Step into the world of Westeros.
Since the seventh season of Game of Thrones wrapped up in July 2017, the world has been abuzz about some of the cliffhangers and revelations that were unleashed during the last episode.
Will Jon and Daenerys continue their romance once they learn they’re related? What will happen to the Seven Kingdoms now that the White Walkers and their creepy Army of the Dead have crossed the Wall? Will Jaime abandon Cersei for good? And is Euron really still working for Cersei or did he retreat back to the Iron Islands after seeing through her misguided confidence?
Audiences need to know and they need to know right now. Unfortunately, GOT fans will have to wait until the show’s next—and final—season is released to find out the questions to these burning answers. Even worse? HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, told Entertainment Weekly that the last season may not air until 2019.
But if you’re having trouble passing the time until this unbelievably popular show returns, you could always visit Westeros to get your GOT fix. By that, we mean you can visit the places where some of the greatest scenes in the award-winning series were filmed.
Depending on where you live and what you want to see, your travel to the mythical world of Westeros can set you back a pretty penny. The costly price tag could cause some to wonder why in the Seven Kingdoms would someone want to see where a fictional show is filmed. The answer is simple, says Game of Thrones Tours Ltd. office manager and tour guide Dorothy Nealon.
“Escapism,” says Nealon. “An opportunity to step out of your normal daily routine and into the world of Westeros.”
Here, we’ve looked at some of the most-desirable—and most notorious—locations GOT fans would actually want to visit. So, pack a bag, send a goodbye raven to your loved ones, and get started on your own little tour of Westeros.
The Walk of Shame
Who could forget the image of a broken Cersei, pitifully walking home while the people of her city chanted “shame” at her? Embarrassed, rocking a newly-shorn ‘do, and taking an “au natural” approach with her wardrobe choice, the woman who is now Queen of the Seven Kingdoms made this humiliating walk back to the Red Keep after the Faith Militant released her from imprisonment.
You can follow in Cersei’s shameful footsteps by visiting the very path in which she walked by taking a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Called the Stradun, this walkway is the main street between the Cathedral and the Sponza Palace. Over 1,000 feet long, the trail was home to a pricey scene— that almost didn’t happen.
The request from the Game of Thrones crew to film outside of Dubrovnik’s Catholic Church of St. Nicholas was denied by the church because of the public nudity involved in the scene.
Eventually, the crew ended up switching locations to the Stradun for the four-day shoot. The added expenses of doing so, however, racked up a filming bill of $50,000 a day.
Where the King in the North Got His Start
If you want to thank the old gods and the new for creating everyone’s favorite hero, Jon Snow, a visit to Scotland is in order, says Architectural Digest.
Winterfell, aka Doune Castle, is the place where the inherently good Snow grew up, under the care of Ned Stark, whom he believes to be his father, along with Stark’s wife, Catelyn, and their children.
This isn’t the castle’s first rodeo when it comes to fame, however. The television series Outlander was shot here, along with film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Guests can treat themselves to a walking tour narrated by actor and director Terry Jones while there.
To get the full King in the North experience, however, you’ll need to hop on over to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Here, you can visit where the family of Winterfell found their loyal pets.
“Tollymore Forest Park in County Down, where the Starks discover the direwolf pups, is always a hit with our customers on the Winterfell tour,” says Nealon.
The Winterfell tour also visits nine other Game of Thrones film locations, including a small castle that was one of Walder Frey’s Twins.
Since the Isle of Éire is home to scores of majestic landscapes, it makes sense to film a series that is known for its detailed scenes right there. And fortunately, Belfast is well-equipped to handle the demands the over-the-top show puts on the town.
“Northern Ireland has been more than featured in Game of Thrones” says Nealon. “The Titanic Studios where it is filmed in Belfast has become the production hub for the show. Everything is made and produced here and then shipped abroad for use in other filming locations. Tourism in Northern Ireland is at an all-time high as a result.”
Where the Moon and Star Fell in Love
It’s safe to say that when the hand of Daenerys Targaryen was promised to powerful Dothraki king Khal Drogo, no one saw their eventual romance coming.
Channel your inner Dothraki.
But audiences were mostly pleasantly surprised when the unlikely pair actually fell in love and became a power couple.
