Over the years Game of Thrones has astounded fans across the globe with with its thrilling plot, daring sword fights and, let admit it, it’s bizarre romances. But one thing that truly helps the audience really enter the amazing continent of Westeros is the amazing and breathtaking scenery. You may believe that some of the scenes are just ‘simple’ CGI, towering cities and deadly tundra cannot possibly be real. But, behind each legendary scene is a real, living place. And the really amazing thing? Any fan can go visit them!
1) The Azure Window, Malta
Call me biased but the Azure Window in Gozo must be one of the most beautiful natural wonders out there. Totally natural this window was used in season 1 for quite the spectacle, in one of the most important events to happen in Deanery’s life, the first event that led her on her path to becoming the mother of dragons- The Dothraki wedding. Don’t recognise it? See for yourself:
2) Fort Manoel, Malta
This Maltese fort, built by the Knight of St John over 400 year ago, may not be recognisable in its usual, derelict state. But add some banners and blood thirsty spectators and you have one of the iconic scenes of season 1- the beheading of Ned Stark. Yes, you read right, this quiet, abanonded fort plays the role of Sept of Baelor, supposedly the hollisest place in Westeros but also is the site of Ned Stark’s pivotal death.
3) Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco
The rolling red sands and characteristic Moroccan buildings impressed producers so much that Ait-Ben-Haddou became the great city of Yunkai, a land ruled by slave merchants. Don’t worry, in real life the place is much more welcoming but just as beautiful. I don’t know about you but I could spend days relaxing on it’s beautiful sands and exploring its mysterious streets.
4) Essaouira, Morocco
Another jewel of Morocco, this UNESCO heritage site is rich in craft, cuisine and beauty and recognisable by all Game of Thrones fans as the great city of Astapor. A great city known for providing Deanery with her Unsullied soldier, Essaouira’s looming bastions were just what was needed for a military city like this.
5) Hverfjall volcano, Iceland
The frozen Hverfjall volcano in Iceland is just breathtaking to see in real life and it, with a bit of CGI help, was the ideal place to home the notorious and deadly White Walkers. Used for many scenes portraying ‘Beyond the Wall’, Hverfjall was not just a backdrop but an inspiration for the icy and treacherous land.
6) Meteora, Greece
Although, fortunately, lacking sky cells and Moon Doors, Meteora was used on multiple occasions as The Eyrie, the principle stronghold for the House of Arryn. The name Meteora actually means “suspended in air”, it’s as if the monasteries were destined to some day play the part of Eyrie. Looking at it, It’s hard to believe that such a peaceful place could have been used fro such a harsh and terrifying castle.
7) Dubrovnik, Croatia
The beautiful coastal city of Dubrovnik took the title of King’s Landing after, for some bizarre reason, Maltese authorities thought the filming of Game of Thrones was cousing environmental harm to the sites being used (Don’t worry all filming locations are still standing strong, I can vouch for that). This Magnificent Croatian village gave King’s Landing the coastal atmosphere it was missing in season one, giving this treacherous and bloody landing a more beautiful and Mediterranean vibe. If you are a real hardcore fan you can even opt to take a GOT themed tour, ensuring that you will not miss any of the spectacular sites.
8) Stangford Castle, Northern Ireland
Any real Game of Thrones fan can recognise the castle above, even with a missing tower. Northern Ireland is rich in note-worthy castles, but the magnificent Castle Ward of Stangford, for the first few seasons, acted as the home turf of the famous Stark family- Winterfell.
9) Dark Hedges, Stanocum, Northern Ireland
Traveler’s must be weary as they travel the Dark Hedges of Northern Irland. The name alone would make this path Game of Thrones worthy. Used as King’s Road and The Dark Hedges of Armoy we have learnt that that one must be careful while traveling through its dark but mesmerising paths as art and reality collide in their ancient and intertwining branches.
10) Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain
With over eleven centuries of history etched into the stone of the the royal Alcazar of Seville, it was the perfect location for the Water Gardens of Drone to be born. With Seville’s ornate archways, tiled walls and beautiful garden it was the choice was obvious.
These are just a few of dozens of other places GOT fans can go visit to live the Westeros life (minus the blood and death) However, to me these are some of the most beautiful places that really capture the essence of the thrilling world created by George R. R. Martin. So grab your passport and your trusty dragon, I think we’re going on adventure, wouldn’t you agree?
Have any other sites to add?
Pretty much a fan of all but if you come at me with horror I have a salt shaker and an iron rod and I’m not afraid to use them 😀