The seven kingdoms in the Game of Thrones series brings life to the character's homes and tells a lot about where they come from. The scenes in Game of Thrones are shot at so different locations around the world but they are disguised as if they are in some faraway, make-believe Medieval land.
The fact that HBO's hit show was filmed (mostly) in Europe around world heritage sites, major tourist attractions and small towns is pretty much any travel PR company's dream come true. All of the seven kingdoms in Westeros were shot in various locations. The show goes even so far as to fool you into believing that all the scenes in a single kingdom are shot in one place. In reality, King's Landing, for example, was shot in many diverse locations around the world, adding even more to the enchantment.
Part of the appeal in Game of Thrones is the settings and backgrounds that never cease to take the viewer's breath away (along with all the action scenes of course). If you are going to visit the scenes of the seven kingdoms, you better get ready to backpack starting in Western Europe and then working your way east.
Here are the top 20 filming locations for any major Game of Thrones fan to explore.
21 Vík, Iceland: North Of The Wall And Home Of The Wildlings
Vík, Iceland was the land north of the Wall where the Wildlings roamed. For season 7, filming reportedly took place on the black sand beaches near the village of Vík on Iceland's south coast. This dramatic location is dark yet snowy and luminescent. It captures the cold beauty of the country and the moody setting where the Night's Watch meet the Wildlings.
There is a great mysterious quality about these scenes that we have yet to uncover.
Here, the sightseeing is breathtaking with the glaciers. And, if you come at the right time of the year, you can see the Northern Lights.
20 Svínafellsjökull Glacier, Iceland: The Fist Of The First Men
The Svínafellsjökull Glacier in Iceland was first seen in season 2 to represent the snowy scenes of the areas Beyond the Wall. The glacier is located in Skaftafell National Park where it is nicknamed the "Hollywood Glacier" because it has made an appearance in many hit movies and TV series, including Batman Begins.
The Svínafellsjökull Glacier also played a role as the Fist of the First Men, which is a landmark wilderness Beyond the Wall far away from Westeros. You can hike around this area and reenact your favorite GoT scenes pretending that you are the Commander of the Night's Watch.
19 Grjótagjá, Iceland: Romantic Getaway Of Jon Snow And Ygritte
Who could ever forget the dreamy scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte at their romantic hideaway in season 3? Sparks were flying and the chemistry was insane.
In fact, that made Kit Harrington fall in love with co-star Rose Leslie- they are now happily married in real life.
Though most filming of this scene took place in the studio, the Grjótagjá cave was the inspiration for this famous scene. It is located in the North East of Iceland but unfortunately, the water is too hot to swim in. Suffice it to say, you could visit- just look but don't touch.
18 Castle Ward, County Down, Northern Ireland: Winterfell
The grounds of Castle Ward in Northern Ireland was used to film Winterfell and The Twins. One of the key scenes was near the towers in Season 1 when Robert Baratheon brought his family to Winterfell for the first time. Another notable scene is the archery scene with the Stark boys getting shown up by Arya.
Once you get there, you will be struck by the scenery but may also feel a bit underwhelmed. But why, you ask? Because though it slightly resembles Winterfell, it will remind you of the fact that Game of Thrones relies heavily on CG.
17 Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland: The Roads Of Winterfell
This is one of the most common, communal scenes where we see our Game of Thrones characters waltzing in and out of Forest Park in Tollymore, North Ireland. This location is also known as the Haunted Forest. This is also an important scene for when the Stark family discovers the dire wolf pups in Season 1.
Tollymore is a mystic area in Northern Ireland which has a lot to offer.
The exploration has endless surprises that make you feel like you are in Medieval Times. There is even a trail where you can pick out certain ambiguous areas where Game of Thrones is filmed.
16 The Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland: Kingsroad
The Dark Hedges is one of the most sought-after paths you can take in the entire world. This vision is filled with paths of odd shapes in the tree branches. It seems as if there is always a mist in the air giving off that slightly dreary-yet-cool vibe.
Kingsroad in Game of Thrones was where Arya Stark was able to escape King's Landing dressed as a boy. The heavy fog plus the straight-and-narrow part give you the exact location for filming. Many characters in the series have traveled down this road in the scenes where they are uncertain about what is going to happen to them.