You can set foot on the very spot—or somewhere nearby—where Drogo and Dany made the leap from the roles of scary dictator and helpless victim to each other’s ride or die. This massive fictional desert kingdom was filmed in three different locations in Europe.
The Bardenas Reale badlands in Spain served as a mountainous backdrop for the mighty Dothraki, as did the Tabernas Mountains in southern Spain and the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
Although it’s already pretty cool to visit this spot in the first place, bonus points if you channel your inner Dothraki and get there on horseback.
They Make the Sand Look Good
Say what you will about the people of Dorne, but we can probably all agree they at least take things to a whole new level.
Take, for example, the epic battle between Oberyn Martell and the Mountain. Martell came into the fight with the odds stacked against him, as the aptly named Mountain was about twice his size. But just when it seemed the underdog would be victorious, he had to step it up a notch by taunting the Mountain, who seemed to be hanging onto his last breath. Next thing you knew, however, the Mountain’s thumbs were plunging into Oberyn’s eyes, resulting in a condition you might call a “headsplosion.” Rest in peace, fair prince.
The Dornish people are also known for being exotic, mysterious, and easy on the eyes. It’s only fitting that these people of the desert live in a location that is just as extra as they are.
The Alcazar of Seville in Spain was the location chosen to provide the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Dornish people. Featuring gorgeous architecture and gardens that are the perfect hiding spot for the Sand Snakes, this landmark in southern Spain is the oldest European palace still in use.
These Places Have No Names
Little Arya Stark transformed from a precocious young girl into a brave and ruthless woman right before viewers’ eyes.
The location in which a portion of this evolution occurred is the Free City of Braavos, where Arya learns the art of disguise and everything gross that comes with it.
Girona, Spain, with its cobblestone streets, served as the spot where saying “valar morghulis” earns you rockstar status.
The location where Arya trained to become No One, however, was actually filmed in Sibenik, Croatia. The scenes when Arya trained under Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif with the stick were filmed in Sibenik’s St. James Cathedral. And remember when Lord Tyrell went to the Iron Bank to negotiate? That was shot here, too.
These Islands Might “Steel” Your Heart
Before he earned the award for “Most Awkward Encounter With Your Sister on a Horse,” Theon Greyjoy learned the ins and outs of life as an ironborn on the Iron Islands, an archipelago in Ironman’s Bay.
The island’s harsh environment, with its constant grey skies and ferocious storms, matches the personality of these fierce, vulgar, and proud people. Case in point, it is the place in which Theon’s uncle, Euron, kills his own brother—Theon’s father—to become king of the Islands. In other words, you don’t want to mess with these people.
You can, however, visit the locations where some of the most memorable scenes in Game of Thrones were filmed.
Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, is home to Ballintoy Harbour, the picturesque location where Theon arrived at Lordsport on the island of Pyke in season 2.
This is also one of the most popular locations in the Game of Thrones Tours’ Iron Islands and Giant’s Causeway Adventure tour.
“Here, our tour groups don costumes and swing swords,” says Nealon.
And if you would like to see the spot in which Theon and Yara share that infamously embarrassing moment, head on over to Murlough Bay. Just 12 miles away from Ballintoy Harbour, the bay is filled with picturesque cliffs so distracting they could cause anyone to unknowingly come on to their sister, right? Nice try, Theon.
This Cave Has Seen Some Things
Although being a fly on the cave in which Jon and Ygritte shared that literally steamy scene isn’t an option, visiting the location in which the on-screen magic occurred is.
This long-awaited love scene was shot in Myvatin, Iceland, in a natural geothermal spring inside a cave called Grjótagjá. Often masked by fog and snow, this hot pot reaches water temperatures of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit—and that’s before the smokin’ couple stepped in.
The small lava cave, with its clear water and breathtaking walls, is located near Lake Myvatn in northeast Iceland.
Before you go, however, make sure to grab a headlamp and a towel. Grjótagjá is dark, and unless you have a light source, you won’t see the beauty Mother Nature cooked up in there. And although sharing the same water as the King of the North and his beloved wildling may be good enough for you, it would be a shame not see it.
P.S. Icelanders often bathe in the buff. Don’t be alarmed if your fellow hot spring occupants are in their birthday suits.