The highly anticipated final season of HBO’s epic fantasy show, Game of Thrones, will be hitting our screens tonight! After 8 action-packed years of family feuds, deadly direwolves, fire-breathing dragons and all-out war – we’ll know once and for all who will claim the coveted Iron Throne.
While Westeros and its inhabitants are a creative medieval masterpiece, it’s the dreamy destinations that bring the drama to life. Avid fans of the show will undoubtedly get a kick from seeing King’s Landing in the flesh, as well as a whole host of other cinematic settings that double seamlessly as the seven kingdoms. If you’re thinking about a spot of set-jetting, then brace yourself… Game of Thrones real life locations are coming.
[Warning: Possible spoilers ahead]
Easily the most iconic of all, Croatia has been good to the Game of Thrones universe. Westeros’ infamous capital, King’s Landing, owes a lot to the Old Town of Dubrovnik. From Cersei Lannister swanning around beautiful botanical gardens to season 6’s explosive wildfire seemingly wiping out much of the city – here’s some of the top spots to visit when visiting the picturesque ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.
Ploče Gate – Old Town’s main entrance from the east, the gate has a grand inner and outer section, as well as a stone bridge connecting them. Parading in the show as the Red Keep Gate, Cersei makes part of season 5’s ‘walk of shame’ here.
St. Dominic Street – A stone’s throw from the Dominican monastery, this famous street connects Ploče Gate with Stradun and is the centrepiece for many of the market scenes. Well-loved characters like Tyrion and Bronn have graced St. Dominic Street.
Fort Lovrijenac – You’ll find this Game of Thrones favourite masquerading as the Red Keep too. Tyrion, Podric and Bronn walk along the walls soon after the battle of Blackwater as well.
Old Town – Dubrovnik is so picture-perfect that King’s Landing required very little by way of a makeover to transform into Westeros’ southern capital. There are countless locations waiting to be uncovered, see how many you manage to stumble upon whilst wandering the limestone streets. Of course, if you’d rather not miss a thing – there’s plenty of walking tours that’ll bring you up close and personal with the fantastical filming locations.
Lokrum Botanical Gardens – It might seem a mammoth journey thanks to TV trickery, but the stunning shores of Qarth are a miniscule 600m off of Croatia’s mainland. Take a taxi-boat 15 minutes from Dubrovnik and breathe in the sweet scents of Lokrum’s botanical gardens, which double as Qarth’s own exotic estate.
Krka National Park – One of the most instagrammed Game of Thrones locations in the world, incredible Krka National Park lends its breathtaking beauty to the Riverlands of Westeros. Best recognised as the backdrop for the Hound and Arya Stark’s peril-filled journey – at least their dangerous voyage had spectacular views!
Klis Fortress – The Mother of Dragons spends a lot of her time in magical Meereen, which she and her armies courageously conquer in season 4. Klis Fortress and its medieval castle are the bones of this great city, and although the show had some help from CGI, there’s still a lot of similarities between the two spots!
Alcázar Palace, Seville – Feel like royalty and spend the day at Seville’s Alcázar Palace. Accommodating House Martell and the Dornish noblemen, wander the water gardens and fictional streets of Sunspear. Photographers will have a field day admiring the intricate Arabian architecture. Ornate floors, ceilings and tiles are decorated with gold carvings and geometric shapes. No wonder the Game of Thrones directors chose it!
Plaza De Toros De Osuna, Seville – Another season 5 treasure, you’ve GOT to see where Khaleesi’s dragon dramatically rescues her from the Sons of the Harpy. Doubling as the Great Pit of Daznak, this real life bullring plays the largest fighting pit in Meereen – which Daenerys reluctantly agreed to reopen.
The Roman Bridge, Cordoba – Although slightly enhanced with CGI magic, the ancient Roman Bridge becomes the Long Bridge of Volantis in season 5. A stunning aerial shot shows the beauty of this much-loved landmark, by which fan favourites Tyrion and Varys flee from King’s Landing towards the free city.
Castle of Zafra, Guadalajara – A relatively humble abode by Westeros’ standards, the Tower of Joy plays a pivotal part in the Game of Thrones universe. A striking castle, Zafra is the backdrop for Bran’s vision. Involving a young Ned Stark and some shocking revelations of Jon Snow’s parentage… The castle itself is a 13th Century creation and reaching it can be a little tricky – seeing as it’s the only building around for miles! The desolate and protected natural spaces are just as unique as the tower, perfect for fans after a lesser-known location.
Mdina Gate – Mdina is a must-see without the Game of Thrones connections, but maesters of the medieval show will love spotting King’s Landing characteristics throughout the maze of tangled streets. Mdina’s main gate sets the scene for one of Season 1’s most moving moments – Catelyn and Ned Stark’s final farewell.
Mesquita Square – As soon as you wander into this quiet little square, you’ll recognise it instantly. Not only is it the fateful place that Ned and Jamie Lannister spar with swords, which leads to… (well, you know)… but it’s also the location of Petyr Baelish’s brothel.
Azure Window – Although the infamous rocky arch was destroyed by the elements in 2017, you can still visit the venue for Daenery’s and Drogo’s Dothraki wedding feast. Doubling as the coast of Pentos in the very first episode, hundreds of extras stood in celebration of the power couple. As well as Ser Jorah Mormont, who gifts the newlyweds a book of Westerosi tales and songs. Despite the absence of the window itself, the remaining geological gems on gorgeous Gozo are worth a visit!
Meteora – The Eyrie is easily one of the most eye-catching settlements of the series. A spot to make your jaw-drop, this ancient castle is the ancestral sea of House Arryn, Lords of the Vale. From ‘moon doors’ to rock pillars suspended over cloud-covered valleys, majestic Meteora is the real-life inspiration for this amazing aerial kingdom. One of Greece’s most underrated attractions, the unbelievable and unique landscapes look almost purpose-built for the starring role in a fantasy-tale.