Game of Thrones Filming Locations: Spotlight on Croatia’s Key Role in the Epic Saga

Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic, played a pivotal role in HBO’s popular masterpiece, Game of Thrones. The medieval cityscape and historic architecture set the perfect scene for the creation of Kings Landing and that iconic fantasy city is reflected in the real-life Dubrovnik. The unique blend of history and natural beauty brings reality to Westeros like no other city ever could. From ancient city walls to well-preserved streets, walking around the Old Town you are guaranteed to feel like you have been transported right into the innovative mind of George R. R. Martin.

The grand City Wall is the most recognisable feature of Dubrovnik Old Town. You cannot miss it, standing strong surrounding the old city, having protected not only Kings Landing in the iconic season two scene, the Battle of Blackwater, but in Dubrovnik’s own siege in 1991. This wall, built in the 13th century, has stood through countless wars and bombings, always protecting the citizens within, much like its role as the outer wall of the Red Keep.

Trsteno Arboretum– built near the end of the 15th century, the Trseno Arboretum was originally a summer estate for some Croatian Aristocrats – the Gučetić-Gozze family. With 25 hectares of exotic trees, shrubbery, fountains and flowers, it’s no wonder this remarkable renaissance garden was chosen to be the location of many scenes in Game of Thrones. In season 3 the Arboretum is first introduced to us as the Tyrell Garden, with the iconic pavilion where Lady Olenna takes her tea in many significant scenes. The diverse nature of the Trseno Arboretum is testimony to the fact that many scenes were filmed here: Sansa and Lady Margaery discuss the messy fate of King Joffrey, the infamous purple wedding takes place in the gardens, and Sir Jamie Lannister takes combat lessons just outside the arboretum after having his hand cut off, just to name a few! Whether you are a Game of Thrones fan or not this arboretum is a true bucket list destination to tick off whilst on your Croatia Sail (or just before/after the cruise).

Dubrovnik is not only home to Kings Landing, as a short boat journey from the old town will take you to the stunning little Island of Lokrum. With the botanical gardens and ancient ruins of the Benedictine monastery, the lush landscape of this island is better known for its role of Qarth, the exotic city state of Essos. Here you can follow in Daenerys’ footsteps as she recovers her dragons from the house of the undying, and escapes to pursue her domination of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms.

As you can probably imagine, there are many behind the scenes stories to tell whilst the cast were filming in Dubrovnik. Many of the local Croats were present or even took on roles as extras during the making of GoT, and they have fabulous stories to tell. So, when you take the Game of Thrones walking tour, be sure to listen to the many tales about the production and the cast your guide has to share.

Here are a two of our personal favourites as told by one of the guides:

  • During the filming of Cersei’s walk of shame, the extras used as the crowd were young men, and the director told them that they must keep a straight face and look angry, not smile when Cersei walks past them in the nude. However, being a large crowd of young men in the presence of a beautiful (naked) woman, you can imagine how hard they found it to keep a smile off their face, and it took multiple shots for the director to be satisfied!

  • They say Peter Dinklage was truly immersed in his role of the rebellious drunk, Tyrion Lannister (the youngest of the Lannister siblings), and after a night of partying was found asleep in the reception of city walls hostel in Dubrovnik. He’d befriended a group of Australian tourists and thoroughly enjoyed the vibrant nightlife Dubrovnik has to offer!

Today, the old town is a popular tourist destination, and you can walk all the way around the city, re-enacting your favourite scenes from GoT. Have a look at the walking tours, a must do for any fans, or even for anyone who wants to see the city and its surroundings in a unique way! – GoT WALKING TOURS

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