The Witcher Locations
If you are interested in learning more about this series and maybe visiting some of The Witcher filming locations, keep reading! Spoiler alert: we will be discussing scenes from the first two seasons, and be aware that some of the scenes include major plot development.
The setting for The Witcher is a fantasy world with magic, adventure, and monsters. Throughout the series, you will see forests, valleys, and waterfalls as well as medieval towns and castles. Scenes were filmed in different countries around the world, including Spain, Hungary, Poland, Austria, and the United Kingdom.
Although the series relies a lot on CGI and special effects to create terrifying monsters and magical spells, the impressive scenery and staging still manage to stand out in every scene. The cast and crew were able to travel around to various locations to film season 1, but filming season 2 was a bit more challenging.
By then the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing and they had to film the entire season in the UK. Overall the episodes took place in 15 different locations and it was all created without leaving the United Kingdom. Some of the filming locations can even be visited in person, and the most devoted fans of the show like to travel to see the exact places where their favorite scenes took place.
Geralt meeting the sorcerer Stregobor scene in The Witcher
Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park
In the very first episode of The Witcher season 1, called “The End’s Beginning”, Geralt finds himself in a small village called Blaviken after just defeating the first monster of the series. After heading to a tavern, and receiving lots of unwelcoming looks from the locals, he meets a woman called Renfri. They talk, although not very much (Geralt isn’t much of a chatter) over a drink before he is summoned by a small girl who is in need of a witcher.
Geralt and the girl walk to the lair of Stregobor, a wizard and political power that asks him for aid in exchange for coin. Stregobor explains how he knows of a prophecy called the Curse of the Black Sun. “Sixty maidens wearing gold crowns, who will fill the river valleys with blood.” He explains how Renfri is the last of these women left alive and asks the witcher to kill her. This conflicts with the witcher's morals since he only kills monsters and not people. Will he do it? Watch the episode to find out!
The interior of Stregobor’s home is extravagantly decorated. The wizard explains that he uses his magic to create the beautiful scene, adorned with naked women and lush greenery. Come see the courtyard in person (minus the women), at Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park, Budapest. This structure was actually modeled from a castle in Transylvania and is unique because it follows several different architectural styles, like Gothic and Renaissance. It is situated within the city limits making it easy to get to by car, train or even by foot. Take the S50 train, it will bring you right there.
Yennefer’s origin scene in The Witcher
Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum
In season 1, “Four Marks” we finally meet Yennefer, although she is much different now than later on in the season. Here you see a young girl with a hunched back and bright purple eyes. Right away you learn that Yennefer is unhappy; she is not valued in her family, has no friends, and gets bullied by other people her age. In this episode, we see a boy offer a girl a flower, and they kiss. At one point the girl turns to see Yennefer who has taken the flower, and they tackle her to the ground, taunting her. To escape them Yennefer conjures a portal, which is the beginning of her discovering her power.
Yennefer is suddenly in a stone chamber where she meets Istredd, a notable character in the series. He explains to her that she must have portaled herself there, and he helps her to return home after giving her a warning about the attention that she has put on herself from creating the portal. Once she returns home a woman appears at her door, who we later learn is Tissaia, and she speaks to Yennefer’s father.
He is quick to sell her to the woman for only four marks, a significantly low price considering that he later sells a pig for ten marks. Yennefer’s mother objects, saying “The woman’s a witch, you know what they will do”, but he sells her without much of a thought. She is then taken to Aretuza, and her training to become one of the most powerful mages begins.
This is the first and one of the only times that you see Vengeberg, the village where Yennefer was born and raised. These scenes were actually filmed at an outdoor museum with displays of Hungarian architecture. The Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum in Hungary fits in well with the aesthetic of the show. You might need a car to get here and watch out for private roads, but it is well worth a visit. See if you can recognize her house!
The Dragon fight scene in The Witcher
Definitely one of the best scenes in The Witcher happens in season 1, “Rare Species”. This is an interesting episode where Geralt, with Jaskier following behind, joins a large group made of several teams on the hunt for a dragon. The man who hires him is named Borch Three Jackdaws, and he has two companions named Tea and Vea. Geralt realizes that Yennefer is also on for the adventure and quickly agrees to join.
The episode follows them as they make the journey to the location of the dragon, and along the way there is betrayal and some of the teams are killed off by others or wounded by monsters. Borch’s team, along with Geralt and Jaskier, joins up with the team of dwarves to follow them on a shortcut to the dragon’s cave. This requires them to traverse a rickety and unsafe wooden platform along the side of the mountain that is clearly made for dwarves. Borch,
Tea and Vea fall, presumably to their deaths, and the rest of the party has to continue on without them. The next morning, after Geralt and Yennefer spend the night together, they find the dragon’s lair. Plot twist; Tea, Vea and Borsch are not dead, although the green dragon that they are hunting is. Borsch turns into a dragon himself, a gold one, and explains to Geralt that they must protect the egg that the green dragon left behind.
After a dramatic battle, they succeed, and a seemingly happy ending takes a somber turn after Geralt and Yennefer have a conversation. Borsch breaks the bad news “The sorceress will never regain her womb. And though you didn’t want to lose her, Geralt, you will.” This splits the three main characters apart as they leave on bad terms.
