22 Gorgeous Destinations Used in ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming
Ever wondered where your favorite TV show was filmed? And have you ever considered hopping on a plane to see those places in real life? Not many shows would make you care that much. But Game of Thrones is no ordinary TV show. As devoted fans around the world get curious about where in the world they can see Winterfell, Dorne, or the Land Beyond the Wall, the show is getting more people to visit the breathtaking sites and medieval cities used as filming locations.
Where is Game of Thrones filmed? It might be easier to tell you where it isn’t filmed. Some recurring sets are filmed at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast. But most are shot on location, primarily Northern Ireland and Iceland for the North and Croatia and Spain for the South. Read on to check out some of the most gorgeous destinations featured in Game of Thrones. And if you find yourself tempted to buy a plane ticket, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The main filming location for King’s Landing is Dubrovnik. This Croatian city is situated on the Adriatic Sea, and its dramatic cliffs make it the perfect site for the capital of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones fans might recognize Dubrovnik’s Pile and Ploče gate, Saint Dominika street, the city walls, the Bokar fortress, and the Minčeta tower (the location for the House of the Undying and the King’s Landing gardens). The Travel Channel learned because Dubrovnik has such steep and narrow streets, the production crew hired Sherpas to help haul equipment to filming locations.
Next: The filming location for Meereen
2. Klis Fortress, Croatia
Dubrovnik isn’t the only Croatian filming location for Game of Thrones. Afar learned the Klis Fortress, near the city of Split in central Dalmatia, played the part of Meereen. Producers used exterior shots of this fortress for Meereen, and they used other nearby sites to represent the city, too. They shot in Baška Voda. In fact, it was in a location overlooking this town where they showed Daenerys with her dragons at the beginning of Season 4. The crew also filmed at Diocletian’s Palace in Split, which became Meereen in Season 4 and was the site of Daenerys’ throne room.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the Red Keep
3. Fort Lovrijenac, Croatia
Just outside of Dubrovnik sits Fort Lovrijenac. The fortress not only has walls that measure 12 meters thick in some places, but it also sits on a cliff that measures 37 meters high. Given the Red Keep’s importance in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, it’s not hard to see why Game of Thrones producers chose it for the location of the Red Keep. (Though, interestingly enough, they shot the interior scenes for the Red Keep in a studio in Belfast.) The tournament thrown in King Joffrey’s honor was filmed at Fort Lovrijenac. This filming location is also where Cersei Lannister spoke with Petyr Baelish in Season 2.
Next: The filming location where Arya Stark trained with Jaqen
4. Sibenik, Croatia
Sibenik, Croatia, played the part of the Free City of Braavos. It’s in this city where Arya Stark trains as a Faceless Man with Jaqen H’ghar. The Faceless Men of Bravos actually form a force of assassins who can change their appearances at will. They worship the god of Death, and their services come at a high price. Unfortunately, the House of Black and White — the temple that houses the Faceless Men — is a set and not a historical site. But that only makes us more impressed by the episodes that feature this location.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed Qarth
5. Lokrum Island, Croatia
Lokrum Island played the part of Qarth, near the Jade Sea. According to The Telegraph, this small island off the coast of Dubrovnik was the filming location for the party where Daenerys meets Qarth’s elite. The island in the Adriatic Sea seems a fitting choice, thanks to the monastery and gardens. In fact, the Benedictine Monastery on the island stood in as Xaro Xhaon Daxos’s mansion in Season 2. Curious about the island’s history? Richard the Lionheart is rumored to have stayed on Lokrum Island in the 12th century.
Next: The filming location for King’s Landing — and Catelyn and Ned’s goodbye
6. Mdina, Malta
Game of Thrones filmed King’s Landing in Mdina (as well as in Dubrovnik). King’s Landing is the capital of Westeros and of the Seven Kingdoms. So Mdina’s Norman fortifications helped it look the part. The Mdina Gate, for instance, played the part of the King’s Landing Gate. At that gate, Catelyn and Ned Stark shared a goodbye after the death of King Robert. Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister fought in Mdina’s Mesquita Square. Mdina has a rich history and was actually Malta’s first capital. So Game of Thrones producers aren’t the first to choose the city for a medieval location.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed Ned Stark’s untimely death
7. Fort Manoel, Malta
Malta, the archipelago between Sicily and North Africa, became the location of several other filming sites, as well. Malta also gave the Game of Thrones production crew the perfect location for the Great Sept of Baelor. In the first season, Fort Manoel serves as the Scaffold of King’s Landing. (It’s better known as the spot where Eddard Stark is beheaded, over the objections of Cersei and to the chagrin of the High Septon.) Nearby locations, including Fort Ricasoli, Fort Saint Angelo, and the San Anton Palace, served as various parts of the Red Keep, the seat of Cersei Lannister, including its gate and dungeon.
