Game of Thrones is an epic escapade on every level. No wonder then that the list of Game of Thrones filming locations contains everything from striking medieval fortresses to entire North African desert cities.
It’s a massive show on every level, a vast production and contains enough twists and turns to tie a snake in knots. It's little suprise then that he show has an enormous following of fans desperate to know more. And what better way to get closer to the action than by exploring our map of places featured in Game of Thrones.
We’ve covered everything from the Red Keep to the Palace of Dorne, the ancient castles where vast battles took place to the simple plaza where Arya Stark sold oysters from a cart. It’s all there in our list of Game of Thrones shooting locations. We’ll guide you through the Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland, the Game of Thrones Dubrovnik locations in Croatia and even the GoT places in more far flung and remote areas.
So if you’re ready to go on supreme Thronesque fan travels, and you’re planning an epic adventure of your own, then this list of the ultimate filming locations in Game of Thrones. Check out the Game of Thrones locations map above and find further detail below on all the places featured in GoT.
Of all the Game of Thrones locations, Santa Florentina has to rank among the very best, if not the best of all. Built on the site of a Roman villa complex, Santa Florentina Castle is a visually stunning and awe-inspiring place and one fans of the show may well remember. In season six, this amazing castle features as House Tarly of Horn Hill, one of the most powerful vassal houses who swear fidelity to House Tyrell of Highgarden. In the 14th century, a descendent of Canet named Ferrer de Canet, a noble knight, an advisor to the excellently-named King Alfonso V the Magnanimous and a Papal ambassador no less fortified the house with two towers and medieval gates that offered protection against the pirates of the Mediterranean. Over the centuries the house passed through many owners until the 16th when the owner’s daughter married a Barcelona-based lawyer named Felipe Dimas de Montaner, a direct descendent of the Montaner family that still lives there to this day. In 1949 the house was designated a cultural heritage monument and the November 1998 issue of the Architectural Digest Journal listed Santa Florentina Castle as one of the world’s most beautiful houses. Today, Santa Florentina Castle hosts an annual classical music festival and because it remains a private residence, the very few guided tours available are by appointment only.
The fairytale-esque Bokar Fortress in Dubrovnik featured in seasons two and three of Game of Thrones and is perhaps best seen when Varys informs Tyrion he’s ‘quite good’ at being the hand of the king. Designed and mostly built during the 1460s by Michelozzo di Bartololmeo, an Italian architect considered to be one of the great Renaissance pioneers. It was built to defend the western entrance to the city of Dubrovnik and was the key defender of the strategically vital Pile Gate. One of the most impressive Game of Thrones filming locations to actually visit, the fort you see today was finally completed in 1570 after a century of debate to decide whether it should actually be finished! Often called ‘Zvjezdan’, a Serbo-Croat word meaning ‘starry’ - presumably for the amazing views of the light pollution-free night sky - parts of the magnificent, almost perfectly cylindrical fort are perched on a detached rock allowing the sea water to pass beneath it. It is said that Bokar Fortress is the oldest casemented fortress – that is a fortified structure from where guns are fired – in Europe. Today, the fort is open all year round and is perhaps most famous as a venue for performances of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Bokar is one of a number of Game of Thrones Dubrovnik set locations you can visit in the city.
The Citadel of Ait Ben-Haddou in the southern Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is a stunning example of North African pise clay architecture and dates back hundreds of years. Among the most fascinating on the list of Game of Thrones filming locations, it featured as Yunkai (aka the Yellow City) in Game of Thrones - the centre of slave-trading and one of the three great Ghiscari city-states in the show. Long before it became a star on the Game of Thrones map, it was used in Gladiator, Jewel of the Nile, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Lawrence of Arabia amongst many, many others! Aït Ben-Haddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and comprises six kasbahs. It was a fortified village with houses - some tiny, some castle-like - community areas and associated buildings, a public square, a mosque, Muslim and Jewish cemeteries and a caravanserai. Although most of the buildings and the maze-like streets you see today are from the 17th century, Aït Ben-Haddou was an important trading post that linked ancient Sudan with Marrakech. Amazingly, a few families still live in the village and although conservations efforts are ongoing, a number of the red mud and straw buildings are slowly being reclaimed by the land from whence they came. The town of Ouarzazate is almost permanently full of tourists and location researchers so hotels, restaurants and cafés are plentiful and of a high quality. And with the success of the show mounting, more and more fans seeking out Game of Thrones shooting locations are steadily making their way here.
