Dreaming of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros? Want to follow in Ned’s footsteps, or sail across the Narrow Sea with Viserys and Daenerys? If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just imagine recreating your very own real life quest, set against the majestic backdrop of some of Europe’s most ancient sites. The hills of Ireland are calling…
For this one, backpacking is the way to go, as you’ll no doubt be travelling to some remote towns and villages for a truly authentic tour. If you haven’t backpacked before, do some research into other people’s experiences to get a feel of where you’ll be going. Also consider travel insurance; check out Allianz Backpacker Insurance to be covered as you trek across grey cliffs and craggy rocks.
The majority of shooting is done here, due to its rich medieval history and battle-scarred fields. South of Belfast, Castle Ward was turned into Winterfell—where we met the characters for the first time, while the Glens of Antrim—nine vibrant green valleys which stretch from the North Channel Island, set the scene for Dragonstone, the Iron Islands, the Stormlands and Blackwater Bay. Even if you’re not a hardcore fan, the natural beauty and rugged remoteness of the area will make you feel like you’re in a fantasy world. Carnlough village is undoubtedly one of the prettiest stops along the way.
The bone-chilling cold from north of the Wall is brought to you courtesy of Reykjavik’s spectacular ice and snow. With active glaciers and fast-flowing rivers, it’s the perfect backdrop for reliving the Frostfangs and being at the Fist of the First Men. Pretend you’re a director and see the sights from a Super-Jeep tour to get out of the cold and into the wilderness.
This tiny island off the coast of Sicily was the location for the King’s Landing and parts of Essos in Season 1. The historic Fort Manoel, the Azure Window on Gozo, and San Anton Palace all appeared in the show and are well worth a visit just to get your fix of Mediterranean culture.
To soak up the scenery of the King’s Landing, head straight to Dubrovnik. Splash some cash and book in for the ‘Discover King’s Landing’ package at the nearby Hotel Belluvue – there are oceanview rooms, welcome bottles of wine and even a replica of the ‘key to King’s Landing’. What more could a fan want?
For the third season, we return to Morocco and the city of Essaouira, a backpacker’s port town, and also the main backdrop for Daenerys Targaryen’s Essos scenes. In actual fact, Essaouira has had more than one brush with fame – it also played a part in Orson Wells’ Othello. In real life, the 18th century fortified town watches over empty, winding beaches. Head down here at sunset and take a walk over to the nearby Diabat for postcard views of crumbling forts and a drink at a deserted café.
So sure, Game of Thrones might be a completely fictional world, but the scenery is 100 per cent real, and even more breathtaking than on the screen. Get out there and live it! After all, as any fan of the show will tell you, “winter is coming…”