So you’ve seen the show and maybe you’ve even read the books, but you can’t call yourself a die-hard fan until you’ve visited the locations that the cult HBO show, Game of Thrones. For this you’ll need to take a trip to Croatia where you can tour the real world Game of Thrones by boat. Plan the ultimate sailing holiday in Croatia with this guide to the Game of Thrones shooting locations.
We all know that Game of Thrones is set in a world all of its own – a fantastic realm that is fueled by politics, stunning beauty, nature and allure. But did you know you could actually visit this world? The best way to experience the seven kingdoms of Westeros is to explore the rich and fascinating history of the real world towns, islands and ruins of Croatia.
Graced with a coastline that spans over 1,770 kilometers (4,000 when you include the islands) Croatia is a country with a far-reaching ancient history and incredible architecture and monuments. Croatia is worth a visit in its own right, but for Game of Thrones fans this medieval destination is a must-see.
Welcome to the legendary city of Dubrovnik. You probably know it better as King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms and the home of Robert Baratheon’s debauchery, the lavish lifestyle of (the late) King Joffrey and the sharp wit of Tyrion Lannister.
Dubrovnik sits on the most southern tip of the Croatian coastline, and for centuries it has been a hub of cultural development, discovered early on by celebrities and the elite as the place to visit during the summer months. Dubrovnik is surrounded by fantastic stone city walls, which run 2km long and up to 25m high and set the perfect backdrop for the impressive King’s Landing. This ancient Croatian city possesses unique, marbled buildings and a Baroque architecture, and the interplay of light and stone displayed throughout the streets is one of the most alluring sights along the coast.
Here, you can climb the huge city walls and picture the bloody battles of King’s Landing down below.
You can see the majestic Fort Lovrijenac, which lies on a 37m high rock right on the shoreline, and doubles as Red Keep, currently the residence and seat of King Tommen Baratheon and formerly the seat of the late King Joffrey.
Also, the bay right in front of the fortress was used for the scene of the Battle of Blackwater.
You can follow the path of Arya Stark and see where Daenerys, the Queen of Dragons, gave freedom to her fire-breathing flying creatures, and you can discover the mysterious House of the Undying, which is actually the Minceta Tower, located along the walls of Dubrovnik.
The world of Game of Thrones is ever prevalent in the city of Dubrovnik. The narrow, winding streets and terracotta rooftop houses are beaming with the presence of King’s Landing, so there is plenty to explore and discover – you may even get lucky and see the cast and crew filming television magic!
The small island of Lokrum sits just 600m off the coast of Dubrovnik. Fans of the show will know it better as Qarth, the ancient port city brimming with wealth and culture. The impressive 15th-century Benedictine monastery and the beautiful botanical garden have both played a part in the filming of Qarth, but Lokrum also has a fascinating history of its own – legend has it Richard the Lionheart was once shipwrecked here. Lokrum is only a short sail from Dubrovnik, and perfect for a refreshing swim in Lokrum’s small lake or relaxing in the sun on the smooth rocks of its coves.
Trsteno is a district of Dubrovnik, located on the coastal road between Orašac and Slano, and has some of the lushest vegetation on the Mediterranean. Here, you can walk the palace gardens of King’s Landing, or rather, Trsteno Arboretum, where scandal and plot forebode battles. You can follow Daenerys along her path to Meereen, where she seeks revenge upon the savage slave-owners for murdering hundreds of slave-children, and you can also visit Neptune fountain or walk the paths to the harbour where some of the scenes were filmed.
This stunning blend of dense green flora and breathtaking ancient architecture tells the stories of Game of Thrones royalty, and Trsteno’s is the oldest arboretum in this part of the world. Trsteno is a small fishing village with incredible coastal views, a must-visit as you sail along the coastline.
In the medieval Croatian town of Ston, which lies 50km northwest of Dubrovnik, you’ll find the impressive Walls of Ston, a series of huge defensive stone walls originally built more than 7km long. Dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, and with their 40 towers and five fortresses, these walls also make a perfect setting for the imminent walls of King’s Landing.
Situated on the south-eastern peninsula of Croatia’s coast, Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and one of the most popular destinations for travellers from all over the globe. This traditional Croatian location has been used many times as the backdrop to the world of Westeros and Essos across the last four series of the hit HBO show.
The historical centre of Split is built around the remains of the Diocletian’s Palace, which is considered one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments and has also been home to several scenes of Game of Thrones. The eerie dark basement of this 1700-year-old palace was used in the early episodes of series four, when Daenerys’ Unsullied Army snuck into the cellars beneath the city of Meereen where the slaves sleep at night to encourage them into an uprising.
The cobbled streets near the City Museum, the Zrnovnica quarry just outside the city, and a centuries-old watermill have also made the cut into some pretty spectacular scenes.
Just outside the city of Split is the impressive Klis Fortress, which looks down on the coastal city and offshore islands below. This magnificent location is where the show filmed Daenerys plotting her return to power. Acting as one of the filming locations for Season four, as well as being host to historic events over the ages, the Klis Fortress appeals to Game of Thrones fans and is a great spot to check out while you’re in Split.
Krka National Park
Krka National Park was also featured in the filming of Game of Thrones, as the countryside and natural backdrop to some of the scenes. Krka National Park is located just past Šibenik along the Krka River, and is bursting with breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, flora, fauna and historical and archaeological remains.
Krka is home to one of the region’s most beautiful waterfalls, the Skradinski Buk, a series of 17 stunning waterfalls that visitors can swim in, and it is also the perfect place to sail to and anchor for the day.
The much awaited season five
The love affair between Croatia and popular HBO series Game of Thrones is set to continue into 2015, with rumours that, along with continuing in Dubrovnik and Split, the fifth season of Game of Thrones is being filmed in some parts of Imotski and Šibenik, on the Dalmatian coast. Imotski, a town near the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is best known for its ancient stone architecture and is the home of a beautiful medieval fortress and the fascinating Red and Blue Lakes. Rumour has it the locations discussed for the shoot are the Topana Fortress and the Imotski football stadium, which is perched on a dramatic cliff above the Blue Lake and one of the most unusual football stadiums in the world.
The town of Šibenik was very happy to announce that Game of Thrones is coming to their city, and filming begun in September last year. Šibenik is home to four beautiful fortresses, three on land and one on water, with its most notable being St. Michael’s Fortress, which also happens to sit atop a hill overlooking the historical old town. We can definitely see both of these locations looking right at home in the iconic world of Game of Thrones.
The latest series of Game of Thrones is due screen in April 2015, and will once again show off the beauty of Croatia. There is much to explore and discover in the fascinating world of Game of Thrones, and Croatia, sitting on the pristine Adriatic Sea, is surely the best place to do it. Rent a boat with Zizoo and begin your journey sailing toward the Seven Kingdoms, because in Croatia, winter is definitely coming.Images via: Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/game-of-thrones-tour-of-croatia-2014-4?op=1&IR=T Víctor González: http://bit.ly/16Y0jmk Winteriscoming.net: http://winteriscoming.net/ Simon Pearson: http://bit.ly/1CiVfUL Bill Higham: http://bit.ly/1Cl6bi4 Nikša Duper: http://www.dubrovacki.hr/clanak/43543/igre-prijestolja