Kings and queens, knights, magicians, scoundrels, dwarfs, giants, dragons, witches, eunuchs, heroes, liars, and more.
I won’t lie, I’m biased. Game of Thrones is the best medieval series ever to hit television, perhaps even the best series of any genre. The multiple Emmy-winning medieval fantasy HBO show, based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” has addicted many a viewer since its debut on April 17, 2011.
The tale takes place on the fictional continents of Westeros and Esso. It’s a complicated, twisted series of story lines, all intersecting with the three main plots:
- The Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. All kingdoms are either trying to claim the throne or struggling to get away from it.
- The “Mother of Dragons.” The last descendant of the overthrown ruling dynasty is exiled, but plotting a return to power.
- The Night’s Watch. The brotherhood defending the realm against Wildling people and the White Walkers – unearthly humanoid creatures from the far North.
Dubrovnik has been the main location for filming King’s Landing, one of the seven kingdoms and the seat of power hosting the Iron Throne. From the red rooftops to the brilliant blue Adriatic Sea, the Croatian port city is one of the most recognizable sites in the series.
A three-hour Game of Thrones walking tour takes fans through Dubrovnik’s picturesque UNESCO World Heritage old town, up on the ancient walls, and through Fort Lovrijenac.
If you’re a fan, it’s like experiencing the best kind of déjà vu. If you’re not a fan, go anyway….there’s also plenty of “real” history and stunning views….and the behind-the-scenes filming tales are so intriguing, you’ll likely be a fan by the end.
Tonka, our guide, was not only very knowledgeable about Dubrovnik and Game of Thrones, but she also had a large photo book with depicting actual scenes from the show which she presented at each of the filming locations. Each time, it jogged our memories and was accompanied by oohs and aahs. And then laughter. So much fun!
Here are just a few highlights of the dozens of filming sites on the tour.
Fort Lovrijenac is well-recognized as the Red Keep in King’s Landing. Some of the scenes filmed at the fort including the tournament in honor of King Joffrey’s name day and Cersei’s “power is power” threat to Lord Baelish.
Who could forget the dramatic scene in which Cersei was forced to take her “Walk of Shame,” naked, through the streets of King’s Landing. Her humiliating ordeal begins at the top of the beautiful Baroque Jesuit Staircase in Gundulic Square. The stairs are also the site of Tywin Lanister’s funeral, and where King Tommen attempts to speak to the High Sparrow.
The base of Minčeta Tower was used as the exterior of the House of Undying in the town of Qarth. Daenerys Targaryen visits the House of Undying to search for her stolen dragons.
Scenes filmed at Pile Bay include bidding farewell to Myrcella, where Sansa Stark and Lord Baelish discusses escape plans, and the murdering of King Robert Baratheon’s bastards aka “the slaughter of the innocents.”
Fort Bokar and the Ancient Walls
The walls appear in many scenes such as the battle at Blackwater Bay, where the green wild fire was unleashed to defeat the invasion of Stannis Baratheon’s fleet. Fort Bokar, located on the seawall, is where Tyrion and Lord Varys discuss battle strategies to defeat Stannis Baratheon’s army while looking out to sea.
Tonka took us to a terrace and pointed across the sea just outside of Dubrovnik. “That’s where the shocking scene where the Mountain killed the Viper at Tyrion’s trial by combat,” she said, pointing to the abandoned Hotel Belvedere, perched on a steep outcropping in the distance. Shocking indeed! I confess, just thinking about that horrific scene made a shiver run up my spine. I’m no wimp, but that was about as torturous as I can handle, especially since the ending was totally unexpected.
Towards the end of our tour, Tonka unveiled a surprise….a photo in which she was an extra, a dirty peasant, in the Ciersi’s walk of shame episode.
“I got to say something nasty and throw a rotten tomato,” she laughed.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be an extra in King’s Landing!
I did have my share of good fortune, though. I met Steve and Brit Loncar on the tour, a father and daughter team from Canada. We all hit it off and since I was traveling solo, they both kindly volunteered to take photos of me at various places. It’s a travel writer’s dream to NOT have to use our selfie stick! And those of you who have been reading my travels know that one of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting really nice people, like the Loncars.
A word of recommendation…..it can be get very hot in Dubrovnik, so be sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. Also, there are a LOT of stair-climbing to get up to the top of the wall as well the fort, so wear suitable footwear.
The very last stop on the tour was a room with the Iron Throne where we were allowed the very best photo op of all.
Can we all just agree that I look natural in this seat?
There are also tours in the other filing locations of the other kingdoms in Game of Thrones located in other parts of Croatia, Ireland, Canada, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and the United States. Thinking of visiting one of those countries?
Click here to see all Game of Thrones tours in Europe.
Click here to read how to see Dubrovnik with the crowds.
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