As much as many of us may wish that we could jump into our TV screens when an episode of Game of Thrones is on and go beyond the pixels, past the static and into the magical world of make-believe, sadly, we can’t. Never will we be able to explore the continents of Westeros or Essos. Never we will be able to see Highgarden, King’s Landing, Winterfell, Sunspear or Casterly Rock. But, hold on. There’s still hope. With this, our Game of Thrones travel destinations
guide, you can visit, in the flesh, 9 real-life, Spain based Game of Thrones locations. Eat your heart out.
Real Alcázar, Seville
When and Where: Kicking off our Game of thrones travel destinations is Spain’s beautiful ancient fortress, the Real Alcázar. This first cropped up in Game of Thrones’ fifth season as the setting for Dorne.
Located in Seville, in Spain’s Andalucia region, this southerly city is fascinating. Taking pride and place amongst its vast array of tourist attractions is the Real Alcázar. Beginning life in the 10th century, this palace complex, once home to the many rulers of Seville, is stunning.
Marrying Mudéjar and Christian architecture, the Alcazar is a labyrinth of charming courtyards, beautiful gardens, and patios complete with fountains, ponds, and statues. The Maiden’s Courtyard with its opulent sunken gardens, reflective pools, and intricate lace carvings gives the palace an otherworldly feel. Perfect for the set of a fictitious world.
Walk through the place and get lost in the splendor of the architecture. From the ornate tiling to the arched rooms. Or, reenacted your favorite scenes from Game of Thrones.
When and Where: Tick two locations off of your Game of Thrones travel destinations with Girona, northern Catalonia’s biggest city after Barcelona. This beautiful city wins itself two mentions for its role in Game of Thrones. One, for the tangled knot of its cobblestone streets, stepping in to serve as the city of Braavos and, two for its Cathedral. Girona’s Cathedral starred as the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing in the sixth season of the show.
Steeped in history, Girona’s old town once housed a large Jewish community and is now home to the largest and best preserved Jewish quarter in Europe. A walk through these parts leads you through cobbled streets lined with galleries, museums, and great cafes and bars. Of particular note is the Museum of Jewish history which tells storied history of Catalonia’s Jewish communities.
Wind your way up the narrow streets until you reach the city’s mammoth centerpiece, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona. Sitting atop a flight of 91 quad-stiffening steps, this strikingly impressive Cathedral boasts the widest nave in the world. The Cathedral’s Gothic facade gives way to an interior that houses a great collection of artworks, including masterworks of Romanesque tapestry.
Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country
When and Where: The staggering, rugged beauty of Dragonstone, first introduced to us in Episode 1 of season 7, is in actuality San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.
An hours drive from Bilbao, perfect for a day trip, and located off the Basque coasts is the small islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Sitting perched atop the craggy rock is the Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. This chapel, built by the Knights Templar in the 10th century, is a pilgrimage site (June 24th, July 31st, and August 29th). And, is access by a 241 step hike that boasts incredible, sweeping views.
According to legend, ringing the chapels bell three times grants you a wish and cleanses you of evil spirits. When you’ve made your wish, head down another flight of stairs and explore the surrounding shoreline.
Itzurun Beach, Zumaia
When and Where: More of Season 7’s Dragonstone at Itzurun Beach.
A further two hours along from Gaztelugatxe is the surreal looking Itzurun Beach. This location feels as if it were created to serve solely as one of those places where Game of Thrones is filmed. But, it’s real. And, it’s spectacular.
Itzurun Beach is situated along the longest continuous set of rock strata in the world. If you’ve got the legs and want to stretch your visit out consider walking the Flysch route. The Guipúzcoa coast is breathtaking. Walk along its scenic trails and enjoy unforgettably beautiful vistas.
The route gets its name from the rock formation specific to the area which consists of layers of sandstone and shale. For the inexperienced, the terrain is demanding, and tides are a concern, so consider getting a guide.
Castillo de Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba
When and Where: Highgarden, the seat of the House of Tyrell which was captured by Jamie Lannister in season 7, is Córdoba’s own Castillo de Almodóvar del Río.
