Game of Thrones: How a Fictional Show Whetted a Traveler’s Appetite

By Rohan:

There are very few shows that take your breath away as many times as Game of Thrones does.  It pulls you in with its gripping pilot and doesn’t let go, even after the end of the third season, leaving fans like myself desperate for more of the epic fantasy series from HBO.  For those unaware, Game of Thrones takes place in the mythical land of Westeros, where seven noble kingdoms fight for political power and a spot on the Iron Throne.  Much like our planet, the world imagined by George R.R. Martin has a wide array of landscapes, a plethora of cultures, and unique architecture that will make any viewer’s jaw drop.  Although the show is geared towards fantasy fans, it definitely stimulates the urge to travel in all of us.

 The Stark family calls Winterfell its home, and from the name of the city, it is no surprise that the crew shot these scenes in the wettest region of Europe.  To see landscape similar to Winterfell, there are a variety of tours in Belfast (Northern Ireland) that will provide you the opportunity to see some of these gorgeous vistas.
The Stark family in Winterfell

One of the most gorgeous sights in the Game of Thrones universe is the sprawling capital city of King’s Landing, which blends the royal traditions of Medieval Europe with the beauty of a seaside Mediterranean city.  While some movies prefer to create these fantastical lands in post production, the Thrones crew shot most of King’s Landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia (See picture leading this post).  As an avid fan, I found it hard to believe that much of the architecture King’s Landing is known for actually exists. Croatia had never been on my radar of places I plan on visiting in the near future, but thanks to the vistas in Game of Thrones, it is definitely an addition to my list.

Conleth Hill and Peter Dinklage performing a scene in King's Landing. The Red Keep castle was added in post, the rest was shot in Croatia. Source:
Conleth Hill and Peter Dinklage performing a scene in King’s Landing. The Red Keep castle was added in post, the rest was shot in Croatia.

One of the most powerful elements of Game of Thrones is how real it feels despite its magical and fantastical themes.  It’s a story about love, politics, war, adventure, and greed set in some of the most beautiful locales I’ve seen on television.  It inspires me in so many ways as a storyteller and as a traveler.  I highly recommend checking the show out or catching some of the tours throughout Europe that explore the filming locations.  Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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