GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S fictional continents of Westeros and Essos in Game of Thrones are so lushly, fully imagined that it takes an entire nonfictional world to depict them. The Game of Thrones TV show, based off of his book series A Song of Ice and Fire, is shot in dozens of different locations spread around the world. Here are some of the cooler spots to check out in your travels.

Northern Ireland

More than any other area, Northern Ireland is the home of Game of Thrones. The main studio is in Belfast in a former shipyard where parts of the Titanic were built, and that’s where a lot of the show’s interior sets are built and shot. But the Northern Ireland locations are not limited to the studio. Since the country has an extremely diverse range of terrain in a very small area, and since it still retains a lot of its medieval architecture, it’s an ideal spot to base operations from. Here are some of the highlights.

Castle Ward — Winterfell

Photo: Paul Krugman/Shutterstock

Ballintoy Harbour — Iron Islands

Photo: Paul J Martin/Shutterstock

The Dark Hedges — Kingsroad

Photo: Pfeiffer/Shutterstock

Sandy Brae — Vaes Dothrak

Photo: Claudine Van Massenhove/Shutterstock

Gosford Castle — Riverrun

Photo: Artur Nagalski/Shutterstock

Downhill Strand — Dragonstone

Photo: Joaquin Ossorio Castillo/Shutterstock


Croatia’s Mediterranean climate, combined with its beautiful, medieval architecture, makes it the best possible spot to shoot scenes in King’s Landing. The producers have also used Croatia for a few scenes set in Essos.

Dubrovnik — King’s Landing

Photo: Valentina Photo/Shutterstock

Minčeta Tower — House of the Undying in Qarth

Photo: ansharphoto/Shutterstock

Diocletian’s Palace — Meereen

Photo: Arpad Laszlo/Shutterstock

Šibenik — Braavos

Photo: xbrchx/Shutterstock

Kaštel Gomilica — Braavos

Photo: xbrchx/Shutterstock


Iceland is used primarily for outdoor scenes set north of and near the Wall. The Wall itself (and Castle Black) are shot in an abandoned quarry in Northern Ireland which is not open to the public.

Snæfellsjökull — Fist of the First Men

Photo: Gloria Martie/Shutterstock

Mývatn Lake — Mance Rayder’s camp

Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Grjótagjá — Jon Snow and Ygritte’s cave

Photo: axz/Shutterstock

You can actually swim in the geothermal pools in Grjótagjá cave — it was a popular bathing site until eruptions in the 1970s raised the temperature of the pools to dangerously high levels. In recent years, it has begun to cool off, and they’re beginning to let tourists into the pools again.


In the first season, King’s Landing and Pentos were filmed in Malta, as well as some of the Dothraki Sea shots. Since then, most of these locations have been shot in either Croatia or Spain. The city of Mdina can basically be considered the first King’s Landing.

The Azure Window — Dothraki Sea

Photo: ZGPhotography/Shutterstock

While the area around it is still beautiful, the Azure Window itself collapsed in a storm in 2017.

Fort Ricasoli — Gate of the Gods

Photo: Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Fort Manoel — Great Sept of Baelor and Ned Stark’s execution site

Photo: Jaroslav Moravcik/Shutterstock


Before the series had been greenlit, scenes from the pilot were shot in Morocco. When the series got off the ground, these scenes were shifted to Malta (and later to Croatia), before the film crew finally returned to Morocco in the third season, specifically for shots in Slaver’s Bay.

Aït Benhaddou — Yunkai

Photo: Laurens Hoddenbagh/Shutterstock

Essaouira — Astapor

Photo: Madrugada Verde/Shutterstock


Spain has become the go-to spot for scenes set in Dorne and Essos. The country has a more arid climate, and its medieval architecture has a more Islamic flair to it, thanks to the Iberian Peninsula’s 700 years under Islamic rule. One of the more arresting shots from the beginning of Season 7 — Daenerys’ arrival at Dragonstone — was filmed on the islet of Gaztelugatxe, where an old stone bridge connects a hermitage, which sits atop a small scrap of land, to the Basque country.

Seville — Dorne

Photo: Visual Intermezzo/Shutterstock

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe — Dragonstone

Photo: John Chica/Shutterstock

Girona — Oldtown

Photo: Lena Serditova/Shutterstock

Peniscola — Meereen

Photo: Anna Nahabed/Shutterstock