Located a half hour drive from Córdoba proper, the Castillo de Almodóvar del Río rises above the Rio Guadalquivir. This 8th-century castle began life as a Roman castle before the Moors moved in in 760 AD.
Visitors can enjoy a self-guided or guided tour and climb several of its nine towers. The two largest towers, La Torre del Homenaje and La Torre de la Escuela, boast incredible views of the Guadalquivir valley. The former of the two also houses a dungeon and a mannequin display that recreates medieval conditions.
Córdoba’s proximity makes the city a great place to base yourself and enjoy the lesser explored of southern Spain’s Andalusian treasures. Head to the Mezquita, the city’s jaw-dropping cathedral-mosque, for a slice of this part of the country’s richly diverse history.
When and Where: Peñíscola is a hotbed of Game of Thrones locations and should sit high on anybody's Game of Thrones travel destinations list. This picturesque, postcard town lies between Barcelona and Valencia and featured heavily in the HBO series season 6 serving as the setting for Meereen and the Bay of Dragons.
You can’t move in Peñíscola for places where Game of Thrones is filmed. The whole town was practically a set. Honestly it is perfect for Game of Thrones sightseeing.
Begin with the 14th century Castillo del Papa Luna, home to the deposed pope, Pope Benedict XIII and built by the Knights Templar. Now, it houses various exhibits and boasts spectacular views from a garden converted canon outpost.
Move on to the Parque de la Artillería, formerly an artillery depot that is now a botanical garden. From here you can take in the whole bay of Peñíscola. Enjoy a stroll through the gardens and take in beautiful olive trees, palm trees, lavender bushes and native flora from the Serra d’Irta Natural Park.
And, finish off by grabbing a look at the Portal Fosc, a renaissance style gate, which served as the main entrance to the city. Above, carved in stone, sits a commemorative coat of arms that belong to Philip II.
When and Where: This sun-baked part of the Iberian Peninsula featured as the Dothraki sea in season 6 of the show.
Located in the Navarre region, the Bardenas Reales is extraordinary. Canyons and peaks punctuate the red, sandy landscape of sunbaked, cracked earth. Lying in the south-east of Navarre, the Bardenas makes up 104,000 acres between the river Aragon and the River Ebro. It is a natural park with many walking trails and divides roughly into three areas. In the north, there is El Plano, a flat, elevated plateau and in the middle the Bardena Blanca. The highest section, La Negra, lies to the south and rises to an elevation of 670 meters. Explore the Bardenas (with a map, water, and compass) and experience the vastness of an area formed by water, wind and years of erosion.
Trujillo Castle, Cáceres
When and Where: In season seven of Game of Thrones we got a look at the ancestral stronghold of the house of Lannister, Casterly Rock. The actual location was, in fact, the Castillo de Trujillo in Cáceres.
This 10th-century castle of Islamic origin sits atop a 600-meter high summit. Between the 9th and 12th century the structure was strengthened and renovated by Christians. Now, you can walk the battlements between the seventeen square defense towers and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounds. You can also visit the sites old cistern and climb up to the hermitage of Our Lady of the Victory.
Castle of Zafra, Guadalajara
When and Where: First introduced in episode 3 of season 6 as the Tower of Joy, this location is the Castle of Zafra, a 12th-century castle.
Standing alone on a sandstone outcrop at 1,400 meters, the Castle Zafra is the only structure for miles. Overlooking the Guadalajara province, the structure was built in the 12 and 13th centuries and garnered a reputation as being impregnable. It belonged to Don Gonzalez Perez de Lara and remained unconquered until it fell into disrepair in the 15th century. Although you cannot visit the interior of the castle without the permission of its current owner, you can still admire it from outside. Accessing the site can be a bit difficult, due to the remoteness of its location. But, make the effort, because it pays off. The combination of the structure and the landscape make it incredibly striking.
Look, you’re not going to see any White Walkers. Or, Jon Snow for that matter (unless Kit Harington’s on holiday). But, you will get some serious Game of Thrones sightseeing in. And, when you get back from your trip, you can point out all the places you’ve been to your friends while you rewatch the box-set. That’s what holidays are for.