If you’re familiar with the names Khaleesi, Jon Snow, King’s Landing, Iron Islands, and the night king, then you know what we’re talking about. You know how tough it is to wait for winter for over six years already. It’s called Game of Thrones. What about Frodo and Sam, the middle earth, the Hobbiton village? You remember these names? These are from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
If I have not lost you yet, then this article is for you, keep going.
There is so much to excite you in these two films. The amount of fantasy, to begin with, the unpredictable twists in the plots, compelling characters, and the quality production makes these films addictive.
That's not all; these films have breathtaking filming locations.
Game of Thrones has introduced us to so many worldly wonders, some of which you won't believe that they exist. The seven kingdoms, for instance, are set in a matter of hours from London, and they’re fantastic places you can visit. They make incredible holiday destinations.
Lord of the Rings, was set mostly in New Zealand, and thanks to its unarguable success, we got to know about the real beauty of New Zealand.
While most of these places appear like special effects on the screens, we have rounded up a list of 15 of GoT filming locations we should probably visit this holidays. And 10 from the Lord of the Rings.
25 GoT: Dark Hedges Road as Kingsroad
Even before Game of Thrones, the mysterious archway of intertwined trees was among the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland. By featuring it in the TV series, HBO just intensified its popularity. In GoT, we know it as the mammoth highway that connects King's Landing and the wall, via Winterfell. It is a lovely driveway in real life. It is, however, bustling lately, with so many tourists looking to take some fantastic photos. Head out early to beat the traffic.
24 GoT: Dubrovnik as King’s Landing
King’s Landing has many attractive scenes, and after HBO released season two of the TV series, the Dubrovnik city creaks next to giving up under the weight of tourists flocking every dawning day. There are many scenes you will recognize, including the famous St. Dominika Street. This is the same street Cersei Lannister takes her walk of shame. Among other attractions you’ll see here includes the highest point in the city of Dubrovnik, the Minceta tower, and Fort St. Lawrence.
23 GoT: The Botanical Gardens in Lokrum Island as The Beautiful Gardens in the Great City of Qarth
The beautiful botanical garden on Lokrum Island is located off the coast of Dubrovnik in Croatia. It is well known for growing various species of trees/ plants including cacti, a large collection of eucalyptus, and palm trees. In Game of Thrones, the garden is used to depict the lovely gardens on the great city of Qarth. You want to get away from the hustles and bustles of the town of Dubrovnik? A sea kayaking trip is a perfect way to get you to the Island.
22 GoT: Fort Lovrijenac as The Red Keep
Also known as Dubrovnik's Gibraltar, Fort Lovrijenac is located at the west side of the old town, on a cliff 37 meters high. The Fort survived many invasions, as ten big cannons protected it. The largest, and the most popular was called Lizard. It is depicted as the Red Keep in the hit series, and it boasts of many tourists attractions. Apart from UNESCO declaring it a world heritage site, Fort Lovrijenac is also a center for many concerts and theatre plays.
21 GoT: Ballintoy Harbor as Iron Islands
The Ballintoy Harbor in Northern Ireland is used to depict the Iron Islands, a great house in Westeros, ruled by House Greyjoy. It was home to the wild bunch of people who called themselves iron born. Ballintoy Harbor is the end of an extensive causeway, a fascinating area of about 40,000 of interlocking columns of basalt. It is said to have been caused by an ancient volcanic eruption. Game of Thrones fans can remember this as the homecoming spot of Theon Greyjoy after ten years of captivity in Winterfell.
20 GoT: Essaouira as Astapor
Essaouira, a French-inspired fortress port. This one has featured in many movies and TV series, and it shouldn't surprise you. Looking at this port, you'd think it has just emerged from a fantasy fairytale. If your memory serves you well, you can remember the unsullied, the slave soldiers that Khaleesi rescued, before ordering them to murder their masters. If you concentrate and, and experience the peace in this place, you might forget all the violence and bloodshed that happened here.
19 GoT: Trogir as The Great City of Qarth
Trogir is a historic city in Croatia, renowned for having some of the most beautiful churches, and palaces, as well as pretty beautiful monasteries. Its streets are incredibly narrow, set between old walls. The beautiful monastery of St. Dominic in Trogir appear as the great city of Qarth. Qarth is described as the "greatest city ever was, or will be." Apart from the monastery, Trogir itself is an impressive city to visit. UNESCO declared this a world heritage site due to its Venetian architecture.