Next: The filming location for Daenerys’ wedding — and the birth of her dragons
8. Azure Window and Mtahleb Valley, Malta
Another iconic filming location in Malta? The Azure Window, which forms the backdrop for Daenerys’s wedding to Khal Drogo. The limestone archway, located on the island of Gozo, was formed by the collapse of a sea cave, probably in the 19th century. (That makes it a lot newer than many of the show’s medieval filming locations.) But thanks to erosion, the formation completely collapsed during a storm early in 2017.
If you want to check out another significant location for the Khaleesi, head to the Mtahleb Valley, where Game of Thrones filmed the burning of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre — and where Daenerys becomes the Mother of Dragons.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the Water Palaces of Dorne
9. The Alcázar of Seville, Spain
The Game of Thrones cast and crew descended on the Alcázar palace in Seville, Spain, for scenes that take place in Dorne. The palace is actually still used by Spain’s royal family, which lives on the upper levels. But that just makes it even more fun that the Alcázar becomes the location of Water Palaces of Dorne, the home of the House of Martell. The estate’s gardens played the part of the Water Gardens of Dorne in the fourth and fifth seasons of the show. According to the Travel Channel, the stairs at the Alcázar are so narrow that the production crew needed to use cranes to get their equipment up to the palace’s balconies.
Next: The filming location for the fighting pit braved by Sir Jorah
10. Plaza de Toros in Osuna, Spain
Another Spanish location where Game of Thrones shot an iconic scene? The Plaza de Toros in Osuna, which the production crew transformed into Danzak’s Pit, the largest fighting pit in the Slaver’s Bay city of Meereen. This gladiator arena featured in an intense sequence in the show’s fifth season, when Sir Jorah enters the pit to fight for Daenerys’ honor. Producers apparently picked the national monument because its stone architecture looked like a good match for the structures seen in Croatian filming locations.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed Daenerys freeing the Unsullied
11. Essaouira, Morocco
Another filming location to know if you’re a fan of Daenerys? Essaouira. The production crew transformed this Moroccan city into Astapor, where Daenerys freed the Unsullied. Astapor often sold these warrior eunuchs to the Free Cities. They have been trained to fight since childhood and have gained a reputation for their unrivaled discipline and their steadfast adherence to orders. The slave-trading city of Astapor, the southernmost of the three city-states on Slaver’s Bay, is also where Grey Worm becomes a major character.
Next: The filming location for Pentos and Yunkai
12. Ouarzazate and Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
The southern Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is no stranger to TV and film productions. So it makes sense that Game of Thrones chose to film there, too. Ouarzazate is home to Atlas Film Corporation Studios, where Game of Thrones filmed the Free City of Pentos. And the nearby citadel of Aït Benhaddou nearby became the location for Yunkai and was the location for Daenerys’ battle with the Second Sons.
It seems a fitting choice that the producers chose Aït Benhaddou for the location of the slave-trading city of Yunkai because the clay-constructed Moroccan city also dealt in the slave trade at one point in its long history.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the land north of the wall
13. Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland
To many fans, Iceland seems like the logical place to film seasons that take place north of the Wall. Fortunately, the production crew agreed. In Season 2, Game of Thrones filmed scenes that took place north of the wall on the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon — specifically on the Vatnajökull Ice Cap. Vatnajökull is actually the largest ice cap in Europe. So it only makes sense that producers thought it the perfect choice for filming the Land Beyond the Wall. And it’s also unsurprising that Iceland’s part in Game of Thrones seems to have resulted in a surge of tourism to the country.
Next: The filming location for Jon and Ygritte’s love story
14. Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Game of Thrones fans who want another reason to visit Iceland should just rewatch Jon Snow and Ygritte’s love story, which was filmed in the Skaftafell National Park. The famous cave in that storyline is located at Lake Mývatn, near the Krafla volcano. The production crew used Grjótagjá, a small cave with a thermal spring inside, to film Jon and Ygritte’s romantic encounter. Fortunately, despite the snow outside the cave, the water can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Other filming locations in the area? The lava field at Dimmuborgir, where Game of Thrones filmed the Wildling camp.
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” first filmed Winterfell
15. Doune Castle in Scotland
Game of Thrones has filmed in many breathtaking, historic European castles and palaces. Add Doune Castle in Scotland to the list. You might recognize this 13th century castle from the first season of the show. It’s where the crew filmed Bran climbing the towers at Winterfell — and then getting pushed out a window when he catches Cersei and Jaime Lannister in the act of royal incest. After the first season, the crew switched to other locations for Winterfell, such as Castle Ward in Northern Ireland.
