Calling all Game of Thrones fans: feeling nostalgic as the final season comes to an end? We know the feeling. So, while anxiously awaiting the next episode, we put together a list of Game of Thrones locations that you can visit in real life. You don’t have to be the Mother of Dragons or cross the Narrow Sea to get to these locations. If you’re planning to study abroad in Europe, some of the most famous Game of Thrones filming locations are easy to get to on a weekend trip from some of our study abroad locations. No need to bend the knee; you can thank us later.
Disclaimer: This post contains some spoilers!
Here are 7 Game of Thrones filming locations where you can explore Westeros in real life:
1. Game of Thrones Location: King’s Landing
In Real Life: Dubrovnik, Croatia
King’s Landing – Capital of the Seven Kingdoms and home to some of the series’ most intense and important scenes – was set in the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia (featured above). Located on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a lot more enjoyable to visit in real life as it’s not subject to Cersei’s reign. The historical city is filled with museums, beautiful architecture, and its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A must-see for Game of Thrones fans in Dubrovnik is Fort Lovrijenac, a stunning fortress that’s otherwise known as the Red Keep.
2. Game of Thrones Location: The Iron Islands
In Real Life: Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
Home of House Greyjoy and the Ironborn, the Iron Islands’ real title is Ballintoy Harbour in Northern Ireland. Located on the Causeway Coast, Ballintoy Harbour is right down the road from Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s most popular attractions. If Theon was one of your favorite characters, make sure you visit Ballintoy Harbour while studying abroad in Ireland.
3. Game of Thrones Location: The Steps of the Great Sept of Baelor
In Real Life: Manoel Island, Malta
Of the many Game of Thrones filming locations, this next one is home to one of the show’s most shocking scenes. Fort Manoel in Malta was where Ned Stark’s beheading took place in Season 1. A fun fact about this real-life fort is that it’s said to be haunted – which is fitting for the site of such an unnerving scene. Legend has it, multiple visitors have claimed that they’ve seen the ghost of a knight wandering throughout the 18th century fort. Perhaps people in King’s Landing have heard whisperings of Ned Stark’s ghost wandering that same (fictional) spot…
For a weekend trip to Manoel Island, study abroad in Spain!
4. Game of Thrones Location: Winterfell
In Real Life: Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Are you a Stark at heart? If so, Castle Ward in Northern Ireland will feel like home. This medieval castle’s farmyard was the filming location for Winterfell. A replica of Winterfell’s archery range (where Jon and Robb taught Bran how to shoot) was recreated in the courtyard, making visitors feel like they’re really in Westeros. And for those die-hard Stark fans: you can even dress up in a costume during your visit to become a true Northerner.
5. Game of Thrones Location: The Kingsroad
In Real Life: The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
Check out the longest highway in the Seven Kingdoms for yourself! In the series, the Kingsroad runs from Jon Snow’s former home at the Wall all the way to King’s Landing. In real life, this road was filmed at one of Northern Ireland’s most mystical attractions, the Dark Hedges. When you visit, you’ll be in awe at this natural wonder – and will see why it’s a perfect setting for a show as enchanting as Game of Thrones.
6. Game of Thrones Location: Dragonstone
In Real Life: Northern Coast of Spain
Remember when Dany claimed her ancestral seat at Dragonstone? The beach, cave, and winding footbridge are real-life locations based in Itzurun Beach in Zumaia and Muriola Beach near Barrika, on the Northern Coast of Spain. The winding footbridge is always open to visitors and offers magnificent views for Game of Thrones fans and non-fans alike – but no dragons or castles will be awaiting you at the top (only a small chapel!).
For a weekend trip to the Northern Coast of Spain, study abroad in Spain!
7. Game of Thrones Location: Qarth
In Real Life: Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island, Croatia
Visit the “Greatest City That Ever Was or Will Be” in its real-life location, Lokrum Island. Qarth, a fictional seaside trading city that was a significant part of Dany’s story in Season 2, was based on this quaint island off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Enjoy the natural beauty of Qarth – minus any warlock appearances – while exploring this tiny island.
Ready to join our house? Study abroad in Europe with AIFS and explore some of the most famous Game of Thrones filming locations! Learn more about our study abroad programs today.