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Croatia was a popular seaside jaunt long before the arrival of Game of Thrones, but HBO’s world-dominating series certainly notched things up a gear. These days, there can’t be many visitors to Croatia who aren’t aware that reams of footage were filmed here. Fantasy fans travel from all over in geeky-pilgrimage to the site of Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik, which doubles as The King’s Landing in the series, but there’s a slew of other filming locations spread across this gorgeously cinematic country. Take a tour of real-life filming locations with our Game of Thones guide to Croatia.
Something of a mecca for Throne-heads, the eminently instagrammable Fort Lovrijenac is perhaps the most notable of Dubrovnik’s filming locations. Jutting out proudly over the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, this handsome fortress is the palace known as the Red Keep, appearing in the background of plenty of scenes involving The King’s Landing. Its interior courtyards were also used as the backdrop for the tournament celebrating King Joffrey’s name day in the second series.
The King’s Landing garden scenes were mostly shot in the sea-facing Trsteno Arboretum. These manicured botanical gardens are a riot of colourful blossoms and vibrant greenery. The Arboretum also boasts a treasury of Renaissance-era garden architecture, giving visitors a splendorous insight into the visual history of the real-life 16th-century Croatia. Once owned by the noble Gučetić family, it’s one of the oldest arboretums on the continent.
Dubrovnik’s walled town, with its tangle of cobbled lanes and tightly-crammed stone houses, is where Game of Thrones‘ bustling market plays out, as well as scenes where the City Watch, or the ‘Gold Cloaks’, skulk around The King’s Landing. It’s also where the murders of King Robert’s illegitimate sons happen. Nearby, Stradun — the city’s bustling thoroughfare — is where Cersei Lannister takes her naked walk of penance in season five.
The labyrinthine Diocletian’s Palace is Split’s architectural Roman centrepiece: a chaotic confluence of winding marble streets and hemmed together stone buildings. Thrones fans will recognise it as Daenarys’ throne room; where she keeps and trains her dragons. It’s also where the slaves rise up in mutiny against their masters in season four; the lanes around Dioklecijanova double as the streets of the beleaguered Meereen.
A stone’s throw from Dubrovnik, Lokrum is an uninhabited island teeming with lush vegetation and historical ruins. Covered in a lowland forest and flanked by rocky beaches, its focal point is a ruined Napoleonic fort and botanical gardens set up by the Habsburg royal Maximilian. It plays an important role as the ancient port city of Qarth in season two of Game of Thrones, and as the location of Xaro Xhoan Daxos’s garden party held in the pine-fringed boulevard.