9 Places 'Game Of Thrones' Was Filmed You Need to Visit Before You Die

07/27/2016 10:59 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2016

Vast armies, epic plots, haunting vistas, Game of Thrones has it all. So if you’re hooked on Game of Thrones then this list of amazing places the show was filmed is for you.

The sensational location scouts painstakingly scoured the globe to find the most outstanding castles, forts, citadels, palaces, bridges, islands and even walls ever built to deliver your weekly fix of televisual magic and we think you’ll agree they did a mighty fine job!

So if you’re keen to follow in the footsteps of your favourite Game of Thrones characters - and discover some incredible sights along the way - check out these amazing places and discover two millennia of fascinating history.

And if that’s not enough, you can visit Historvius to view a full list and map of Game of Thrones filming locations.

Warning: Contains spoilers :) 

 

Where: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: House of Undying, Qarth

This astonishingly picturesque medieval tower featured as the centre of one of Game of Throne’s most pivotal scenes. Fans will recognise the Minceta Tower as being the House of Undying in Qarth, where Daenerys Targaryen reclaims her stolen dragons and defeats the Undying who stand against her.

Built in the early 1460s, the Minceta Tower is a huge round fort dominating the north-western section of the city and became the symbol of ‘the unconquerable city of Dubrovnik.’

It was originally constructed as a four-sided fort in 1319 and its name is taken from that of the landowners of the time, the Menčetić family. Immediately after the fall of Constantinople to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1453, the tower was added to by Italian architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi who built a round tower adapted for warfare with 6m thick walls and protected gun ports.

The tower was completed in 1464 and even though the 750 steep, winding steps to the top are a challenge for even the fittest cultural tourist, when you get to the top and see the sensational views of the old town of Dubrovnik to one side and out into the Adriatic Sea to the other, you’ll understand that the climb was worth it.

Where: Seville, Spain
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: Water Gardens of Dorne

In seasons four and five of Game of Thrones, the Real Alcázar Palace of Seville was the perfect location for the Water Gardens of Dorne, the private residence of House Martell.

The oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, Real Alcázar has been described as ‘one of history’s architectural high points’. The palace was originally a 10th century fort built for the area’s Cordoban rulers but in the 600 years that followed, Moorish, Gothic, Mujédar and Renaissance architecture was added to create a visually remarkable yet architecturally eclectic palace.

The superbly-named Peter the Cruel rebuilt the palace in the 14th century to be fit for royalty and even today it remains the official Seville residence of the Spanish royal family.

Where: Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: Winterfell

Built for Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor in the early 1760s by an unknown architect, the 820-acre estate is better known as one of Game of Thrones’ most famous sites, Winterfell, the seat of House Stark.

With its contrasting architectural styles and stunning vistas out over Strangford Lough and the rolling hills of County Down, Castle Ward is an eccentric 18th century Gothic and Classical mansion. It includes an exotic four-tiered sunken garden, woodland trails, a Victorian laundry, a corn mill and a saw mill.

Where: Ouarzazate, Morocco
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: Yunkai

A thousand years old and on the slopes of the High Atlas, the Citadel of Aït Ben-Haddou is one of the best examples of North African pisé clay architecture in the entire region. It used to be a fortified village with houses - some very small, some majestic - community areas, a public square, a mosque, Muslim and Jewish cemeteries and a caravanserai for those passing through from Sudan on their way to Marrakech.

It’s known locally as ‘Morocco’s Hollywood’ because of the number of blockbuster movies filmed here and according to UNESCO, ‘it is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques.’ Game of Thrones continued that trend by setting Yunkai, aka the Yellow City, in this astonishing town.

Where: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: The Red Keep

Game of Thrones fans will know Lovrijenac Fortress as the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms overlooking Blackwater Bay and the Narrow Sea and the residence of the King of the Andals and the First Men.

In real life, the famous inscription above the door leading into the fort reads ‘Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro’ - ‘freedom is not to be sold for all the gold in the world’ and as the guard to the western entrance of Dubrovnik, it’s a motto that has kept the city safe for a thousand years. Built in three weeks on a 37-metre high cliff face in the 11th century to head off a Venetian attack, the fortress has 12-metre thick walls and withstood even the most committed of aggressors.

In a perfect example of art imitating life, Lovrijenac Fortress is now one of the most dignified theatrical stages in Europe and is most famous for performances of Hamlet.

 

Where: Cordoba, Spain
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: The Long Bridge of Volantis

Straddling the 657km Guadalquivir River, the Roman Bridge of Cordoba was built by, not surprisingly, the Romans over 2,000 years ago and according to celebrated Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, it ‘surpasses all other bridges in beauty and solidity’. The 247-metre long bridge has 16 arches supported by irregular semi-cylindrical buttresses and is bookended by the 12th century Torre de la Calahorra (Calahorra Tower) at the southern end and the 16th century Puerta del Puente (Gate of the Bridge) at the northern.

It has been remodelled over the years to the point where only the 14th and 15th arches (from the north) are original. In season five of Game of Thrones, the Roman Bridge of Cordoba doubled as The Long Bridge of Volantis spanning the mouth of the Rhoyne River.

Where: Manoel Island, Gżira, Malta
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: Great Sept of Baelor

Fort Manoel was built on the site of an old quarantine hospital in the 1720s under the rule of Portuguese Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. The limestone star fort - so called because the four strategically-placed pentagonal bastions on each corner - St. Helen, St. Anthony, St. John and Notre Dame form a star - is one of the region’s most outstanding examples of 18th century military architecture.

It saw action during the French invasion of 1798 (where it was taken but quickly reclaimed) and also in WWII but was finally decommissioned in 1964. It’s in the middle of a €30m renovation and conservation project but that didn’t stop the fort taking centre stage as the Great Sept of Baelor, the centre of worship for the Faith of the Seven. In one of Game of Thrones’ most climactic scenes, it was here where King Joffrey executed Ned Stark after his confession in the season one finale.

Where: Ston, Croatia
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: The fortifications of King’s Landing

Built as the first layer of protection for Dubrovnik 60km to the south as well as the lucrative salt pans in the local area, the Walls of Ston on the Peljesac Peninsula are the longest complete fortress system in Europe (and second in the world behind a wall in China - the name escapes us for now). The limestone walls, now around 5km long, were originally built with 40 towers and five fortresses although only 20 of the towers have survived.

The walls offer tourists sensational views of the Adriatic Sea as well as the opportunity to see one of Europe’s best defensive walls but perhaps most importantly, they form the fortifications protecting King’s Landing.

Where: Birgu, Malta
Game of Thrones Alter Ego: The Red Keep’s Dungeons

Sitting throne-like at the promontory of Città Vittoriosa, Fort St. Angelo rose phoenix-like from the remains of a semi-ruined castle in the 1530s and has been described as ‘the jewel in the crown of Malta’s rich military heritage’. The bastioned fortress withstood a full-on Saracen advance in 1565 and in the following years it was remodelled by famous Spanish military engineer Carlos de Grunenburgh to include gun batteries.

The British arrived in 1912 and turned Fort St. Angelo into a naval HQ. They left as recently as 1979 and then just over 30 years later, the Game of Thrones cameras took up their own positions. The fort’s underground tunnels doubled as Arya Stark’s playground in the four levels of the Red Keep’s dungeons.


So if that’s got you inspired to travel, remember you can find a spectacular array of historic castles, Roman remains, ancient pyramids,Carthaginians sites, Greek temples and more on Historvius.

 

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