Game of Thrones latest season has already ended, but with production for season 8 rumored to be taking longer than previous ones (you may have to wait until 2019 for new episodes!) why not visit some of the filming spots with a private tour guide to experience the real-life set of Game of Thrones. With the ever growing popularity of GOT many tour guides and companies have started catering just to fans; providing costumes for photos and developing itineraries based solely on visiting filming locations and transporting guests to Westeros. So here are 7 locations you can actually visit!
1. Itzurun Beach, Zumaia, Basque Country, Spain
This beach in Spain stands in as the shores of Westeros-Dragonstone more specifically, and provides some pretty magnificent rock formations. These formations are some of the longest sets of continuous layers of sedimentary rock or soil, where each layer looks distinctly different from the other. There are scientists who study just this type of rock, making it interesting in itself to visit, but the fact that it also is part of the GOT set makes it irresistible.
2. Island of Gaztelgatxe, Bermeo, Basque Country, Spain
Just an hour and a half away from the beach of Itzurun, you can also visit the Island of Gaztelgatxe, where there is a staircase in the hillside used by both Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. The island is along the Basque Coast, a portion that is rougher than others, where water is constantly eroding the coast, creating many different enclaves, passages, and arcs.
3. Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, Cordoba, Spain
Castillo de Almodovar del Rio Cordoba is Game of Throne’s Highgarden. Many locations have become popular just because of their use in the hit television show; however, this is not one of them. Castillo de Almodovar has been a tourist destination for many years, and is still run by the original family, whose ancestors once lived in the castle in 1629. The castle is set up for private tours, or non-guided tours, but it is also an amazing place to hold events. From business meetings, to birthday parties or weddings, the castle has been specializing in private events long before Game of Thrones premiered. If you are looking to visit another castle on your trip, Trujillo Castle in Caceres, Spain is only three and a half hours from Castillo de Almodovar, and you may recognize it as the Lannisters’ familial home.
4. Svínafellsjökull Glacier, Iceland
Iceland has specifically seen a huge up-tick in tourism since GOT began filming there, and for good reason. The country is filled with unique and breath-taking sites; one in particular that has gained popularity recently is the Svínafellsjökull Glacier. Technically a glacier tongue, this makes the spot even more enticing. You will be able to hear strange noises caused by the glaciers movement, see an ever vast and clean landscape, but also marvel in the power of the mass of ice. This glacier wasn’t just used in filming GOT, but also was a filming spot for the movie Interstellar.
5. Lake Myvatn, Iceland
One of the most popular spots for filming Game of Thrones, this lake appears in the show frozen over and covered in white snow. But don’t be fooled, this lake during the summer is thawed out and appears much different. So be sure to take this into consideration when choosing your time to go. Another special thing about this lake is that it is surrounded by geothermal areas and is fairly close to an active volcano in Northern Iceland. Many private tours can take you here from Reykjavik, and it is suggested to spend at least three full days in the area. As a popular tourist destination regardless of it’s infamous scenes in GOT, this is a great spot year-round with amenities geared towards travelers everywhere. If nothing else, come here to soak in the lagoon and truly feel what it means to be relaxed. After all that binge watching of the HBO show, it is just the thing you need to unplug and reconnect with the outside world and nature.
6. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Generally speaking Northern Ireland has been the heart of the Game of Thrones productions. So much so, that even the official production studio is located in this area of Ireland. And because of that, this area is the most conducive to catering to tourists. Full of itineraries, private tours and private tour guides, Northern Ireland has built a name for itself on the Game of Thrones legacy. One of the most photogenic areas is that of the Dark Hedges. Its here that the trees are bending inward creating an eerie walkway of forest. While Northern Ireland is the stand-in for Winterfell this specific area has been filmed as the Kings Road. The road itself comes with it’s own history, wildlife, and of course ghost stories. So be sure to read up on the narratives that call this place home, and make sure your camera is charged, because you will definitely want to take lots of pictures here. And again, this is just the beginning of sites to discover in Northern Ireland. There are many many more that can be grouped together to create the perfect Game of Thrones themed vacation.
7. Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Croatia
While this city is the main area used for filming King’s Landing in the hit series, it is also a destination on many travelers’ bucket lists regardless of their love for Westeros. There is so much to do and see here that entire guidebooks have been written just on this city. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, this port city provides the standard activities of the Mediterranean in soaking up the sun and relaxing. Dubrovnik actually has a fair amount of sun compared to the other destinations on this list, so it would easily squeeze into a summer vacation itinerary if you are not one for cold weather. So if it’s clear blue waters and sun you are looking for, then stopping by Dubrovnik and enjoying the Adriatic Sea is right up your alley! The Old Town is also perfect for wandering around and discovering the history of this famous city. For example, the city walls are of particular interest to most travelers; as is the modern, but breathtaking Dubrovnik Cable Car, which will provide you with aerial views of the entire city. There are also several private tours that can take you around to the surrounding coastal areas, each full of their own charm.
“Emily Meadows is the author of Emily's Guide to Kraków. She currently resides part of the year in Ocean City, Maryland and the other part in Aspen, Colorado in the midst of her travels.”
Image details and licenses:https://flic.kr/p/8BfNRD (Roberto Lazo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/4GineQ (Sami Keinänen, CC BY-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/nxtxDi(giborn_134, CC BY-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/Lp14tf (Pierre Doyen, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/YgfxYq (Ky0n Cheng, CC0 1.0), https://flic.kr/p/PhFupC (Nico Trinkhaus, CC BY-NC 2.0)