This is it, guys: less than five days until the much-awaited premiere of Game of Thrones’ final season. We are sitting at the edge of our seats, watching and rewatching all trailers and teasers, catching up with the previous seasons and scouring the dark web to find on-set pictures for clues. Will Jon become the king? Will Tyrion betray Daenerys? Or will the Night King destroy it all? And what role will Bran play in all of this? We are just a week away from our answers. It is quite bittersweet, for when we get all our answers, the show will end.
Well, don’t fret because the show might leave you, but you don’t have to do the same. Each episode of GoT is jaw-dropping, and if you can tear your eyes away from all the drama and the deaths, the immersive costumes or the game-changing VFX, you will notice spectacular sceneries that make this medieval world come to life. Locations across Europe and Africa become the backdrop for shoots, making them more attractive for tourists who want to experience the show in real life too. Tour operators like Get your Guide, organises thematic tours in many of these countries.
Here is a list of the most famous locations used in GoT. Most locations may in itself be spoilers, but to be fair, if you aren’t all caught up yet, it is a bit your fault.
It isn't very surprising that much of The Wall and North of the Wall was shot in Iceland. The green hues, the icy plains, medieval villages and thermal springs have all become the backdrop to this hit drama. Iceland Travel and Gray Line take you through Lake Mývatnand Dimmuborgir, that double as lands beyond the wall and Mance Rayder’s camp. Kirkjufell was used in season 7 as arrowhead mountain where Jon Snow tries to capture a wight. Nesjavellir was a prime location while showing scenes in the Vale while Thingvellir National Park was used to shoot Arya and the Hound travelling across central Westeros.
If Game of Thrones had a headquarter, this would be it. Most interior shots were shot in Belfast. Magheramorne Quarry was the set for Castle Black, Carncastle as Moat Cailin, Ballintoy Harbour as Iron Islands, Glens of Antrim as Dothraki Sea and the list goes on. Castle Ward is where Winterfell was filmed when they moved from Doune Castle in Scotland because of production issues. Northern Ireland features heavily in the show, and many tour operators offer themed tours for GoT with costumes, archery for the Stark or Ironborn in you. See Game of Thrones Tours.
Quaint towns, clear blue waters and dramatic landscapes...when the show could no longer film in Malta, they shifted to Croatia, transforming the travel industry in the country. Pick from the countless tour operators (see gameofthrones-croatia.com and gameofthronestourcroatia.com) to see where GoT was filmed. Dubrovnik is literally King’s Landing, with its slanted orange roofs and winding streets. The garden party and the House of Undying in Qarth were also shot in the city. Split on the eastern shore became the go-to destination to shoot Essos, specifically Meereen and Braavos.
Season 6 of Game of Thrones found itself in Spain for Essos and Dorne. In Almeria, Alcazaba de Almeria became Dorne, scenes in Vaes Dothrak and the Dothraki Sea were shot in El Chorrillo de Sierra Alhamilla and the Tabernas Desert, respectively. In Cordoba, the Roman Bridge was shown as Bridge of Volantis and Moorish castle around the city became locations for dungeons and fortress in Casterly Rock and Highgardens. Plaza de Toros in Seville became the iconic fighting pit where Daenerys is attacked by Masters of Meereen. Most interestingly, Castillo de Zafra became the Tower of Joy, where a young Ned Stark finds his dying sister Lyanna Stark. See Zicasso for a customised GoT, twelve-day tour in Spain.
One of the few locations in Africa, Morocco was prominent as a shoot location in season 3. The country was used as a backdrop of Slaver’s Bay. Essaouria’s cliffs become Astapor, where Daenerys frees the Unsullied. The streets of Ouarzazate show Pentos, one of the Free Cities while Aït-Ben-Haddou was shown as Yunkai and Pentos. Operators like Sophia’s Travel and Lawrence of Morocco organise personalised tours around these destinations.
A small archipelago country in the Mediterranean, Malta, was an important shoot location in season 1 until they moved operations to Croatia. Daenerys and Khal Drogo get married at Azure Window in Gozo (which has now collapsed), the Verdala Palace was shown as Illyrio Mopatis’ home, where Daenerys and Viserys seek refuge and in the season finale, Drogo’s funeral was shot in Mtahleb Valley. Places like Fort Ricasoli, Fort St. Angelo in Birgu and Fort Manoel in Gzira were locations for the Red Keep and the Great Sept of Baelor. Viator will take you on a Thrones tour in Mdina, Birgu and Gzira with guides that were actors on the show.
Pick out your strongest horse or your largest dragon, for your journey is long and across continents. If nothing, do it for the Throne.
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones premiers on April 15, 2019 in India on HBO and Hotstar.