Where is Game of Thrones Filmed
Viewers and fans following the Game of Thrones TV show often wonder where the show was filmed. While the show includes a lot of CGI (computer-generated imagery), it also includes many amazing real-life locations. As you can imagine, shooting a show in that scale is not an easy tasks. Especially as the show tried to follow the locations that were described with so many details in George R. R. Martin’s books. In order to meet the criteria, the show was filmed in close to 100 different locations in six countries!
However, the complexity does not stop there. Game of Thrones was some times filmed in more than one location at the same time. Moreover, due to the fact the real-life locations were missing some details every now and then, some scenes were filmed in more than one locations (for example, Winterfell interior and exterior).
The countries that Game of Thrones was filmed in were: Croatia, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Spain and Morocco. In addition to that, some indoor scenes were filmed in the US.
We included below over 40 of the famous Game of Thrones filming locations. Most of those sites have become highly popular since Game of Thrones was aired but it is usually not too difficult to book a tour in those sites. Some of the locations will make you feel like you are in Westeros but some sites will require a little imagination in order for you to feel like you visiting the Seven Kingdoms.
Northern Ireland is were the majority of the outside shooting for Game of Thrones took place. It was set as the production’s home base for on-location and allow them to conveniently use the largest film studio in Europe, the Paint Hall. Northern Ireland was a great place for shooting Game of Thrones as it is very diverse and allowed the production team to capture castle, roads, greenfields, harbors, caves and more.
The shooting in Northern Ireland were made in over 20 locations. Below are real-life photos compared to a Game of Thrones scenes of 12 of those locations.
Castle Ward - Winterfell Exteriors
Castle Ward is one of the main filming sites of the entire Game of Thrones show. Much of the shooting was done on the countryside’s ground but it is probably most notable due to the footage of the exterior of Winterfell castle.
River Quoile - Hoster Tully's funeral scene
River Quoile in County Down was used for the scene of the Riverrun dock. This is where Hoster Tully’s funeral take place in scene in season 3, episode 3 “Walk of Punishment”.
Cairncastle - Eddard Stark Executes a Deserter From the Night's Watch
Cairncastle is a wide landscape full with moors and hills. It is most famous for its scene at the beginning of the first episode of the show. This is were they shoot Eddard Stark executes a deserter from the Night’s Watch. It was also used later in the show as a location for the exterior of Moat Cailin.
Shane's Castle - The Tourney of the Hand
Shane’s Castle is the location of the Tourney of the Hand in Season 1, in episode 4 “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things”. There were other outdoor fight scenes that were filmed here like the fight between Jaime and Brienne in Season 2 episode 2. Shane’s Castle also has some cellars that were used filming Winterfell’s crypts scenes.
Redhall Estates - The Inn at the Crossroads
Redhall Estates in Ballycarry was used as a set for the Inn at the Crossroads in the Riverlands multiple scenes.
Ballintoy Harbour - Lordsport Harbor
Ballintoy Harbour was used to shoot Lordsport harbor and Pyke of the Iron Islands scenes.
Cushendun Caves - Melisandre Shadow Baby Cave
Cushendun Caves was used as the cave underneath Renly’s camp by the coast. This is where Davos Seaworth takes Melisandre so she will give birth to her Shadow-baby (disgusting) creature .
Dark Hedges of Armoy- Kingsroad
The “Dark Hedges” of Armoy is a long row of trees flanking a road. It was to film scenes of the Kingsroad, mainly the northern part of the Kingsroad that exits from King’s landing. You might remember this scene from the first season when Yoren take group of Night’s Watch recruits as well as Arya Stark and Gendry.
Tollymore Forest Park - The Six Direwolf Pups
Tollymore Forest Park was used as a filming location for several scenes through the show. Practically, whenever a generic wooden area footage was needed. It might be most famous for the scene in the first episode where the Stark men find the six direwolf pups.
Myra Castle - Dreadfort
Myra Castle in Strangford was the location of the Dreadfort’s exteriors. Dreadfort is the castle of House Bolton.
Gosford Castle - Robb Stark Executes Rickard Karstark
Gosford Castle is near the border with County Down. It was used for the exteriors scenes at Riverrun in Season 3. One of the more memorable scene is when Robb Stark executes Rickard Karstark in after killing the 2 little Lannister boys.
Downhill Strand - The Beach of Dragonstone
Downhill Strand is the beach used for the exterior beach scenes of Dragonstone island. Many scenes were filmed here. Some of the most famous ones are: the one where Davos talks with Salladhor Saan. Where Davos sends Gendry away on a rowboat and where Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon burn the statues of the Seven.
As one can easily imagine, the filming of Game of Thrones in Iceland was done mostly to capture its vast snowy and icy terrain. However, there were a lot of other footage done there.
Snæfellsjökull - Fist of the First Men
Glacier of Svínafellsjökull- Frostfangs
Grjótagjá cave - Jon and Ygritte Love Pool
Grjótagjá cave is the hot spring where Jon and Ygritte have sex. Although the ceiling waterfall was added digitally, the thermal pool is a really popular tourist attraction and photo spot. Being such a great photo, it also stars in some of the Game of Thrones calendars.
In addition to Northern Ireland, Croatia is another country were a lot of the shooting of Game of Thrones took place. Most of the shooting in Croatia were done in a city called Dubrovnik. A city that had the King’s Landing streets, forts, gardens, and more. As expected, due to the show unbelievable popularity, Dubrovnik have become an highly popular tourist site.
Filming Game of Thrones is Croatia took place in over 20 different locations. See below 9 real-life images of the locations from the show.
