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'Game of Thrones' locations in the real world, from King's Landing to the Iron Isles

The world of Westeros might be fantasy, but the television show is shot in real places all over the world. Here's what several amazing locations look like in real life.

Geoffrey Morrison Contributor
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Morrison
4 min read

King's Landing, Dorne, the Iron Isles and the North; all these " Game of Thrones " locations are scattered around our real world. Croatia, Spain, Northern Ireland and more are all stand-ins for the lands of Westeros.

Most of the places where the show was shot are pretty easy to get to. Many even have special "Game of Thrones" tours so you can visit the exact spots where key moments from the show were filmed.

I've been fortunate enough in my travels to visit a number of these locations, and I took many, many photos.

If your own travels aren't bringing you to Europe anytime soon, check out the gallery below for a beside-the-scenes (so to speak) look the various locations in real life.

Warning: Some spoilers below and in the gallery.

Real-life 'Game of Thrones' locations

See all photos

Dorne -- Spain

Let's begin our travels in the deep south of Westeros: sunny Dorne. We don't get to see much of Dorne in the show, and what we do see is largely all from one place: the Alcazar de Sevilla in Spain.

The Alcazar is an ornate and stunning structure. In its pre-GoT life, it was a royal palace. Parts of it still are. You can walk around the Water Gardens, and while you can't get up to it, you can see the open space where Prince Doran Martell ruled.

Nearby is a memorable location from a completely different movie. The Plaza de España was featured briefly in the otherwise unremarkable (and can we all agree, no longer canon) "Star Wars: Episode II."

Watch this: Game of Thrones filming locations

Iron Isles -- Northern Ireland

T he far side of the Westerosian world, and the northwest corner of Europe, finds the real location of the Iron Isles: Northern Ireland. A lot of the show is shot here, both on location and on soundstages. In Belfast, you can take a "Game of Thrones" tour of several famous locations, while you a great look at the stunning NI countryside. If you have your own car, don't miss the amazing Giant's Causeway.

Ballintoy stands in for Pyke. When I visited it was cold, wet and windy. Fitting. This is right down the road from the rather cool looking Caves of Cushendun, where Melisandre gave birth to the shadow spirit in Season 2.

The North -- Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is also home to much of what you see in The North, including the opening of the show in the first episode, where Eddard Stark lops off the head of a deserter.

On this same Northern Ireland tour you're sometimes allowed to see Castle Black, but they were filming when I was there so it was off-limits. It's a real set, and the even The Wall is real...partly. It's all in a quarry just outside Belfast.

The Eyrie -- Greece

Swinging across the map again, South of The North is the Vale of Arryn, home of the Eyrie. This astounding castle in the sky is largely computer graphics and sets, but it was inspired by a real place. To see the "real' Eyrie you'll have to travel to the middle of Greece... which I did and wrote all about already. Check out From James Bond to 'Game of Thrones,' the impossible and incredible monasteries of Meteora.

King's Landing -- Dubrovnik, Croatia

Finally there's the heart of it all, the capital of Westeros, home of the Red Keep and seat of the Iron Throne itself: King's Landing, aka Dubrovnik, Croatia. Even separate from "Game of Thrones," this place is incredible. A walled city, one of the best preserved in the world, full of great restaurants, narrow alleyway cafes, and so, so many tourists. Don't go in August.

It's not hard to see King's Landing in Dubrovnik, though iconic buildings like the Red Keep and the Sept of Baelor are computer-generated. Black Water Bay is here as well, though it's not quite as expansive as what you see in the show. Joffrey's wedding is next to the building that sometimes is and sometimes isn't the Red Keep.

Other parts of town were used for other areas. Other parts of Croatia are used for other parts of the show as well, like catacombs in Split holding Daenerys's dragons, Kliss Fortress standing in for Meereen, and more.

There's talk about GoT using a different city for King's Landing for the next two seasons, since Dubrovnik is so crowded (not to mention expensive). Since Winter is Here, maybe they just don't want to use something so sunny and lovely as Dubrovnik.


The Great Sept of Balor, King's Landing/Dubruvnik

Geoffrey Morrson/CNET (Inset Copyright: HBO)

Beyond The Wall

Of course, these aren't all the locations. Many are on sets, mostly in Northern Ireland. The lands north of the Wall are in Iceland. Morocco and Malta have many locations, as do other parts of the countries I did visit. For a great interactive map, check out Mapped: Every single Game of Thrones filming location.

Which is all to say: Bring on season 7 already.

As well as covering audio and display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000-mile road trips and more.

Also check out Budget Travel for Dummies, his travel book, and his bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines. You can follow him on Instagram and YouTube