From Croatia to Morocco, there are some outstanding Game of Thrones castles that you cannot miss as a GOT fan. Here are some of my favourites…
Featured image above – Dunluce castle (Castle Greyjoy)
Fort Lovrijenak (Dubrovnik)
Starting with season 2, all of King’s Landing was shot in the Mediterranian coastal city of Dubrovnik. Filled with medieval buildings, the town is a popular tourist attraction. It was the scene of one of Game of Thrones’ greatest battles. Set on an island just off of Dubrovnik’s coast, Lovrijenace Fortress was the Red Keep during much of the series. It was here where Lannister forces gathered in anticipation of Stanis Baratheon’s invasion. Of course, the would-be king suffered a crippling defeat, when his navy was decimated by wildfire.
Zaffra Castle (Spain)
Appearing in season 6, The Castle of Zafra was a stand-in for the Tower of Joy, the birthplace of Jon Snow. It appeared in a flashback experienced by Bran Stark, where he saw his father, Ned, fight Targaryen forces during Robert’s Rebellion. It was here where Bran learned the truth about his ‘brother’, and Jon’s potential claim to the throne. Like many Spanish fortress castles, Zafra was designed to fight off the Muslim Moores. The castle allegedly never fell to the invaders, and today it remains an important piece of Spanish military history.
Doune Castle (Scotland)
While most of Winterfell’s scenes were shot in Northern Ireland, this Scottish castle was used as a major location in the North. Located north of Edinbrough, Doune castle may not be familiar to fans from the outside but go to the courtyard. That’s when things get really interesting. A stand-in for Winterfell’s courtyard, it was the location for a number of pivotal scenes. There was where Robert Baratheon and his family arrived in the first episode, where Daenerys encountered the Stark family at the start of season 8. It’s one of my favourite Game of Thrones Castles.
Castle Ward (Ireland)
Not only a castle, but a massive complex of various historical buildings, Castle Ward is a town unto itself. While not from the medieval era, the castle retained many of the architectural aspects of that time to make it stafbuind out among Northern Ireland’s stately homes. While the main house is the most visible location, it’s the area in and around the tower house on the property every Game of Thrones fan will recognize. The tower features prominently in nearly every scene in Winterfell and is by far its most visible feature. There’s even a digital rendition of the tower in a number of establishing shots of the kingdom.
Another location from Spain, The Royal Alcazar of Seville was used in the series as one of the palaces in the nation of Dorne. While Dorne has remained controversial among fans, no one can deny that it is one of the most beautiful locations in the show. Much of this is owed to The Royal Alcazar’s ornate architecture, which was inspired by that of the Muslim Moores who once lived there. Built on one of these settlements, the palace is home to Spain’s royal family.
Minceta Tower, Dubrovnik
The main base of Minčeta Tower was used as the peripheral of House of Undying in the town known as Qarth. It is the place where Daenerys Targaryen walks around trying to find the entrance into the House of Undying looking for her stolen dragons in season two. The most noticeable part of Dubrovnik’s walls is the rounded tower where the walls are 6m thick, in order to protect Dubrovnik from attacks by land. The tower is the highest point of the walls and it offers a remarkable view on the old town of Dubrovnik. The tower’s name comes from the the Mencetic family, who owned the ground on which the tower was built.
Ait Benhadou (Morocco)
Perhaps the most recognisable Game of Thrones sets in Morocco is the ancient town of Ait Ben Haddou, which doubles as Yunkai: one of the great cities in Slavers Bay, that Daenerys lays siege to in season three. It’s easy to see why the creators of Game of Thrones decided to use Ait Ben Haddou as the backdrop for the so-called ‘yellow city’. It perfectly fits George RR Martin’s description of Yunkai, meaning very few things needed to be added/changed in the post edit. From a fan perspective, this makes visiting Ait Ben Haddou very exciting, as even a glance at the fortified village will take you to Essos.