If you’re a HUGE fan of Game of Thrones (or at least you were before that last season…), then you may want to experience the TV series IRL. But don’t worry, you won’t have to trek all the way to the frigid North to meet Jon Snow and Dany, instead, why not head just a little further south…
Somewhere a little warmer, a little sunnier, where you can feel the sand under your toes and the sun on your cheeks. It’s lucky, then, that many of the Game of Thrones filming locations are in beautiful Spain! In partnership with the Spanish Tourism Office, we’ve picked out all of the Game of Thrones spots, so all you have to do is add them to your travel bucket list (and maybe hop on our Best of Spain to catch a few!).
Welcome to the badlands in the South East of Spain, called Bardenas Reales. Don’t let our use of ‘badlands’ fool you, though, this semi-desert is an absolutely stunning natural area. The ground is made of clay, chalk, and sandstone which has been eroded by water over the years, causing these intricate trench-like weavings along the ground.
This unique location was used to film the Dothraki Sea, on the fictional continent of Essos. This is where Daenerys (Stormborn of the House of Targaryen, First of her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen…) first encounters the nomadic war-mongering horse-bound tribe. In real life, Bardena Reales is much more peaceful with over 700 km of paths to hike and cycle, allowing you lots of freedom to explore.
Image source:Bernard Hermant / Unsplash
When you look at pictures of the coastal town of Peñíscola, it becomes obvious why it was chosen as a Spanish Game of Thrones filming location. The town is right along the beach, and a chunk of it makes up a fort-like mass right as the base – it almost looks detached from the mainland but it is in fact connected by a thin strip of shore. A fort off a dramatic coast? This destination could only be used as a base for Slaver’s Bay in Meereen.
There are lots of places in the area for a Game of Thrones fan to enjoy, and maybe even reenact a few political drama scenes? Explore the walls of Calle Mayor or Rampa de Felipe II and the streets of Plaza de Santa María. Spend the day walking through the beautiful Artillery Park where Tyrion, Missandei, and Gray Worm planned the future of the city.
The region of Almería was used as the base for several Spanish Game of Thrones filming locations. The Alcazaba fortress was used for wide and establishing shots of the homestead of House Martell – the striking and venomous family from Dorne.
Also in Almería is the Torre de Mesa Roldán, a rather secluded and interesting structure right by the sea. In Game of Thrones it is used as a part of the city pyramids in Meereen, and in real life it’s an old watchtower used in times of war to warn of invasions from the sea. Seems fitting!
Castle of Zafra
Located in Guadalajara (not to be confused with the city of the same name in Mexico), this 12th century castle appeared in the show as the Tower of Joy. Used in season 6 as the location where Bran has one of his visions, the castle sits atop a jagged rock face and casts a dramatic shade on the rocky plains that surround it. It’s the perfect location to head to if you’re expecting cryptic information to come your way.
This region was used for not one, but two, filming locations! First, the Roman Bridge of Córdoba: built back in the 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir River, it has been restored several times and was used in the show as the Long Bridge of Volantis. Some CGI was used to extend it, so it may not look exactly the same in real life, but it’s still worth the detour!
Then, another castle perched upon a highplace, Castilla Almodóvar del Río is surrounded by lush greenery and meadows spanning miles and miles and miles. The castle has that perfect regal look and feel for a Game of Thrones filming location, and it was used to film scenes of Highgarden.
Avid fans will recognise this as the area where Olenna Tyrell made a certain admission to Jamie Lannister before meeting her end. We can’t lie, Olenna was a badass through and through.
Image source:Lars Stuifbergen / Unsplash
Plaza de Toros
Getting right in the middle of the action here, the Plaza de Toros was used to capture the fighting pits of Meereen. The cast and crew filmed here for 14 days, eliciting much excitement from those involved, as well as locals. Located in the small town of Osuna, the Plaza de Toros is a classic bullring which used to be used for bullfighting. Gone are those days, now, but the ring remains open to the public as a tourist attraction.
Seville is home to one of the most recognizable Spanish Game of Thrones filming locations – the Royal Alcázar of Seville. The traditional Spanish style building with a gorgeous azure pool stretching through the courtyard is used as the Water Gardens of House Martell, and lends itself well to the sweltering and tropical Dorne.
Today, the Royal Alcázar of Seville is a major tourist attraction filled with stunning and aged architecture and design. You can spend a few hours just roaming the halls, feeling like one of the poised and deadly Sand Snakes. See it on our Best of Spain and Portugal trip!
20 minutes from Seville is the Itálica Amphitheater, which was used for a scene in season 7 in which Cersei and Daenerys meet to discuss negotiations as well as the threat to the North. Legend has it that the tension can still be felt…
Image source:AXP Photography / unsplash
Season 7 opens with Daenerys reaching the shores of Dragonstone – her long lost homestead, marking a much anticipated return. The winding footbridge which leads up to the main palace is known as Gaztelugatxe, and was not only used as a Game of Thrones filming location, but also one for House of the Dragon. Located on an island 35KM from Bilbao, Gaztelugatxe is an islet that is connected by a man-made bridge to the mainland. Head for some really dramatic views!
The iconic diagonal cliffs of Dragonstone are filmed on Itzurun Beach in Zumaia. These beaches are important in establishing the sheer, near-inhospitable, and striking area that makes up Dragonstone – it’s harsh and uninviting, which suits the house of the dragon-riders.
Throughout season 7 we see Daenerys and Jon Snow discuss strategies to take over Westeros as they stroll these sands. Itzurun beach is a 1-hour drive outside of Bilbao and makes the perfect day trip while travelling throughout Spain.
Image source:Andrea Huls Pareja / unsplash
The city of Girona made the perfect location for the town of Braavos where Arya Stark spends time in her gruelling apprenticeship with the Faceless Men. Thankfully, for tourists and locals alike, Girona is actually quite pleasant! No small girls beating you with sticks.
Spend your time exploring the streets of Girona’s Jewish Quarter where Arya practised her skills in public. You can also visit Girona’s Arab Baths. Not only is it the place where Arya tries to escape from the Waif, it also has historical significance dating all the way back to the 12th century.
Finally, Girona’s cathedral is also the location used to portray the Tower of the Hand, which a certain someone later destroys… Although King’s Landing itself is filmed in Dubrovnik, the crew used CGI to depict the building’s destruction from a distance.
And that’s a wrap on the Spanish Game of Thrones filming locations in Spain. Ready to book your trip to Spain?
This article was sponsored in partnership by the Tourist Office of Spain.