15 Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland: The Iron Islands
The stormy waters of the Iron Islands was a place where the people were harsh but strong. The Greyjoy family might be rough around the edges, but they were an important ally of the Starks. The Dunluce Castle is located in County Antrim and home to Northern Ireland's biggest tourist attractions: The Giant's Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery. Of course, you may not be inspired to visit for those alone.
The overall area of Ballintoy is a village that is both picturesque and perfect for fishing.
Ballintoy has a more rugged feel that matched the likes of House Greyjoy. Just don't get captured by Ramsay Bolton.
14 Girona Cathedral, Catalonia, Spain: The Free City Of Braavos
Shifting gears here, many scenes in Game of Thrones have been shot in Spain. In Game of Thrones, Braavos is a place that is wealthy, but not as much as, say King's Landing. Girona, Spain is a city of walls and winding alleys with towers made of stone that have proven sustainable over many years.
This place stays true to the book and lives up to the name of being the Free City. This location has been used for various scenes such as battles, when Arya becomes blind and the Citadel where the Maesters are trained The City of Girona is known for its Flower Festival called Temps de Flors. It has such an ancient vibe to it.
13 Castillo de Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba, Spain: Highgarden, Home Of House Tyrell
People who remember House Tyrell will think of them as classy, flowery folk on Game of Thrones. This beautiful site was the home of the wealthy, yet ill-equipped family who was eventually seized by House Lannister.
This location is the Castillo de Almodovar del Río in the Andalusian province of Córdoba.
Dating back as far as the 8th century, the castle sits on the banks of the river of Guadalquivir. In addition to the amazing views, there are also tourist-friendly river cruises. The castle was created back when the Moors ruled Spain, but of course, you know it better as House Tyrell's abode.
12 Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country, Spain: Dragonstone, Daenerys Targaryen’s Entry Point To Westeros
Spain's northern coastline, Gaztelugatxe is a tiny island off the east of Biscay. It is connected to the mainland by a winding, stone bridge. This idyllic part of Basque Country was a key part in the 7th season of Game of Thrones. It was used as Daenery's home of Dragonstone and shot during October and November (during the gloomiest weather of the year).
This was also the famous scene where Jon Snow meets the Targaryen queen for the first time. The bridge has exactly 241 steps that zigzag on a path to the top of the rock, making for an iconic shot.
11 Itzurun Beach, Zumaia, Spain: The Shores Of Dragonstone
The actual beaches of Dragonstone (once the bridge was crossed) was filmed in the Itzuran Beach in the 2nd season of Game of Thrones. They were also shot in Muriola beach near Barrika. Both locations are in Northern Spain, so it's all the same for most Game of Thrones fans, even though the two locations are 60 miles apart.
The diagonal cliff sides are where we see many shots of Daenerys and Jon together.
In order to get there, you will need to drive or take the bus from San Sebastian for 35 kilometers. San Sebastian also has its own gorgeous beaches and it's a food lover's paradise.
10 Alcázar, Seville, Spain: Palace Of Dorne
The Real Alcázar (Spanish for royal fortress) was the home of House Martell and the sand snakes in Game of Thrones. Alcázar in the ancient city of Seville played the Water Gardens of Dorne which stood out for its color and opulence, compared to the bleak and dreary landscape we normally see on the show.
The royal palace dates back to 913 when the region of Spain was run by the Moors. It has been well-preserved for thousands of years. When the producers saw the location, they fell in love with it and didn't do anything to tweak it.
It was just one of those places that you imagined straight out of the book by George R.R. Martin.
9 Bardenas Reales, Spain: The Dothraki Sea
The dry lands of Bardenas Reales became the vast Dothraki Sea, home to the wandering Khalasars in Game of Thrones. The area is spacious with endless views of red canyons and sunburned cracked clay.
Though it is presented to us in the series as an abandoned land, there are endless amounts of tourists taking selfies in real life.
Daenerys found herself reunited with the Dothraki in season 6 but not exactly welcomed with open arms as she had before. It was only until she revealed herself and the Khaleesi, widow of Khal Drogo was when they were forced to show respect for her.
8 Castillo de Zafra, Guadalajara, Spain: The Tower Of Joy, Jon Snow's Original Birthplace
The season that most fans have been waiting for was shot at this exact location of Castillo de Zafra in Guadalajara, Spain. It is an important flashback scene where tried and true Game of Thrones fans get a glimpse of Jon Snow's true place in all of Westeros. But shh, we can't give too much away because that would be a huge spoiler.
