The night may be dark and full of terrors, but the Kingdom of the Andals and the First Men stretches beyond our comprehension. There’s so much to see, experience and touch in the sun-kissed countries where our favorite TV show was filmed; out there, the summer is gentle and everlasting, while cultures are every bit as exotic as those born on the shores of the Jade Sea.
Mount your horses and rush off to the greener lands, before it’s too late.
In Arabic, the word Mdina means “the fortified place”, and it’s hard to imagine a more suitable toponym that that. Despite the popular belief, the original King’s Landing was built on the island of Malta, where the skies are tender and crystal blue. It was another town, however, in which the terrible fate of Ned Stark was so ruthlessly sealed. Until you finally reach Gzira and lay roses on Fort Manoel that served as the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor in the infamous 9th episode of the 1st season, be sure to visit the Pjazza Mesquita in Mdina, since that’s where Littlefinger’s brothel still is.
Morocco might not be one of the permanent locations in the Game of Thrones universe, but it’s sunbathed and warm as Slaver’s Bay itself, and just as whimsical and unbending in its tradition. Trace the ancient Unsullied in Essaouira, where they were firstly introduced under the unwavering Astapor sun. Another Marocco location, the fortified village of Aït Benhaddou that stands halfway between Marrakech and Sahara, is where Yunkai lays, covered with desert sand.
Equally passionate and vindictive, Dorne and the Dothraki Sea have another thing in common – the Game of Thrones production team found both of these fruitful lands in Spain. Fly off to the country’s capital first, since the wonders of Madrid should never be skipped. Then, continue on to Seville to see the Water Gardens and parts of Meereen, Tabernas Desert in Almeria where the Dothraki Sea is green and endless, and stop by Barcelona (Horn Hill) and Girona (Braavos).
Though originally revived in Malta, the one and only King’s Landing rests on the coast of the Adriatic sea, in the medieval town of Dubrovnik. Consequently, the Croatian capital of theatre, love and summer is the place most associated with the series, and most visited for the same reason. And, it’s more than a lucky find – frozen in time, Dubrovnik is the last living epitome of the renaissance and all of its values. It’s where the Battle of Blackwater roared through the night, the place of the long expected Purple Wedding and the violent death of Oberyn Martell, which broke many fervent hearts, and so much more.
5. Northern Ireland
Then again, no country in the world is better suited to bear the burden of the Iron Throne than Game of Thrones’ very own Northern Ireland. Though more lukewarm than summery, these lands have already became a lore in their own right, which makes them impossible to miss. Both Winterfell and Castle Black have found their home in the quiet and grassy fields that surround Belfast, and so have Eyrie and bits of Meereen. Northern Ireland might not be the warmest part of Westeros, but let’s be honest: we’d all follow the last King in the North to the end of the world.
In season 7, we’ll return to most of these locations. Most likely, we’ll find them cold and snowy, with their kings and queens sizzling in the face of long awaited conclusions. Before that finally happens, let these marvelous realms soothe you. Drink them in the summer, with milk of the poppy on the side.