Fans of the hit HBO show Game of Thrones have been waiting with baited breath for the start of season seven. As the first episode of the new season is just a few days away, we thought we’d take you on a wild dragon ride around the world, to important locations from the show (that you can actually visit!). You don’t have to be a hardcore GoT fan to appreciate these places — they are all in, or around, some fantastic destinations that would make for a great holiday.
Any Game of Thrones fan who’s itching to see where a lot of Westeros was filmed needs to head to Northern Ireland. Filming for season seven saw more action return to Belfast, the show’s production base, with a lot of the interior shots being conjured up in the city’s Titanic Studios. Even though most of the outdoor locations are not easily accessible, you can pay for a guided tour to take you to places like the famous Dark Hedges (used to depict the King’s Road), Castle Ward in County Down (parts of Winterfell), County Antrim’s Murlough Bay (the Iron Isles), and Magheramorne Quarry (Castle Black). You can also visit the picturesque Downhill Strand, a stretch of beautiful beach that’s overlooked by Mussenden Temple, which served as a location frequently visited by Stannis Baratheon and the priestess Melisandre in previous seasons.
As we see Daenerys and her army march on to retake Westeros, you can reminisce about her arduous journey and check out the trail of conquest she’s left behind. Plan a holiday to Morocco, which served as the real world location for the Khaleesi’s dramatic victory at Slaver’s Bay in season three, with the ancient fortified city of Aït Benhaddou standing in for Yunkai the Yellow City and the Western city of Essaouira representing Astapor, Home of the Unsullied. Both are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are definitely worth seeing.
The medieval metropolis of King’s Landing is filled with danger and duplicity. The politics surrounding the Iron Throne could get your head chopped off, while the chaos on the streets could get you stabbed. Let’s not forget, you also could be blown to bits by Wildfire if you cross a vindictive queen! While the Mediterranean island nation of Malta was used to represent Westeros’s capital city in season one, filming moved to Croatia for the second season and stayed there until season five (season six saw King’s Landing moved to Spain). The southern port city Dubrovnik (a popular tourist destination) stood in for many King’s Landing landmarks while the nearby Fort Lovrijenac portrayed the Red Keep. Season two’s legendary Battle of Blackwater was also filmed in the port city’s bay. You can easily catch a guided tour to see and learn more about these locations.
The areas beyond the Wall, the massive defensive fortification along Westeros’s northern border, is home to Wildlings and White Walkers. You can pretend to be a member of the Night’s Watch trudging along this treacherous land – all you have to do is book a flight to Iceland. Scenes in previous seasons were filmed at the massive Myrdalsjokull and Vatnajökull glaciers, the eerie lava formations at Dimmuborgir, and the renowned Lake Myvatn. You’ll also recognize Thingvellir National Park as the site of the path leading up to the Bloody Gate (where The Hound takes Arya Stark). Although they may be hard to recognize from the show, it’s best to visit in the summer when most of them are not covered in snow.
Given that the Westeros kingdom of Dorne is based on medieval Spain, it makes sense that the show’s producers would head to the southwestern European country for scouting out locations. The historic city of Seville provided a lot of the Dornish stand-ins, the most famous being the real-life royal castle Alcazar of Seville. Viewers would also remember flashback scenes from season six of the Tower of Joy in Dorne, which were filmed at Spain’s Castle of Zafra. In the upcoming season, keep your eyes peeled for many locations in Spain’s lush Basque country. The town of Barrika, the coastline of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (speculated to be the location where Daenerys lands in Westeros), and the port of Bermeo are all set to play significant roles. It is also rumored that the Castillo de Almodóvar del Río (in the province of Córdoba) may appear as Highgarden, the seat of House Tyrell.
Are you a Game of Thrones superfan who would love to visit these great locations? Think we missed any destinations? Let us know in the comments section below!