Game of Thrones destinations to check out
The world has been waiting with bated breath, but finally it’s time for the latest instalment of everyone’s favourite medieval mega fantasy, the Season 5 launch of Game of Thrones on Monday, April 13. The sagas, swords and sorcery, the dazzling costumes and the earth-defying scenery all conspire to take Game of Thrones to the next level.
But although it’s a blockbuster series of Hollywood proportions, the TV show is actually set a million miles away from the glitz and glamour. In fact, GoT locations are handpicked, gorgeous, remote little clusters around the world, from the icy plains of Iceland to the earthy hues of Morocco, and now you can go and see the Game of Thrones destinations for yourself.
If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Winterfell, adventuring through the Forests in the North (Tollymore Forest Park), or walking the misty road from King's Landing; head to Northern Ireland. With its hardened, gritty granite landscape, historical buildings, moody seas and grey skies, many of the series’ top spots were filmed in this UK destination. With locations all over the country, Game of Thrones fans can shuffle their way round and see it all in a few days, or jump onboard a Game of Thrones Day Tour from Dublin.
Much of the bleak and icy backdrop you’ll see on GoT is set in the pristine Scandinavian isle of Iceland, including the chilly North of the Wall, the Frostfangs Mountains, and the famous hot springs where Jon Snow and Ygritte, ahem, heat things up a little! The new season also includes Thingvellir National Park. If you’re up for some serious Icelandic immersion, book yourself on the six-day Northern Lights & Glacier Hikes tour and experience it all.
If you’re a diehard GoT fan, you’ll already know that much of the series is shot in Croatia. The fabulously medieval Kings Landing is filmed here, in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which is just as gorgeous in real life. Other key locations here include The Red Keep, the mysterious House of the Undying, and Qarth. If you’re up for an easy ride, there are heaps of great tours round this region, most of which will include these key GoT destinations. We’re loving the Topdeck eight-day Adriatic Sunsets sailboat tour from Split to Dubrovnik to check out all the Game of Thrones highlights.
The next stop on the list is the wild Mediterranean isle of Malta. Channelling elements of neighbouring North Africa and Southern Europe, Malta is the setting for King's Landing Gate and Red Keep Gate. This is also where Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding was shot at the stark 50 metre-high rock arch, Azure Window, on gorgeous Gozo. Mdina Gate stands in for the King's Landing Gate. The home of the Maltese President also features on the show in the form of Illyrio Mopatis’ house, a.k.a. the Verdala Palace.
The ancient fortified city of Aït Ben Haddou is the setting for Yunkai and Pentos. The earthen mud and clay structures of this desert setting are as impossibly beautiful in real life as they are in the show. Morocco’s other offering to the magic that is Game of Thrones is the exotic, fortified coastal town of Essaouria. The 18th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is the setting for Astapor, the southernmost of the three city-states of Slaver’s Bay. The Topdeck Morocco Unplugged 17-day tour travels to both Aït Ben Haddou and Essaouria for the backdrop of your GoT dreams.
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