I’ll come out and admit that I don’t watch Game of Thrones religiously and freak out over confusing fan theories once a week (I just started watching season six.) If you, like the rest of the world, are obsessed go read our weekly recaps here.
However, I can and do appreciate the incredible locations all over the world where they film the bloody battles and weird scenes of incest and familial backstabbing. Considering you have a varied amount of landscapes in GOT ranging from the frigid snow and ice in the North to the more tropical settings of Meereen, you can expect the filming locations to be pretty unique.
Even though the main HQ is at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast Ireland where most of the interior sets are located, producers have branched out as far as southeast Europe and even the Middle East to accurately portray story lines. Here are seven countries where every avid GOT fan should visit at least once based off sheer coolness.
Game of Thrones Locations: Iron Island, The Stormlands, Dothraki Sea, Winterfell, The Storm Lands, Lordsport, Castle Black, HardHome
Throughout the rolling green hills of Ireland, most of the filming for GOT has taken place here (including much of season six.) Hey, I guess the home of Winterfell is that important. Some truly amazing landmarks seen in the show from this part of the world include the Dark Hedges, Corbert Village and Tollymore Forest Park.
Game of Thrones Locations: King Landing’s Gate, The Red Keep, Sowbelly Row, Illyrio Mopatis House
Recognize this stunning location in Malta from season one? The famous Azure Window structure in Malta is where GOT directors decided to film Daenery and Drogo’s wedding. Malta is in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, and was mostly used only during season one filming.
Game of Thrones Locations: King’s Landing, Meereen, Quarth, House of the Undying, Braavos, The Red Keep
This is actually one place where GOT regularly films that I can actually attest to how cool it is (I somehow ended up on a GOT tour there a few years back, still unclear how.) The castle walls surrounding Dubrovnik, Croatia have provided the perfect backdrop for the show since season two. Set on the Adriatic Sea, the stonewalls that enclose Old Town were completed sometime in the 16th century.
Game of Thrones Locations: North of the wall, north of Westeros, Frostfangs Mountains, Wildling Camp
The treacherous, yet completely badass, environment of Iceland is where the Wildlings and The White Walkers call home. You’ve probably caught shots of Thingvellir National Park and the massive Vatnajökull Iceberg while watching, and the tourist-packed Grjótagjá lava caves is where Jon Snow famously lost his V-card to Ygritte in season three.
Game of Thrones Locations: Winterfell
The show only used Scotland in the pilot to provide the visuals for Winterfell. Doune Castle in the Stirling district of central Scotland was not just used in GOT, but also in the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The castle is now mostly restored and open to the public, so here you go if you ever find yourself in Scotland and want to nerd out.
Game of Thrones Locations: Royal Palace of Dorne, Long bridge of Volantis, Danzak’s Pit
A good amount of filming for season six took place in Spain, including in the areas of Girona, Navarre, Peñíscola and Almería. Spain is able to provide everything from deserts to old coastal towns on the Mediterranean Sea for the show. Landmarks like The famous Alcazar (pictured here), sets the stage for the Royal Palace of Dorne.
Game of Thrones Locations: Astapor, Pentos, Yunkai and Pentos
Even though filming in Morocco ceased after season three, some of its locations are ones fans need to visit at least once. And who doesn’t want to go to Morocco just because, anyway? The capital, Ouarzazate, is nicknamed “The Door of the Desert” and was used as the set for the Free City of Pentos. The port city of Essaouira was also used, and to this day still has 18th century ramparts protecting the city.
Nicole Theodore is an assistant editor at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter.