Game of Thrones Filming Locations

The final season of “Game of Thrones” is upon us. There are a lot of questions to be answered. Who lives? Who dies? Who sits on the Iron Throne when it’s all said and done? Will it even matter because everything’s been taken over by the Night King and his army of White Walkers? The most important questions, however, are, “Where did they film that?” and “Can I go see it?” We might not yet know the full implications of Bran’s ability to travel in time, but we know where you can travel to see these incredible Game of Thrones filming locations.

Croatia

Dubrovnik doubles as Kings Landing, with Cersei’s walk of shame taking place in the streets of the ancient city. Fortunately, even though Cersei took her revenge by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor, Dubrovnik’s Old Town still stands. Ston also lends its beauty to some of the fortifications of Kings Landing, while Dubrovnik’s Minceta Tower serves as the House of the Undying, where Daenarys sees visions of the past and future. The Riverlands can be found in Krka National Park, while Kliss Fortress and the Palace of Diocletian in Split represent Meereen. Braavos is actually Sibenik, with St. Jacob Cathedral serving as the Iron Bank.

Northern Ireland

The Dothraki Sea seen in Season 1 is the Glens of Antrim and Ballymoney, while the Dark Hedges lend their eerie intertwining beech trees to scenes featuring the Kingsroad. Castle Ward’s towers will be recognizable to fans of the Stark family as the towers of Winterfell. The Iron Islands can actually be found in Murlough Bay, while Cushendun Caves and Larrybane Quarry are the Stormlands. The Dragonstone beach where the red priestess Melisandre burns idols of the Seven to appease the Lord of Light is really Downhill Beach.

Iceland

Supplying most of the ice and A Song of Ice and Fire, Iceland supplied filming locations for pretty much everything north of the wall and some portions of the North as well. The Wildling camp is at Thingvellir, which is also the site of Brienne’s sword fight with the Hound. Grjotagja Cave is instantly recognizable to those romantics who saw Jon and Ygritte fall in love over a hot bath. Lake Myvatn and Vatnajokull provide some of the spectacular scenery north of the wall, while a ragtag bunch of heroes traveled to what looks an awful lot like Snæfellsnes Peninsula to bring back a White Walker.

Spain

One of the biggest revelations in Game of Thrones has been the true identity of Jon Snow, who was born in the Tower of Joy. You can find the tower in Guadalajara, where it is known in our world as Castel de Zafra. Danaerys needed a dragon ex machina to save her from an assassination attempt in the fighting pits of Meereen, which are actually the Plaza de Toros de Osuna. The Alcazar of Seville and its gardens served as the royal palace of Dorne in Sunspear, where the Martells held sway. The Roman bridge in Cordoba doubles as the Long Bridge of Volantis. Sam cleans some chamber pots and finds out some important truths at the library in the Citadel, which is really the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants in Girona.

Malta

If you can remember all the way back to Season 1, Malta featured prominently. Khal Drogo and Daenarys were married on Gozo’s Azure Window. Sadly, the rock formation collapsed into the sea in 2017, but the spot is still great for diving. The beautifully preserved medieval city of Medina stood in for Kings Landing in the first season, especially the city gate. Cersei gave Ned her famous, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die” speech at St. Dominic’s Convent in Rabat. Ned, who definitely did not win, lost his head at Fort Manoel, which doubled as the Great Sept of Baelor for his death scene.

Top Travel Trends for 2018

Happy new year! Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful 2018 full of great adventures. As always, travel is evolving to match the changing world. Here are a few destinations and experiences that will be popular in the coming year.

Wellness

More and more travelers are focusing not so much on getting to a particular destination but a particular state of mind. Dozens of Virtuoso-preferred resorts and cruise lines are putting an emphasis on helping their guests restore mind, body and spirit. Using spa treatments, fitness activities, nutrition and education, these preferred partners enable travelers to achieve or restore balance in their lives and come home feeling refreshed and more connected to the world around them.

Adventure

Another way to escape the every day and experience the beauty of the world is to go to remote places and challenge yourself. Whatever is on your bucket list: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, heli-skiing, tracking elusive wildlife or just getting away to the far corners of the earth, there is a Virtuoso-preferred partner specializing in that exact type of experience. If you really want to go to the middle of nowhere, that can be arranged too. Black Tomato offers a Get Lost experience, where travelers arrive at the airport without knowing where they are going, then dropped in a remote area and tasked with finding their way out. There is a team tracking your progress, and you have all the necessary supplies, so you’re in no danger of being stranded. But you’ll need to journey into yourself to find your way out.

Villas/apartments

Living like a local means immersing yourself in a destination, from where you eat, to where you shop to, increasingly, where you stay. Utilizing the vast resources of the Virtuoso network, you can have a home away from home knowing you’re staying somewhere that has been properly vetted and offers amenities such as housekeeping and a private chef if you’re so inclined. From a villa in Tuscany to an apartment in New York City, there is a place for you in more than 180 destinations worldwide.

Bolivia

From the otherworldly landscape of the Uyuni salt flat to hydrofoil cruises on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia has a lot to offer without the crowds you’ll find in its more trafficked South American neighbors. One of two landlocked countries on the continent (Paraguay is the other), Bolivia has unique geography, ranging from the Amazon basin to Andean highlands, and is full of Inca trails and ruins ripe for exploring. The silver mines of Potosi produced so much for the Spanish Empire that it was once the second largest city in the Americas, and the lagoons of the Salar de Uyuni are home to a wealth of unique flora and fauna and serve as a breeding ground for several species of flamingos.

Northern Ireland

Just like its counterpart the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland is full of natural beauty. It’s so alluring that is has served as a frequent filming location for Game of Thrones and the Star Wars franchise. Giant’s Causeway, made of thousands of interlocking basalt columns, is a unique geological site and right outside the town of Bushmills, home to one of Northern Ireland’s many whiskey distilleries. There is uncertainty about Northern Ireland’s future in the wake of the Brexit decision, but the country has come a long way since The Troubles and is asserting itself a top destination in its own right.

By Damien Martin