This scene marks the important change in relationships between Geralt and both Yennefer and Jaskier, ultimately impacting the rest of the show. If you want to visit this place in person you can go to the Szelim Cave in Hungary. It is a beautiful spot with unique rock formations and beautiful views of the city. To get here you will either have to drive, bike or walk, but it is not too far from Tatabánya city.
The Battle of Sodden scene in The Witcher
In the last of the 8 episodes of The Witcher season 1, titled “Much More”, comes the climactic end battle that left its viewers with so many questions and eager for season 2 to be released. This episode is centered around the Battle of Sodden; an event of great importance. In the series the Nilfgaardian army, led by the mage Fringilla, are trying to conquer the Continent.
At Sodden another army has arisen, mainly composed of the mages from Aretuza who are left with the difficult task to hold the Nilfgaard armies back while they await troops from the neighboring kingdoms. You will recognize Tissaia, Triss, Vilgefortz, Kaedwen, Temeria, and, of course, Yennefer. After an intense and lengthy battle, when all but seems to be lost, Yennefer finds her old teacher, Tissaia, weakened on the battlefield. Tissaia tells her student “Let your chaos explode”, which triggers the dramatic end to the episode as she releases all of her rage and defeats the opposing army in a blazing fury.
These incredible The Witcher action scenes took place at the Ogrodzieniec Castle situated close to Kraków in Poland. The old castle that sets the scene of the battle dates back to the 12th century and housed noble families and residents up until 1810, and in 1906 the ruins were taken over by the Polish Sightseeing Society to be preserved. Today the castle is open daily to visitors, and it is not too hard to reach by car following the A1 motorway.
Cahir’s execution scene in The Witcher
If you’ve seen season 2 then you definitely remember this intense scene in episode 3 “What is Lost.” At the beginning of the season Cahir, an officer and devoted soldier of Nilfgaard, was captured after the battle at Sodden. After being interrogated extensively by Tissaia he never releases any useful information about the plans of Nilfgaard or Yennefer’s whereabouts, since at that point she had been missing. What the viewers know is that Yennefer was actually being held prisoner of Nilfgaard and was staying with Fringilla and the elves. However, after an exciting turn of events, she returns back to Aretuza.
At this point, she is in trouble with the Brotherhood not only because she has been in company with Nilfgaard and is thought to be a spy, but also because she used forbidden magic at the Battle of Sodden and is thought to be dangerous. Mainly Stregobor is against her innocence, and Tissaia suggests that Yennefer executes Cahir to prove her loyalty. So one night Cahir, the leaders of the Northern Kingdoms, the Brotherhood and Yennefer head to a temple in Aretuza for the execution.
On the way to the temple the two had a conversation where Cahir admits that this was not how he had hoped his life would end, and Yennefer hints that she will not be killing him. He replies “Well, Yennefer of Vengerberg, it seems mages are merciful.” In her reply, Yennefer explains her reasoning, stating “No, we’re practical. Death must serve a purpose.” Instead of killing Cahir, Yennefer brings down her axe on his binds, freeing him and escaping with him on horseback.
This scene was a pivotal moment for both Yennefer and Cahir, changing both of their destinies forever and was filmed in North Yorkshire at the Fountains Abbey. This place, which was a former Cistercian abbey, dates back all the way to 1132 and was only disbanded in the mid 16th century. You can get there using either the local bus services or by car.
Yennefer and Ciri cross the broken bridge scene in The Witcher
Low Force Waterfall near Barnard Castle
Do you remember, in season 2 “Voleth Meir”, when Ciri and Yennefer are traveling through the kingdoms to try and find Geralt? In the episode before, Geralt brought Ciri to the Temple of Melitele and it is where the three meet up together for the first time. However, they are interrupted by Rience, a fire-wielding mage who is on the hunt for Ciri. As Geralt holds him back Yennefer teaches Ciri how to portal, and the two escape together leaving the Witcher behind.
Ciri is immediately concerned for Geralt's safety, and the two are on the search for him. Ciri explains how she feels about Geralt, saying “He’s the father I never had. When I’m with him, I don’t feel alone anymore.” Of course, the viewers know about Yennefer’s own agenda to deliver Ciri to The Deathless Mother in order to regain her own powers. Yennefer convinces Ciri that they should head to Cintra, stating that Geralt could have been taken prisoner and might be held there.
On their journey, they encounter a broken suspension bridge over a river, and the fastest way to the other side is across it. Yennefer tries to guide Ciri in using her powers to fix the bridge, but after several failed attempts we see that she is not powerful enough for it. Ciri screams out in frustration and somehow teleports them across, giving us an insight into the real strength of her powers.
In the mood for some hiking? You can visit the very place where this scene with the suspension bridge took place, and it is quite a beautiful area. The Low Force Waterfall near Barnard Castle in the UK is a nice place for a walk and The Witcher sightseeing. You can get close using the 73 bus, and will have to go the rest of the way by foot.
The Witcher has become a much anticipated series and many people are excited for season 3, which is expected to be released sometime in 2023. Filming the second season of the series in Poland is a slight nod to the author of the book series that the show was based on. Andrzej Sapkowski was raised in Poland and actually lived just a couple of hours away from where some of the scenes mentioned above were filmed. If you are a fan of the show you might be interested in visiting some of The Witcher locations in person to see where your favorite scenes were filmed.