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Art and culture

Game of Thrones filming locations you can actually visit

 

Game of Thrones fans, this one is for you...

Winter is here! Well, kind of. Spring has arrived and so the new and final series of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us. It’s the concluding instalment of the TV epic that’s thrilled and shocked fans in equal measure for the last eight years. But all is not lost. If you’re sad the show is coming to a close, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still relive the magic at filming locations across Europe. Croatia, Iceland, Malta and Spain are just a handful of the countries that have served as the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos for filming over the years.

If you’re keen to experience the Game of Thrones filming locations, here’s our guide to the best of the bunch.

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Iceland

A filming location since series 2, Iceland takes a different guise in Game of Thrones – it’s used as the backdrop for the icy lands beyond The Wall. Where Wildlings roam rampant and a blue-eyed Night King casts his steely gaze on all humans that dare stray there.

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Venture to the north of the country to visit volcanic Lake Mývatn. Lovers of the show may recognise various points around this area. Dimmuborgir, a frozen lava field, marks the spot where the Wildling army set up camp in series 3, while Grjótagjá Cave was the prime choice for an intimate scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte.

Stunning UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park is found east of Iceland’s capital Reykjavík and it’s here where multiple scenes south of The Wall were shot for series 4. Set your sights on the Öxarárfoss trail, which served as the foreboding narrow passage leading to the Eyrie.

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Malta

There’s no denying the beauty of Malta. This ancient Mediterranean island dazzles with its dramatic coastline, history-stuffed cities and aquamarine waters. And it was a favourite of producers for Game of Thrones as the fictional city of King’s Landing.

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Medieval Mdina, Malta’s former capital, was one of the principal filming locations. The main city gate is where Ned and Catelyn Stark bid each other goodbye for the last time in series 1 and the narrow streets portrayed alleyways where Littlefinger once tread.

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Wander around beautiful St Dominic’s Monastery in Rabat and get a feel for the Red Keep Garden in Season 1, where Ned Stark confronted a murderous Cersei Lannister. More scenes set at the Red Keep were filmed at 17th-century St Anton Palace, the President of Malta’s official residence!

Spain

Sizzling Spain charms with its abundance of centuries-old palaces and verdant gardens. So spellbinding, it landed a starring role throughout the filming of Game of Thrones from the get go. But not just one pocket of the country was used – stars were flown from one destination to the other to depict the warmer lands of Dorne and Essos.

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Deep in the south of the country, the striking Royal Alcázar of Seville was the ideal setting for the Water Gardens of Dorne. Established in the 10th century and created using a harmonious blend of Christian and Mudéjar architecture, this palace is a total knockout. Follow in the footsteps of the members of the conspiring House Martell as you stroll the lush grounds. Similarly, the Alcazaba of Almeria also substituted as the capital of Dorne.

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Further north, Girona is another medieval showstopper that stood in frequently as King’s Landing and Braavos. Wander the tangle of narrow of alleyways in the old quarter and get a feel for where Arya Stark spent her short-lived days as a blind beggar. If you make a beeline for Girona Cathedral, you’ll have crossed the Narrow Sea and ended up at the spot where Ser Jaime Lannister marched on the Faith of the Seven.

Croatia

One of the most famous places to track down Game of Thrones locations is Croatia. It’s magnificently-preserved fortresses, honey-tinged buildings and marble streets were an important spot for many King’s Landing scenes.

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Dubrovnik has filming locations aplenty. Trace Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame from St Ignatius of Loyola Church to Gundulić Square, then pitch up at Minčeta Tower and you’ll feel as you’ve landed in Qarth at the House of the Undying. While there’s no Daenerys or dragons to see, it’s an amazing sight to behold. Take a boat across the azure waters to nearby Lokrum Island and make for the Benedictine monastery for more of Qarth.

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If you head north to Split, Diocletian’s Palace is the ultimate place to visit. This Roman complex doubled as the slave city of Meereen – descend into the substructures and you’ll be where the Mother of Dragons visited her locked-up children.

Posted: 11th Apr 2019.

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