18 GoT: Gaztelugatxe as Dragonstone
This beautiful windswept islet is depicted in the hit series season seven as the Dragonstone. Located off the coast of Biscay, Gaztelugatxe was Khaleesi’s (Daenerys Targaryen’s) entry point to Westeros. This is a perfect location for a picturesque day trip. And it's just an hour away from the Bilbao Port City, Northern Spain. Up the mountaintop is the ancient monastery, which you can access by walking up the winding stone steps. The monastery was used in the 15th century to contact the Spanish Inquisition.
17 GoT: The Castle of Zafra as The Tower of Joy
The Castle of Zafra is used in season six to depict the Tower of Joy. Fans will remember the Castle of Zafra as the place where, in one of his many visions, Bran Stark saw his father, young Ned Stark, and his Kingsguard engage in battle with Ser Arthur Dayne and other Targaryens. The tower is found on a sandstone outcrop, in the Guadalajara province in Spain. With an elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level, the castle of Zafra is located 60 kilometers northeast of Madrid.
16 GoT: Castillo de Almodovar Del Rio as Highgarden
This fairytale castle of Castillo de Almodovar Del Rio is the depiction of Highgarden, which is well known as the Seat House Tyrell in season seven. It was revealed for the first time in the series during Jayme Lannister’s unexpected siege in the castle. The seat House Tyrell was the regional capital of the Reach, one of the constituents of the seven kingdoms. A walk along the martial towers will give an exceptional view of the Guadalquivir River. The second longest river in Spain.
15 GoT: Sibenik as Braavos (The House of Black and White)
Fans will remember this as the training place of Arya Stark by the Faceless man, inside the house of black and white. Sibenik city is located at the coast of Adriatic, serving as a perfect gateway to the Kornati Islands. If you don’t find the giant statue you saw in the series you’re not lost, there are plenty of other attractive features to see here, including a lot of ancient cathedrals. Do you want to feel like a GoT star? Be sure to visit the St. James Cathedral – decorated with 71 sculpted faces.
14 GoT: Almeria, Filming locations for Meereen and Dorne Cities, and the Dothraki Sea
It's not actually a sea, just a vast steppe. Almeria is a crucial filming location of Game of Thrones, with not only one, but several locations, including the Meereen and Dorne cities, and the Dothraki Sea. It is located in southeastern Spain. Here you'll find an extensive smooth sand coastline of over 60 miles, with hidden coves. There are beachside cafes or refreshments, and a host of watersport activities. If you move further into the field, you'll find empty spaces. Perfect place for summer holidays.
13 GoT: Reykjavik as The Wall, and Beyond the Wall
This was the filming location for the wall and beyond the wall. If you want to see white walkers and wildlings, here is where you visit. From here you can join many other fans on GoT pilgrimage, most of them being the locals. The guides proudly point out the filming locations around Reykjavik. You can also visit the romantic spot of Jon Snow and Ygritte in the Grjotagja cave. It is chilling and exciting to come in winter, but summer will give you access to the whole of Iceland.
12 GoT: The Castle of Trujillo as Casterly Rock
Trujillo Castle, the old Arab fortress located in the province of Caceres, Spain, was the perfect location for Casterly Rock in season seven. With its ideal location at the highest point of the city, Casterly Rock served as the ancestral home of House Lannister, where Tywin Lannister resided. It was at this iconic castle that the battle between unsullied armies of the dragon queen Khaleesi, and the Lannister Armies took place, with the unsullied taking the castle with ease.
11 GoT: Verdala Palace as Pentos
Malta and Gozo are iconic islands that appeared prominently in season one of Game of Thrones. Among the must-visit places for a Game of Thrones fan is the Verdala Palace, the filming location of Pentos. The Verdala Palace is the Official Maltese residence of the president during summer, and in the hit series, it was used as the home of Illyrio Mopatis. It is also where the Targeryans lived in exile. Daenerys met Khal Drogo for the first time on the attractive Buskett gardens of this palace.
