Beware winter is coming and so is the next season of the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones!
To celebrate the three of our favourite things – The start of the European Summer, International Sailing and binge consumption of Game of Thrones, Sunsail has compiled a Game of Thrones guide to exploring Croatia because why pay for an expensive tour when you can do it all yourself?
Warning: This post may contain spoilers
Dubrovnik – Kings Landing
For any Game of Thrones fan, the walled city of Dubrovnik should be the first place on your quest to discover Westeros. Although Malta was the original location for Kings Landing in Season One, they moved the Capital of Seven Kingdoms filming to a far more fitting Dubrovnik in Season Two.
The world-famous ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is located in the Dalmatian region of Southern Croatia. Even after a quick visit to Dubrovnik, there is no question the fortified city makes for the perfect King’s Landing filming location with its seaside location, craggy cliffs, imposing city walls and iconic terracotta roofs.
Dubrovnik’s Old Town dating, back to the 16th century, provides the perfect narrow and winding streets for some Lannister scheming.
Stadun is the main street in Dubrovnik’s Old Town and passes directly through the centre of the town from Pile Gate to the Old Port. Stadun is unique in that the street is made entirely of white marble. This street features in many scenes involving the people of Kings Landing from Season Two onwards.
St. Dominika Street
You’ll probably remember this iconic street from when Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey) embarked on her ‘walk of shame’ in the Season Five finale where she was shaved, stripped naked and forced to walk past angry citizens hurling insults and rotten food after she admitting guilt of adultery.
St. Dominika Street, just outside the Dominican monastery was also a common set for scenes in Seasons Two and Three. Because of the monastery’s hard-line stance on public nudity, negotiations resulted in the filming the ‘walk of shame’ scene costing $50,000 a day.
Ethnographic Museum Rupe
A 16th century former granary and another Old Town site, the Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski Muzej) was used for the scenes in Littlefinger’s brothel when Oberyn Martell (played by Pedro Pascal) meets with Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage). This is also a great museum to visit to learn more about the people, culture history and heritage of Dubrovnik and surrounding regions.
Situated just outside Old Town, this pine reserve was the filming site of the ‘Purple Wedding’ in Season Four where, post ceremony, King Joffrey (played by Jack Gleeson) gruesomely dropped dead after being poisoned.
Gradac Park is a great place for a walk to take in the magic of Dubrovnik and offers some excellent views of the city.
Formerly the palace of Dubrovnik’s governing body, Rector’s Palace features halfway through Season Two when Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) visits the trading city of Qarth and asks the Spice King to supply her with ships, only to be rejected.
There is a Cultural Historical Museum located inside the beautiful building and will help you discover the history and culture of Dubrovnik when it was the Republic of Ragusa and governed by a Rector.
Leave the world behind as you set sail for this almost unexplored island, an immense jungle with plantations and sacred temples hidden within. This is also an island of adventure, with snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing and fishing just a small selection of the activities on offer. If you’d like to see one of traditional highlights of the Tahitian calendar, stop by in October to catch the start of the Hawaiki Nui Va’a, the largest outrigger canoe race in the South Pacific.
St. Lawrence Fortress (Lovrijenac)
Commonly known as “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”, Fort Lovrijenac has played host to a number of GoT scenes, predominantly as the Red Keep. Although the exterior of the Red Keep is all thanks to computer-generated imagery, the fortress made for the perfect interior setting. Some scenes you may recall include King Joffery’s naming ceremony and Cersei and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen’s) ‘power is power’ confrontation in Season Two. You will find Fort Lovrijenac outside the western wall on Dubrovnik perched 37m above sea level.
A bay at the foot of Fort Lovrijenac was also used to shoot the scene of the Gold Cloaks killing King Robert Baratheon’s bastard children Season Two.
Bokar Fortress (Zvjezdan)
Constructed in the 15th Century, Bokar Fortress’s main purpose was to protect Pile Gate and bridge from Western attacks. The fortress makes its GoT debut in Season Two when Tyrion and Lord Varys (played by Conleth Hill) planned the defence of Kings Landing from Stannis Baratheon (played by Stephen Dillane).
Situated between the Bokar and St. Lawrence Fortresses, Pile Gate is the main entrance to Old Town Dubrovnik. A number of scenes were shot both inside and outside Pile. External scenes are most recognisable as ‘Blackwater Bay’ including when Myrcella ‘Baratheon’ was sent off to Dorne to marry Trystane Martell and in Season Three and then in later Season Three when Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) watch the ships sailing around Kings Landing and when Littlefinger and Sansa plot Sansa’s escape from the city.
The riot in the Red Keep post-Myrcella’s send off in Season Two that saw King Joffrey not only cop abuse but also human faeces to the face a was also filmed from inside Pile Gate.
Easily access all of the Game of Thrones Dubrovnik sites on a Bareboat or skippered yacht charter out of Dubrovnik. Prices start from $2275 based on six people on a 36ft monohull for seven nights or $4774 based on eight people on a 44ft catamaran.
Used predominantly for more scenes set in Kings Landing, Split is situated on the Dalmatian Coast and is Croatia’s second-largest city. Other scenes shot in Split include those involving Daenerys and her exploits in the city of Meereen.
Another UNESCO world heritage site, Split is an excellent city to visit on any Croatian adventure with unique edifices, tombs and towers, brilliant bays and fresh seafood galore. It is particularly easy to access by boat, car or plane.
The catacombs of the 1700 year old Diocletian Palace in the centre of Split is where Daenerys kept and trained her dragons in Season Four. This is also where the slaves debated joining Daenerys’s rebellion against the Masters of Meereen and the site of her throne room.
The Palace, constructed in the 3rd Century, occupies 30,000 square metres and is considered one of the oldest and most imposing Roman ruins in the world.
