Game of Thrones Filming Locations
Like most Game of Thrones fans, I continue to be impressed with this phenomenal television series. In my recent travels, I have made one of my favorite tv shows come to life by visiting some of the filming locations of Game of Thrones in various parts of the world. Northern Ireland, Morocco, Malta and Croatia are all fascinating travel destinations but also make spectacular filming locations for Game of Thrones. Below are some of my favorite real life travel destinations and locations from the show
Dunluce Castle – or House of Greyjoy
Perched dramatically on the coast of County Antrim, Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland is an easy attraction to visit that can be included along with Giants Causeway and the Bushmills Distillery. The castle’s history dates back to the 13th century, includes tales of a banshee, and a dramatic story of how the castle kitchens fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. In GOT, Dunluce Castle is home to the House of Greyjoy and plays the backdrop to the Iron Islands.
Country Antrim is now becoming synonymous with Game of Thrones and very much following the model that New Zealand has with Lord of the Rings. There are several Game of Thrones inspired tours you can easily book.
Paint Hall Studios – Various Interior Sets for Game Of Thrones
For Game of Thrones, the Belfast studio itself employs more than 700 people, with spin-off contracts pushing Thrones-derived employment to several thousand. It is located directly across from the dry dock where the Titanic was built and one of the best new museums in Europe. From the top floor of the museum, it’s easy to spot Paint Hall Studios across the canal. Recently, Queen Elizabeth II visited the studios but was very careful to not sit upon the Iron Throne. For more info, check out Discover Northern Ireland.
Ouarzazate – Home of the Unsullied
Commonly associated with Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (and other films in that genre), the neighboring towns appear as Astapor and Pentos. In Game of Thrones, Astapor, also known as the Red City, is the southernmost of the three great city-states of Slaver’s Bay. A noted stopping point for ships bound from Qarth to the Free Cities and Westeros, Astapor is home of the infamous Unsullied, eunuch slave-soldiers considered by many to be the finest infantry troops in the World. For travelers driving from Marakesch toward the Dades Valley, this is a great stopping point after crossing the Atlas Mountains. Check out Sahara Experiences for more details on this trip.
Much longer ago, the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans all left their mark in Malta. Indeed, throughout the centuries, armies have arrived, traders traded and pirates pillaged aplenty here. Throughout the centuries Malta has been a strategically positioned piece of rock with one of the deepest and best harbors in the Mediterranean
Fort St Angelo – The Red Keep’s Prisons and Underground Chambers
Fort St Angelo, in the city of Birgu, was the location for the Red Keep’s prisons and underground chambers with dragon skulls. The Fort is undergoing restoration and it’s currently closed to the public, but you’re free to wander around the outside and imagine Ned Stark living out his final days in the bowels of the fort, before being carted off to nearby Manoel Island – that served as the Sept of Baelor, where Ned Stark was beheaded.
Valleta – King’s Landing, The Red Keep
The winding, cobbled backstreets of the island’s capital were used in several King’s Landing scenes, but the most striking location here is the 17th-century Fort Ricasoli, which doubled as the Red Keep. It’s visible across the Grand Harbour from the gorgeous Upper Barrakka Gardens.
A popular filming location, the fort was also used in Gladiator, Troy and more recently the Assassin’s Creed movie. If the site is in use you might not be allowed close-up access to the King’s Landing gate, with its impressive plaited pillars (pictured above), but you can still get reasonably near by boat. We recommend hiring a “dghajsa”; a refurbished 200-year-old gondola/water taxi. There’s no better way to travel on the island. For more on Malta, here is the link to a video on my first night in Malta.
Dubrovnik Old Town – King’s Landing
Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, founded in the 7th Century, is a medium sized city situated on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. The late-medieval walled city has an exceptional Old Town with beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik remains a top tourist attraction, with the Stradun (the main street in the Old Town) entirely made of white marble and with beautiful late-Renaissance houses on each side of street.
For Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is synonymous with King’s Landing, Capital of Westeros, and its constant presence since series two has only heightened the appeal of a city that already seems inundated by the crush of tourists. There are recognizable locations galore in the heart of the crowded Old City.
There are several sites in the Old City where Game of Thrones was filmed which include the Pile and Ploče gate, St. Dominika street, along the city walls, the Bokar fortress and the Minčeta tower. Visitors can take a walk along the city walls that surround the Old City. Do this early in order to avoid the punishing heat of the summer and hordes of cruise ship tourists. The walk takes a couple of hours and offers stunning views of the Dalmatian Coast and a bird’s eye view of the city. Lovrijenac Fortress, one of the sights that can be seen from the wall, is an impressive structure built on an outcropping rock. It is located just outside the Western wall of the Old Town and was featured in Game of Thrones.
St Dominick Street – King’s Landing, Market Scenes
Located near the Dominican monastery, St. Dominic Street links Ploče Gate with the main street, Stradun. Many Game of Thrones market scenes take place here. St. Dominic Street is where the Gold Cloaks kill one of King Robert’s illegitimate sons, it’s also where Tyrion and Bronn witness a protest speech in season two. In season five, Cersei Lannister walks naked through this street, as a sign of penance.
Rector’s Palace-Spice King in Qarth
The scene in season two where Daenerys Targaryen asks the Spice King of Qarth for ships to take her army across the Narrow sea is shot in the external parts of Reactor’s Palace. This palace was built in the late 15th century for the elected rector who governed Dubrovnik at the time. The palace includes the rector’s office, his private chambers, public halls, administrative offices, and even a dungeon. If you want to see more Qarth scenes you’ll need to take a trip to nearby Lokrum Island where they filmed several of the outdoor garden scenes