Following are locations where the show's incest, pillaging,
and frequent death run riot. The article below is an edited
version of a blog compiled by the travel site GoEuro.co.uk, and
contains some spoilers.
Much of the fictitious land of Westeros is located in Northern
Ireland. Winter may have just left the Emerald Isle, but given
Ireland's average 300 rainy or cloudy days a year, many of the
locations filmed here were used to depict Winterfell, the north,
and other less sunny parts of the Seven Kingdoms.
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Those who want to tread the same grounds as the Family Stark
should explore the area of Downpatrick, County Down, where
Castle Ward was used to film parts of the family home. Nearby
Audley's Castle and Woods were the location for the family's war
encampment in Season One. Further north you'll find the setting
for Castle Black — the abandoned Magheramorne quarry which is
currently under proposal to be turned into a centre for
Nearby Redhall Estate appeared in both Seasons Two and Three
under various guises, including as the inn where Catelyn Tully
captured Tyrion Lannister before taking him to her twisted
sister in Eyrie. (For bonus fan points, the rock formations that
make up Eyrie actually lie in Greece and had the castle grafted
With eerie in mind, Ballymoney's Dark Hedges provided the
backdrop for the iconic Kingsroad. As one of the most
photographed sites in Ireland, their dramatic appearance was
perfect for the award-winning series.
It seems Ireland's rugged terrain is pretty adaptable as a
mythological setting, with Sandy Brae Path at Newry and Mourne
used as the site of the twin horse statues marking the entrance
to the Dothraki holy ground. There's something especially
fantastic about this area, as the Mourne Mountains are said to
have inspired C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia".
Our final tip for Northern Ireland is to head to the Caves of
Cushendun, County Antrim, where one of the more disturbing
scenes from Season Two was filmed: Melisandre's birthing of the
shadow baby. The area itself is quaint and scenic.
Leaving Ireland and heading south to warmer climes, we find
ourselves in Malta, a landscape that constituted much of King's
Landing in Season One. The country's former capital Mdina was
used to represent the central city of Westeros to great effect;
the many well-preserved, historical buildings fit perfectly with
the theme of exotic, medieval grandeur. Local structures on the
Mediterranean island, such as the Mdina Bridge, Pjazza Mesquita,
and Verdala Palace are all located close to one another.
San Anton Palace Malta
Lord Stark's announcement to Cersei that he knew of her
incestuous secret was filmed in the Dominican St Dominic
Monastery, after it was transformed into the Gardens of the Red
Keep. His subsequent comeuppance took place nearby at Fort
Manoel. Many similar structures close by were used, such as Fort
St Angelo where Arya chasing the cat beneath the castle was
As the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, Malta housed the Iron
Throne for some time. Fittingly, one of the venues for this was
the San Anton Palace, in real life a residence of the island's
One of the few drawbacks of Mdina as a set is that it lies
inland, unlike its seaside Westeros counterpart, and could
therefore only be used to depict interior shots of the city.
Azure Window, Gozo
Just a short boat trip away, the natural backdrop of the Azure
Window, located on Malta's smaller sister island Gozo, was used
as the setting of Daenerys Targaryens's wedding to Khal Drogo.
The area is still free for tourists to explore, however, part of
the reason Malta was not utilized in following seasons was due
to disputes between island officials and the production crew
over damage that may have been inflicted upon the natural
wonder. Uber-fans looking to recreate the scenes for their own
special day will be relieved to know that weddings are still
allowed here. Perhaps just hold back on the hundreds of horses,
weapons, and fighting, to avoid further deterioration.
[to top of second column]
The second season saw filming of King's Landing moved to Croatia,
specifically Dubrovnik and Lokrum. With Dubrovnik being a seaside
walled city, similar to the Westeros capital, the crew were offered
additional opportunities to film exterior shots as well as the
interior shots they had been limited to in Mdina.
Old Town Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island
The surrounding waters were put to good use, providing the setting
for the epic Battle of Blackwater, whilst Fort Lovrijenac became the
new Red Keep. Sections of Qarth in the Essos continent were also
filmed here, with the Minceta Tower used as the exterior of the
House of The Undying.
Many other parts of Qarth were filmed on the nearby island of Lokrum,
including the botanical gardens, used for outdoor scenes such as the
welcome party thrown by Xaro. Lokrum itself is said to be cursed, so
much like the characters in Thrones, you would be wise to visit but
not to stay. Back on the mainland, the gates of Qarth were
constructed in Dubac quarry, along with King's Landing's waterside
garden in Season 3 which was located at the Trsteno Arboretum.
Volcanic but frozen, Iceland truly is the Land of Ice and Fire.
Barren, alien, beautiful but brutal, this mysterious landscape is
the perfect location for the land Beyond The Wall. Line Producer
Chris Newman said they wanted as much of the scenery to be as true
to life as possible, and that they weren't "doing anything in
post-production to add mountains or snow or anything".
Myvatn Lake, Iceland
Filming spots included Höfoabrekkuheioi, the Myrdalsjokull glacier,
the Vatnajökull glacier — Europe's largest ice cap- and Lake Myvatn
which, although a protected area, is easily accessible for visitors.
Annual events hosted here include the Icelandic marathon. The lake
is littered with unusual lava formations, aptly known as "black
castles". While a majority of scenes were filmed at the Lake,
Iceland's Skaftafell National Park was also put to good use.
While the life of an actor may seem glamorous, those who were
involved in Icelandic scenes had to brave severely cold conditions.
The scene where John Snow fights Qhorin Halfhand near the end of
Season Two took place on a cliff with a 500 m-(1,500 ft-) drop, the
snow so deep the actors kept sinking into it during an exhausting
Heading back to a more comfortable environment, Morocco was used as
the primary setting for many of Daenerys' travels in Season Three.
This was actually a revisit for the production team to the area — it
was originally used as King's Landing in the unaired pilot.
Although some of the shots here were used to represent King's
Landing in the third season, the historic city of Ait Benhaddou, a
designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, was utilized to represent
Yunkai, or the Yellow City traveled to by The Mother of Dragons. The
beautifully sandy citadel, known widely for its kasbahs, is no
stranger to the limelight, having been a backdrop for blockbusters
such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, and Gladiator.
Another shooting location is Essaouira, Western Morocco, also listed
as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the series it served as the
location for the slave-trading city of Astapor, and housed the Plaza
of Pride and the Palace of The Good Masters. In real life, this
little city is buzzing with culture, its historical beauty and
stunning sea views preserved thanks to strict building restrictions.
(Editing by Michael Roddy and Jeremy Gaunt)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.