The TV tourists are coming…
Game of Thrones is the immensely popular HBO television adaptation of George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, set on the continents Westeros and Essos (Game of Thrones is actually the title of the first book).
The people behind the show have literally travelled the world in search of places to do justice to Martin’s imagined world. They not only chose some truly spectacular destinations that are ideal for travellers hoping to capture the spirit of epic fantasy but that are fantastic to visit in their own right!
The Flexicover Team takes at closer look at the Seven Kingdoms and beyond..
Beyond The Wall in Iceland
It seems fitting that Europe's "land of fire and ice" features in the series. Where better for the desolate expanses north of The Wall than Iceland’s frozen landscapes? Probably one of the best ways to experience the land where Wildlings roam is one of the dedicated tours where you can visit the beautiful Waterfall of the Gods at Goðafoss, Hofdabrekka Heath and Svinafellsjokull glacier in Skaftafell National Park which represented the jagged Frostfangs mountain range or Höfðabrekkuheiði, the cave where pivotal characters Jon Snow and Ygritte had their first romantic encounter. However you choose to explore the awe-inspiring and mysterious landscapes, hopefully you will not encounter any White Walkers!
Winterfell in Northern Ireland
Most of the production for Game of Thrones was shot in Northern Ireland and it provides a fantastic backdrop for the series. One of the many ‘must-see’ locations is the 18th-century Castle Ward located 30 miles south of Belfast. This National Trust property doubles as the castle at Winterfell, the seat of power for House Stark and considered to be the capital of the North. It is also has the courtyard where viewers are introduced to all the Starks, the Lannisters, and the King, Robert Baratheon. In reality, the castle is open to the public and features landscaped gardens, a theatre, restaurant, a gift shop, as well as a working corn mill.
King's Landing and Essos in Malta
Malta's well-preserved former capital, Mdina, was used in the first season to represent the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms and home to House Baratheon. Mdina, like the city it was portraying, is a walled city on a hill with one exception, it is inland - hence you only see interior shots such as side streets and the town gate. The island of Gozo was the location of Danaerys Targaryan's wedding to Khal Drogo, which was set amidst a backdrop one of Malta's most spectacular natural attractions, the Azure Window, a natural arch created thousands of years ago when two limestone caves collapsed into the sea. Visitors can explore stunning geography of the area as well as partake in scuba diving at the nearby Blue Hole and Inland Sea.
King’s Landing in Croatia
In Season Two, the production moved to a 'new' King's Landing (allegedly, there were complications in Malta after a subcontractor caused damage to a conservation area). Enter Croatia's exquisite fortress city of Dubrovnik, on the Dalmatian coast. The move did solve the issue that King's Landing is a walled city on the water. Once you've looked round the city you may want to travel to the port city of Qarth… don't worry, you won't have to travel to the far side of another continent; its filming location is the island of Lokrum, a mere 600m off the coast of Dubrovnik. A popular daytrip destination, the island is easy to reach as ferries make the 10-minute crossing every half hour in summer. Keep your eyes open for families of peacocks that inhabit the island!
Slaver's Bay in Morocco
Two locations in Morocco form the backdrop of Slaver’s Bay as Daenerys Targaryan continues in her attempt to claim the Iron Throne. Firstly Essaouira doubles as Astapor where Daenerys shows off her true strength as the Mother of Dragons. This UNESCO world Heritage Site offers a more relaxed experience than the bustling cities of Marrakech and Fez, so enjoy cool breezes, warm sunshine and great seafood. The other area is the well-preserved Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou near Ouarzazate, known as “the gateway to the desert” or by its other nickname, “the Hollywood of Morocco”. Moviegoers may recognise the Berber city as it has been the setting for films including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Troy and houses Atlas Studios, one of the largest movie studios in the world. But none of these blockbusters have had the impact of Game of Thrones, as the desert town has reportedly had a 100% increase in hotel bookings since it was featured on the show!
Wherever you choose to travel in search of the fantastic, at
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