“Set-jetting” has well and truly taken the world by storm, much like HBO’s widely popular series Game of Thrones. In the last few years, there’s been exponential growth in the spots where the fan favourite fantasy shoots its scenes, from parts of Northern Ireland, Morocco and Iceland to more recently, Spain.
Here are the Game of Thrones locations around the globe which form the striking, eerie, and often downright mysterious world that the pop culture phenomenon owes a large part of its success to:
The production company behind Game of Thrones calls Belfast home, so many filming locations are scattered around nearby regions of Northern Ireland. Organised Game of Thrones tours in Ireland are also available departing from Dublin or Belfast, making it a great place to hop between different filming locations.
Castle Ward in County Down is one of the most famous Game of Thrones sets, which was used as a stand-in for Winterfell, the dark and striking grounds which the Stark family call home. Fans will recognise the historic farmyard, particularly from the Pilot episode. Near in County Antrim, Stanocum’s Dark Hedges form the avenue of beech trees which are used for the ominous road which heads out of King’s Landing.
Other parts of Northern Ireland played integral parts in Game of Thrones, from Ballintoy Harbour which doubled as the Port of Pyke where Theon Greyjoy hails from, to Murlough Bay where Davos Seaworth found himself shipwrecked after the iconic Blackwater Battle. Meanwhile Caves of Cushendun are where Lady Melisandre delivered her murderous smoke baby in one of Season 2’s most tense scenes, while Downhill Beach is a 7-mile long stretch of sandy beaches in North Antrim where the red lady lit a funeral pyre in front of an audience of Stannis’ men.
Iceland is the country behind many of Game of Thrones’ more icy settings, most notably as the backdrop of Jon Snow’s scenes beyond the wall. Filming locations in Ireland are pretty spread out, though Iceland Game of Thrones tours depart from both Reykjavik and Akureyri in the north.
Visit Lake Mývatn and experience the spot where Jon Snow and the wildlings set up camp, before visiting the caves where Snow and Ygritte got steamy in stunning Grjótagjá Thermal Spring in north Iceland.
Vatnajokull National Park was also used for many of the exterior scenes beyond the wall. An authentic visit to Iceland during the colder months will give you more than enough reason to ominously say ‘Winter is coming.”
Joining the already packed roster of European filming locations in Season 5 of the fantasy series is Spain, specifically the Andalucia region. Seville’s San Pablo Airport is served by connections from main airport hubs of Europe including London, Paris and Barcelona, making it relatively easy to travel to.
Taking centre stage is Alcazar of Seville which served as Sunspear, the seat of the House Martell and capital of Dorne where Prince Oberyn Martell hails from. With beautiful courtyards and gardens, the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site was already one of Spain’s most beautiful attractions before becoming the backdrop of some of series 5’s most visually striking scenes.
Cordoba in southern Spain also acts as a stand-in for the Long Bridge of Volantis, crossed by Tyrion on the run, although the real bridge was augmented with CGI to make it look proportionately larger and more grand as it’s described in G.R.R. Martin’s books. Also playing an important part in in series 5 is Osuna, where the Plaza de Toros de Osuna bullring appears in Daenerys’ storyline.
As the only filming location lying outside Europe, Morocco’s sunny and earthy backdrops were used for some of Game of Thrones’ more exotic destinations. Getting there is easy, with flights throughout Europe connecting to Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca or Marrakech Menara Airport.
Daenerys Targaryen spends much of her time against a sunny Moroccan backdrop including Essaouira, which forms the home of fictional ports including Yunkai, Meereen and notably Astapor where the Queen of Dragons took on an army of ‘Unsullied’ warriors.
The mediterranean country has been the primary shooting spot for Kings Landing since Season 2, with Dubrovnik, Split and Ston having been used to depict the home of the the King of the Seven Kingdoms. The best way to get there is to fly into Zagreb International Airport, and continue on to Dubrovnik or Split Airports, there’s Game of Thrones tours offered from both cities.
Visit Fort Lovrijenac, Croatia which fills in for the Red Keep, and admire the bay it overlooks which sets the scene for Blackwater Bay.
This Croatian city of Dubrovnik replaced Mdina as the setting for King’s Landing in series 2, with 3 km of defensive walls and a signature sandy coloured walls which formed a magical setting for some of the series’ later scenes.
Trsteno Arboretum also set the scene for the seaside garden where Tyrion and Varys frequently schemed. While Sibenik medieval town plays the part of Braavos, the home of the significant Iron Bank and Woen of the Free Cities where Arya spends season 5.
Island of Lokrum, off the coast of Dubrovnik, served as Qarth on Essos where the wealthy Xaro Xhoan Daxos threw a memorable welcome party for Khaleesi, while Minceta Tower served as the mysterious House of the Undying, where Daenerys rescued her dragons in Season 2.
Whether you’re planning an all-encompassing tour, or want to fit a Game of Thrones set sighting into your travels to Europe, Webjet can help you get there. Take a look at our cheap flights to Europe today and see the scenery which has brought Kings Landing, Winterfell and other parts of the Seven Kingdoms to life on screen.