It is the time of year when a new season of ‘Game of Thrones’ brings an hour of entertainment filled with dragons, treachery, violence and snow. Along with the intricate plot lines and fascinating characters, the incredible settings are another standout feature of the show. The show’s location scouts have the great job of exploring the globe for destinations which bring to life the lands vividly described by George R.R. Martin in his epic novels. Instead of relying solely on computer generated scenery, over the years they have found destinations which bring the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros to life. This means fans can enjoy a holiday as well as walking in the footsteps of their favourite characters, also known as Set Jetting.
The sweeping snow covered landscapes of northern Iceland perfectly fits the description of northern Westeros and the barren lands Beyond the Wall. The powerful beauty of the glaciers of Vatnajökull National Park and the steaming thermal Grjótagjá Cave in Lake Mývatn helps to create a menacing atmosphere for the desolate lands of the Frostfang Mountains as traversed by Jon Snow. Although hostile on screen, these wild untouched landscapes in the heart of Iceland are truly a sight to behold, with not a White Walker in sight.
With an ancient walled fortress, a picturesque coast along the shimmering Adriatic Sea and dozens of historical sites, it was almost as if Croatia was made for Game of Thrones. Many of its sites are used by the show. Dubrovnik, the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, is transformed into King’s Landing, the majestic capital of the Seven Kingdoms and home to the wealthy and powerful Lannister family. The Minčeta Tower, the most prominent part of Dubrovnik’s fortified walls, is used as The House of The Undying in Qarth where Daenerys looks to free her stolen dragons. A UNESCO Heritage Site which took 150 years to construct, finishing in 1463, this historic site has many stories of its own.
Holding deserts, mountains, coastline and cities, Morocco’s diversity means many destinations are used. The dusty terrain of the High Atlas Mountains was the setting of Daenerys Targaryen’s passage to the narrow sea and Ait Benhaddou, the fortified city found in the foothills of the mountains, is a great filming location for the cities of Yunkai and Pentos. Season three saw the introduction of the port city of Essaouria as the setting for Astapor, also known as the Red City. This picturesque coastal town is transformed to the training base of the elite Unsullied warriors and the brutal Walk of Punishment.