Dubrovnik - King's Landing
The city of Dubrovnik includes many of the sites shown in Game of Thrones as parts of King’s Landing. The medieval walls of Dubrovnik with its massive stone walls are located directly on the coast are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Trsteno Arboretum - Red Keep's Gardens
Trsteno Arboretum is located just outside the city of Dubrovnik. We see those Red Keep’s gardens several times throughout the show. It seemed to be Olenna Tyrells favorite sitting place.
Gradac Park - The Purple Wedding Feast
Gradac Park is the location of the Purple Wedding feast. In real life, this large and public park is located next to the City of Dubrovnik.
Fort Lovrijenac - Myrcella Sail Away to Dorne
Fort Lovrijenac is another beautiful location that was used several times in the show. One of the memorable moments was when princess Myrcella is set to sail away to Dorne.
Belvedere Atrium - Trial by Combat
Belvedere Atrium is the location of the trial by combat for Tyrion justice. The combat was between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane. The Belvedere was actually an old hotel from that was abandoned for over twenty years.
Klis Fortress - The Meereen Exteriors
Klis Fortress is located north of Split. The Meereen exteriors were filmed here with little CGI additions.
Minčeta Tower - House of the Undying in Qarth
Minčeta Tower is the highest point in Dubrovnik. The main purpose of this location was for the exterior and steps of the House of the Undying in Qarth. It’s where Daenerys Targaryen search for her stolen Dragons.
Lokrum Island - Qarth
Another Lokrum Island - Qarth
Many very memorable scenes were in Qarth. Most of them were filmed in Lokrum Island which is a small island located just off-shore from Dubrovnik. Qarth is also the place where Daenerys change from her rag cloths into her famous Daenerys Qarth dress.
Cathedral of St James - Iron Bank of Braavos
The building of the Cathedral of St James was used as an outside filming set for the Iron Bank of Braavos.
The Game of Thrones production team had to travel to many different parts of Spain, like Seville, Córdoba, Almería and more, in order to shoot specific places in around 30 locations.
Alcazaba of Almería - Dorne Water Gardens
The Alcázar of Seville is the location chosen for the seat of House Martell in Dorne, the Water Gardens and Sunspear.
Osuna - Fighting Pit in Meereen
Plaza de Toros in Osuna which is surpisingly an actively used bullfighting ring, used for the main Fighting pit in Meereen.
Roman Ruins of Italica - Dragonpit
Roman Ruins of Italica is an ancient roman amphitheater that was used for the Dragonpit scene.
Seville Royal Dockyards - Beginning in Season 7
Seville Royal Dockyards were was for a few scenes in the beginning in season 7.
Roman bridge of Córdoba - Long Bridge of Volantis
The team used the roman bridge of Córdoba for a single purpose, the Long Bridge of Volantis.
Castillo de Almodóvar del Río - Highgarden
Another location that wasn’t used a lot is Castillo de Almodóvar del Río. The outside of the castle was done to create Highgardens, home of house Tyrell.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - Dragonstone Castle
Imagine yourself in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, add a few dragons flying above and you immediately feel like you are in Dragonstone.
Mesa Roldán - Tower Outside Meereen
This abandon tower in Mesa Roldán was used for a filming location outside Meereen. Given its structure, only a little of CGI was required.
Tabernas Desert - The Dothraki Sea
The Dothraki Sea, also know as the Great Grass Sea is a region on the continent of Essos. Basically thousands of miles of land and nothing. This was filmed in Tabernas Desert.
El Chorrillo Sierra Alhamilla - Vaes Dothrak
The only city in the Dothraki Sea is Vaes Dothrak. Gated by the two fighting horses.
Castillo de Zafra - The Tower of Joy
Castillo de Zafra is an amazingly beautiful tower, sitting on top of large rock. It was used as the Tower of Joy in the very dramatic revelation of Bran Stark.
Azure Window - Dothraki Wedding Feast
The Azure Window is a coastal cliff formation on the Maltese island of Gozo. This site was filme as the Dothraki wedding feast between Daenerys and Drogo.
Update: As of March 2017, the Azure Window collapse into the sea after a strong storm.
Pjazza Mesquita in Mdina - The Entrance to Littlefinger's Brothel
The entrance to Littlefinger’s brothel is the set for the dramatic scene and almost fight, where Jaime Lannister and his men attack Ned Stark and his bodyguards. To shoot this scene the team used the Pjazza Mesquita in Mdina.
St. Dominic Monastery - The Garden of the Red Keep
St. Dominic Monastery in Rabat (Malta, not Morocco) has beautiful cloister gardens. This is the garden of the Red Keep that was used for several scene. Among those scenes is the one which Ned Stark confronts Cersei and tell her he knows the truth about her children’s father.
Fort Manoel - The Steps of the Great Sept of Baelor
Fort Manoel is located in the town Gżira of Malta. This locations was chosen to film one of the most dramatic and memorable moment in Game of – Thrones. King Joffrey decides to execute Eddard Stark on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor.
Essaouira - Astapor
The city Essaouira in Morocco was chosen to be the city of Astapor. This is where Daenerys Targaryen gets her army of Unsullied.
Essaouira - Walk of Punishment
Another view of the city Essaouira. This is where they filmed the Walk of Punishment in Astapor.
Aït Benhaddou - Yunkai
The marvelous city Aït Benhaddou is the Game of Thrones location for Yunkai. Although some CGI was involved, looking on the real-life photo takes you immediately to Yunkai and you can feel like you are Ser Jorah Mormont standing next to the Khaleesi.