King’s Landing was looking particularly impressive from where I was standing, perched atop adjacent Fort Lovrijenac, or The Red Keep to you and me, itself a veteran of many Game of Thrones locations. It was the perfect spot to look down at the ancient fortified walls of Dubrovnik’s old city and see it in such a familiar light; the often-repeated exterior shot of King’s Landing, Game of Thrones’ fictional capital. The flags up on the battlements, the harbour, the medieval gates and the circular fort. From up here, I could clearly see the waters of Blackwater Bay, the stone pier where Lord Baelish helped Sansa flee to The Vale after Joffrey’s murder and talking of Joffrey, the park where his wedding party took place. It was, I have to say, all gloriously familiar. So welcome to our Dubrovnik guide to Game of Thrones locations.
Dubrovnik’s old city was made for this. Over a mile and a half of original medieval ramparts over 18 feet thick, it is a film set waiting to happen. With the help of Tomislav Matana (whose sister Ivana was an extra in the series), we took a walk around the old city and uncovered the juiciest locations for some of Game of Thrones most memorable scenes.
We met just outside Pile Gate, the western entrance to the old city, a favourite meeting spot just by the doors of Dubrovnik’s tourist board and well within spitting distance of the city walls. As we walk through Pile Gate’s huge doors and into the old city down a sloping walkway, Tomislav points out “This was the location for Jaime Lannister’s return to King’s Landing and where the many market place scenes were shot.”
As we walk down I know this place; I’ve seen it countless times from when Joffrey got dung thrown at him, to when the riots began. Our Dubrovnik guide to Game of Thrones locations is starting to take shape.
We cut through the city to the water’s edge just around from the harbour and found ourselves by the narrow stone pier leading out to the Adriatic. A very busy location for all kinds of scenes; Sansa dreaming of freedom from Joffrey, leaving with Baelish after Joffrey’s murder and the battle of Blackwater Bay. Just to the right, a rocky outcrop beckoned with two green doors set into the rock, here was the slaughter of the innocents. And down to the left of the narrow pier, another scene when Twyn Lannister aka Charles Dance is fishing.
We cut around the small harbour, past the Slaughter of the Innocents doors and ascend the steps up to the Red Keep. Now, this was much more like it, a veritable treasure trove of shooting locations. Up here there are familiar scenes everywhere you look. Joffrey’s Name Day tournament, Sandor The Hound, Daenerys Targaryen’s House of the Undying, prison scenes, corridor scenes, it’s a walking talking Game of Thrones location fest.
Up on the roof, past the old cityscape, I spotted a replica old schooner making its way across the sea to the Island of Lokrum. It’s no more than a 20-minute ferry ride out to the island which these days is a quiet retreat from the bustle of old Dubrovnik; just a wooded isle with beaches, peacocks, a botanical garden, a nature walk and a cafe or two. Of course, in Game of Thrones it is something entirely different, for this was the port city of Qarth.
Back on the mainland, I had one more location to seek out. A short taxi ride along the coast from Dubrovnik old city is a bombed-out wreck of one luxurious 5-star hotel called Hotel Belvedere. It was a creepy reminder of the dark days of the Balkan war when Dubrovnik was under siege for months, but it was yet another perfect location for Game of Thrones and it hosted the titanic battle when Prince Oberyn, the Red Viper of Dorne faced The Mountain.
Dubrovnik will once again host filming in the next season of Game of Thrones coming this September. More reasons to keep our Dubrovnik guide to Game of Thrones locations close by.
Until then, Winter is coming……..
All images apart from HBO scenes (c) Andy Mossack
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Getting to Dubrovnik
British Airways currently operates 8 flights weekly from Gatwick to Dubrovnik The lead-in regular fare is £151.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges with hand baggage only fares from £119.09, both these levels are not now available until late October. Club Europe fares start from £401.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges, but again restricted availability during the summer may result in a higher fare.To book or for more information visit www.ba.com or call 0844 4930787.
Gatwick Express, the non-stop rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport, departs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes. Gatwick Express is the fastest and best way to travel between central London and Gatwick Airport with return tickets starting from £27.40. With an ongoing 10% discount, it is always cheaper to buy your ticket online at www.gatwickexpress.com
if you have an early flight stay the night at Gatwick, Holiday Extras offers discounted great value airport room only rates and a luxurious way to mitigate the discomforts of rising at dawn to catch
that early plane. www.holidayextras.co.uk Tel: 0800 1313 777