The castle stands alone in a landscape which makes for a perfect isolated spot for someone to be held captive. There is something that makes you wonder about the people that used to inhabit that castle.
7 Peñíscola, Castellón, Spain: Meeren And Bay Of Dragons
The city of Peñíscola, Spain has a former-slave city feel to it as it plays the city of Meereen in Game of Thrones. Peñíscola is one of the best places to visit in the Spanish Mediterranean Coast, according to slowlivingmediterraneo.com. With its unique location beside the Mediterranean Sea, the city is absolutely iconic.
Its castle – a Templar fortress of 1307 – and an old historical center completely surrounded by medieval walls and narrow alleys set the scene perfectly.
The city has a tropical yet abandoned feel to it as you made your way through Spain experiencing the Moorish roots of the country.
6 Trujillo Castle, Cáceres, Spain: Casterly Rock
Now we are moving into Lannister territory. Casterly Rock is a huge castle that belongs to House Lannister and is located on the seaside mountain on the Western coast of Westeros. Of course, the show's fans are no strangers to picturesque castles at this point- but this one has an important role.
Trujillo Castle in Almodóvar del Río dons the privilege of playing the role of Casterly Rock, the home of the show's antagonist family. This spacious location makes it ideal for battle scenes. Now that Daenerys has crossed this path, we have yet to find out what will happen.
5 Aït Benhaddou, Morocco: Yunkai, A Slave City Daenerys Liberates
As the Game of Thrones crew ventured further south from Spain, we come across Morrocco that is one of the most ancient yet fascinating countries in the world. Aït Benhaddou in Morrocco played the Yunkai the Yellow City, which is the slave city that Daenerys liberates. There, she is embraced as a goddess among men.
Though it's hard to believe, the city is made almost entirely of clay and has remained in place for centuries.
Perhaps the Game of Thrones producers were not too far off in choosing this location as the slave city, as Aït Benhaddou has historical roots in being a slave port.
4 Essaouira, Morocco: Port City Of Astapor
The Moroccan seaside city of Essaouira is where Queen Daenerys meets her grand loyal army of the Unsullied for the first time. Morocco has all the sites that this girl boss has just dominated and made herself a force to be reckoned with.
In the real world, this Moroccan city earned its claim to fame as a regular hangout of Jimi Hendrix, among many other musicians.
What makes Essaouira so unique is the mix of European, Arab, and African elements, according to The Fairytale Traveler. Many of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Morocco were shot on the Scala, the old Portuguese fortifications.
3 Dubrovnik, Croatia: King's Landing
Of course, you cannot have a list like this without mentioning which place on earth was King's Landing in Game of Thrones. This is the key spot that is the pinnacle of everything important that happens in this show.
You cannot think of King's Landing and not think of Tyrion Lannister, everybody's favorite and most beloved character.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is the main filming location for King's Landing. This rich Eastern European city is filled with incredible architecture, vibrant colors, and a crystal clear sea. No wonder it was a popular tourist area even before Game of Thrones started filming there.
2 Trsteno Arboretum, Trsteno, Croatia: Gardens Of King's Landing
Trsteno is a small settlement which is located only 24 kilometers (15 miles) north-west of Dubrovnik, according to kingslandingdubrovnik.com. They are basically in the same overall suburban spread - if there is such a thing with castles and renaissance architecture.
This small little village is the oldest and most beautiful Arboretums in the whole region. The lush green and the breathtaking views are enough for anyone to pack their bags and book the next ticket to Croatia. This renaissance landscape also has endless beauty with the garden, aqueduct, mill, and a stunning fountain with the Sea-God Neptune and accompanying nymphs.
1 Verdala Palace, Malta: Pentos, Home Of Targeryans In Exile
In the very first season, Daenerys and her brother Viserys Targaryen were the last two Targaryens living in exile. Their sanctuary was nothing to sneeze at since they were living in this beautiful palace. The Verdala Palace is the official summer residence of the President of Malta.
In other words, it is the White House of Malta.
The takeaway scene that was shot at the Verdala Palace is when Daenerys and Viserys meet Khal Drogo for the first time in hopes of an alliance. We also get a good view of Daenerys for the first time as an important character in the series.