It was early summer, and we were still getting boiled by the scorching sun above and the reflections from glistening medieval stone below. There were hordes of tourist groups all around us – most of them would drop in droves when the cruise ships sailed in early in the morning, and would leave by 5pm, leaving the town empty by the time the sun rolled down behind those massive city walls. Dubrovnik before 7am and after 7pm was one of the most charming towns we have visited. During the day, it wasn’t any different than Disneyland on Memorial Day.
We had signed up for a Game of Thrones tour of Dubrovnik, like mostly anyone who visited this town. Sometimes the guides dressed up in GoT-like medieval attire, but ours was very 21st century. As we trudged along the tour, it was surprising to reflect back upon the complete unawareness we had about the show till almost 2015! Four seasons had passed, and we were clueless.
Our first encounter with GoT was at a hotel in Osuna in Andalucia, Spain. Apparently, the main cast had stayed in the hotel where we landed up for the night, while filming a few Dorne fight scenes. The entire town of Osuna was involved in the episodes that were filmed there. We got back, and devoured Seasons 1-4 just in time for Season 5, and from then on there was no looking back.
As we watch the last few episodes of Season 8 here in 2019, we have visited quite a few GoT locations in those intervening 4 years, except the ones in Ireland and Iceland. Here are some of our favorite ones, from that list. Hit us up if you would like more details on planning for your trip.
List of Locations: King’s Landing, Braavos, Qarth, Meereen, Dorne, Daznak, Volantis, Essos, Sept of Baelor, Yunkai, The Eyrie
Meteora, Greece : The Eyrie
Meteora, Greece is where House of Arryn in the show live, also known as The Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn. These are also the Sky Cells where Tyrion Lannister was imprisoned. Sansa Stark and Petyr Baelish’s lives hiding out as fugitives under Lysa Arryn’s reign were also filmed here.
Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco : The Yellow City of Yunkai
Ait ben-Haddou, the gateway to the Sahara in Morocco made completely of mud, serves as the Yellow City of Yunkai in the series between Seasons 4-7; a location of the first few battles between Daenerys and the noblemen of Slaver’s Bay, eventually culminating in her rule over all of Slaver’s Bay via Meereen.
Dubrovnik, Croatia : King’s Landing
Dubrovnik is the hotbed of the Iron Throne itself. Whether it is Red Keep, the steps in front of the Sept of Baelor on which Cersei did the Walk of Shame, the House of the Undying, the Purple Wedding location, or Blackwater Bay – this medieval town is the center of most of the action around the Throne.
Above are some of the various locations where the massive battle scenes of “The Bells” (Season 8, Episode 5) were shot.
Sibenik, Croatia : Braavos
The city of Braavos, and the financial center of the The Iron Bank are filmed in the city of Sibenik along the Adriatic. Sibenik itself is a very charming town, not overrun by tourists, and filled with photogenic alleys and archways that could easily take a day to explore, but can be done within a few hours.
Kastel Gomilica, Croatia : Braavos
One of seven small castle-towns, now owned by multiply-split noble families (just like in India, where each room is almost shared by one of the many descendents today), this spectacular half-floating half-submerged castle/mansion serves as the coastline of Braavos where Arya Stark gets her life lessons from the Many Faced God. Learning how to kill stealthily, while selling oysters is a skill that she will eventually use in later seasons.
Trogir, Croatia : Qarth
Trogir is a tiny historic town but bursting with tourists, and is featured as the town of Qarth, described as ‘the greatest city that ever was or will be’.
Klis, Croatia : Meereen
The fortress of Klis, a hop away from Split, was used as the city of Meereen with it’s mighty pyramid shaped castle. Daenerys captures this city in Slaver’s Bay, and most of her trials and tribulations as a ruler happen in this grand city.
Split, Croatia : Dragon Basement from Meereen
Croatia’s second-largest city, Split, plays the set of many GoT scenes. The last Emperor of the Roman Empire (Diocletian) built a Palace in Split, and today this entire palace is a living, breathing, active town. People live in the palace, shops do business in the Palace, and you can eat ice cream from shops that stand between towers that were used to trap people and pour boiling oil on them during war in 400 AD.
The basement of the Palace is where Daenerys kept her Dragons chained throughout the scenes of Mereen. As you walk through those eerie basement tunnels, you can feel a dragon waiting for you right around the bend.
Seville, Spain : Dorne
The Royal Alcazar Palace has been featured extensively as the Palace of Dorne. Every beautiful nook and corner has been depicted in the series as the Lannisters, the House Martell and the Sand Snakes duke and plot it out against each other.
Osuna, Spain: Daznak
The sleepy Andalusian town of Osuna was overrun by the cast and crew of Game of Thrones as they descended for a 14-day shoot for just a four-minute scene in Season 5.
Osuna’s Plaza de Toros, or bullring, was the scene of the great pit fight of Daznak. The scene featured 550 extras and stuntmen being set on fire in what became one of the season’s most memorable and dramatic moments, culminating in Daenerys flying off on the back of her dragon. This was the town we stayed in, when we first got an inkling about GoT.
Cordoba, Spain : Volantis
Córdoba’s Roman Bridge, originally built in the 1st century BC, and a site of many historic Moorish events, was used as the Long Bridge of Volantis in Seasons 4-7.
Girona, Spain : Free City of Essos / Sept of Baelor
The cobbled streets of this Catalonian city’s old town were used to depict the Free City of Essos, where Arya Stark was living and being hunted by the Waif. The Cathedral of Girona is later used as the Great Sept of Baelor in Season 6, when Cersei blows it all apart in one of the best sequences of the cost of revenge shown in GoT.