This post was originally published on May 18, 2016 and was updated in July of 2017.
In case you haven’t noticed from the EPIC number of comments on social media or the episodes you’ve been meaning to watch burning up your DVR hard drive, HBO’s Game of Thrones is back on the air.
And now that we know for sure what happens to Jon Snow (don’t worry, we won’t spoil it if you’re crazy behind…but come on!), why not celebrate the return of everyone’s favorite medieval fantasy cable drama by looking at the show’s locations that you can actually visit in real life?
Here are five destinations around the world (and their corresponding Game of Thrones locations) to add to your next travel itinerary:
Destination: Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones location: A lot of Westeros
Any Game of Thrones fan who’s itching to see the show’s breathtaking scenery first-hand needs to head to Northern Ireland. Many of the location shoots (scenes filmed outdoors), especially for the first season, were carried out in this part of the UK. Most of the interior scenes are filmed at Paint Hall studios, located in the show’s production base of Belfast. However, most of the outdoor locations are not easily accessible. Quite a bit of the pristine scenery requires some serious trekking to get to. Thankfully, you can pay for a guided tour to take you to places like the famous Dark Hedges (used to depict the King’s Road), Castle Ward in County Down (parts of Winterfell), County Antrim’s Murlough Bay (the Iron Isles), Magheramorne Quarry (Castle Black), and others.
Game of Thrones location: Slaver’s Bay
If you’re more a fan of Daenerys’s adventures outside of Westeros (and really, who isn’t?), then you’re going to want to head to Morocco. The North African country served as the real world location for the Khaleesi’s dramatic conquest of Slaver’s Bay in season three, with the ancient fortified city of Aït Benhaddou standing in for Yunkai the Yellow City and the Western city of Essaouira representing Astapor, Home of the Unsullied. Both are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are definitely worth seeing even if they had never appeared on the show.
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Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing
The medieval metropolis of King’s Landing is filled with danger and duplicity. The politics surrounding the Iron Throne could get your head chopped off, while the chaos on the streets could get you stabbed. For any serious fan of the series, this would be a must-see. While the Mediterranean island nation of Malta was used to represent Westeros’s capital city in season one, filming moved to Croatia for the second season and stayed there until season five. Croatia is already a hip destination for summer. agree more. The southern port city Dubrovnik (a popular tourist destination) stood in for many King’s Landing landmarks while the nearby Fort Lovrijenac portrayed the Red Keep. Season two’s legendary Battle of Blackwater was also filmed in the port city’s bay. You can easily catch a guided tour to see and learn more about these locations.
Game of Thrones location: North of the Wall
The areas beyond the Wall, the massive defensive fortification along Westeros’s northern border, have been home to the mysterious threat against the Seven Kingdoms. You can pretend to be a member of the Night’s Watch trudging along with Jon Snow through Wildling territory — all you have to do is book a flight to Iceland. Scenes were filmed at the massive Myrdalsjokull and Vatnajökull glaciers, as well as the renowned Lake Myvatn. Although they may be hard to recognize from the show, it’s best to visit in the summer when most of them are not covered in snow.
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Game of Thrones location: Dorne
Given that the Westeros kingdom of Dorne is based on medieval Spain, it makes sense that the show’s producers would head to the southwestern European country to film scenes set in the fictional continent’s southernmost region. The city of Seville provided a lot of the Dornish stand-ins, the most famous being the real-life royal castle Alcazar of Seville and season six’s flashback scenes of the Tower of Joy (which is also set in Dorne) were filmed at Spain’s Castle of Zafra. Meanwhile, Northern Spain’s Basque Country has been confirmed as a filming location for season seven, but it’s unknown just where in the GoT world it will represent.
Inspired to visit the real world destination of your favorite Game of Thrones locations? Figure out your fare!