While a lot of the settings in Game of Thrones aren’t completely out of the realm of possibility, the show does a great job of making us believe in a fictional world separate from our own. So it can come as a surprise when we are reminded that some of these locations can be accessed on a vacation; and if you’re lucky, they may be close to home.
With nearly the whole of Westeros and Essos explored at some point in the hit TV series by its seventh season, there are all sorts of climates and environments that are needed to capture it all on camera. That means there’s plenty of options when it comes time for a tour of Game of Thrones’s filming locations.
You may remember that back in season four, Daenerys overthrew the largest slave city, Meereen. On her and her army’s walk to the city’s gates, they hiked up this cliff path, in which she later punished the slave masters of the city. Apparently you can hike along the same path, if you visit Klis Fortress in Split, Croatia.
2. Lordsport, the port of Pyke in the Iron Islands
The port where Theon Greyjoy made his disappointing return to the Iron Islands in season two is actually Ballingtoy Harbour, located on the coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland.
3. Beyond the wall
Various areas in Iceland were used for the scenes set on the Northernmost tips of Westeros. Hverfjall Volcano Lake near Myvatin, was where some of the scenes beyond the wall were filmed.
Morocco was used for a few locations in Essos, including Astapor, the city where Daenerys frees the unsullied army. The location where they filmed these scenes is actually in the Moroccan city of Essaouira, a port city on the Atlantic coast of the country.
Another city of Slaver’s Bay that Daenerys had trouble retaining control over was also filmed in Morocco. The small town of Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara desert, stood in for the Yellow City.
6. The King’s Road
The road out of King’s Landing is where Arya, pretending to be a boy, makes her escape from the city to find Jon Snow in the North. They were actually filmed in The Dark Hedges, a road of beech tress leading up to a Georgian mansion in Northern Ireland.
7. Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding
In the very first episode of the show, Daenerys married Khal Drogo here. The real location is the Azure Window, in Malta. The rock formation has since collapsed into the ocean following a powerful storm in March 2017.
8. The great castle of Pyke
House Greyjoy reign over this castle, lording over the Iron Islands. It is set at the now-ruined Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. It is only accessible via a bridge that connects it to the mainland.
The castle that is the central capital of the North was originally filmed in Doune Castle, a Scottish castle built in the 13th century as a medieval stronghold.
10. Wildling Camp
The huge camp of the Free Folk in the Skirling Pass was filmed in Dimmuborgir, Iceland. The area is a lava field with unusually-shaped rocks. Icelandic folklore claims that it is connected to hell.
11. The Long bridge of Volantis
In the fifth season, Varys and Tyrion head over the Long Bridge to cross the Royne River. In real life the bridge is located in Córdoba, Spain. The Roman bridge of Córdoba was built early in the 1st century BCE.
12. King’s Landing
The street scenes of King’s Landing were filmed in the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. The most notable scene was Cersei’s walk of atonement, which was filmed in The Stradun – the main street between the Cathedral and the Sponza Palace.
The empty seven-mile beach at Downhill Strand, Northern Ireland, is where Stannis first occupied and burnt non-believers. Now Daenerys has landed on these shores to plot her victory.
14. Sunspear and the Water Gardens
This was the location where the seat of House Martell stood during their travel from the far North to Dorne. It was filmed in the Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace in Andalusia, Spain.
15. The House of the Undying
This tower in Quarth was filmed in the same city as King’s Landing – Dubrovnik. Minceta Tower stood in for the House of Undying, where Daenerys looked for her missing dragons in season two. It is the tallest of the four fortresses in the city, so she was walking around the highest point of the Croatian city during filming.
16. Jon and Ygritte’s love nest
The hot spring where Jon Snow and Ygritte gave into their urges was filmed in Grjótagjá, Iceland. It is a small lava cave near Lake Mývatn in the north of the country.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to go on a long vacation to see all of these beautiful sites that stood in for the world of Game of Thrones. In the mean time, why don’t you see if you can find this hidden detail in the opening credits that you may have missed?