Game of Thrones: the 10 most visited filming locations in the world
The production of Game of Thrones has used a huge number of natural sites, cities, forests, mountains and plains, to create Westeros, the world imagined by George R. R. Martin. The filming took place in countries such as Morocco, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Croatia, in places that are now legendary.
Castle Ward – Winterfell
As one of the first filming locations selected by the production of Game of ThronesCastle Ward in Northern Ireland was used as a base to build Winterfell, the Stark family stronghold. The two towers as well as the old stables were dressed with sets but also decorated with CGI elements for the needs of the multiple scenes taking place in the castle since the first episode. This is where the Starks receive King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and his family at the beginning of the series. Winterfell also features elements of Doune Castle in Scotland, where Monty Python once filmed their feature film based on the legend of King Arthur, Holy Grail!.
Now entirely devoted to maintaining the cult of Game of ThronesCastle Ward offers guided tours. The castle itself is located near other sites used in the show, such as the lake where the Twins’ castle was digitally added or one of Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) base camps as he goes to war against the Lannisters. It is possible to buy art objects and products derived from the series but also to participate in themed activities such as archery.Read more
Dubrovnik – King’s Landing
The production set its cameras down early on in Dubrovnik to recreate much of the capital city of King’s Landing, the largest city in Westeros. Pile Gate, near the old drawbridge and ramparts, was for example the location of the scene in which Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) bids farewell to her daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) under the gaze of her brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). More broadly, the same ramparts have become those of King’s Landing on screen.
The wedding of Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) took place in Gradac Park, the city’s main green space. The Minceta Tower housed Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) dragons as the home of the undying in episode 10 of season 2 and the ethnographic museum became the brothel of Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen). That’s not all because Dubrovnik was also used as a backdrop for the walk of shame sequence, when Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is forced to walk down the steps of the septuary naked under the jeers of the locals. A shocking scene shot on the Jesuit staircase of St. Ignatius Church.
The Dubrovnik authorities did not welcome the filming of this specific episode, considering it to be contrary to the local policy against public manifestations of sexuality. Nevertheless, negotiations allowed the production to proceed smoothly. Lena Headey for her part, refused to shoot naked, preferring to be doubled by Rebecca Val Cleave, an actress whose body was added digitally under her head.
Decidedly used for a number of striking scenes, Dubrovnik also saw its former Hotel Belvedere transformed into an arena during the legal battle between The Mountain (Hafpor Julius Bjornsson) and Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)Read more
Gaztelugatxe and Itzurun – Dragonstone
Dragonstone, the Targaryen family castle occupied by Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) at the beginning of the series, has asked the production of Game of Thrones a particular job. Indeed, the latter has relocated its shooting on the peninsula of Gaztelugatxe, on which sits a small monastery that can be reached by winding steps. Steps appearing in the center of the shooting if not that in the series, these go up towards the land and not towards the island as in reality. The castle, on the other hand, was built from scratch in post-production.
In the final seasons, as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) prepares her offensive against King’s Landing, Dragonstone is revealed a little more. Some scenes take place on its beach. To orchestrate these sequences, the directors shot on the beach of Itzurun. Characterized by its rocky projections resembling dragon spines, this great expanse of sand also contains caves where, in the series, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) discovers a deposit of verredragon, the mineral capable of killing white walkers. The beach and the Gaztelugatxe peninsula have made a comeback in House of the Dragonthe spin-off series of Game of Thrones. However, this time, the site was entirely designed in computer graphics.Read more
The Dark Hedges – Royal Road
A country road covered by a canopy of curiously tortured trees, The Dark Hedges became one of the main attractions of the Ballymoney area following the broadcast of the second season of Game of Thrones. It is indeed by this road, named King’s Highway in the series, that Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) transits as she leaves King’s Landing after the execution of her father (Sean Bean).
Visited every year by several thousand fans, the site suffered a violent storm shortly after the shooting of the sequence in question. The production, with the agreement of Northern Ireland, has thus recovered the fallen trees to shape a series of doors engraved according to crucial scenes of Game of Thrones. Doors then placed in several pubs and hotels in the country. A passport was then set up to allow amateurs to follow a route of locations according to the location of the doors. The pub owners stamp the precious sesame every time.Read more
Cushendun Caves – Acalmie Caves
Several key scenes take place in these caves located near the small village of Cushendun. It is thus in the main cave, easily accessible on foot, that Melisandre (Carive van Houten), the witch of Asshai in the service of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), gives birth to a demon in order to thwart the plans of the competitors of the one she considers to be the legitimate king of Westeros. Much later, as King’s Landing is repeatedly assaulted by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her dragon, the caves are used to film the battle between Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek).
