game of Thrones are as captivating as the dragons, direwolves and white walkers that make the story so unique. From the icy wilderness North of the Wall to the soaring fortress of King’s Landing, many of the show’s most memorable scenes were shot in real-life locations dotted all around Europe.

Game of Thrones tours now run in Croatia, Malta, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Spain, allowing fans to undertake their own epic journey around the Seven Kingdoms, discovering some of Europe’s most spectacular natural and manmade wonders along the way. To make sure you don’t miss anything; here’s our guide to all the key Game of Thrones filming locations.

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Iceland

1. Grjótagjá Rift, Iceland

The lava-sculpted landscape of the Grjótagjá rift featured in a number of Game of Thrones scenes from Season 3, during Night’s Watchman Jon Snow’s foray beyond the Wall. None were as memorable as the passionate first kiss between Snow and his Wildling lover, Ygritte, which took place in the ruggedly romantic Grjótagjá lava cave. Want to recreate the scene? It’s possible to bath in the cave’s natural thermal spring, where the steamy waters reach up to 50 °C.

Lava window at Dimmuborgir, Myvatn area - Iceland

Lava window at Dimmuborgir, Myvatn area – Iceland

2. Dimmuborgir

The looming pillars, caves and lava tubes that make up Dimmuborgir offer a suitably ominous setting for Jon Snow’s visit to the Wildling camp in Season 3, and it’s a dramatic spot for a hike. The peculiar black rock formations are the result of an ancient lava reservoir and, if you believe local folklore, have long been inhabited by trolls and elves.

3. Kálfaströnd

Hiking around the scenic Lake Mývatn, it’s impossible to miss Kálfaströnd, a rocky peninsula framed by a crop of jagged lava pillars that GoT fans will recognize from Jon Snow’s journey beyond the Wall in Season 3. Take the time to explore the surrounding lakeside too, which is dotted with lava caves, walking trails and wildlife filled woodlands.

4. Höfði forest

Jutting out into Lake Mývatn and fronted by the striking Kálfaströnd lava pillars, the Höfði peninsula is one of North Iceland’s most enchanting regions, blanketed with ancient woodlands. Take a walk through the eerily beautiful Höfði forest, seen on-screen as the remote territory of the Free People, and stand at the spot where the towering Wall (which is computer generated) separates Westeros from the uncharted lands North of the Wall.

Thingvellir National Park in winter

Thingvellir National Park in winter

5. Thingvellir National Park

A popular day trip from Reykjavik, the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park is a top tourist attraction in its own right, lying on the Golden Circle route and famously the site of the world’s first parliament. Game of Thrones scenes have been shot in Thingvellir National Park in both summer and winter, with the park doubling up as the backdrop to Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane’s journey through Westeros in Season 4, and the Wildlings’ journey to the Wall in Season 3.

6. Thjorsárdalur valley

With its thundering waterfalls, frozen cliff sides and looming volcanoes,Thjorsárdalur Valley made a sensational backdrop for the epic voyage of Jon Snow, Ygritte and the Free Folk in Season 3. Don’t miss the Settlement Era Viking Lodge, which doubled up as one of the villages of The Gift in Season 4.

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Spain

Collegiate Church  Our Lady  the Assumption in Osuna

Collegiate Church Our Lady the Assumption in Osuna

7. Osuna

A traditional Andalucian town located around 90km east of Seville and surrounded by ancient olive groves, Osuna has seen a huge boost in tourism since the Game of Thrones cast came to town. Make a beeline for the historic bullring, which served as Danzak’s Pit, the dramatic setting for one of Season 5’s bloodiest battles, then check out the historic Colegiata Church, the university and the old mountain quarries, which also make on-screen appearances. The real highlight though is tucking into Game of Thrones-themed tapas at local restaurant Casa Curro – each dish is named after characters like Joffrey, Arya and Khaleesi.

