HBO’s Game of Thrones has taken the globe by storm, and inspired globe-trotters to make their own epic journey to some of the real-life places that double as scenes from Westeros. Ahead of the highly-anticipated season 7 premiere, we’ve rounded up the best places to walk in the footsteps of your favorite characters on a Game of Thrones travel adventure.
Underground river in Grjótagjá, Iceland
If you want to visit the land of White Walkers and the Free Folk, add the otherworldly landscapes of Lake Myvatn to your bucket list. This area of extreme contrasts, wildlife, geothermal activity, and geology features in several seasons of Game of Thrones. Explore the warm underground river in Grjótagjá rift, the Krafla volcano area, the explosion crater Víti, and the mighty Dettifoss waterfall: the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
You’ll recognize the geothermal area of Hverir with its boiling mud pools, steaming fumaroles, and sulphur pits. This is the setting that sparked Jon Snow and Ygritte’s “steamy” onscreen romance in season 3—they should have stayed that cave! Take your own soak in the Myvatn Nature Bath hot spring lagoon, overlooking the inspiring landscape.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Iceland provides more than just the icy backdrops for the world of ice and fire. Thingvellir National Park was also a major filming location for season 4. It is here that Arya and The Hound travel on the way to The Eyrie, and where Brienne of Tarth confronts The Hound in a dramatic duel with a cliffhanger ending. This is also a land of “Dragonglass”— we know it as obsidian, cooled pieces of lava.
For a completely different perspective of this Game of Thrones travel destination, we suggest a view from above. Fly across Iceland’s volcanic landscape and end your journey on top of Langjökull glacier, only accessible by helicopter. Peek into the crater of the majestic shield volcano Skjaldbreiður and fly over the tectonic rift separating America and Europe. Soaring over lava fields, craters, and colorful mountain ridges in your own private helicopter is as close as you can get to riding one of Daenerys’ dragons.
Dark Hedge of Amoy, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is perhaps the most extensive filming location, and a Game of Thrones travel experience here is chock-full of natural landscapes that have been depicted on-screen. Paparazzi stake out in Belfast during filming, hoping to catch a glimpse of the cast as they make their way to Titanic Studios, the site of many of the show’s interior sets. The ultra-modern Titanic Center complex is an homage to creativity and history, and a visit with your Ker & Downey guide leaves you feeling enlightened.
Titanic Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Stark’s home at Winterfell and sights from the northern kingdoms are found in this region too. Visit Castle Ward—Winterfell itself—and partake in an archery lesson, standing in the same courtyard where Bran, Robb, and Jon Snow practiced in happier days for the Stark family. At Castle Ward you will also meet two of the show’s stars: Odin and Thor, the Direwolf puppies! These two Northern Inuit dogs are all grown up but still perfectly cuddly and happy to visit. A photo with a Direwolf is a treasured memento for any Game of Thrones fan. You’ll also see where the Direwolf pups were first found in nearby Tollymore Forest Park.
Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland
Another intriguing location is Inch Abbey, where Lady Catelyn Stark hears of Ned’s fate and where Robb was crowned King of the North. Walk through the Dark Hedge of Amoy, an atmospheric avenue of beech trees used to depict the Kingsroad. While plagued by bandits and thieves in Westeros, it’s quite safe in real life and is a truly magical spot.
Along the spectacular Antrim Coast road you will find the Cushendun Caves. Fans will recognize this place as the spot where the Red Priestess Melisandre conjures up a menacing shadow creature in season 2. At nearby Larrybane, Renly Baratheon meets the shadow creature as a terrified Brienne of Tarth looks on.
Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
If you’re a House Greyjoy fan, make sure to visit the sleepy port of Ballintoy Harbour and Murlough Bay. These areas were transformed into the rugged Iron Islands for Theon’s homecoming scene in season 2.
More Game of Thrones Travel Destinations
To complete your Game of Thrones travel experience, head to see the filming locations in Spain, Malta, and Croatia. Click here to read more.
Season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16 on HBO.
Want to see the Game of Thrones settings for yourself? Contact the Ker & Downey luxury travel consultants to begin planning your own epic journey.