10 LOTR: Fiordland National Park as Fangorn Forest
This fascinating national park is used in The Lord of the Rings to depict the mythical Fangorn Forest – in the Two Towers. It is a vast 1.2 million hectare park that offers a host of tourist attractions. Some of the spectacular things you can explore here include fjords, lakes, rainforests, and mountains. You love horse riding, Fiordland National Park is a perfect location you can explore on horseback. Just assume you're Gandalf, and your horse is his highly trusted Shadowfax.
9 LOTR: Matamata as Shire and Hobbiton
This is an iconic movie location that any Lord of the Rings fan cannot miss visiting while in New Zealand. It was the shire region of middle earth in the LOTR trilogy and was filmed at the green dairy farming area of Waikato town of Matamata. The Hobbiton village was created in this place. The place has been rebuilt for the Hobbit trilogy filming and has been preserved as a permanent tourist attraction. You can live the hobbit life, even for the few hours you'll be there.
8 LOTR: Kawarau Gorge as Anduin River
This beautiful scenery was first featured in the first Lord of the Rings film, where the fellowship paddles down the Anduin River, and meets the two towering statues. While this area packs a mighty punch in its natural beauty, the two towering statues are not in the picture of attractions in real life. They were post-production magic. There are a lot of things you can do in Kawarau Gorge other than the fun of exploring Lord of the Rings, including bungee jumping.
7 LOTR: Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve as Paths of the Dead
Are you a real fan of the Lord of the Rings? Now imagine yourself walking along the paths of the dead. It's actually almost the best experience you can ever have because this is the best movie filming location you can ever visit. - It is an extraordinary place. This bizarre scene was filmed at the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve. It is located at the coast of Wellington, and it contains some very well-marked walking trails, to ensure that you don't lose your way and come across some strange creature.
6 LOTR: Mount Sunday as The City of Edoras
This beautiful location in Canterbury was the perfect filming location for the city of Edoras, the capital of Rohan. You can easily spot the shear-sided hill as you drive through the Canterbury plains. It stands out a mile in the middle of the plains of the Rangitat river valley. You’ll immediately remember the people of Rohan, the residents of this place in the Lord of the Rings trilogy when you visit. From the summit of the mountain, you get a crystal clear view of the stunning surroundings of the mountain.
5 LOTR: Lake Pukaki as The Laketown
The beautiful lake Pukaki doubled as the filming location for Laketown in the filming of Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. The glacial waters feeding into the lake give it a stunning and vibrant blue look. If you are lucky to visit on the right day, you won’t believe if the water is not dyed. A visit to Lake Pukaki will open up more gateways to many Hobbit filming locations, including Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. Drive along the shores of Pukaki to Mt. Cook village.
4 LOTR: Piopio, Waitomo as Trollshaws Forest
Piopio, in the Waitomo district in New Zealand, served as the filming location for Trollshaws forest and the Staddles firm. The two are featured several times in the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film. The Staddles farm was filmed at the Denize farm, a private property owned by Suzie and Warrick Denize. The family has since converted the farm into Hobbit-themed tours, which allows you to go on a picnic at the same place where the three hungry trolls almost ate Bilbo Baggins.
3 LOTR: Mt. Ngauruhoe as Mt. Doom
The legendary Mt. Ngauruhoe was digitally transformed to create the fiery mountain of Doom in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The mountain is 2287 meters high, and if you're genuinely a LOTR fan, you can imitate Frodo and Sam, and climb up the summit of the mountain, and by walking the Tongariro Crossing, you come closer to the fiery depths of Mordor. From here you have a clear view of the iconic movie scene of Mt. Ngauruhoe.
2 LOTR: Pelorus River as Forest River
Fans will remember this river from the dwarves in barrels scene. Jackson chose this particular spot to film the scene that is featured in Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, located at the North Island of the north part of the southern island. Even though the most significant part of this scene was filmed from a studio, the Pelorus River was the backdrop of the scene, and it makes it way beautiful. For a similar experience like the dwarves in barrels, you can float and flow down the river on kayaks, which is way better than the barrels.
1 LOTR: Mt. Ruapehu, Turoa as Hidden Bay
Over the lowlands of the North Islands great central plateau is the Mt. Ruapehu towers, the filming location for Hidden Bay in Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. The rocky slopes on the mountain represent the entry to the lonely mountain. The mountain is the highest in the Northern Island of New Zealand, offering some of the most beautiful terrains in the whole country. There’s something for everyone here, from the vast snow basis to the exemplary volcanic terrains. With just one lift you get to experience both ski areas.