8. Alcazar of Seville

The UNESCO-listed Alcazar of Seville has always been the star attraction of the Andalucian capital, and the mighty fortress now has another claim to fame, standing in for the lavish royal palace of Dorne in Game of Thrones Season 5, home to House Martell and the notorious Red Viper (Prince Oberyn). The 15th-century masterpiece is a remarkable feat of Islamic architecture, as well as being Europe’s oldest royal palace still in use, so leave plenty of time to explore the historic grounds.

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Ireland and Northern Ireland

Ballycastle Coastline, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Ballycastle Coastline, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

9. Ballycastle

Perched on the northernmost tip of Northern Ireland, along the picturesque Antrim Coast Road, Ballycastle makes an easy day trip from Belfast. The sweeping beaches and rocky coastline were among the first Irish Game of Thrones filming locations, plus it’s the hometown of Game of Thrones actor Conleth Hill (Varys).

10. Dark Hedges

Flash back to Season 1, when Arya Stark made her valiant escape from King’s Landing, dressed as a boy, and you’ll surely remember the Dark Hedges. A natural wonder framed by a twisted arch of beech trees, it’s a striking photo opportunity, but be sure to leave before dark—local legend tells of a ‘Grey Lady’ who haunts the woods.

11. Cushenden Caves

Hidden in the sea cliffs along the North Antrim Coast, the eerie Cushendun Cave was formed an estimated 400 million years ago. Back in Season 2, the caves took on a new life as the fictional Stormlands, where Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her ‘shadow baby’, the smoke-like spirit that later murdered Renly Baratheon.

12. Larrybane

The white chalk cliffs and verdant headlands of Larrybane Bay are characteristic of the arresting Antrim Coast and it’s an easy detour from Northern Ireland’s famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Used as the location of Renly Baratheon’s camp in Season 2, fans will recognize Larrybane as the spot where Renly met his tragic fate. The nearby Ballintoy Harbour also starred on screen as the Iron Islands, homeland of former Stark ward, Theon Greyjoy.

Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey

13. Inch Abbey Ruins

The fascinating ruins of the 12th century Inch Abbey have turned up on screen a number of times, as the Red Fork, along the southern banks of the River Trident. Here, Catelyn Stark entered negotiations with the wicked Walder Frey, and later, Arya and the Hound made their journey through the riverlands on their way to The Twins.

14. Tollymore Forest Park

Keep an eye out for White Walkers as you explore the vast woodlands of Tollymore Forest Park; the snow-blanketed forest was the ‘Haunted Forest’ where the Night’s Watch riders stumble across dismembered Wildling bodies in the first ever Game of Thrones episode. The 630-hectare park was also where Ned Stark and the Stark boys find their direwolf puppies, so it’s not all bad.

15. Castle Ward

The grand 18th-century Castle Ward is better known by GoT fans as the fictional Winterfell, home of the heroic Stark Family and key locations like the Whispering Wood and Strangford Lough. The 820-acre walled estate is a National Trust property, where visitors can explore the film sites by bike, dress up in costume or fire arrows from the recreated Winterfell Archery Range.

16. Audley’s Castle

The 16th century Audley’s Castle stands close by Castle Ward on the banks of Strangford Lough and served as a backdrop to a number of scenes in Seasons 1 and 2. Fans can follow ‘Robb’s Trail’ which links scene locations from Robb’s Camp with Audley’s Field, where King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell in Season 1, and later, where Jaime Lannister is captured.

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Croatia

17. Wall of Dubrovnik

Doubling up as King’s Landing, the seat of Kings and the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Dubrovnik will be instantly recognizable to Game of Thrones fans. Climb the mighty stone ramparts of the original 14th-century city walls and walk the 2km circuit around the Old Town, for a view of the Minceta tower, where the House of The Undying scenes were set, and the Rector’s Palace, which doubled up as the trade city of Quarth.

