Game of Thrones movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Game of Thrones filmed?

About Game of Thrones

The Game of Thrones series is the blockbuster fantasy drama series created for HBO by D. B. Weiss and David Benioff. It is an excellent adaptation of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series of fantasy novels by notable screenwriter and novelist George R. R. Martin. The show is set on the mythical continents of Essos and Westeros. It comprises multiple storylines, plenty of gory scenes, heart-wrenching moments, gruesome deaths, violence, love, cliffhangers, plot twists, and more that always keep audiences on their toes.

There are three main story arcs around which all eight seasons revolve. The first is about the Iron Throne - the primary seat of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros (with all its bloody and gory political conflicts among the noble houses) wanting the Iron Throne for themselves. The second story arc concentrates on a deposed descendant of the last ruling house plotting her return to reclaim the Iron Throne. The third revolves around the Night’s Watch – the military defense of Westeros’ northern border. The Night’s Watch protects the Seven Kingdoms from the threats beyond the Wall.

Each episode of Game of Thrones has an average run time of 50 to 82 minutes and received an incredible fan following and popularity across the globe. It has a huge cast, with major and minor actors becoming overnight sensations, getting large movie deals, ad signups, interviews, and excellent roles. Each of the main characters became household names, with countless parents naming their children after a character from the hit series.

In this epic fantasy drama, summers span decades, winters can last for more than a hundred years, grudges lead to outright bloodshed, favors are exchanged for political gain, and the struggle for the Iron Throne is a steady constant. The bestselling book series and the hit TV adaptation received accolades across the globe, with fans eagerly awaiting each book and season that nearly spanned a decade.

City Locations

Scotland and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Iceland, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Malta, Spain, Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco, and Canada

Location Types

Architectural, Beach/Oceanview, Castles, Mediterranean, NatureScapes, Rustic

Location Styles

Beachfront, Chateau, Gothic

Game of Thrones Locations

Most of the Game of Thrones filming locations were across the United Kingdom, Iceland, Croatia, Malta, Spain, Morocco, and Canada. Did you know that as the series gained popularity, so did the covertness of the shooting locations? Most news reporters, paparazzi, fans, and even regular people out on the streets wanted to know what happened next in each episode. This unnatural reasoning led to people traveling across the globe on a whim to try to visit the Game of Thrones location and get a sneak peek at the filming.

Fans were heartbroken when the show ended in 2019. They had to bid farewell to their favorite characters like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, and even Cersei Lannister! Some fans were also reported saying they will miss the gorgeous places in the series.

Thankfully the real-life locations where some of the best scenes in Game of Thrones were shot are still there, with many being national parks, public places, and even World Heritage Sites that are open to all. Since the Game of Thrones production became a hit, producers started opting for better locations with excellent access. We cover the production of scenes in different seasons, including season 8, so we’ll give you a spoiler alert in case you are just starting the series.

Throughout all the Game of Thrones filming locations, the crew had strict instructions to leave the property or land precisely as they found it. Crew members had to spend extra hours cleaning up to leave no trace of the shooting location - so fans are left guessing!

Fun Fact:

The Game of Thrones series received 59 Emmy Awards, Outstanding Drama Series in the years 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019, three Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation, and five Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama Television Series.

Daenerys marrying Khal Drogo scene in Game of Thrones

Azure Window, Malta

In Season 1, Episode 2, Daenerys Targaryen gets bullied (by her brother) into marrying Khal Drogo (portrayed by Jason Momoa) and is forced to become his wife. The Khal and Daenerys get married in front of a beautiful sea with a wide sandy area, hordes of Dothraki, plenty of rabble-rousing, and at least three deaths.

The Magister gifts Daenerys three dragon eggs as a wedding gift for her heritage. He believes they are stones and do not contain life within. He tells her, “Dragons eggs, Daenerys, from the Shadowlands. The ages have turned them to stone, but they will always be beautiful.” Daenerys smiles, is highly pleased, and thanks him.

