Post updated: 15/04/2019

HBO’s Game of Thrones final season will begin on 15 April 2019. The final, six episode-long season is set to wrap up what has been a firm favourite for over 10 million viewers and notably the most successful TV series of all time.

It’s also one of the largest productions in television history, as each season has multiple filming locations, many of which have now become iconic landmarks and tourist destinations. As Season 8 airs, it’s that time when we all wish we could visit Winterfell and the North, or King’s Landing for real – minus the White Walkers of course! 

Anyone who has seen the series will understand the draw to visiting the sweeping landscapes of Winterfell and The North or exploring the citadel’s winding alleys of King’s Landing. Why not explore these locations with a shore excursion during a cruise and visit the seven kingdoms for yourself on the ultimate Game of Thrones experience!

Warning: This article may contain spoilers!

Northern Ireland

The Paint Hall studio in Belfast is the home base for the production team, with many interior sets filmed here. The studio is the largest of its kind in Europe but unfortunately is not open to the public. However, with the team’s home mainly stationed in Belfast, much of the on-location filming has taken place in the surrounding areas.

Cairncastle

Game of Thrones location: Winterfell

Cairncastle’s settlement, Knock Dhu, and its sweeping landscapes are the iconic location that kicks off Game of Thrones Season 1. It is here fans watch Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark (Sean Bean) behead a deserter from the Night’s Watch in the very first episode, signalling the character’s principals but also the tragic themes which run through the series.

Ballintoy Harbour - Ireland

Ballintoy Harbour

Giuseppe Milo / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Ballintoy Harbour

Game of Thrones location: Iron Islands

Ballintoy Harbour is the destination used for the setting of Pyke – the capital of the Iron Islands, one of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Since appearing in Game of Thrones Season 2, the harbour has been a popular backdrop for the Greyjoy storyline.

It is here we see Theon Greyjoy’s (Alfie Allen) homecoming and where we see Theon and his sister, Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), flee from Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) after he murders their father, Balon (Patrick Malahide).

Cushendun Caves

Game of Thrones location: Storm’s End

Situated along the coast, this location features in Game of Thrones Season 2 where Melisandre, the Red Priestess of the Lord (Carice van Houten), gives birth to a shadow creature which ultimately leads to Renly Baratheon’s (Gethin Anthony) death. The caves are the sole remains of a prehistoric mountain range, offering dramatic views out to sea and emerald-green scenery.

More: Private Game of Thrones Belfast location tour

Carrick-a-Rede, Larrybane - Belfast, Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede

Larrybane

Game of Thrones location: Storm’s End

The famed Carrick-a-Rede is based in Larrybane, where the lush grassy cliffs and white limestone walls are used as the setting for Storm’s End, where Renly Baratheon’s army camp is situated. It is here a number of scenes are played including where Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) beats Sir Loras (Finn Jones) in a tourney for a place in Renley’s kingsguard; where Renly swears to Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) he would avenge Ned Stark’s death and where Margery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) confides in Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen) that she desires to be queen.

More: Game of Thrones Belfast location tour

Armoy, County Antrim

Game of Thrones location: Road to King’s Landing

Also known as the ‘Dark Hedges’, these beech trees line the road which is the common exit of King’s Landing along Kingsroad. It’s here we see Ayra Stark (Maisie Williams) flee from the corrupt capital dressed as a boy and accompanied by her pals, Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey).

This grove of trees was originally planted by the Stuart family during the 18th century and is now one of the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland.

Beech tree-lined road - Armoy, Ireland

Armoy

You can visit all of these destinations on the Belfast Game of Thrones location tour, during a sailing which includes Belfast as a port of call. The tour lasts around nine hours, meaning you can relive all of these iconic scenes in just one day. This is also available as a private tour if you want the locations to yourself and your guide! Comfortable, weather appropriate clothing is recommended.

Croatia

Another popular filming location is Croatia where the famous medieval walls and winding alleyways play a starring role in the depiction of King’s Landing.

The City Walls of Dubrovnik

Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

Enclosing the Old City, these walls are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The medieval structures are similar to the descriptions of King’s Landing in George R.R. Martin’s novels and have featured in numerous episodes since Game of Thrones Season 2.

Notable appearances include the first episode of Season 3 when Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) walk along the walls and workers are seen repairing the damage from the recent Battle of Blackwater.

More:  Game of Thrones and the Old Town tour

Dubrovnik, Croatia - Old Town

St. Dominic Street

Game of Thrones locations: King’s Landing

Situated in the heart of the Old City, St. Dominic Street is used as a location for many market scenes in King’s Landing. Some of the more recognisable scenes here include Season 2’s storming of the Gold Cloaks to kill the late King Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) illegitimate sons and where Tyrion and Bronn witness a protest speech. It’s also where Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is forced to atone for her sins by walking the streets naked in Season 5.

Fort Lovrijenac

Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

In the opening of Game of Thrones Season 2, we see the newly crowned King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) holding a small tournament to celebrate his name day overlooking the sea from Fort Lovrijenac. Here is also where we see a debate between Cersei and Littlefinger about the nature of power and where many characters watch the Battle of Blackwater Bay towards the end of Season 2.

More: Game of Thrones Croatia tour

Coastline along Dubrovnik, Croatia

Gradac Park

Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

Gradac Park, situated next to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, is first included in the scene of the Purple Wedding at the beginning of Season 4. It is here we see the newlywed King Joffrey meet his end after drinking poisoned wine. The location is a large public park and is reached by climbing centuries-old steps. At the top, you also witness incredible views of the surrounding Old City below.

Dubrovnik, Croatia - Streets in the Old City

Will Clayton / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Belvedere Atrium

Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

A hotel from the 1980s which has been abandoned for over twenty years, Belvedere Atrium is the place where Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) kills Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) by crushing his skull.

More: Dubrovnik history and Game of Thrones tour

Pile Gate

Game of Thrones location: Entrance to King’s Landing

The main entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik, Pile Gate features an old drawbridge which stars in a number of scenes throughout the series. Here, we see the Lannisters wait by the shore to see off Princess Myrcella (Aimee Richardson) in Season 2. Then, in the first episode of Season 3, the Pile Gate is featured again as Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is approached by Littlefinger when he offers to help her escape King’s Landing.

Pile Gate- Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dennis Jarvis / Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

Trsteno Arboretum

Game of Thrones locations: Red Keep

The Red Keep is located within King’s Landing and the residence of the King of the Andals and the First Men. It’s here that the iconic throne room appears in the Great Hall and where the extensive gardens appear. Trsteno Arboretum is the filming location for the gardens, the oldest arboretum in this part of the world, which appears in Season 3 and Season 4 of Game of Thrones.

More: Game of Thrones Split walking tour

Trsteno Arboretum - Gardens in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Gregor Noczinski / Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

Diocletian’s Palace, Split

Game of Thrones location: Meereen

View the arches of Diocletian’s Palace in Split, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and private mansion of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Game of Thrones Season 4 takes us here in the form of Meereen, where we see the unsullied army patrol the underground cellars, and again in Season 5 in the chambers where Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) keeps her dragons.

You can visit many of the filming locations during a visit to Croatia, with tours in both Split and Dubrovnik available for Game of Thrones fans. In Dubrovnik, tours range from one to four hours, while the tour in Split is one hour and 45 minutes, and includes the option for a private tour. Comfortable seasonal clothing is recommended.

Iceland

Iceland becomes a prevalent filming location in Game of Thrones as Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) ventures beyond The Wall and we see more wildings and White Walkers sharing screen time.

Many of these can be visited during a cruise to Scandinavia, where there are plenty tour operators 

Lake Myvatn

Game of Thrones location: Setting of Mance Ryder’s wilding army

Lake Myvatn, situated near the town of Akureyri, is the setting where we see Mance Ryder’s (Ciarán Hinds) wildling army settle in Season 3. Though the interior of Mance’s tent was filmed back at Belfast’s studio, the camp itself was set up on location, taking weeks of on-site construction by the local crew at -11°C!

Lake Myvatn, Akureyri - Iceland

dconvertini / Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

More: Fire and Ice helicopter tour

Grjótagjá Cave

Game of Thrones location: Meeting place of Jon Snow and Ygritte

The hot spring of Grjótagjá is where we see Jon Snow break his Night’s Watch oath and give in to his desires for Ygritte (Rose Leslie). The spring is already a popular attraction as a thermal pool and even a bathing spot!

Thermal spring in Iceland

Ron Kroetz / Flickr.com, CC BY-ND 2.0

More: Lava cave adventure tour

Höfðabrekkuheiði

Game of Thrones location: Frostfangs and Fist of the First Men

The harsh frozen mountain range of Frostfangs and the wilderness of the First of the First Men was filmed at the hills of Höfðabrekkuheiði as well as nearby glaciers of Snæfellsjökull and Svínafellsjökull, Smyrlabjörg.

More: The wonders of Snaefellsnes tour

Thingvellir National Park

Game of Thrones location: Battle scene between Brienne and The Hound

Found in southwestern Iceland, Thingvellir National Park is a site of historical, cultural and geological significance. It’s also where we witness the bloody battle between Brienne and The Hound (Rory McCann), as Brienne and Podrick are en route to The Eyrie in Season 4.

Thingvellir National Park - Iceland

More: Gullfoss, Geysir & Thingvellir tour

You can visit most of these locations on specially-curated Game of Thrones tours across Iceland, given that the series has been cited as a key factor in the growth of annual visitors (from 566,000 in 2011 to 1 million in 2015!)

Take a cruise to Iceland and visit unforgettable ports such as Akureyri, Heimaey and Reykjavik.

Malta

Though Dubrovnik scored top location for King’s Landing, it wasn’t the first choice. Malta was used as a filming location throughout Game of Thrones Season 1, with filming mostly centred around the town of Mdina. Production moved to Croatia after Season 1 ended, as it suited the warmer climate for King’s Landing.

The Azure Window, Gozo

Game of Thrones location: Pentos

The only Game of Thrones filming location in Gozo, but a good one! It is here that the Dothraki wedding between Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Daenerys take place, overlooking the coast of Pentos – one of the Free Cities in Essos.

Unfortunately, the cliff formation has since collapsed in 2017, due to erosion and segments of the rock subsequently falling into the sea. However, it’s still worth a visit as there are a number of other natural features in the area.

Azure Window - Gozo, Malta

More: Discover Gozo tour

Mdina

Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

Before King’s Landing called Dubrovnik home, Malta’s fortress city of Mdina was the original destination of choice. However, after Season 1, production shifted to Croatia as it was more suited to the warmer climates needed for King’s Landing.

Streets of Mdina - Malta

More: Medieval Mdina tour

Though Malta has since been diminished as a filming location for King’s Landing over the better-suited Croatia, it’s still a great place to visit on a cruise. The winding alleys and sandstone buildings are perfect for romantic walks and picturing some of the opening scenes of the epic Game of Thrones Season 1.

Spain

There are numerous locations across Spain which star in the series, from the Dragonpit to the Tower of Joy. The warm climate makes for an ideal background to many of the unmissable scenes in Game of Thrones.

Seville

Game of Thrones location: Sunspear

In a number of seasons, Seville served as the location for Dorne – the most southerly of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. The Alcazar of Seville is the setting for Sunspear, the capital of Dorne, and its Water Gardens.

Alcazar of Seville - Spain

More: Wonders of Seville tour

Roman Ruins of Italica

Game of Thrones location: Dragonpit

Italica is one of the earliest Roman settlements in Spain, featuring the ruins of a 25,000 seat amphitheatre – which was one of the largest in the Roman Empire. During the final episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, we see the amphitheatre depicted as the meeting place for Cersei, Daenerys and their entourages. It is here that Jon Snow reveals the captured wight and warns of the pending threat from the White Walkers.

Castle of Zafra - Spain

JUMBOROIS / Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

Gaztelugatxe

Game of Thrones location: Dragonstone

This tiny islet in Spain’s Basque Country is the real-life location used as the mystical region of Dragonstone, where we watch Daenerys begin plotting war against her enemies in Season 7.

Dragons sail over the Bay of Biscay, where tourists can walk amongst panoramic views of the 60 million-year-old surroundings and climb the 241 stone steps to the church, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe where you can ring the bell three times to make a wish. (Maybe wish for an early release of Season 8?)

Gaztelugatxe, Spain

Danni Barrio / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

More: Private historic Seville tour

Castillo de Zafra

Game of Thrones location: Tower of Joy, Dorne

The Castillo de Zafra, also known as the Castle of Zafra, is the remote site often visited during Bran Stark’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) flashback scenes of his father’s past. During Season 6, we see the tower in the background of a scene where Ned Stark attempts to rescue his sister, Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi) who was imprisoned in the tower. It later becomes apparent that Lyanna was giving birth to a baby boy while locked away, a baby we later come to know as Jon Snow.

It appears that you can relive the Game of Thrones series in real life across a number of destinations, many of which can be visited during a cruise.

Whether you’re missing the icy chills of The Wall or the sunny climes of King’s Landing, there’s a fantastic choice of film locations you can pair with a sailing to these iconic regions – helping you to tick a few of these off your destination bucket list as the ultimate Game of Thrones experience!

You can find all of the shore excursions listed above here – www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com, but if you would like to discuss pairing these with a cruise, please give our Cruise Concierge a call on 0808 1234 118 for expert advice.

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Emma Smith
Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over a year. She loves learning of new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2020! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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