Not far from Split, in the city of Klis you will find the Klis Fortress, or the city of Meereen, this is where Daenerys fought to free the slaves of the city and answer ‘injustice with justice’ in Season Four. Follow in the footsteps of Kahlessi and hike the stony path to the top, but keep your eyes peeled for rogue dragons. The Klis fortress also offers excellent views of Split.
A mere 6 nautical miles from Marina Agana and another site hosting various scenes of Qarth is the Monastery of St. Dominic in Trogir. The Old Town of Trogir is an oval-shaped island squeezed between the mainland and the larger island of Ciovo. The city is unbelievably picturesque with a seafront promenade and numerous landmarks including palaces, churches and towers.
Located between Trogir and Split, Kaštel Gomilica is one of the seven Kaštela (or castle) settlements. This is where some of the exterior scenes of Braavos were shot in Season Five including the scenes where Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams) is selling oysters from a cart. Kaštel Gomilica is 17 nautical miles east of Marina Agana.
Further east of Split than Klis, the small town of Žrnovnica was used for the bathing scene of the unsullied and Missandei, Daenerys’s advisor/handmaiden, in Season Four.
Explore the Game of Thrones sites around Split on a bareboat or skippered yacht charter out of Marina Agana. Prices start from $2065 based on 6 people on a 36ft monohull for 7 nights or $4424 based on 8 people on a 44ft catamaran.
Consistently used in Season Four to shoot the landscapes of the West, Krka National Park is a beautiful network of lakes, rivers and waterfalls that represent some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Croatia including the stunning Krka Falls.
Located 6 hours sailing north of Split, the Krka is a river is 73 kilometres long and covers a basin area of over 2,000 square kilometres.
Old Town, Šibenik
Known as ‘The Kings City’, Šibenik set the scene for Braavos, one of the Free Cities in the series. Old Town Šibenik made its GoT debut in Season Five when Arya arrives in Braavos seeking the House of Black and White.
Šibenik is 31 nautical miles from Marina Agana and a great place to enjoy traditional Dalmatian dishes and great views. A visit to Šibenik is not complete without exploring the four fortresses protecting the city; the Fortress of St. Nicholas, St. Michael, St. John and the Šubićevac Fortress.
St. James Cathedral, Šibenik
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the site of the mysterious face changing House of Black and White in Braavos where Arya arrives looking for Jaqen H’ghar in Season Five. The Façade of the cathedral is extremely unique in that is has multiple faces the around entire edifice, thus making it the perfect location for the temple of the God of Many Faces.
Combining the Renaissance and Gothic styles, the St. James Cathedral will have you in awe of its architecture and design and is a must-see in Šibenik.
Recreate the scenes from Game of Thrones in Krka National Park on a Krka Flotilla sailing holiday departing from Marina Agana. Prices start from $2554 based on six people on a 36ft monohull for seven nights or $4359 based on eight people on a 38ft catamaran. Flotilla holidays include full support from Sunsail lead crew (skipper, host and technician), breakfast, punch party and an end of week regatta.
Steeped in ancient history and full to the brim with golden beaches, tiny fishing villages and stunning scenery, the Ionian Islands are your introduction to traditional Greek life. With calm conditions, steady winds and line-of-sight sailing, this is the perfect destination for new sailors or any sailor looking for a chilled-out holiday.
Situated 24 kilometres north-west of Dubrovnik (or 8 nautical miles) and one of the main GoT filming locations, Trsteno Arboretum features throughout the series predominantly as the gardens of Kings Landing. The main characters are often seen walking through the gardens plotting and scheming.
Notable scenes shot here include Sansa Stark meeting with Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) to discuss Joffrey’s suitability as a husband in Season Three. This is also where Ser Dontos gives Sansa Stark the poisonous necklace to thank her for saving his life and Tyrion visits a distraught Sansa after hearing about her families deaths in Season Four.
This stunning Arboretum is Croatia’s oldest Renaissance Park and home to two 500-year-old, 60 metre tall Oriental Plane trees. Other highlights include the Belvedere Pavilion, Neptune’s fountain, the aqueduct and mill.
Located just off the Dubrovnik Coast the island of Lokrum has become home to the interior scenes of the city of Qarth. Here we see Daenerys enters Qarth in Season Two after being granted access by Xaro Xhoan Daxos, one of the Thirteen and is invited to a garden party here.
Lokrum is a lovely uninhabited island (unless you count the peacocks that reside here) with exotic plant varieties, peaceful beaches and quiet swimming spots. Prior to the filming of the GoT series, the island’s 13th-century Benedictine monastery ruins were rarely visited.
This where Gates of Qarth set was constructed (and digitally enhanced). Although there is not much here on a normal day, this is where our favourite Khaleesi negotiates with the Thirteen to let her remaining Dothraki soldiers into the city.
23 nautical miles north of Dubrovnik and best known for its extensive 5 kilometre city walls, Ston was used to film more of Kings Landing. Appearing in scenes from Season Two onwards, Ston’s walls were depicted as the western fortification of King Landing.
Apart from the walls, the salt flats and saltworks are also well worth a visit with the industry in Ston dating back to the 13th century.
Well there you have it, Croatia really does have it all – Game of Thrones, excellent food, culture, people and world class sailing – what more could you want?
Use this guide to visit Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast with Sunsail and chart your own course to conquer Westeros. With charters departing weekly and starting from $2065 for groups of six people, you’re sure to find a holiday to suit your group size and budget.
Until then, here is a Season Six teaser to whet your appetite:
Although most of the filming for the Game of Thrones series takes place in a studio in Belfast, with so many diverse landscapes depicted on-site filming locations include Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Spain, Morocco, Malta and Croatia
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