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Malta

Malta
Frank Vincentz CC by SA 3.0

The 4,000-year-old capital of Malta, Mdina, is sometimes known as the Silent City and is responsible for bringing The Red Keep to life, starting with the towering Mdina Gate. The gate is seen in season one as the Starks first ride into King’s Landing. Fort Ricasoli plays the part of the Red Keep Gate, and the 16th-century San Anton Palace plays the part of The Red Keep. The San Anton Palace is actually located in the Maltese town of Balzan and was a major filming location for the Red Keep.

In the town of Birgu, the underground tunnels of the walled fortress of Fort St Angelo are used for scenes set within the Red Keep dungeons. Birgu is only a small distance from Fort Ricasoli, and is widely celebrated for its colonial architecture. The fort is home to where Ned Stark spent his last days alive before his beheading in the Sept of Baelor.

Malta was also home to the beautiful ocean rock formation, The Azure Window, where Daenerys was married to Khal Drogo. An iconic setting and landmark, this natural arch sat along the sea cliffs on the western coast of Gozo. The Azure Window was one of the main tourist attractions in Malta. Unfortunately, the formation was lost to the sea in early 2017, after heavy winds and tides eroded the formation. The Azure Window can no longer be seen, yet the location remains an idyllic and fascinating place to visit.

Morocco

Morocco
Shutterstock

Morocco has been a popular filming location for Game of Thrones, ideal for depicting the eastern cities of Slaver’s Bay. Ait-Ben-Haddou, situated between Marrakesh and the Sahara, was the location of Yunkai and Pentos during season three. Recognised as the ‘yellow-city’ due to its amber complexion, Ait-Ben-Haddou provides the perfect city backdrop needed to realistically recreate George R.R. Martin’s idea of Yunkai.

The village of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a place of raw beauty with its desert-like image. For those eager to visit this isolated Moroccan village, a day trip from Marrakesh is recommended as it does take a few hours to drive there.

Ouarzazate, Atlas Studios and Essaouira

Ouarzazate, Atlas Studios and Essaouira
HBO

The town of Ouarzazate should be considered mandatory for both Game of Thrones fans and movie buffs alike on any visit to Morocco. Ouarzazate is home to the largest film studio in the world, Atlas Studios. The studio hosts a range of sets from the series, including main shots of Pentos. Ouarzazate is located only a short distance from Ait-Ben-Haddou making the pilgrimage to these Game of Thrones destinations a little easier.

The city of Essaouira, located around 100 kilometres west of Marrakesh, was also chosen to represent the slave city of Astapor. Astapor was a significant win for the Queen of Dragons as an army of Unsullied warriors joined her in her fight for the Iron Throne.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland
HBO

Northern Ireland is the main base for the production of Game of Thrones. A lot of the CGI scenes and larger interior sets are filmed in studios around Belfast. Although these live sets are closed to the public, there are still many filming locations across the country. Northern Ireland is used as a location for most countryside scenes in the Seven Kingdoms, including Winterfell and the Eyrie.

Castle Ward

Castle Ward
Ireland Tourism

Many of the show’s most recognisable filming locations can be found in the north-east of Northern Ireland, in County Antrim. Visit the ancient Castle Ward to experience the Stark home of Winterfell. The 1,000-acre castle grounds are a part of a National Trust property and used as the Winterfell exterior and occasionally as the Frey residence – The Twins.

The Castle Ward farmyard is the primary location for Winterfell, heavily featured throughout season one of the show. Other key scenes that took place at Castle Ward include the Baelor battle, Robb Stark’s Camp and the confrontation between Brienne and the Stark men. The National Trust runs an interactive Game of Thrones tour of the site, where visitors can try their luck at archery in the same location where Jon Snow taught Bran to shoot in season one.

Tollymore Forest Park and The Dark Hedges

Tollymore Forest Park and The Dark Hedges
Discover Northern Ireland

Head to Tollymore Forest Park to wander through the Haunted Forest where the first White Walker was found by the men of the Night’s Watch, and the home of the Stark’s direwolf pups. Tollymore forest is just over an hour’s drive from the capital, Belfast. Tollymore forest features heavily in the first season of the show, recognised as the forest that surrounds Winterfell. From here you can then take a trip to Stanocum to wonder at The Dark Hedges, the haunting avenue of beech trees that are used as the ominous road that heads out of King’s Landing.

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Corbett, Mussenden Temple and Downhill Beach

Corbett, Mussenden Temple and Downhill Beach
Discover Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is also home to a number of other Game of Thrones locations. The countryside town of Corbett was the backdrop for the battle for Riverrun in season six, while the Mussenden Temple and Downhill Beach, near Castlerock, is instantly identifiable as the original seat of the Targaryen house, Dragonstone. Here, the Red Woman and Stannis plotted to win the throne, Gendry was left to row into the night by Davos, and Daenerys has found her way home. Theon’s birthplace, The Iron Islands, is also found here, on the remote shores of Murlough Bay.

The Glens of Antrim, Sallagh Brae and Ballintoy

The Glens of Antrim, Sallagh Brae and Ballintoy
Shutterstock

The Glens of Antrim (The Glens) is home to a large portion of scenes throughout the series. Be sure to visit Sallagh Brae, located in The Glens. Sallagh Brae is a heavenly eden packed full of picturesque landscapes, natural formations and rolling valleys. Take the Ulster Way footpath to access Sallagh Brae. It is here where the Hound lives in harmony in the Riverlands after being left for dead by Arya Stark. All of this takes place in season six, episode seven.

Other Northern Ireland Game of Thrones filming locations include Ballintoy, a small town utilised as the village in which Varys was born, and Downhill Strand beach where Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone.

Scotland

Scotland
Getty Images

Scotland plays only a small role in the filming of Game of Thrones. The mediaeval stronghold of Doune Castle near Stirling in central Scotland was used as the location for Winterfell in the first few episodes of the show. Most notably, the scene in which Jaime Lannister famously pushes Bran Stark out of a tower window takes place at Doune Castle. The castle was built in the 13th century and is home to a plethora of history and beauty. Doune Castle is also famous for appearing in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

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