The locations and scenery of Game of Thrones have captivated fans almost as much as the action and characters and this has meant big business for the areas used as travellers flock to see the real thing. Top of the list for most is Dubrovnik, Croatia, the home of King’s Landing. Naturally, the production team have taken liberties with CGI on the scenery in order to add some grandeur and get closer to G.R.R. Martin’s vision but the city is instantly recognisable and provides a wonderful holiday spot for fans.
What immediately strikes tourists as they enter Dubrovnik is not only how welcoming a friendly the city is – a welcome relief for those looking for the blood-tainted, Lannister-ruled streets of King’s Landing – but also how familiar it all looks. This is largely due to the stunning, UNESCO-protected walls that formed its medieval fortifications; look up at them and the vast capital of Westeros quickly builds in your mind but the real joy is gazing down from them on the streets below, like a true king returning to the throne and surveying his subjects. Walking tours of the walls and streets are a great way to see all the important features and, unsurprisingly, tour guides have started specialised Game Of Thrones tours with facts and references to capitalise on their current value. With the right guide, every little corner, from a plaza to a staircase, gets transformed as you are reminded of the precise scene that took place there.
There are times when a little imagination is necessary to completely transport yourself to this fantasy land (the ideal setting for Joeffry’s wedding is actually situated on a car park) but once you start to explore Dubrovnik further you find that there are even more locations with a definite sense of deja vu. A lot of the action unfolds in the city and the palace but the planning and negotiations are more likely to take place in the gardens. Locations scouts must have known that they struck gold when they found the Arboretum Trsteno, which was created in 1492 and provides the perfect setting. It is this age and sense of history that makes Dubrovnik such a great match for King’s Landing and as you learn about its interesting past, further parallels to the show can be enjoyed.
The waters around the city also play an important role, both in the history of Dubrovnik and King’s Landing, and it doesn’t take much to visualise the ships preparing their attack. On the subject of ships and the bay, many GOT fans that have made their pilgrimage to Dubrovnik would highly recommend sailing across the water to Lokrum Island. In just 15 minutes you can traverse the waters and land at the location for Quarth. Here you can walk in Daenerys’ footsteps through the botanical gardens and monastery. As there is no accommodation on the island, this is best explored as a day trip – although rumours of the island being cursed mean that you probably wont won’t to sleep there anyway.
It seems that whichever route you take in Dubrovnik, either on the highest walls, through the gardens or over the water to the island, you can recreate scenes in precise locations. Find a knowledgeable guide to put all the pieces together and you really do have the ideal GOT holiday experience.