As the summer holiday season approaches, not everybody wants a fun in the sun experience at some generic all-inclusive hotel complex, with poolside bingo or water aerobics is futile.
Some prefer to escape their mundane lives by travelling to faraway lands and return with tales of surviving Hobbit country in New Zealand, escaping the Lost island in Hawaii or even taking a honeymoon drink at a bar in Tatooine.
However, for those that have already ticked these famous filming locations off their bucket list, maybe it’s time to embark on the ultimate quest along the continents of Westeros and Essos. The Game of Throne settings are famously scenic, beautiful and even magnificent, and there’s an option for every traveller to enjoy thi
Oberyn Martell probably described it best when he said “It is a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.”
There is something for every budget on a journey that involves many miles and warm or cool climates depending on your preference, so pack your bags and prepare to leave at daybreak and embark on a holiday far beyond the wall.
Doune Castle was formerly known as Swamp Castle, Castle Anthrax and Camelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but Game of Thrones fans will recognise it from the opening episode as Winterfell.
The castle can be reached in only an hour from both Glasgow and Edinburgh making this an irresistible distraction to liven up a City break when visiting Scotland, although it might be worth exercising caution when standing by the tower window.
6. Northern Ireland
The road between Winterfell and King’s Landing, is known as the King’s Road, but locally this area is known as Dark Hedges and the tunnel of mystical trees immediately bring back memories of the show.
There is a Game of Thrones day tour available from Belfast or the adventurous might want to immerse themselves in a 3 day self-drive tour and stop by the Castle Ward archery experience at Winterfell Castle where getting ones geek on is expected.
A quick Google search will reveal a wealth of other options such as Game of Thrones glamping, medieval banquets or even meet the Direwolves used in the actual show whilst wearing cape of the north costumes, but remember night is dark, and full of terrors.
Further options are available in this beautiful part of the world such as visiting the caves where Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to a shadow baby, but for those feeling really brave, why not live out a fantasy of being a member of the Night’s Watch and stay in a cottage by the Haunted Forest, dismembered Wilding bodies gored stag not included.
Anyone who has read the books will know the line “A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.” However, the only way of finding out if giants, ghouls and white walkers are lurking beyond the wall is to make that epic journey of self-discovery to Iceland.
The easiest way of making this trip a reality is to hop on a plane to Reykjavik and join the Beyond the Wall tour where the real adventure begins.
Passing through Goðafoss known as the waterfall of the gods and Lake Mývatn is the only way to truly walk in the footsteps of Jon Snow and Ygritte, as for the white walkers, they don’t exist do they?
Season 5 is the moment when Tyrion and Daenerys first meet, although not yet screened, this is guaranteed to put both Osuna’s bullring and Seville on the map this summer.
Baños de Doña María de Padilla and Grotto of the Sultans will be featured in the season too along with other locations that are yet to be revealed, but this should be enough to take advantage of a cheap Ryanair flight sooner rather than later.
The canny owners of Casa Curro in Osuna have already launched a specialist Game of Thrones menu to allow fans an authentic feast depending on their allegiance, so maybe Seville should be bumped up the bucket list before the masses descend.
Tourists may call the jewel of the Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik but to people in the know it is known only as King’s Landing where Joffrey infamously sat on the iron throne and is also host to Westeros’ main landmarks.
Ticking the House of the Undying off a bucket list is a good place to start but in the not so exciting real world, it is known as Minceta Tower. However, the easiest way of beginning such an adventure would be to take the affordable Game of Thrones walking tour offered by Viator.
It’s also worth remembering that In season one, the Red Keep scenes were filmed in Malta, but they have subsequently moved to Dubrovnik and anyone wanting to relive the Battle of Blackwater should head for Lovrijenac Fortress.
The Dothraki Wedding for Khal Drogo with Daenerys Targaryen is located on the island of Gozo in Malta, for those with an understanding partner, why not get married there too in the perfect geek wedding?
Once again, there are a number of tours available that showcase the numerous familiar filming locations from the show such as the medieval city Mdina, that featured as the Seven Kingdom’s capital of King’s Landing during the first series.
Several of the island’s ancient forts were also used as Red Keep, King’s Landing’s brooding castle before moving to Dubrovnik, but still keep the status of must-see.
Explore Marrakech and stumble upon the setting of Pentos, bu remember to take a day trip to the slave-trading city of Astapor which can be found in the Moroccan city of Essaouira making it a perfect way to retrace the steps of Daenerys across the continent of Essos.
However, real adventurers or nomads will jump at the opportunity of riding a camel deep into the Sahara desert to visit Aït Benhaddou which any self-respecting fan will tell you is known as Yunkai.