Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic. Beautiful old town with warm red tile roofs and washed limestone buildings. Monasteries and palaces, church towers. The glittering blue of the Mediterranean, sheer cliffs, romantic bays with coarse pebble stone beaches. A mighty century old city wall with imposing gates, sweeping views from the defensive towers. A picturesque harbour, sheltering yachts and fishing boats. Traffic-free streets and plazas lined with friendly cafés that offer delicious meals under shady wide umbrellas.
Kings Landing on the Adriatic Coast
If that’s not enough to convince you to visit this beautiful Croatian city, then how about a trip to King’s Landing instead? Dubrovnik has been a popular travel destination for decades, charming travellers from around the world with its romantic backdrop, but since it has become the background for some of the most remembered scenes in Game of Thrones, tourism in this city has taken on a whole new dimension.
Forget the regular boring city walking tours that you would find in any other beautiful old town in Europe and open up to a whole new world of Game of Thrones themed activities. Not just self-guided audio tours and private walking tours, mind you.
A Visit to Dubrovnik or a Game of Thrones tour?
You can even go on a kayak tour, Game of Thrones style. It’s a bit strange, if you ask me. Any other place, a good theme to lure the tourists, that’s acceptable. But a city as pretty as Dubrovnik, reduced to a Game of Thrones scenes spectacular? I even overheard a visitor asking the guide about the name of the capital of Westeros. It’s a bit of shame, I wonder how the guides must feel about it deep inside, if the follow-up question is not, “And what’s the capital of Croatia again?” (it’s not Dubrovnik, by the way).
Of course, this is not to say I am not a big Game of Thrones fan myself. I love the show. And I was truly excited to stumble upon some of the familiar places myself. I was surprised how easy it was to identify certain spots. You can book a tour, of course, and totally indulge in this feeling of controlled reconnaissance. Or you can do it our way and just drift along the streets and enjoy the surprises. The choice is yours. I won’t judge you. But please do remember that Dubrovnik has an interesting history as well and many stories to tell.
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Here are some of the places you can visit in Dubrovnik to check out some of the Game of Thrones locations:
Remember the Lannisters seeing off Myrcella Baratheon as she is shipped off to Dorne as a political pawn? This is where it all happens, at a stone pier right underneath the city walls and Fort Lovrijenac (which also appears on the show from time to time), near the Ulica od Tabakarije.
Not far from this is the Fort Bokar which we found unaccessible when visiting but you can get still quite close to the structure when you do the popular City Wall Walk (which I will write about in a later post). Fort Bokar and Fort Lovrijenac are facing each other, protecting the little bay that is home to the stone pier.
When doing the City Wall Walk you come past the Minčeta Tower, a strangely shaped round defensive tower that doubles as the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones. Remember how Daenerys Targaryen visited the House? This is not King’s Landing, of course, but Qarth.
St. Dominic Street
These striking round stone steps can be found in the St. Dominic Street. In the show they serve as a stage for preachers in Flea Bottom that are openly questioning the policies of the ruling family.
Another great location that keeps on re-appearing on the show is the Pile Gate, the main gate for all visitors to Dubrovnik’s old town. The gate is a beautiful construct that forces you to enter the city in a zig-zag way down a ramp. Perfect for a number of scenes where lots of extras are required to portray the people of King’s Landing or the great unwashed of Flea Bottom.
The Rector’s Palace with its marvellous atrium and open staircase is also a recognisable GoT filming location.
St Ignatius Church
And these steps here have been featured repeatedly in key scenes, for example when we watch Cersei’s naked Walk of Shame or when Tommen pleas with the priests to have his queen released from interrogation. You can find these stairs leading up to the St Ignatius Church in the Jesuit Quarter.
Dubrovnik really is a wonderful place to visit, and now with the Game of Thrones locations to add to the excitement there really is no reason why you shouldn’t visit soon. We had a great time walking through King’s Landing and reliving the various scenes. I hope the guide I provided will help you do the same.