Where was Game of Thrones filmed?

Game of Thrones Qarth
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The third season of the epic series is here and this is a great excuse to explore some beautiful exotic places, where the most pirated TV show of 2012 is travelling this time. We'll go from the extreme cold landscapes of Iceland to the sun-kissed sandy towns in North Africa.

David Benioff, one of the creators of Game of Thrones, explains in the video blogs that the team prefers to spend the money on locations rather than with FX or using green screens in the background. To make it possible, three units filmed the different plots of the story in parallel in several countries.

This HBO production is based in Northern Ireland and most of the locations for the first two seasons have been filmed around Belfast, but we are not visiting these ones. You can find a map including the filming locations of Game of Thrones for all the series up to now at the end of the article.

In 2019, the new Game of Thrones is the new Netflix series The Witcher. You can find all the filming locations here in our report: Where was The Witcher filmed? - You can also check where is located the town of Easter Cove, Maine, and the filming locations of the Netflix series following this link: Where is Virgin River filmed.

Game of Thrones Locations
The historical coastal town of Essaouira in Morocco was chosen to continue the adventures of Daenerys Targaryen, this time in the warped city of Astapor. Also some scenes set in King’s Landing were filmed here. Look at the forest of spears in the background. It seems that The Khaleesi is finally going to get her long-expected army. Image by Mohamed Amine Lakaab and Lukas Vermeer


Essaouira Astapor
The Unsullied are a disciplined horde of eunuch slave-soldiers for sale.
Image courtesy of HBO


Medina of Essaouira
Zoom off: Medina of Essaouira is an UNESCO World Heritage fortified seaport from the late 18th century. Its narrow streets are a mix of North African and European styles. Image by Alain Bachellier


The walls of Astapor
Tourists are coming!
Image by Mark Fischer


Slaver's Bay
Image from the first episode of the third season, when Daenerys and Ser Jorah arrive at Slaver's Bay.
Image courtesy of HBO


Portuguese fortress
In the outskirts of the walled town, the wreck of the Portuguese fort is slowly falling apart like a giant sandcastle.
Image by Ben


Seamen flags
Knights banners ready for the battle? Nope, just Essaouira's fishermen flags.
Image by Fredam 83


City of Yunkai
[Mini-spoiler:] On the 7th episode, Daenerys and her allies arrive at the gates of Yunkai, the Yellow City.
Image courtesy of HBO


Ait Benhaddou
Yunkai is inspired by the mud brick fortress of Aït Benhaddou.
Image by Alexander Cahlenstein


Game Thrones Locations
The city seems out of a tale from the 1,001 nights. That may explain why it has been used as exteriors for a long list of films since the sixties, from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator, including the cult movie Time Bandits. The weather conditions at this side of the Atlas Mountains makes Aït Benhaddou a perfect filming location. Image by Thomas van Ardenne


Atlas Studios
Just a few miles from there, the considered world's largest film studio was built in the desert: Atlas Studios. Many sets from the filming of various movies remain in place, and because of this, according to Wikitravel you can go on a guided tour as it's becoming a popular tourist destination. Image by Thomas van Ardenne


Game of Thrones Season 3 scene
The fate of the Iron Throne is being forged here, as the Mother of Dragons makes its way through the lands of Essos. Image courtesy of HBO


Trsteno Arboretum as King's Landing
One of the new locations in Croatia, near the old city of Dubrovnik, is the park Trsteno Arboretum. These are the gardens where the court maidens weave the plot in King's Landing. Image by Dick and Jane Travel


Scene Location in Iceland
Now we are going North of the Wall once more, carried away by the out-of-this-world landscapes of Iceland.
Image by Viaggiatore Fantasma


Going beyond the Wall
The destiny of Jon Snow among the wildlings has been filmed near the shores of the Lake Mývatn.
Image courtesy of HBO


North of the Wall
The area has a forest of bizarre rock lava pillars, known as the black castles (Dimmuborgir). As it couldn't be otherwise in this astonishing land, there's plenty of awesome geological features around. Image by Genevieve Romier


Dimmuborgir
During the filming it was genuinely cold, enough to get real stalactites going down the actors' noses.
Image by Slava Rodionov


Hverfjall Iceland
This is how Hverfjall, one of the nearby volcanoes, looks like in spring.
Image by Hugi Ásgeirsson


Volcanoes
The scenery has many cones, known as pseudocraters, like this island shaped also as a triangle. Pseudocraters are different from volcanoes as lava never erupted from them. Image by Chris Zielecki


Cave where Jon and Ygritte engage into sex
The cave of Grjótagj is where Jon Snow and Ygritte - Spoiler Alert! - are having a splash with a happy ending in the 5th episode. Image by Boreal Travel


Cave Set Location
As a tourist you can also have a burning bath in this magical geothermal cave, with water at 40-60°C (100-140°F).
Richard Madden (GoT's Robb Stark) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon) are both starring in 1917, the new Sam Mendes film. You can find the filming locations in our post Where was 1917 filmed?
Image by Boreal Travel

For further information, there are plenty of interesting books like the best seller The World of Ice & Fire from George R. R. Martin, including 170 pages with the history of Westeros and the lands beyond. To go behind the scenes we recommend you the two parts of Inside HBO's Game of Thrones filled with a lot of unpublished set photos, visual effects art, costume designs and much more about the TV production. Also there is a nice fully illustrated guide to the key Noble Houses of Westeros: Seasons 1-5 and the beautifully composed Pop-Up Guide to Westeros. Finally here is a link to the essential 5-book boxed Set from the Song of Ice and Fire series and to the so far most complete Blu-ray edition (Seasons 1 to 5):

Ice and Fire Book The north of Westeros Westeros guide Novels collection Dvd edition


View Game of Thrones filming in a larger map

6 comments

  1. This is awesome. Thank you very much for making this article. I hope that someday, I'll get the chance to travel at these places, and recall the scenes in the tv series. =]

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  2. Thanks to you for your comment!]

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  3. Beautiful photos! Thanks for the location info. Perhaps one day I'll get a chance to visit some of these. Iceland has been on the "visit-someday" list for some time.

    I pulled together my own listing of Game of Thrones location in Northern Ireland over on my blog (sadly, without such great pics), as those are the places I know and love. You can check it out at http://atriptoireland.com/2013/06/04/where-was-game-of-thrones-filmed/ if you're interested.

    I'm going to try and keep this list up-to-date as the filming progresses, so if you know of anyplace I didn't include or come across any future location info, please let me know.

    Cheers,

    Rich / www.atriptoireland.com

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  4. I stayed at the Riad Al Madina (Jimmy Hendrix Favourite Riad ) in Essaouira in Feb 2011.. And it is very special to see Game of Thrones using this Area for Filming.....:)

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  5. Compare with my photos from the same locations :

    http://travelogue.photography/tags/morocco/content/ma-essaouira-marrakech-tensift-el-haouz-morocco-0011/


    http://travelogue.photography/tags/morocco/content/tarmigte-souss-massa-draa-morocco-12/

    ReplyDelete

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