The entire wedding scene till the Khal and his Khaleesi (Daenerys) leave on horseback is shot at the famous Azure Window in Malta. This popular tourist site is located on the Malta coast and is a 28-meter (92-ft) tall natural arch just off the island of Gozo. It is also known as the Dwejra Window. Sadly, the arch collapsed in a storm in 2017, and efforts are being taken to reconstruct it.

If you’re in Malta at Sannat, take the 305 bus to Victoria Bay 1 and the 311 bus to Dwerja. Once you reach, just walk 2 minutes towards the sea, and you will see the remnants of the great arch.

Lady Sansa Stark meets Lady Olenna Tyrell scene in Game of Thrones

Trsteno Arboretum, Dubrovnik

In this scene from season 3, episode 2, Lady Sansa Stark is escorted by Ser Loras Tyrell (portrayed by Finn Jones) to meet his sister Lady Margaery Tyrell (portrayed by Natalie Dormer), and their grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell (portrayed by Diana Rigg). This scene is notable because Margaery and Olenna try to ask Sansa about King Joffrey Baratheon. Sansa responds, “King Joffrey is very fair and handsome, and brave as a Lion.”

Lady Olenna sees right through the lie and pushes her to speak the truth. Sansa says, “Joffrey promised he would be merciful, and he cut my father’s head off and said that was mercy. He took me up on the walls and made me look at it.”

This incredible scene is horrific because the location is graceful and beautiful, and the words spoken are of murderous traitors, beheadings, and political trickery and mayhem. The site of this scene is the famed Trsteno Arboretum in Dubrovnik, which is used several times throughout the series as the Royal Gardens in King’s Landing.

The Trsteno Arboretum was established in the fifteenth century as a renaissance summer residence and garden for the Gucetic-Gozze family. You can hop on to a bus from Dubrovnik and reach within 20 to 25 minutes to get here. You can also hail a radio cab and get to Trsteno Arboretum via the D8 in 15 minutes.

Daenerys freeing the slaves scene in Game of Thrones

Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

In Season 3, Episode 4, Daenerys Targaryen (portrayed by Emilia Clarke) experiences one of the most pivotal moments in the season when she trades one of her dragons in return for thousands of highly trained and skilled warrior slaves – the Unsullied. However, the Masters of Yunkai soon realize two critical things - that Daenerys can speak fluent Valyrian, and dragons cannot be controlled! When the Masters try to betray her, Daenerys says, “Dracarys!” and her sweet dragon, Drogon, breathes fire and torches the master slaver and brings about the start of a revolution against the slavers.

The iconic line “I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue. Unsullied! Slay the masters. Slay the soldiers. Slay every man who holds a whip. But harm no child.” This is from this epic episode.

The Game of Thrones action scenes in the episode were shot in Morocco at Ait-Ben-Haddou. The blistering heat, constant sunshine, and old architecture were perfect for the shooting of Yunkai. This location has also been used in notable films like ‘Gladiator,’ ‘The Mummy,’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ This 17th-century city is located between the Sahara and Marrakech and is a World Heritage Site.

The best way to get to Ait-Ben-Haddou is via a road trip from Marrakech, crossing the Atlas Mountains and the pass of Tizi n’Tichka. From Marrakech, it takes about 3 hours via the N9 to reach.

Cersei’s walk of shame scene in Game of Thrones

Old Town, Dubrovnik

In the concluding episode of Season 5, Queen Cersei Lannister (portrayed by Lena Headey) must atone for her sins by walking naked through the small lanes of King’s Landing while being called out for her shame. Before her hair is cut and she is made to atone, the High Septon, known as High Sparrow (portrayed by Jonathan Pryce) questions the Queen about the allegations of her incestuous, adulterous affair and the legitimacy of her three children.

