Game of Thrones walking tour in Dubrovnik was not just a fantasy

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Film crews set up in Dubrovnik this week to shoot scenes for the next season of Game of Thrones, the latest in a line of critically and popularly acclaimed TV shows from HBO. The series, adapted from George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels, documents a war waged by several noble families for the Seven Kingdom’s Iron Throne.
The medieval walled city doubles for the King’s Landing in seasons two and three of the show; capital of Westeros and home to the much fought-over Iron Throne, currently occupied by the mercurial young king Joffrey Lannister (Jack Gleeson).
And now it is providing a whole new shore excursion opportunity for the thousands of cruise passengers who are decanted into the city every day.
One of the problems Dubrovnik faces is its sheer popularity. When two or three ships visit together, the old town starts to burst at the seams, as everyone tries to see the same sights at the same time.
A walking tour of locations used for scenes from the show provides an opportunity to see Dubrovnik from a different angle, and to get away from some of the crowds.
I sampled it a few weeks ago, after my son found out about it from
We were led by Ivana, an archaeologist by profession and a keen Game of Thrones fan. As one of the 400 local extras used in season two, she was able was able to provide much inside information during a fascinating morning.
After gathering in the square where shuttle buses and taxis arrive from the port, our group left the noise and hustle behind to explore what was in reality Fort Lovrijenac, but in the show, the Red Keep, home of the Kings of the Seven Kingdoms.
As we climbed the many steps and explored the rooms of the Fort, Ivana had images to show how what we were seeing in reality appeared on screen, with shots from scenes featuring Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinkledge).
From the top of the Fort, the view below us offered us a surprise revelation. The calm waters below – broken only by a gaggle of kayakers – wasn’t just any old bay, but Blackwater Bay itself. We soon got to explore it from close-up after we left the fort.
Sadly, it was impossible to completely avoid the thronging Stradun – getting through the Pile Gate was about as easy as trying to enter Leicester Square during a One Direction premiere.
Once the walls had been breached though, we soon discovered that Dubrovnik had not only doubled for King’s Landing, but some buildings had also been used as locations in Qarth, across the narrow sea. Most notably, the base of Minčeta Tower, highest point on the formidable walls, doubled for the exterior of the House of Undying.
Even more fascinating was looking across the terracotta rooftops from the walls and comparing then with Ivana’s image of King’s Landing.
There were all the right buildings – but not necessarily in the right order. Everything had been cut up and pasted, with whole districts duplicated to create a larger CGI vista for the television screen.
Filming for season four is scheduled to continue in Dubrovnik until September 20, when it will move to Split, Croatia’s second city and home to the Roman remains of Diocletian’s Palace.
The Game of Thrones walking tour costs £47.56 per person and lasts about three hours. There’s an optional one-and-a-half hour extension to Trsteno Arboretum, the site used as the King’s Landing palace gardens.
Book online at A non-themed two-hour walking tour of Dubrovnik’s old town is available from Viator for £15.13 – far less than the price of excursions sold on board ship.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I acknowledge the assistance provided for this article by NICK HONEYWELL who not only found the Game of Thrones tour at, but also filled in the blanks in my knowledge of the series – which were total.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:30+00:00 21 August 2013|Cruise Destinations, Cruise Entertainment|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Trusted Luxury Cruises 26 August 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    What a fun tour for fans of the show! It’s hard to imagine filming in such a small, touristy place like Dubrovnik, though. But guess it works for Game of Thrones!

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