It was only a matter of time until those researching the filming locations for Game of Thrones came across Alcázar of Seville and it was the perfect setting for the Water Gardens palace in Dorne, the home of House Martell of Sunspear featured in season six. Described as one of history’s architectural high points, the palace is truly one of the most striking in all of Spain and one of the most impressive Game of Thrones places to visit. In fact the Spanish royal family still use it as their official Seville residence. The oldest royal palace still in use in Europe was founded originally as a fort for the area’s Cordoban governors in 913AD. Two centuries later through Europe’s Dark Ages, the city’s Moorish Muslim leaders built Al-Muwarak and then in the centuries that followed, Moorish, Gothic, Mujédar and Renaissance architecture was added to form a visually magnificent yet architecturally eclectic palace. The excellently-named Peter the Cruel rebuilt the existing structures in the 14th century and established the palace as a royal residence. Each individual section is as stunning as the next and visitors can walk through, amongst many other rooms, halls, gates and piazzas the Puerta del León (Lion Gate), the Patio de las Doncellas (Courtyard of the Maidens), Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla (the Baths of Lady Maria de Padilla) and La Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) as well as the equally impressive gardens. The highlight of which is the Galeria de Grutesco , a raised gallery with 16th century porticoes crafted from an old Muslim-era wall.
Castle Ward is an eccentric 18th century mansion and gardens overlooking the beautifully peaceful Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland, but is better known as one of the most famous Game of Thrones locations – Winterfell. It is one of a number of Game of Thrones places you can visit in Northern Ireland. The current incarnation of Castle Ward was built for Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor in the early 1760s. The architect is unknown although there is conjecture that it may have been James Bridges, a Bristol-based architect whose work there shares many similarities with the castle. Castle Ward is most famous for its contrasting architectural styles and magnificent views of the rolling hills of County Down. The stunning 820-acre estate includes an exotic four-tiered sunken garden and woodland trails that wind down to the tranquil Lough, a Victorian laundry, a corn mill and sawmill as well as the Georgian farmyard and Whispering Wood, instantly recognisable as a Game of Thrones historic site. Visitors to Castle Ward can explore the mansion house itself as well as the estate and can even dress up in the Victorian Past Times centre. You can see the animals in the farmyard, picnic in the grounds and visit the gift shop and stableyard tea room.
Built by the Romans in the first century BC, the Roman Bridge of Cordoba, as described in around 1140 by Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, ‘surpasses all other bridges in beauty and solidity'. In season five of Game of Thrones, the Cordoba Roman Bridge doubled as The Long Bridge of Volantis spanning the mouth of the Rhoyne River. Although in the show it was heavily modified using CGI, Cordoba Roman Bridge is among the most picturesque Game of Thrones places you can visit and is a popular tourist attraction. The original bridge was built in the first century BC and straddles the 657km Guadalquivir River. It was later replaced and it has undergone a number of reconstructions over the centuries. Today, only the 14th and 15th arches from the northern end are original. In the 17th century a sculpture of St. Raphael was added to the eastern side by renowned Renaissance sculptor Bernabé Gómez del Rio. Rather than simply an object of beauty which it undoubtedly is, the bridge was a vital player in the city of Cordoba’s battles with, amongst others, the ominously-named Peter the Cruel in the 1350s. At the southern end is the Torre de la Calahorra, a fortified tower built in the 12th century by the resident Almohad Caliphate to protect the bridge and at the northern end is the Puerta del Puente built over 300 years later in the 1570s.