The High Sparrow announces to the crowd, “A sinner stands before you – Cersei of House Lannister, mother to His Grace King Tommen, widow of His Grace King Robert. She has committed acts of falsehood and fornication. She has confessed her sins and begged for forgiveness.” The Queen is then made to walk the streets naked while Septa Unella (portrayed by Hannah Waddingham) follows her, ringing a bell and saying, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

This incredible scene was meant to be shot in front of the Church of Saint Nicholas, but the Church raised objections because of the nudity. The scene was then shot in various parts of Old Town like Jesuits Staircase, Ploce Gate, Od Margarite St., and St. Dominik St. All these streets are within walking distance in Old Town, and the areas are marked for tourists and visitors. To get to Old Town from Dubrovnik, take the Zagrebacka Ul. and turn right onto Ul. Iza Grada.

Arya Stark and Sansa Stark looking out over Winterfell scene in Game of Thrones

Castle Ward, Northern Ireland

We’ll go to season 7, episode 7. After Lady Sansa Stark (portrayed by Sophie Turner) orders the execution of Lord Petyr Baelish (carried out by Lady Arya Stark, portrayed by Maisie Williams), both sisters are standing on the balustrade of Winterfell castle looking at the troops. This unexpected twist was a welcome shock and bittersweet relief for many fans awaiting the death of Lord Petyr Baelish known as ‘Littlefinger’ (portrayed by Aiden Gillen).

While the sisters are talking to each other, Arya turns to Sansa and says, “In winter, we must protect ourselves. Look after one another.” To this statement, Sansa responds, “When the snow falls, and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” These iconic lines were mentioned in Season 1 by Lord Ned Stark of Winterfell and repeated as a family slogan.

This incredible scene is shot at Castle Ward in Northern Ireland. Winterfell is one of the most prominent Game of Thrones locations and is always a place of interest. It is also meant to be perennially cold, a large castle keep with fortifications and military might.

Visitors can do themed castle tours at Castle Ward, try their hand at archery like Robb, Bran, and Jon, a direwolf meet and greet, take part in glamping and dine at a medieval banquet. If you’re in Scotland or Britain, you can take the ferry across to Larne and continue on the A8. Once there, take the A7 to Newry, Mourne and Down, and A25 to the Castle.

Jon Snow says goodbye to his family scene in Game of Thrones

Pile Bay, Dubrovnik

In this episode from season 8, Jon Snow (portrayed by Kit Harrington) is released from his prison and is facing lifetime banishment to the North of the Wall for assassinating Queen Daenerys Targaryen. His family members, Lady Arya Stark, Lady Sansa Stark, and King Bran the Broken (portrayed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright), meet Jon before he leaves for good. Sansa asks for Jon’s forgiveness for his banishment, to which he responds, “The North is free thanks to you. Ned Stark’s daughter will speak for the North. She’s the best they could ask for.”

Arya tells Jon she’s not going North and will explore the world to the West of Westeros. To King Bran, Jon goes down on one knee and says, “Your Grace, I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.” The King replies, “You were exactly where you were supposed to be.” After this interaction, Jon leaves and never sees his family again.

This poignant scene is shot at Pile Gate, used several times throughout the series, and is the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, where many of the final scenes were shot. It is a superbly fortified complex of multiple doors and outer and inner sections that defend the city.

Pile Gate is near the city proper and easily accessible via bus or road via the Zagrebacka Ul. And Ul. Iza Grada. Over the bridge and gate, visitors can also view the statue of Saint Blaise, the Patron Saint of the City.

Conclusion

The Game of Thrones series is full of intrigue, drama, heartbreak, death, romance, highs, lows, family, and loyalty. In the end, everything comes down to grabbing more power, becoming a ruler, and controlling the people. In this quest for power, the eight seasons of Game of Thrones have shown audiences that there is no line people will not cross to become powerful, rich, and feared.

The Game of Thrones is one of the best drama series on HBO, and the incredible acting, fantastic locations, VFX, cinematography, and hype make it a show worth watching. The production team did a fabulous job finding sites that fit with the old world theme of the show and gave audiences an experience that they will cherish for a lifetime.

With iconic lines like “Winter is Coming,” “I drink and know things,” “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives,” and “You know nothing Jon Snow”, the Game of Thrones will always have a lifelong impact on audiences.