Spectacular, the caves of Cushendun can be visited all year round. The entrance to the site is free and an explanatory panel resituates the place in the history of Game of Thronesas is the case for all the locations in Northern Ireland where the series is filmed.Read more
Inch Abbey – Robb Stark’s Camp
Proclaimed King in the North by his men, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) prepares for battle against the Lannister armies from the ruins of an ancient abbey. Located not far from Castle Ward, the Inch Abbey hosted the film crews for several days. A ruin of uncertain origins, Inch Abbey is today one of the most touristic places in the country. Regularly expeditions are organized there to re-enact, in costume, the famous scene during which the soldiers of the Stark clan loudly proclaim to their new sovereign “The King of the North!”Read more
Iron Throne replica
Decorate your bookshelf with this unique bookend featuring the Iron Throne. A hand-painted replica with multiple details. Can be used to hold your books or as a decoration, this Iron Throne replica is the ultimate goodie for fans of the George R. R. Martin universe.
Girona – Braavos
Among the cities used in the filming of Game of ThronesGirona is one of the most sought-after cities. Indeed, the historic city has been mined to create both King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Crowns, and Braavos, the faraway city where Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is training to become a Shifeless.
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Girona appears when King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) announces in front of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) that he embraces the Faith but also takes Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) as his wife. It is precisely on the church square, at the level of the steps, that this scene was shot. Views of Dubrovnik were simply added in post-production to create the illusion that the action took place near the sea.
Girona was also widely used to create the city of Braavos. The canal steps, the stone bridge, the theater where Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) attends a satire of her father’s (Sean Bean) execution, the baths or the picturesque alleys have been fashioned from locations in old Girona. The Arab baths were requisitioned for the production, as well as the steps of the Sant Domènec convent, where the market was placed.
But it is also in Girona, in the monastery of St. Pere de Galligants that the filmmakers shot the arrival of Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) at the citadel where he will begin his training as a mestre.Read more
Beyond the Wall
As Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his companions venture beyond the wall to capture a White Walker, Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) recognizes the mountain that appeared in his visions. This last one adopts a shape evoking alternately a tooth, an arrowhead or a bell tower. This is what Kirkjufell means, the real name of this mountain located in Iceland, where many sequences supposed to take place in the lands of the Wildlings and the Night King were filmed.
Forced to shoot in extreme temperatures, the actors were nevertheless able to count on rather thick costumes. The outfits are sometimes made with the help of the system D, like the capes of the members of the Night Watch, which the costume designers have designed from Ikea carpets.Read more
Alcazar of Seville – Water Gardens of Dorne
The Dornians are always talking about the merits of their water gardens. Magnificent places where you can play in Game of Thrones some decisive plots. Already used in the context of film shoots such as Lawrence of Arabia, 1492 : Christopher Columbus and Night and Day The Alcazar of Seville immediately appealed to the producers of Game of Thrones. Here, no significant changes were necessary to film the scenes that were supposed to take place in Dorne.
Later, however, the production preferred to locate the Water Gardens in the Alcazaba of Almeria, where once was shot Conan the Barbarianby John Milius.Read more
Game of Thrones Studio – King’s Landing Court
Paint Hall Studios, located next to the former Titanic shipyards, now converted into a museum, in Belfast, hosted a large number of scenes. Major operational center for the production of Game of ThronesThe site has seen the construction of the Iron Throne Room and several interior and exterior decorations. However, HBO also used Linen Mills Studios, also in Northern Ireland, to build other sets.
The central courtyard of King’s Landing, where Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has a sublime map of the Seven Crowns painted, for example, was fashioned here. A place now converted into an immersive museum for fans of Game of Thrones. Numerous artifacts and decorations are presented to the public in an elaborate scenography. For example, it is possible to take a seat in the throne room of Dragonstone. A piece largely inspired by the architecture of the interior of the church Notre-Dame de Royan in France.Read more
Discover all Game of Thrones filming locations
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By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.