Close the Scotland’s geographical centre in the village of Doune in Perthshire, Doune Castle is a medieval castle with one of the best-preserved great halls in Scotland. The castle was used extensively in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as well as in Game of Thrones as Winterfell. As such, for those visiting mainland Britain, it’s actually one of the few places in Game of Thrones you can visit here. It was originally built in the 13th century, most likely damaged during the Scottish Wars of Independence and rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century. It was constructed by Robert Stewart, Regent Albany and grandson of Robert the Bruce and has been used over the centuries as a strategic military stronghold seeing action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Jacobite Risings, a royal hunting lodge and a dower house, traditionally used by the widow of the estate owner. Ruined by 1800, restoration works were undertaken in the late 19th century and the castle was passed into state care a century later. The striking 29-m high gatehouse includes the Lord’s Hall with domestic quarters, an intricately carved oak screen, musician’s gallery and double fireplace. It’s labyrinthine in nature with rooms connected by spiral staircases and low, narrow doorways. Today, visitors to Doune Castle can re-tread the footsteps of kings, real and fictional, listen to the audio tour narrated by Python Terry Jones and marvel at the views from the battlements of the River Teith and out over the Monteith Hills on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. There’s a gift shop, toilets and parking available. One of a number of genuine fortifications used in the show, Doune is a fine addition to the list of Game of Thrones castle locations.
The Moroccan city of Essaouira has a rich and vibrant history dating back two and a half millennia. The Atlantic coastal city is full of narrow alleys and the pungent smell of spices, thuya wood and sea air tells you that you are in an ancient north African town. If you’re a Game of Thrones devotee, Essaouira is and will always be Astapor, home of the Unsullied and the southernmost of the three city-states of Slaver’s Bay. It is one of a number of Game of Thrones filming locations in Morocco. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Essaouira was established by Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian explorer in the 5th century BC and over the next two thousand years it was a port, a centre of the manufacture of purple dye and a garrison town but the Essaouira you see today is largely thanks to Mohammed III who built the fortifications and walled the beautiful town in. The influences of Portuguese, French, Berber, Dutch, Jewish and Muslim cultures are evident as you make your way around the town and at one stage the population was evenly split 50/50 between Jews and Muslims. Because of the ‘vents alizés’ – the trade winds that sweep inland off the Atlantic, it’s known as the ‘Wind City of Africa’ and is a favourite spot for hardcore windsurfers. Around the harbour, the fishermen and artisan woodworkers are doing the same as their predecessors and the art scene is as vibrant as it has always been. When it comes to the list of Game of Thrones places you can visit, this one’s a cracker!
Fort Lovrijenac is a stunning and imposing cliff-top fort located just outside Dubrovnik’s medieval city walls. One of Dubrovnik’s most impressive structures, it guards the western entrance to the city from the Adriatic Sea. Game of Thrones fans will recognise Lovrijenac Fortress as the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Scenes filmed here include the tournament thrown in honour of King Joffrey’s name day in the second series and a host of other scenes. Of all places featured in Game of Thrones, this is surely one of the top for any Game of Thrones location map list. Legend has it that Fort Lovrijenac was built on a 37m high cliff in in merely three months in the eleventh century by the people of the Republic of Dubrovnik to head off an imminent attack from the Venetians. At the time, the Venetians were intent on building their own fort in this location, but Dubrovnik’s citizens completed Fort Lovrijenac first, thus frustrating the Venetian plans for military superiority. On the three sides an enemy could attack – north, west and south-west – the walls are up to 12m thick but on the city side they are no more than 60cm thick. There was some logic to this whereby if a fort commander attempted a coup d’état, the Republic’s artillery could quickly and easily penetrate the fort and take back control. Today, the parapets once used to defend the city have been transformed into some of the most dignified theatrical stages in Europe, famous for performances of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’.
Fort Manoel is a magnificent limestone star fort built in the 1720s under the rule of Portuguese Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena and is one of the most stunning in Malta. In one of Game of Thrones’ most climactic scenes, Fort Manoel is the Great Sept of Baelor, the place where King Joffrey executes Ned Stark after his confession in the season one finale. Designed by knight René Jacob de Tigné and the Order’s military engineer Charles François de Mondion, it is located on Manoel Island near the town of Gżira and overlooks Valetta and the Marsamxett Harbour. It sits on the site of an old quarantine hospital built in 1643 and is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of 18th century military architecture in the entire region - no wonder it caught the eye of those seeking filming locations for Game of Thrones. It includes a parade ground, a stunning quadrangle and an arcade that once slept 500 soldiers. The four pentagonal bastions on each corner – St. Helen, St. Anthony, St. John and Notre Dame – form a star and one of Malta’s most secure and impressive forts. It first saw action when the French invaded in 1798. It fell to the Gauls but the Maltese quickly took it back. The British took over in September 1800 and added gun emplacements and a gun battery. They were decommissioned in 1906 but the fort saw action in WWII and took a number of direct Luftwaffe hits. The entire fort was finally decommissioned in 1964 and after falling into virtual ruin, Fort Manoel is in the midst of a €30m restoration project and is closed to the public.
Fort St. Angelo has been described as ‘the jewel in the crown of Malta’s rich military heritage’ and sits, throne-like at the promontory of the town of Città Vittoriosa, better known locally as Birgu. One of a number of Game of Thrones castle locations, the fort’s underground tunnels doubled as Arya Stark’s playground in the Red Keep’s dungeons in the show. Unfortunately for visitors, the fort is currently undergoing a €13.4m restoration, conservation and re-use programme and is currently closed to the public. When the Knights of the Order of St John arrived in 1530, the fort became the seat of the Grand Master and after substantial remodelling over the next 30 years, it withstood a formidable Saracen advance during the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. Spanish military engineer Carlos de Grunenburgh remodelled the fort to include gun batteries he paid for himself and in 1912, the British moved in. The naval HQ was (affectionately) re-named HMS St Angelo and it took direct hits during WWII but withstood all-comers. It was used as a base ship until as recently as 1979 until the British left. Other add-ons have included D’Homedes Bastion, Ferramolino’s Cavalier and the De Guiral Battery. An interesting fact about Fort St. Angelo is that when world-renowned Baroque artist Caravaggio was in Malta for the unveiling of his masterpiece The Beheading of St John the Baptist, he became involved in a brawl that ended with the wounding of an Italian Knight. He was imprisoned in the fort and is assumed to have escaped on one of the cargo ships that travelled between Malta and Sicily.
Kastel Gomilica is one of seven castle settlements built in the 15th and 16th centuries to protect a 20km stretch of stunning Dalmatian coast and the town of Kaštela from the threat of Ottoman invasion. For fans of the filming locations of Game of Thrones, it doubled as Braavos, the most powerful and richest of the Free Cities. Do you remember the scene from season five where Arya Stark sells oysters from a cart? Kastel Gomilica. Benedictine nuns from Split built Kaštel Gomilica in the 1520s on a tract of land bequeathed to them by King Zvonimir of Croatia in 1078. It is the second of seven castles, the other six are Sućurac, Kambelovac, Lukšić, Stari, Novi and Štafilić and they are all worth visiting. Outside of the major cities, Kaštela is considered to be a taste of the real Croatia with less ‘tourists’ and more ‘cultural travellers’. It’s a perfect spot for ocean-side walks with views of Ciovo and Split and exploring the narrow allies and there’s a plethora of cafés, restaurants, shops and amenities as well as daily markets selling fresh vegetables and fish straight out the ocean. The imposing military beauty of Kastel Gomilica makes it easy to understand why those seeking filming locations for Game of Thrones were suitably enamoured.
Straddling the Mosor and Kozjuk mountains high above the city of Split and the Adriatic Sea, Klis Fortress started life as a small stronghold built by the Dalmatae, one of the Illyrian tribes in the second century BC. On the Game of Thrones locations map, it was the setting for the outdoor scenes of Meereen, the mercantile city-state and northernmost of the three great city-states of Slaver’s Bay. As such, it’s among the most impressive Game of Thrones places to visit. Over almost 2,000 years, Klis Fortress has been the seat of many of Croatia’s kings and a key crossroad between the Mediterranean and the Balkans as well as a vitally important strategic defender of the area, most famously rebuffing the Ottoman advances in the Middle Ages. Inaccessible from three sides, Klis Fortress changed dramatically over the years to the point where the original appearance has been lost to history. Many of the buildings you see today are Venetian and from the 17th – 19th centuries. Over the years, dozens of battles have reigned down upon the fortress which changed hands many times between, amongst others, the Hungaro-Croatians, Turks, Romans (who knew it as ‘Clausura’, the origin of the later name ‘Clissa’ and today’s name, ‘Klis’), the Knights Templar, Venetians, Austrians, French and Yugoslavs. Today, Klis Fortress is a popular tourist site in Croatia where visitors can walk through the ancient halls and ramparts as well as visiting the museum full of arms, armour and traditional uniforms.
Lokrum Island is a stunning and uninhabited nature reserve 600 metres from Dubrovnik’s historic harbour out in the Adriatic Sea which contains the ruins of a former Benedictine monastery among other remains. Perhaps Lokrum Island's biggest claim to fame in recent times is its place on the Game of Thrones map as the interior of Qarth, the place where Daenerys is granted access to the city by Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Of all the Game of Thrones filming locations in Croatia, it’s one of the most peaceful and serene to visit. The name Lokrum comes from the Latin ‘acrumen’ meaning ‘sour fruit’, a reference to the oranges and lemons that still grow on the island today. It was first mentioned in 1023 by the Benedictine monks who built the (now ruined) abbey and monastery and in 1192. Legend has it that the island gave shelter to Richard the Lionheart who became shipwrecked on his return from the Third Crusade. By way of thanks, he built the Romanesque cathedral on the mainland. The island changed ownership many times and after remaining untouched for centuries, Maximilian of Habsburg, the brother of Austrian emperor Francis Joseph I bought the islet in 1859 and set about turning it into a stunning nature reserve. Today you can find the fascinating the ruins of the Benedictine monastery nestled among olive groves, citrus trees, forests of pine, laurel, oak, cypress and ash trees. If you go to the southern tip, you’ll find a small saltwater lake, all under the protection of UNESCO. In addition, the only inhabitants of the island are exquisite peacocks and ‘moments in their company can feel wonderfully decadent.’ To avoid suprises, it's worth noting that to the southeast of the island is a naturist beach. It’s clearly marked ‘FKK’ which stands for ‘Freikörperkultur’ or ‘free body culture’ so if you’re of a sensitive nature, stick to the ruins and the amazing plants, trees, flowers and peacocks!
Meteora is an incredible set of monasteries each perched high atop Greek mountains in area of extraordinary natural beauty. In Game of Thrones, Meteora famously features as the pivotal location of The Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn and it ranks among the very best filming locations of Game of Thrones terms of sheer wonder. The sites on which the Meteora monasteries were built are believed to have first been inhabited by a group of monks who lived their lives in seclusion, in the eleventh century. However, many of the Meteora monasteries seen today date back to the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The most important of the Meteora monasteries is perhaps that of The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, built in the mid-fourteenth century and this is now a museum. Other monasteries of Meteora include Agias Triados, Agiou Nikolaou, Varlaam, Agias Varvaras Rousanou and Agiou Stefanou. When visiting Meteora, it is required that women wear skirts covering their knees and that both men and women cover up generally. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions to visit in Greece.
Built in the early 1460s at the height of the Turkish threat, the Minceta Tower is a huge round fort dominating the north-western section of the city and became the symbol of the city of Dubrovnik. Fans of Game of Thrones may recognise the Minceta Tower as being the House of Undying in Qarth, where Daenerys Targaryen searches, ultimately successfully, for her stolen dragons. For those seeking to explore the very best places featured in Game of Thrones - and looking to evoke memories from the show - it’s hard to beat. It was originally constructed as a four-sided fort in 1319 and its name is taken from that of the landowners of the time, the Menčetić family. Immediately after the fall of Constantinople to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1453, the tower was added to by Italian sculptor and architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi who built a round tower adapted for warfare with 6m thick walls and protected gun ports. A disagreement ensued between Michelozzi and local government officials which prompted his return to Italy but the tower was completed by Giorgio da Sebenico, otherwise known as Juraj Dalmatinac who added stability to the bottom of the tower as well as its iconic Gothic crown. The tower was completed in 1464 and even though the 750 steep, winding steps to the top are a challenge for even the fittest cultural tourist, when you get to the top and see the sensational views of the old town of Dubrovnik to one side and out into the Adriatic Sea to the other, you’ll understand that the climb was worth it. You can also visit the museum in the excavated basement.
Ouarzazate is most famous for the location of the Kasbah-town of Aït Ben-Haddou, one of the world’s finest examples of North African pisé clay architecture dating back a thousand years. Notwithstanding the port of Pentos, one of the Free Cities in Game of Thrones, the Atlas Studios in Ouarzazate – the world’s largest film studio complex – has been used to depict places as diverse as ancient Rome, Tibet, Egypt, Somalia and dozens of Middle Eastern locations and is colloquially known as ‘Ouallywood’. It’s among the most interesting places featured in Game of Thrones that you can visit. Linking ancient Sudan with Marrakech, the town was a strategically important crossing point for traders from all over Africa looking to expand their markets into northern Africa and Europe. Ouarzazate is one of the most perfectly preserved examples of the Morocco we have all seen in a thousand movies and to the south sits the fearsome 9.4million square km Sahara desert and many excursions into the sand start from Ouarzazate. In the 1920s, a modern garrison town was established to look after France’s colonial interests in the region and after the French protectorate left in the 1950s, the movie business took over and hasn’t looked back. Boiling hot in the summer (36°C - 40°C) but thanks to the icy winds that shank off the High Atlas Mountains, the winters can get down as low as 1°C - 3°C. Since the eyes of the world’s film location scouts are permanently here, the area has developed quickly and now includes hotels, restaurants, shops, apartments and public spaces and with plenty of small businesses offering the hire of cars, motorbikes and even camels, your trip into the heart of the Sahara is well taken care of.
Sitting almost in Malta’s geographical centre, San Anton Palace has, since 1974, served as the official residence of the President. Game of Thrones watchers will recognise San Anton Palace as the exterior of the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the place where Varys and Littlefinger tell Ned Stark that the Goldcloaks are under his full control. It’s one of a number of Game of Thrones set locations located on the island. It was built between 1623 and 1636 by the 54th Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Antoine de Paule. He called the palace ‘Sainte Antoine’ after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua and during the French Blockade of 1798-1800, San Anton was a gathering place for Maltese insurgents. It was used by successive Grand Masters as their official residence and is sumptuously and luxuriously decorated although like Verdala Palace, it’s a private residence and is therefore closed to the public. The San Anton Gardens however have been open to the public since 1882 and feature stunning walkways, fountains, ponds, sculptures and birds including ducks and swans. There are 300-year old trees in the walled garden including palm, cypress and jacaranda as well as citrus and avocado trees and a beautiful array of flowers from all over the world. The garden hosts the annual Malta Horticultural Show as well as various open-air theatre and music performances and just inside the main gate is the Eagle Fountain which has been keeping a watchful eye over proceedings since the 1620s.
St Dominika Street in Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a famous cobbled street within the Croatian city’s impressive medieval walls. Fans of Game of Thrones may remember St Dominika Street as the route the shorn Cersei Lannister walked naked as penance for her sins - making it one of the most recognisable Game of Thrones filming locations to visit. If you are walking through St Dominika Street, it’s worth visiting the Dominican monastery and museum close to the Ploče Gate. Subsumed by the city walls in the 14th century, it’s a Gothic-Renaissance masterpiece and includes paintings, artefacts, jewels and religious iconography depicting the rich history of Dubrovnik, ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’. The Walls of Dubrovnik – of which St Dominika Street is within – is considered to be one of the great fortification systems of the Middle Ages, partly due to their strategically-perfect waterfront location and also because they were never breached by hostile armies. Famous the world over, the walls were granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1979. Today, St Dominika Street is a narrow, curved and cobbled passageway flanked by very high walls. But you may not put two and two together given the market scenes featured in Game of Thrones that were filmed in St Dominika Street were packed full of bustling market stalls, animals for sale, peasants and traders – King’s Landing style. In fact, Dubrovnik’s Old Town is home to many of King’s Landing’s most famous locations including the Red Keep, the House of the Undying, the set of the Purple Wedding and many of the market scenes.
Stradun is Dubrovnik’s most famous thoroughfare, stretching just 300 metres between the East gate – Ploče - and the west gate - Pile. Paved in 1468 with limestone, it has been polished as smooth as glass by the millions of feet that have walked its length, including those of Game of Throne's Cersei Lannister who took her naked walk of penance through the streets of King’s Landing. It’s one of a number of Game of Thrones places you can visit in Dubrovnik. ‘Placa’ is translated from Greek and Latin ‘platea’ as ‘street’ and ‘Stradun’ is a Venetian sobriquet for ‘big street’ but it’s not about size, it’s about importance. Dividing the east of the city from the west, Stradun is Dubrovnik’s most famous thoroughfare and is made of white marble, flanked on each side by stunning examples of late-Renaissance buildings. From the 11th century after the narrow marshy channel was earthed over, Stradun has run east to west and is not only book-ended by the East gate – Ploče (Vrata od Ploča) – and the west gate – Pile (Vrata od Pila) but also by the 15th century Large Onofrio’s Fountain at the west end and the Small Onofrio’s Fountain at the eastern end as well as the Dubrovnik Bell Tower (east) and the bell tower at the Franciscan monastery (west). Most of Dubrovnik’s historically important buildings and monuments are on Stradun and the street we see today owes its appearance to wholesale and uniform rebuilding following the earthquake in 1667. On February 3rd every year (and for the last thousand or so) the procession of the Feast of St Blaise takes place commemorating his spiritual and religious unification of Dubrovnik as well as his salvation of the city from a surprise attack in 971. The festivities are so culturally important as to be recognised by UNESCO as an example of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Trogir is one of the most famous Game of Thrones filming locations being the site of the mythical city of Qarth, ‘the greatest city that ever was or will be’ situated on the Jade Gates and brimming with wealth and stunning architecture. Trogir was founded by Greeks in the third century BC as Tragurion (‘tragos’ is Greek for ‘male goat’) and boasts 2,300 years of continuous urban tradition in its narrow, maze-like streets. Seventeen miles west of Split on the Adriatic Coast lay the historic Croatian harbour town of Trogir, renowned for its fortified walls and stunning Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Over the last two millennia, it has been ruled and populated by the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, the Hapsburg Empire, the French, the Yugoslavs and finally today, the modern-day Croatians. For such a small island (wedged between the mainland and the larger island of Ciovo), there is a very high concentration of churches, palaces, fortresses and towers and one advantage of successive and eclectic rule is the architecture that each group left behind. You’ll find some stunning examples of grand Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, both public and domestic and the town was conferred UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1997 as it is, in UNESCO’s own words, ‘a remarkable example of urban continuity’. Three hours and 258km from Dubrovnik, Trogir is a beautifully picturesque harbour town with a beautiful seafront promenade that relies on tourism as one of its primary income sources and as such, there’s a proliferation of hotels and apartments, bars, cafés, restaurants and everything you could need for a few days here.
The eponymous Verdala Palace was built by and named for Grandmaster Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle, the 52nd Grandmaster of the Order of Malta in 1586 in Buskett Gardens. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you will have already seen the palace in a different guise – it was the set of the exterior of the mansion of Illyrio Mopatis in Pentos. The game hunting lodge on the site surrounding the dense woodlands of Buskett was built around 1555 and used by the Knights of the Order of St John and expanded into the palace 30 or so years later. Additional building work was added in the 17th and 18th centuries. Each corner of the two-storey palace has five-storey high towers and since 1987 has served as the official summer residence of the President of Malta. Over the years it has served as a military prison holding French soldiers captured by the Maltese or British during the French Blockade of 1798-1800 as well as a silk factory under British rule but in the early 1800s it fell into disrepair. After a full restoration by Governor Sir William Reid in the 1850s, it served for a short time as a temporal minor hospital and the official summer residence of the British governors until assume the same role for the President of Malta in 1987. Since Verdala Palace is, in essence, a private home, it’s closed to the public but there are some great walks through Buskett Gardens and the local village of Siggiewi offering stunning views of the palace.
Fans of Game of Thrones may recognise the Walls of Ston as the fortifications protecting King’s Landing. In reality, they are the longest complete fortress system in Europe (and second in the world behind the Great Wall of China) and they are known colloquially as ‘The Great Wall of Croatia’. For those seeking Game of Thrones locations that truly evoke the spirit of the show, a visit here is hard to beat. The isolated wall system on the Peljesac Peninsula connects Ston with the neighbouring town of Mali Ston. The walls were built in the 14th and 15th centuries with two distinct purposes in mind – firstly to act as the first line of defence for Ston as well as the strategically vital port city of Dubrovnik 60km south down the Dalmatian coast and secondly, to safeguard the highly lucrative salt pans in the area which are still operational to this day. The salt produced in Ston is said to be the purest in the entire Mediterranean region. The limestone walls are shaped like an irregular pentagon and today measure a little over five kilometres in length. They were originally built with 40 towers and five fortresses although only 20 of the towers survive today. Within the walls, streets are laid out in a perpendicular design. After almost 50 years of restoration projects (for authenticity, using the same or similar techniques as the original builders used), the walls reopened in 2009. They attract a growing number of tourists, partly to see some of the best defensive walls and fortresses in Europe and partly for arguably the most stunning views of the Adriatic Sea you’ll find along the Dalmatian coast. There is very little in terms of amenities on site aside from a number of hillside restaurants serving what are claimed to be some of the best oysters in the world, eaten literally metres from where they are farmed. The town of Ston includes hotels, apartments, shops and cafés as well as great beaches, watersports and opportunities for excursions further afield.
Located fourteen hundred metres high up the Sierra de Caldereros, Zafra Castle has stood on its own on a sandstone outcrop for a thousand years. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Zafra Castle appears in season six as the Tower of Joy where a young Ned Stark clashes with Ser Arthur Dayne and according to current owner Daniel Sanz, the producers were ‘looking for a remote site and away from any building’. It’s one of the hardest Game of Thrones filming locations to visit, but well worth the trek for hard core fans. Originally built in the 11th century by the Moors, it sits 5km from the village of Campillo de Dueñas although the castle you see today is mostly from the 13th century. Local excavations uncovered Bronze and Iron Age remains as well as those of Celtiberians, Romans and Visigoths. The whole region was conquered (including the first incarnation of the castle) by the Christians from the north in around 1129 as part of the ‘Reconquista’ of the Iberian peninsula. The castle’s defensive capabilities were seriously tested from the 12th century when Castilian King Fernando III unsuccessfully tried to take the castle all the way through to the civil wars of the 14th and 15th centuries. At the start of the 16th century it started to fall into ruin, not before ownership had been passed to various royals, conquerors, religious groups and local dignitaries. Zafra Castle was owned by the state until 1971 when it was bought for 30,000 pesetas by Don Antonio Sanz Polo, a descendent of the 15th century owner Don Juan de Hombrados Malo and he spent the next 30 years and most of his fortune painstakingly restoring the ruined castle.