It starts raining as I walk atop the walls of Dubrovnik Old Town , standing tall at a height of 82 feet above sea level. The town below me looks picturesque surrounded by the azure waters while the homes painted in shades of red are all huddled together. We head to a quaint cafe located high up in the walls and sip a cup of hot coffee. For a moment, I am lost in a wonderland. The Croatian coastal town morphs into a fantasy world as it becomes Kings Landing , the capital of the Westeros of Game of Thrones. Walking around the Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik Old Town , I feel like I have merged with the show. Dubrovnik was not the first choice for King’s Landing – it was Malta in Season 1. But since Season 2, it has morphed into Kings Landing and even Qarth for a season which was shot in the Lokrum Island. And it is not just a location, but virtually a nucleus of the show. Every powerful character has had a tryst with Kings Landing as dramatic scenes have been filmed here. I am on a Game of Thrones walking tour Dubrovnik, listening to stories and snippets. My guide is Ivana who takes me to some of the Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik and gives me a peek into some of the behind the scenes .The rain slows down and we are back on our trail. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then join me on this trail as we discover the Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik.
The City Walls
The City Walls girdle the Dubrovnik Old Town and they stretch to over 2 kms in length. Standing here, you can remember Cersei looking at The Mountain for the first time or Shey staring out at the sea before betraying her lover Tyrion. The Walls form a backdrop to almost several scenes of the show including battles and they are like a running motif . It is one of the most prominent Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik. The Walls have been one of the strongest fortifications during the Middle Ages, these walls were apparently breached unlike King’s Landing.
The 600 year old Bokar Fortress, which stands right at the entrance of the Old Town along the sea side walls is the very representation of King’s Landing and is the most important of the Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik Old Town. Here you can almost visualise Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys having a conversation as they discuss the defense of their town . Varys tells Tyrion that he’s ‘quite good’ at being the hand of the king. They discuss battle strategies to defeat Stannis Baratheon’s army while looking out to sea. Bokar Fortress with its semi circular tower and stone corollas was actually built to defend the medieval town in the 15h century by Florentine architect , Michelozzi. The fairy tale castle is a two storeyed castle that took over a century to build and is one of the oldest in the city.
It is still raining as I stand at the main entrance of the Dubrovnik Old Town and the dark clouds create a dramatic aura. Boats bob around in the jetty as tourists wade through the gate. You can get views of the fortresses – Bokar and Lovrijenac here, besides the charming fishing harbour . The old wooden drawbridge leading to the entrance is crowded as I visualise different scenes here.
The Gate has been one of the most famous of all Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik as several iconic scenes have been filmed here, including one with Sansa Stark and Little Finger as she escapes. But the most dramatic scene is a riot here in one of the earlier seasons. Sansa is almost raped while the locals attack King Jeffrey . My guide says that the frenzy of the rape was so real that even her clothes were torn as she played a peasant here.
Aptly titled the Gibralter of Dubrovnik, the formidable fort standing at 37 feet above sea level has been the venue of several scenes from Game of Thrones. Built originally to thwart attacks from Venetians, the fort is located on a cliff outside the city walls.Upon hearing that Venetians might invade them, the Croatians came up with a clever idea. They built one 12-metre thick wall of the gigantic Lovrijenac Fortress 37 metres above sea level, to create the illusion that there was a huge citadel to protect the city. They cleverly managed to escape invasion, and completed the building later.
In Game of Thrones though, the Battle of Blackwater Bay was filmed along its shore, as the bay along the walls was the scene of the gory battle. The fortress is also the Red Keep. If you get to climb the 175 steps of this fortress, you will enter a scene where the tournament was thrown in honour of King Joffrey. And perhaps you can even listen to conversations between Cersei Lannister and Peter Baelish.
Dubrovnik was not just King’s Landing but it also doubled up as a location for Qarth, a city of pure born that we see in the early seasons of Game of Thrones. And this is where we are introduced to Khaleesi. Located at the highest point of Dubronik, stands the circular, defense tower which barely looks like the eerie House of Undying where Khaleesi or Daenerys Targaryen searches for her stolen dragons.Fans can walk along a high wall above the city and look out over the orange rooftops of King’s Landing, before they reach this prominent defence tower. The views here are stunning. If you miss Qarth, you are missing one of the dramatic Game of Throne locations.
Once a granary and now a museum, it was a brothel in Game of Thrones . You cannot miss this unusual location in the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour. This is where Tyrion Lannister meets Oberyn Martell or the Red Viper. The museum housed in an imposing building takes you through small dark rooms and tunnels where you can get actually get a glimpse of textiles and costumes. But in the 16th century, it was a an old granary. The locals stored wheat, barley and millet here and they were kept in silos carved of stone which was also protected from heat and was coated with a water proof material.
St. Dominic Street
Located near the monastery and the church dedicated to St Dominic, this is one of the most beautiful streets where markets were filmed . This is where Ivana had her 15 seconds of fame too as she played a peasant in the market. But you can also visualise gory scenes like the murder of King Richard’s illegitimate sons here. The street is also known for the infamous Walk of Shame scene that starts at Jesuit’s Steps. The street leads to fort Revelin, located in the other entrance of the Old Town called Ploce. This is not just one of the prominent places to see in Dubrovnik but it is also one of the most important Game of Thrones locations.
The elegant Baroque stairs near the Jesuit Church of St Ignatius of Loyola echoes with the the voices screaming ,” Shame Shame.” Game of Thrones has several shocking scenes but nothing beats the Walk of Shame when Queen Cersei is paraded naked along the Jesuit’s Steps and along the St Dominic Street. The scene took five days to film and a body double was used for the Queen According to Ivana, over 200 policemen were brought in for security incase the mob turned violent. The location is grand as the staircase leads from Gundulic Square to the square in front of Ignatius Church and was built in the 18th century. The architect was a Roman who was inspired by the architecture in the Italian capital . The most iconic among Game of Thrones locations.
Built in the late 15th century, this lush garden with spectacular viewing platforms overlooking the Adriatic Sea is just 20 minutes from Dubrovnik, and is where all the palace garden scenes from King’s Landing take place. In season three, it’s here that we see Sansa dish the dirt on King Joffrey, with some persuasion from the formidable Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns. It is also here that we see Lord Varys and Olenna become allies as they talk about the wellbeing of Sansa, and stroll through the garden and under an ancient archway. Other impressive sites include a Neptune statue, and water fountain with a pool of coy carp beneath. There is a beautiful Renaissance villa – Gucetic Gozze with a lush garden along with a mill and an aqueduct that take your breath away. This destination may not be in all Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tours, but it is not to be missed.
Six hundred metres off Croatia’s mainland, is Lokrum Island, also referred to as Qarth, which was ruled by the “pure born.” The island dates back to the 11th century and a legend says that Richard the Lion Heart was sheltered here after a sgipwrech. The cathedral here is believed to be built by him. There is also an abbey and a monastery here. The Lokrum Island is where we see Daenerys Targaryen meeting the Spice King . The island is accessible by boat and cannot be missed in the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour.
The Game of Thrones walking tour Dubrovnik is one of the main things to do in Dubrovnik where you can see the scenes come alive. Are you a Game of Thrones fan ? Which is your favourite Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik ?