The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones came to an end a few months ago, leaving thousands of fans of George R. R. Martin’s epic universe of violence, intrigues, and sex aching for their regular dose of action and treason. Since it doesn’t seem likely that the two last books of Song of Ice and Fire will hit the bookstores anytime soon, you might think that the Seven Kingdoms are completely out of reach now. Or are they? What if you could actually set foot on some of the real-life locations where the TV show was shot? You don’t even need a dragon to take you there: some cheap flights to Spain, Iceland or Croatia to name a few places will suffice! Are you ready to discover the real Westeros?

Destination: Northern Ireland 
Game of Thrones location: A lot of Westeros

Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Channing Brown

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, especially for the first season, were carried out in this part of the UK. Most of the interior scenes were filmed at Paint Hall studios, located in the show’s production base of Belfast. Unfortunately, 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. Another interesting place to visit would be the quiet village of Saintfield in County Down, right next to the field where the brutal Battle of the Bastards of Season 6 took place!

Destination: Iceland
Game of Thrones location: North of the Wall

Image via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0 – Peter Collins

The areas beyond the Wall, the massive defensive fortification along Westeros’s northern border, have been home to the rise of the most lethal threat to 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. Another landmark you can visit is the “mountain that looks like an arrowhead” that Sandor Clegane sees in the flames where the army of the dead are marching past and where there is an ensuing battle with the White Walkers in Season 7. The actual location is Kirkjufell, an iconic mountain and waterfall. 

Destination: Spain
Game of Thrones locations: Dorne, Dragonstone & The Dragon Pit

Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Anna & Michal

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 Alcázar de Sevilla and Season 6’s flashback scenes of the Tower of Joy shot at Castle of Zafra. If you enjoyed the tension at the meeting between Cersei, Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion, and other characters at the Dragon Pit of King’s Landing, then you should stop by the Amphitheatre of Italica, the Roman ruins also located in Seville. The homecoming of Daenerys to her ancestral citadel of Dragonstone was also filmed in locations in northern Spain. Itzurun Beach — with its beautiful diagonal, multi-layered stone cliffs — featured prominently as the place where Daenerys sets foot once again in Westeros in Season 7. Viewers would think that the long winding stone stairway from the beach up to Dragonstone castle is nothing but CGI, but this location also does really exist in Spain! You can find the stairway near Bilbao at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which leads up to a humble little chapel in real life. As you can see, there are plenty of options to explore.

Destination: Morocco
Game of Thrones location: Slaver’s Bay

Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Xiquinho Silva

If we convinced you to start looking for cheap flights to Spain to discover the real Dorne, it might be a great idea to add nearby Morocco to your travel list. Because, if you loved the personal struggles and political and military arm-wrestling Daenerys had to endure before she landed in Westeros (and really, who isn’t?), then you’re going to want to head to this North African country. Morocco served as the real-world location for the Khaleesi’s dramatic conquest of Slaver’s Bay in Season 3, 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.

If you’re a passionate Potterhead, check out our ultimate guide to the coolest Harry Potter destinations!

Destination: Croatia 
Game of Thrones location: King’s Landing

Image via Flick – CC BY-SA 2.0 – Aleksandr Zykov

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 or your body burned alive by wildfire, 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 1, filming moved to Croatia for the second one and stayed there until Season 5. The southern port city of Dubrovnik stood in for many King’s Landing landmarks while the nearby Fort Lovrijenac portrayed the Red Keep. Season 2’s legendary Battle of Blackwater was also filmed in the port city’s bay and Cersei’s painful walk of atonement in Season 5 took place on the city’s Jesuit staircase. You can easily catch a guided tour to see and learn more about these locations. 

Inspired to visit the real world destination of your favorite Game of Thrones locations? Tell us more in our comments section below!
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About The Author

Dave Odegard is an ex-army brat turned internet word person, whose work has been published on Maxim Online, USAToday, Buzzfeed, and more. He is currently the Senior Content Writer at Fareportal (CheapOair's parent company) and spends his free time exploring the wilds of Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Sweden.