The enthralling fantasy world and dramatic landscapes of Game of Thrones are all within easy reach for die-hard devotees. hiEurope found some of the key stops for a Game of Thrones fans locations tour.
The home base for the production team working on the Game of Thrones TV adaptation is in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Many of the large interior sets are located at their studios in Belfast, including the massive Paint Hall studio. Originally part of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, the Paint Hall is where parts of the RMS Titanic were built, it is now the largest film studio in Europe.
Outside of the studio, Castle Ward is one of the main filming locations for the entire TV series, but mostly known as the location of most of the Winterfell exteriors. The large grassy plains and countryside on the grounds are also used as the army camp filming locations for many scenes throughout the series. Tours of “Winterfell”, featuring 20 locations, start from Castle Ward.
The Dark Hedges, a spectacular collection of beech trees that line a road near Stranocum, County Antrim, Armoy are used as the northern part of the Kingsroad.
Then there’s Tollymore Forest Park, which is the wooded areas in central Westeros. The scene for Season 1 in which a Night's Watch scouting party is attacked by White Walkers was filmed here, as was the iconic scene later in the first episode when the Starks find six orphaned direwolf pups. Tollymore Forest Park is located not far from Castle Ward, and there are local tours which visit both on day trips.
Those otherworldly landscapes beyond The Wall are actually just a three-hour flight mainland Europe, right in the wilds of Iceland. Lake Myvatn, near the town of Akureyri, is where Mance Rayder’s wildling army makes camp in season three. Building the camp took months of work by the art department, and weeks of on-site construction by the local crew, with filming at -11 degrees Celsius. The nearby cave of Grjotagja is the shelter of Jon Snow and Ygritte. The thermal pool is actually a popular tourist attraction and bathing spot.
Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier, appears, as does the glacier at Snæfellsjökull, and also the glacier of Svínafellsjökull in Smyrlabjörg. The hills of Höfðabrekkuheiði (near Vík í Mýrdal) represent the Fist of the First Men, as well as the harsh frozen mounts of the Frostfangs in Season 2.
Series six has seen Spanish locations take a prominent role, with Bardenas Reales in Navarre, Castell de Santa Florentina in the town of Canet de Mar, Castle of Zafra, found on a sandstone outcrop in the Spanish province of Guadalajara, all making debut appearances.
However, Spain already featured in the warmer climates of Dorne, the most southerly of the seven kingdoms of Westeros, and the lands of Essos, across the Narrow Sea. The bullring of the Andalusian town of Osuna becomes the fighting pits of Meereen, while Cordoba's Roman Bridge becomes the Long Bridge of Volantis.
Not to be missed: the Alcazar palace of Seville, which is the perfect substitute for Sunspear, the capital of Dorne, and its Water Gardens,
Dubrovnik: The City Walls of Dubrovnik - the famed medieval walls of Dubrovnik enclose the Old City, and are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The massive stone walls are located directly on the coast, similar to descriptions of King's Landing in the novels.
Split, Croatia is located slightly further north up the coast of the Adriatic Sea from Dubrovnik. Here there is Diocletian's Palace, in real life the private mansion of the Roman emperor Diocletian, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Game of Thrones it was used for several scenes: in "Oathkeeper", the palace's cellars were used to film the underground passageways in Meereen.