It may be mid-July but winter is coming, and it’s arriving this week. The highly anticipated seventh season of HBO’s Game of Thrones airs on Sunday, so to celebrate and channel our excitement, we’ve put together our handy guide for anyone who wants to visit the real-world locations used in seasons 1 to 6.
Croatia is filled with Game of Thrones locations. Many of its medieval buildings have been well-preserved over the centuries, particularly coastal sites by the Adriatic Sea. Here are some of the iconic sites we’ve seen onscreen.
Malta already has a strong place in medieval folklore, serving as the historical home of the Knights Templar. Its sister island, Ghawdex, provided its Azure Window as the venue for Deanerys and Drago’s wedding, shortly before it collapsed into the sea a couple of years ago.
Morocco has been used for several locations across the narrow sea. The hip coastal town of Essaouira played the part of Astapor, while further inland, Ait Benhaddou was utilised to form parts of Pentos, as well as Yunkai, the first city that Daenerys liberates from slavery.
Tourism to Iceland has doubled since the beginning of Game of Thrones, and it’s little wonder why. Its huge swathes of unspoilt wilderness bring the lands north of the wall in Westeros to life, from its dramatic rock formations and grasslands, to its snow-covered glaciers providing the perfect backdrop for the white walkers.
Northern Ireland is another country blessed with multiple areas untouched and scenic enough to make the Game of Thrones cut. Corbet Village, Tollymore Forest Park, Castle Ward and Murlough Bay are just a few of the areas we’ve seen on screen, but there’s one that really stands out for us.
The medieval stronghold Doune Castle, 8 miles northwest of Stirling, was originally built over 700 years ago. It was used for part of Winterfell in Game of Thrones, but may also be recognisable from its appearance in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Spain’s Moorish history and proximity to North Africa has given architecture in its southern regions a more exotic character, making it a perfect character for Dorne and the lands of Essos across the narrow sea.
These are just ten of dozens of locations around Europe and North Africa used in Game of Thrones, and with the season 7 premiere just a few days away, we can’t wait to see where they go next.