Old fort in Klis, Croatia

Old fort in Klis, Croatia

18. Klis Fortress

Perched on a mountaintop in the highlands north of Split, the medieval Klis Fortress made a striking appearance in Season 4, standing in for the city of Meereen. The mighty fortress with its sweeping views over the Adriatic was attacked by Daenerys Targaryen and provided the backdrop to Daario Naharis’ battle with Meereen’s champion.

19. Diocletian’s Palace

As the grand centerpiece of historic Split, the UNESCO-listed Palace of Diocletian was an obvious choice for a dramatic filming location. Dating back to the 4th century and sprawling over 31,000 square meters, the former palace of Roman emperor Diocletian was transformed into the set of Daenerys’ takeover of Meereen, with the historic cellars and throne room used for scenes where Grey Worm and the Unsullied Army conspired to overthrow the masters.

20. Trsteno Arboretum

The exotic gardens and monumental fountains of the Trsteno Arboretum make an idyllic stand-in for the lavish King’s Landing palace gardens. Duck beneath the palms and imagine Varys and Tyrion plotting and scheming behind the King’s back, Sansa Stark escaping with Littlefinger or Queen Margaery Tyrell gossiping with her ladies-in-waiting.

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik

21. Lovrijenac Fortress

Looming over the Old Town of Dubrovnik from its cliff-top perch, the landmark Lovrijenac Fortress looks out over the glittering Adriatic seen on-screen as the sweeping view of the fictional Blackwater Bay. The remarkably preserved 11th-century castle provides the set for the Red Keep in King’s Landing and numerous key scenes were shot here, including King Joffrey’s name day and the riot of King’s Landing.

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Malta

22. Fort St Elmo

Dominating the waterfront of Valletta, the imposing Fort St Elmo was used as Sowbelly Row during Season 1, but is also home to Malta’s National War Museum and hosts regular medieval reenactments and Knight’s battles.

23. Gzira

The coastal town of Gzira is best known for its 18th-century sea fortress, Fort Manoel, which stands in for Great Sept of Baelor, the religious center of King’s Landing. Fans will remember it from Ned Stark’s false confession in Season 1, the lavish wedding of King Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell and the less-celebrated wedding of Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark.

24. Mdina

You’ll remember the walled city of Mdina as the original setting for King’s Landing in Season 1, before filming moved over to Croatia (allegedly due to disputes with the Malta Environment & Planning Authority). Enjoy a walking tour of the impressively preserved medieval town and you’ll see a number of familiar spots like the atmospheric Mesquita Square, San Anton Palace and the Mdina Gate, all of which made the final cut.

25. Illyrio’s Palace

When it’s not being used as the palace of Illyrio Mopatis, magister of the Free City of Pentos in Season 1, the opulent Verdala Palace is the summer palace of the President of Malta. The palace itself isn’t open to the public, but you can still wander the beautiful Buskett Gardens and see the spot where Daenerys and Viserys met Khal Drogo and his Dothraki clan for the first time.

Arches near Fort St. Angelo, Birgu

Arches near Fort St. Angelo, Birgu

26. Birgu

The fortified coastal town of Birgu was once one of Malta’s most strategic medieval ports and it’s impossible to miss the mighty Fort St. Angelo, which stands proud over the seafront and famously withstood the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Ardent fans might remember Arya Stark exploring the Red Keep Dungeons in Season 1 (filmed in the Fort’s underground passageways), while nearby, you’ll find the King’s Landing Skull Chamber, where Ned Stark confronted Cersei Lannister.

27. Kalkara

Dubrovnik’s Fort Lovrijenac is now well known as the Red Keep of King’s Landing, but back in Season 1, the famous seat of Kings was actually shot in Malta. The 17th-century Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara provided the setting for the Red Keep’s gates, where the notorious beheading of Ned Stark took place at the end of Season 1.  It’s not the first time the historic fortress has graced the big screen, either; movies like Troy, Gladiator and Helen of Troy have also filmed scenes here.

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