Next: The filming location for Castle Black, Hardhome, Castle Black, and the Battle of Blackwater
16. Magheramorne Quarry in Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones famously has multiple production crews shooting at the same time. And some of the show’s filming locations also pull double duty. A great example is Magheramorne Quarry, located on the shores of Loch Larne in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The small town transformed into a fishing village called Hardhome. There, Jon and Tormund persuade 5,000 wildlings to come with them — at least until Hardhome gets attacked by wights.
In Season 1, Magheramorne also featured as a filming location for Castle Black. And in the second season, the production crew used it to film the Battle of Blackwater, Stannis Baratheon’s attempt to take King’s Landing and seize the Iron Throne. (It was at this battle that Tyrion Lannister managed to destroy a large portion of Stannis’s fleet with wildfire.)
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the Kingsroad and Winterfell
17. Dark Hedges and Castle Ward in Northern Ireland
The Travel Channel reports that the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland have played an incredibly important part in Game of Thrones. This location serves as the setting for the Kingsroad (where Arya disguised herself as a boy to avoid capture). And the surrounding area has been used to film disparate sites, such as Winterfell, Castle Black, and the Stark family’s war encampment.
Another Northern Ireland location that played the part of Winterfell? The 18th century Castle Ward, situated near the village of Strangford in County Down. Castle Ward also served as the backdrop for the Whispering Wood. And it made the filming location for scenes including Robb Stark’s camp, the Baelor battle, and Brienne’s confrontation with the Stark men.
Next: The filming location for Vaes Dothrak
18. Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
Another Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland? The Mourne Mountains. There, the crew filmed Daenerys entering Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki holy land. The peaks formed the entrance to Vaes Dothrak. And the Leitrim Lodge in the foothills of the Mournes also served as the lands north of Winterfell, where Bran first meets Jojen and Meera.
Rough Guides notes the region’s appearance on Game of Thrones isn’t the first time that it was linked to a popular fantasy series. The region also apparently inspired C.S. Lewis to write “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the Iron Islands
19. Ballintoy Harbor and Murlough Bay, Northern Ireland
Lordsport Harbour at Ballintoy, in Northern Ireland, stood in for the port of Pyke, the seat of House Greyjoy in the Iron Islands. Northern Ireland made the perfect location to portray the Iron Islands as harsh, but forbiddingly beautiful.
Nearby Murlough Bay, also in Northern Ireland, has also appeared in several Game of Thrones episodes. The location has stood in for the Iron Islands, The Crownlands, and even for Slaver’s Bay. Murlough Bay is where Davos Seaworth gets shipwrecked after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. And it’s also where Tyrion and Jaime Lannister fall into the hands of slavers.
Next: The filming location where Melisandre gave birth to a shadow
20. Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple in Northern Ireland
Another set of Northern Irish filming locations that Game of Thrones fans might recognize? Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple. These locations played the parts of Dragonstone Castle (the ancestral seat of House Targaryen) and Blackwater Bay (an inlet on the Narrow Sea, on the east coast of Westeros, and the location of King’s Landing). And Downhill Beach provided the filming location for the Burning of the Seven, when Melisandre burned statues of the old gods of the Faith of the Seven.
Another Northern Ireland location notable for fans of Melisandre? The Caves at Cushendum in County Antrim, where Game of Thrones filmed her giving birth to a “shadow.”
Next: Where “Game of Thrones” filmed the Dothraki Sea
21. Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland
To film scenes on the Dothraki Sea, also known as the Great Grass Sea, the production crew headed to the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland. The Game of Thrones production crew chose the Shillanavogy Valley beneath Slemish Mountain as the filming location for the scene when the Khalasar leaves Pentos and rides to Vaes Dothrak.
The same location acted as the filming location for the practice ground at Runestone in the Vale of Arryn. There, Littlefinger and Sansa Stark watched Robin Arryn attempt to duel. And on the border between County Antrim and County Derry-Londonderry stands the Binevenagh Mountain, where the crew filmed the Dothraki sea and Daenerys gets rescued by her dragon Drogon.
Next: The filming location (and inspiration) for the Vale of Arryn
22. Meteora, Greece
For composite views of the Vale of Arryn, Game of Thrones filmed the rock formations at Meteora. This region in northern Greece is the home of six monasteries perched high on the dramatic rock formations. The otherworldly appearance made it the perfect inspiration for the Eyrie, which is the ancestral seat of House Arryn. It’s in the Vale of Arryn where Petyr Baelish throws Lysa Arryn from the Moon Door. However, very little of Arryn was actually filmed in Meteora, thanks to the slow Greek bureaucracy the producers encountered when trying to secure the filming location.