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We can’t be the only ones who scream “Been there!” every time a familiar location pops up on screen during whatever television show or Hollywood blockbuster we’re watching. The blue door in Notting Hill? Walk past it every weekend. The Mongibello beaches (actually in Positano, Italy) which Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow got their tan on in The Talented Mr. Ripley? Spent a sunny week there last summer. And you can’t walk more than a block in New York without feeling a sense of deja vu from the many iconic scenes shot on its busy streets.

But when it comes to the fantastical locations featured in just about every Game of Thrones episode, from the ancient streets of King’s Landing to the icy wastelands beyond the Wall, you could be forgiven for thinking they were nothing but painted polystyrene and green screens. Surely anywhere that out-of-this-world can’t be real? Well, in the words of someone much wiser than us all, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Dredge up what you can remember from GOT seasons one to six and *spoiler alert* catch up on season seven, because these are the most memorable locations from the show you can visit in real life, without the need to find a dragon to fly you there.

 

King’s Landing

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Any GOT fan worth their salt won’t be able to turn a corner in the walled city of Dubrovnik’s old town without recalling a scene from the show. Here, you can take a stroll around Blackwater Bay, circle The House of the Undying where Khaleesi searched for her dragons and see the Pile Gate where Joffrey was pelted with poop (we’re still cheering). You can even walk in Cersei’s footsteps along her walk of shame (fully clothed, we hope) and visit Little Finger’s brothel (FYI: not an actual brothel). Game of Thrones walking tours abound, but a little research will point you in the direction of the dozen or so filming locations used if you’d prefer to take it at your own pace.

Yunkai

Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

At the end of series three, Daenerys conquers the city of Yunkai, freeing the city’s slaves (yass kween) from their vicious overlords. In the real world, that city is Ait-Ben-Haddou, a mud brick city on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. If it looks more familiar than it should from one episode of GOT, that’s probably because this ancient town has featured in plenty other big screen productions, including The Mummy and Prince of Persia (if only Jake Gyllenhaal was still wandering around shirtless…). Wherever you recognise it from, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is an impressive scene, and definitely worthy of the three-hour drive from nearby Marrakech.

Mereen

Split, Croatia

There’s no missing Klis Fortress, the crumbling stone fortifications perched high on a sheer cliff that greets you as you drive into the city of Split. It was here that Daenerys punished the rulers of Mereen by nailing them to crosses outside the city walls in the middle of season four. If the gory scene didn’t do it for you (um, why are you even watching Game of Thrones then?), the fortress is still a worthy detour, with enviable views over the city of Split below. The city itself is where you’ll find the Khaleesi’s throne room (minus the actual throne) in the tunnels under the Diocletian’s Palace.

Cushendun Cave

Murlough Bay, Northern Ireland

If we had to list the top ten most unnerving scenes in the series so far (there’s undoubtedly more to come), seeing Melissandre give birth to a shadow demon in a cave would be right up there. Step into the Cushendun Caves, located at the end of a narrow road on the east coast of Northern Ireland, and you can just about imagine it all going down, flickering flames and all. Visit after dark if you dare.

The Water Gardens of Dorne

Alcazar, Seville, Spain

Yet another location that looks as if it was designed just for the show (can we get a job as a location scout please?), Seville’s historic Royal Alcazar doubles for the Dorne palace and gardens, the seat of House Martell. If you can’t quite picture the scene, it’s in season five, when Jaimie Lannister tries to “rescue” Myrcella from her betrothed – we’ll leave you to figure out the details (and who’s long since dead). But all thoughts of intricate plot details will leave your head once you’re in this ornate Moorish palace, with exquisite plasterwork, intricate ceramic tiles, gold ceilings, and fairytale colonnaded patios that make us very happy the show didn’t decide to put a pall over the spot by making it host to any gruesome deaths.

Beyond the Wall

Skaftafell and Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland

You won’t have to climb any walls to get to this location, but you will have to cross the Norwegian Sea and brave sub-zero temperatures (best to go in winter to see it as it looks in show). Whether the icy wastelands captured your interest because of Jon Snow and Ygrette’s blossoming romance (awwww) or because it’s where we finally saw the Whitewalkers, a hike across the ice and snow here will leave you in no doubt as to why the producers picked it to portray the land beyond the wall.

The Eyre

Meteora, Greece

Ok, so you won’t find the actual castle of the Eyre atop these towering stone cliffs, but they did provide inspiration for the epic setting of the jaw-dropping castle, and a backdrop for some of the scenes which took place there (even if they did have to be digitally added). Disappointment over the fact that the Moon Door isn’t real aside (errr, no, of course we weren’t thinking of tossing anyone through), a strenuous hike up to the top of the rock pillars will reward you with impressive views of the lofty landscape. If you want to recreate the entire dramatic journey to the impregnable castle up that narrow path, however, you’ll have to head back to Iceland and seek out Thingvellir National Park – maybe that dragon could come in handy after all.

Dragonstone

Gaztelugatxe, Spain

If you’re not up to season seven yet, STOP READING. You’re all caught up? Good, read on then. Home to the queenly throne of Daenerys Tagereon, and her first stopping point after finally making it across the narrow sea, the castle of Dragonstone is reached via a winding stone bridge and staircase which rises dramatically up a rocky hillside. Unfortunately, the castle isn’t real, but the stairs certainly are, and you’ll find them on the tiny islet of Gaztelugatxe in Basque Country, Spain. Their end point might be a religious hermitage rather than a medieval castle, but you’ll still find it easy to imagine dragons flying overhead as you wander up the narrow path.

The Dark Hedges

Ballymoney, Northern Ireland

It may have only featured in one scene of Season 2, Episode 1, but this otherworldly tree tunnel would be worth a road trip even if Arya Stark hadn’t travelled it with Yoren, Gendry and Hot Pie on her escape from King’s Landing. Planted over 200 years ago, the row of intertwined beeches lines an out-of-the-way country lane in Ballymoney, and is even more picturesque if you can catch it with an early morning mist. Speaking of early morning, that’s probably the only time of day the tunnel isn’t filled with bus loads of people (not to mention the buses they alight from), so we’d suggest getting up before dawn to see it devoid of tourists.

 

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