Eternal Arrival

Travel These 5 Game of Thrones Spots to Tide You Over Until Season 8

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At this point, everyone and their HBO-loving mother knows that Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, Iceland is North of the Wall, and Northern Ireland is Winterfell.

But as I’ve been journeying around Europe and North Africa, I’ve found myself on a sort of unofficial Game of Thrones scavenger hunt. Unintentionally, I’ve discovered a few hidden gem filming locations that aren’t quite as mobbed with tourists as Dubrovnik and the others. Side note: seriously, don’t even try going to Dubrovnik in summer, it’s just miserable. Beautiful, but miserable.

So, for all you diehard Game of Thrones fans out there, I hope you enjoy these 5 stunning but lesser-known filming spots worth adding to any Game of Thrones tour – and be sure to let me know if any of them surprise you!

NOTE: This post contains spoilers for up to about halfway through Season 7, and comments will not be monitored for spoilers; read at your own risk!

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country, Spain – Dragonstone stairs

Yeah, I have no idea how to pronounce that, either. This staircase in the Basque country in Northern Spain first caught my eye on Pinterest many years back, and when I planned a road trip with a friend through the Basque countryside I made sure that this was one of the stops on our itinerary. I went back in 2016, before Season 7 aired, so I had no idea this would be a future Game of Thrones spot when I took this photo!

About an hour and a half from Bilbao, the island church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is home to the stairs that make up Dragonstone. Just don’t be surprised when you get there and instead of an imposing castle built atop a cache of dragonglass, there’s a tiny humble church at the top — the castle is all CGI.

How to get there: This is doable as a guided tour from Bilbao if you don’t have a rental car. Alternately, if you’re staying in Bilbao and you’re on a budget, you can take bus A3518 to Bakio starting from Plaza Moyúa square, then take a taxi or walk about 1.5 hours to the church.

Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco – Yunkai

Ait Ben Haddou is no stranger to being used as a filming locale — prior to its stint as Yunkai in the early seasons of Game of Thrones, it was also the setting of Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Prince of Persia, Gladiator… yeah, I could go on.

If you do a Sahara desert tour from Marrakech, this will undoubtedly be one of the (many) stops on your long journey east. If you’re only in Marrakech for a short amount of time and want to do it as a day trip, you can do that as well. It’s cheaper to book in the country, but you can also book online as well if you want to be sure your tour won’t sell out, though you’ll pay more.

How to get there: The best way is to take a tour to the Sahara Desert that stops here along the way, or to sign up for a day trip when in Marrakech if you’re short on time but want to see it.

Essaouira, Morocco – Astapor

game of thrones filming locations

Astapor, another one of the cities of Slaver’s Bay, is represented by a different destination in Morocco: Essaouira, a port city about a 3-hour bus ride from Marrakech. Famous for its blue boats, laid back pace, and fortified walls, Essaouira is a welcome change from the frantic pace of the souks of Marrakech.

The fact that Game of Thrones was filmed right on the red-bricked promenade around the waterfront is just icing on the cake (or pastilla — this is Morocco, after all)!

How to get there: Take a bus or a grand taxi (collective taxi) from Marrakech to Essaouira for a day trip or stay there overnight.

Sevilla, Andalucía, Spain – Dorne

Is it just me or is Dorne pretty much the Spain of Westeros? With those sexy accents and dark features (RIP Oberyn, you didn’t deserve to go out that way), it’s not really all too surprising that Spain takes the place of Dorne in much of the movie. Although to be fair, Spain also spotlights as Dragonstone, King’s Landing, and Braavos… but I digress.

The Water Gardens of Dorne are really the Real Alcazar in Sevilla, Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that used to be a palace for the Moorish king — hence the heavily Islamic influence in the architecture.

How to get there: Located right in the center of Sevilla, so it’s quite easy to get to! Trains run daily from Madrid and countless other cities in Spain, though Sevilla is definitely worth spending some time in.

Girona, Catalonia, Spain – King’s Landing (and Braavos)

When here, I thought it was the famous “Shame” stairs and got really excited and wanted to do a dramatic walk of shame down the stairs… minus the shaved head and tomato throwing, that is. Terrible GoT fan I am — turns out it’s the Great Sept of Baelor (or what’s left of it after Cersei went full on pyromaniac), home to that epic scene where Jaime charges up the staircase on horseback.

Girona is also home to lots of scenes from Arya’s time training/running for her life in Braavos, so as you walk through the Old Town of Girona, don’t be surprised if things look eerily familiar!

How to get there: The Old Town is right in the center of the city, so it’s quite easy to get there if you’re staying in Girona! If you’re staying in Barcelona, you can take a train (faster) or bus (cheaper) to visit Girona on a day trip.

Have you stumbled across any lesser-known Game of Thrones filming locations on your travels? Let me know in the comments below!

Big Game of Thrones fan? Check out all the offbeat filming locations in Morocco, Spain, & beyond. Think beyond Ireland & Dubrovnik and see some of the other famous Game of Thrones locales!

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  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Perfect timing to come across this post because I am having major GOT withdrawals!! I was just in Spain and visited the Alcazar, so I think Morocco must be my next trip 🙂

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      October 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Ugh the struggle is real! I’m in Ireland right now with so many epic GOT-esque landscapes and I can’t believe we have to wait a year plus for the next season ;_;

  • Reply
    Enola of Game of Hodor
    October 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

    These places are just WOW! It would be a pity to not be able to visit them even once. I for one am a GOT fan as well and would love to have a GOT inspired tour as well. For starters I would love to visit Northern Ireland since there are lots of GOT locations there, next is Croatia and Spain is definitely the next one. The GOT locations that they have is insanely amazing! I can’t wait to see them all.

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      October 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Yes, Northern Ireland is on my list! I’m in Ireland now (Republic of Ireland though) and it’s absolutely beautiful – but I really want to see those iconic sights in the North 🙂

  • Reply
    Anneliese Blommestein
    November 12, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I am a recent Game of Thrones addict and I would love to be able to see where some of the scenes were filmed. This post fills some of the void in my life after finishing season seven, like all the bloopers and interviews and theory videos that I’ve been watching. What an amazing show and what beautiful places!

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      November 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      I just kind of kept finding myself at them last summer, and now I’m purposely seeking them out! After season seven I spent wayyyyy too much time on Reddit seeing what everyone thought was going to happen next year — just had to keep myself away from the spoilers sections cuz there were some leaks! Hope you get to see some of these places soon!

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