Interested in finding out more about the epic Game of Thrones filming locations?
Game of Thrones, or rather the book on which it’s based (A Song of Ice and Fire), is set in an immense world, incorporating several continents, seven kingdoms, and large unmapped areas.
Most of the filming takes place in a studio in Belfast, and elsewhere on location in Northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco.
Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
The 18th-century Castle Ward, a National Trust property located near the village of Strangford in County Down, Northern Ireland, was a stand-in for the castle of Winterfell, home to the Stark family.
Many of the woodland action scenes meanwhile are filmed in Tollymore Forest in County Down.
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The beech tree lined road is known as the Dark Hedges to locals near Stanocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
But to fans of Game of Thrones it will be more recognisable as the Kings Road and the Dark Hedges of Armoy.
The Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
The beautiful Mourne Mountains, in south-east Northern Ireland, were used to portray parts of Vaes Dothrak, home of the Dothraki. The region has been linked with popular literature before; it inspired C.S. Lewis to write The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Ballintoy, Northern Ireland
Ballintoy is a tiny village in Northern Island. Home to just a few hundred, it was put firmly on the map when it was chosen to represent the port of Pyke, on the Iron Islands.
King’s Landing, the royal capital of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms, has been created using numerous existing spots as a backdrop. The first was Mdina, the old capital of Malta. A medieval walled town boasting strong defensive Norman fortifications and moats, it was a perfect fit. The characters in the show swap sun hats for chain mail, however.
The Mdina city gate is a historical monument in the Western Province in Malta.
Fort Manoel, Malta
Nearby Fort Manoel was built by the Knights of Malta between 1723 and 1755 and served as an active military establishment until as recently as 1906. In Game of Thrones it serves as the Sept of Baelor, the holiest spot in Westeros, and scene of the first season’s most dramatic moment.
Azure Window, Malta
The Dothraki wedding in the first series took place by Azure Window in Malta, a natural arch created thousands of years ago after several limestone caves collapsed.
The area is renowned for its scuba diving, and the arch has also been featured in Clash of the Titans (1981) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002).
The archway provided the backdrop for the Daenerys and Khal Drogo wedding in season one.
While Malta was the site of King’s Landing in the first series, filming moved to Dubrovnik for the second after Maltese officials complained that protected habitats were damaged.
The Croatian city, awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1979, boasts nearly 2km of defensive walls that proved invaluable for some of the later scenes. The terracotta roofs in some scenes may also belong to buildings on the nearby island of Lokrum.
The move to Dubrovnik to film the King’s Landings scenes enabled Game of Thrones producers to film by the sea.
The Minceta Tower and fortification is a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Dalmatian Coast in Dubrovnik.
The House of The Undying, the site of the season two finale, was the real-life Minceta Tower.
Fort Lovrijenac, Croatia
Fort Lovrijenac, an imposing fortress nestled on rocks just outside Dubrovnik, features walls some 12 metres thick in parts. Hamlet is performed here every summer, but for the purposes of the show it filled in for the Red Keep. The interiors were actually shot in a studio in Belfast.
Ounila River and the red citadel of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morroco
The Ounila River and the red citadel of Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco impressed Game of Thrones producers.
It then provided the setting for the fictional city of Yunkai, which featured in the third season of Game of Thrones.
Daenerys Targaryen spends much of her time in the exotic environs of Slaver’s Bay, home to the fictional ports of Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen. For the purposes of the show, Morocco’s beguiling seaside city Essaouira was a perfect fit.
The sun sets on the beautiful town of Essaouira, in Morroco another UNESCO world heritage site.
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Where better for the desolate expanses north of The Wall than Iceland? Scenes set in The Frostfangs and at the Fist of the First Men were shot on the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Vatnajökull National Park and the nearby region during November 2011.
Hverfjall volcano, Iceland
North Iceland is where the Beyond the Wall scenes in the large area of Westeros are filmed. One of the biggest highlights of the area is Goðafoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The water from the Skjálfandafljót river falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.
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