Top 10 Game of Thrones filming locations

By Tomi Stojanovic
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Top 10 Game of Thrones filming locations

Tomi Stojanovic
 
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe II - WLE Spain 2015 - Author: Carlos Olmedillas. 500 followers!!  - CC BY-SA 2.0
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe II - WLE Spain 2015 - Author: Carlos Olmedillas. 500 followers!! - CC BY-SA 2.0
 
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When it comes to television, Game of Thrones is a world phenomenon and one of the most popular shows in TV history. The show is set in the medieval period, and although it’s full of elements of fantasy, it represents the politics and power struggles of world history. For almost seven years the show has had us on the edge of our seats with a fantastic plot line with breathtaking twists every episode.

But, to make the show more authentic and to make its universe as real as possible, the producers had to choose wisely when selecting locations and filming sets around the world. In fact, most of the places on the show are actually real places that everyone can visit. The filming locations of the show take place in eight different countries and on two continents.

With the popularity of the show, the locations where it is shot became overnight sensations and tourist attractions. Once a place becomes a part of Game of Thrones, it instantly attracts thousands of tourists and visitors from all over the world.

If you want to understand why Game of Thrones is such a visually stunning show, you should definitely visit some of these filming locations. Here is a round-up of the most scenic places from around the world.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Every scene in the show that features the beautiful King’s Landing is actually shot in the fantastic city of Dubrovnik, in Croatia.  The walls surrounding the city featured in the battle of Blackwater, and the narrow streets were used in many scenes throughout the show’s seven seasons. If you visit Dubrovnik, there are plenty of themed, Game of Thrones tours that will show you the charms of the city.

The city itself is famous for its walls, whose construction started in the 14th century and finished in the 17th. They are so strong that they were never breached and even withstood a strong earthquake in the 17th century. Today, many tourists visit the city to walk these walls on the 1.2-mile trail.

2. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.

This scenic place is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. It is visited by thousands of tourists throughout the year. The avenue is composed of Beech trees, planted by one family in the 18th century. Because of its fantastic scenery, the Dark Hedges was chosen by the show’s producers to be the place where they film the famous roads leading to and from King’s Landing.

3. Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland.
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland.

With its endless and vast ice plains and beautiful, breathtaking landscape, this National Park was the perfect place to shoot all of the “North of the wall” scenes. The Vatnajökull National Park is host to the largest glacier in Europe, which made it an excellent location to film the icy scenes in the show.

4. Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, in July 2006 – Author: Ville Miettinen – CC BY 2.0
Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, in July 2006 – Author: Ville Miettinen – CC BY 2.0

Located in southwestern Iceland, the Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is of cultural, geological and historical importance. The most interesting fact about it is that half of it belongs in Europe, and the other in America because of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that passes right through Thingvellir, which separates the North American and Eurasian continental plates. Another fun fact is that it also houses the oldest parliament in the world. Visiting this place will give you a chance to see the fantastic landscape where they shot the path leading to the Eyrie and some parts of Arya’s and The Hound’s journey.

5. Azure Window, Malta

Azure Window, Malta.
Azure Window, Malta.

The Azure Windows is probably one of the most beautiful natural arches in the world, and it’s located on Gozo island in Malta. The 92-feet arch was created after two limestone caves collapsed due to sea erosion. According to experts, the arch might collapse within few years, as the rock still falls from under it. On the show, you can see the Azure Window in the background of Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ wedding in the first season. Or, visit it in real life, where you can enjoy the beautiful views, go for a swim or scuba dive around the arch itself.

6. Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

Aït Benhaddou, Morocco.
Aït Benhaddou, Morocco.

About 62 miles southeast of Marrakech, there is the marvelous fortified city of Aït Benhaddou. The city itself is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and it was used in the show to film the city of Pentos and the city of Yinkai, during Daenerys Targaryen’s travels. Apart from Game of Thrones, Aït Benhaddou has been used as a set for many movies, such as Mummy Gladiator, Babel, Prince of Persia, Alexander, and many others.

7. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain

Ermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Bermeo, Vizcaya, Basque Country (Spain) – Author: multisanti – CC BY-SA 2.0
Ermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Bermeo, Vizcaya, Basque Country (Spain) – Author: multisanti – CC BY-SA 2.0

Probably one of the most iconic locations from season seven of the show, this lovely island is where Daenerys plotted her wars against her enemies. In real life, the island is home to a small church, called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, where people often go to ring the bell of the church and make a wish. The small church was built over a thousand years ago, and after years of battles and wars, it today carries a historical significance to the Basques and Spaniards.

8. Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, Morocco.
Essaouira, Morocco.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site on this list is the coastal town of Essaouira, in Morocco. This small but fantastic city, surrounded by walls, has just 70,000 residents. In the show, it was used to film the scenes of the city of Astapor, the place where Daenerys Targaryen goes to get her army of the Unsullied soldiers.

9. Ballintoy Harbor, Northern Ireland

Ballintoy Harbor. Northern Ireland’s prettiest harbor – Author: Bob Jones – CC BY-SA 2.0
Ballintoy Harbor. Northern Ireland’s prettiest harbor – Author: Bob Jones – CC BY-SA 2.0

Another location in Northern Ireland used in the show is the small harbor of Ballintoy. It is a part of a small but beautiful fishing village in County Antrim. The harbor was used to film the port of Pyke in the Iron Islands when Theon Greyjoy returns home to the Iron Islands and again when he departs.

10. Doune Castle, Scotland

Doune Castle – Author: Jaime González – CC BY 2.0
Doune Castle – Author: Jaime González – CC BY 2.0

Built at the beginning of the 13th century, this picturesque castle was used in the first episode of the show, as a location for Winterfell. Later, it was replaced by Castle Ward, south of Belfast, Northern Ireland. If you plan to visit the castle, don’t expect to see the impressive towers of Winterfell, since they were computer generated. Fun fact about this castle is that it was used in another film production – in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, nonetheless.

So, if you are a fan of the show and you want to travel to some marvelous destinations around the world, this list will take you to some unique and breathtaking places.

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