Travel to These 'Game of Thrones' Filming Locations is About to Skyrocket
It should be no surprise that Game of Thrones—a Dark Ages fantasy drama with all the sex, blood, and political intrigue befitting an HBO hit—is attracting real-life travelers to the otherworldly destinations depicted in its episodes.
In a recent TripAdvisor report, the show’s filming locations have seen a huge jump in tourist interest: a 120 percent increase, on average.
After all, Game of Thrones has transformed countless cities and towns into veritable tourist destinations. Take Doune Castle, for example. While this 14th-century Scottish castle gained celebrity status as the set location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975, it wasn’t until it became Winterfell, the seat of House Stark, that the destination became a can’t-miss attraction.
And then there’s Osuna, a small Spanish town in southern Seville. The sleepy village was revived when Game of Thrones came to film. Who wouldn’t want to see the 3,000-year-old town standing in for Meereen? It's here, after all, that Daenerys Targaryen watches people kill each other in the "fighting pits." She leaves that party on a dragon, of course.
At the top of TripAdvisor’s list is Klis, Croatia (a village safeguarded by the namesake medieval fortress). TripAdvisor has seen a staggering 579 percent increase in search traffic for this historic citadel. Also gaining popularity are the filming locations of Krka National Park (46 percent) and Trsteno, which saw a considerable 18 percent increase in search.
Other destinations include Vík, in southern Iceland (78 percent), which is famous for its lava formations, black sand beaches, and caves carved by the sea.
As our comprehensive Game of Thrones Travel Guide notes, the HBO series is loved as much for its epic battles as it is for its striking landscapes. And TripAdvisor’s data simply proves people are willing to travel to great lengths to see the backdrops of their favorite shows in person. Below, the 10 filming locations that have seen the greatest boost in tourism interest.
10. Mdina, Malta
On the island of Malta is the 4,000-year-old walled city of Mdina. Often called the Noble City, Mdina was the setting of King's Landing in Season 1. It saw an 18 percent increase in search traffic on Trip Advisor.
9. Trsteno, Croatia
You may recognize the lush Trsteno Arboretum as the gardens of King's Landing (where the likes of Margaery Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell, Sansa Stark, Lord Varys, and Tyrion Lannister have all strolled). Traffic for Trsteno also rose 18 percent.
8. Girona, Spain
Colorful buildings crowd cobblestone lanes in Northern Catalonia's largest city, Girona. Once a wealthy medieval city, the Spanish destination has seen a 19 percent increase in search traffic since becoming Braavos in Season 6.
7. Myvatn, Iceland
Myvatn was the backdrop for various scenes shot "North of the Wall." Fans will recognize the shallow Lake Myvatn and surrounding wetlands from the steamy scene between Jon and Ygritte. Myvatn saw a 42 percent increase in search traffic.
6. Krka National Park, Croatia
If you've been following Game of Thrones, you've seen countless shots of Krka National Park. Canyons and waterfalls punctuate the lush landscapes, which have become Westeros. Search traffic for Krka rose 46 percent this year.
5. Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Massive glaciers define Vatnajökull, which saw a 58 percent increase in search traffic this year. It was used for scenes North of the Wall throughout the entire Game of Thrones series.
4. Dimmuborgir, Iceland
Lava fields, caves, and unusual rock formations in Dimmuborgir are known as Dark Castles. Fittingly, this Icelandic destination—which saw a 64 percent increase in traffic—served as the filming site for Castle Black.
3. Vík, Iceland
Vík's mountain ranges served as Season 1 and 2's Frostfangs Mountains, and saw a 78 percent increase in search traffic.
2. Campillo de Dueñas, Spain
Spain's Castle of Zafra (a 12th-century fortress perched on an imposing outcrop) plays the Tower of Joy. Remember young Ned Stark and Howland Reed fighting Ser Arthur Dayne? That's probably why search traffic for this destination rose 291 percent.
1. Klis, Croatia
What could send search traffic soaring 579 percent to Klis, Croatia? Probably the unforgettable Klis Fortress looming over the city of Meereen, where Daeners Targaryen has been ruling for a couple of seasons.