We’ve said goodbye to Westeros and Essos for another year (at least!), so we decided to share seven Instagram accounts to fill the “Game of Thrones” void for you wanderlusters out there.
It’s currently one of the most depressing times of year…and not just because summer has wound down, but rather because the seventh season of “Game of Thrones” has concluded. Yes, it was most certainly a treat to have an 80-minute finale. However, the longest episode in the show’s history capped its shortest season to date, giving us fans a mere seven weeks instead of the usual ten to dote on this spectacle that has captured our hearts.
There’s a myriad of reasons to love “Game of Thrones”! I’ve hinted at some of mine here and further elaborated on my fondness for Jaime Lannister here, but in a nutshell, I adore the humanness and realness of the characters. Yes, I know it’s a fantasy show, but the characters are complex, compelling and polarizing human beings: Cersei spitting out venomous insults with her distinct cadence, the sight of Jaime Lannister galloping on his white horse, elaborate period costumes, an intense shock factor, the nerve-racking tension and–last, but most certainly not least–the wanderlust-evoking backdrops.
When I watch “Game of Thrones”, I ogle at the scenery! That arrowhead-shaped mountain is real? The Water Gardens of Dorne are part of an actual palace, not a set? Anyone can walk across the rope bridge from which Balon Greyjoy was thrown? The answer to all three is yes! My inner wanderluster imagines what it would be like to drive under the Dark Hedges, trek across an Icelandic glacier, admire Dubrovnik’s distinct orange rooftops juxtaposed against the azure Adriatic, walk up the stairs to the Girona Cathedral, and stand among Roman amphitheater ruins and tell anyone who will listen through clenched teeth that I agreed to help with “no promises or assurances” from any of them. I can go on and, but I won’t!
The “Game of Thrones” finale came and went, leaving many voids that will remain empty until 2019. For you wanderlusters out there, here are seven Instagram accounts to satiate your travel pinings.
Northern Ireland is the show’s main filming location. Not only are all the interiors filmed in Belfast , but a great deal of exteriors are shot there, too. Northern Ireland is home to the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge from which Balon Greyjoy was pushed to his death; the Dark Hedges, the part of the King’s Road that Arya and Gendry passed under shortly after leaving King’s Landing and the Mourne Mountains, which feature in various shots of the pilot episode as well as serving as the entrance to Vaes Dothrak. There’s plenty more where these came from, so scroll through this feed for gorgeous shots of the familiar scenery.
For the first five seasons, Dubrovnik served as the backdrop for King’s Landing, so this Instagram feed flows like a visual love letter to the show. Panoramas of those vibrant orange rooftops along the pristine blue Adriatic are only missing the Red Keep and the Grand Sept Bailor, but the backdrop is otherwise unmistakeable. The Old Town’s narrow serpentine streets will definitely look familiar as they contain many familiar locales such as Ploče Gate, the bridge Cersei crossed at the end of the infamous walk of shame to enter the Red Keep. Keep an eye out for where the angry crowd flung cow dung at Joffrey or the stairs from which a protester mocked the crown while Tyrion and Bronn looked on. If in town, take a “Game of Thrones” walking tour through Dubrovnik’s Old Town to get a local insider’s perspective.
Split, which lies north of Dubrovnik on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, is known for its Roman ruins, in particular, the Emperor Diocletian’s Palace whose passageways have dubbed as the streets of Meereen, while its basement has served as Daenerys’ throne room. Just one glimpse of Split’s Old Town streets, and it’s easy to imagine the Unsullied patrolling them, the Sons of the Harpy lurking in the shadows and the raucous slave rebellion. Klis Fortress, just outside of Split, also served for the wide shots of Meereen. If you’re visiting Split, hop on this walking tour that couples “Game of Thrones” filming locations with an overview of the old town’s fascinating history.
Winter has been coming since episode one, and it finally arrived to mark the end of the seventh season. However, much of north Westeros has been snow covered since the beginning. From season two onward, everything north of the Wall was filmed in Iceland as were many of the Night’s Watch scenes. Additionally, most footage of the Arya and the Hound (my favorite odd coupling of all time!) was shot in Iceland as well, and it was an Icelandic cliff from which the Hound fell during his duel with Brienne. This Instagram feed captures familiar sights such as the green landscapes, glaciers, the black sand beach of Vik (Eastwatch), the mountain with the arrowhead and the landscapes that inspired the Wildlings’ costumes. To see this in person, visit Reykjavik and enjoy a GOT-dedicated tour of Iceland’s majestic landscapes.
From season six, the main filming location for the southern cities moved to Spain, with Girona serving as the backdrop for King’s Landing, Braavos and Oldtown. Looking through Turisme Girona’s Instagram feed, it’s easy to recall blind Arya begging on a corner or duking it out with that irritating Waif. Plaza del Jurats was the square in which Arya watched the mummers’ performances, and one glimpse of Jewish quarter’s serpentine lanes will bring to mind Arya seemingly fleeing from the Waif. Additionally, Sant Pere de Galligants stood in for the Masters’ Citadel in Oldtown where dear Samwell Tarly, Gilly and baby Sam were based for most of season six and seven. If you’re in Barcelona, you can take a “Game of Thrones” day trip to Girona to see some of the major sites from the show and then explore the city on your own.
Several Stannis Baratheon scenes were indeed set at Dragonstone, but it wasn’t until the seventh season that we got to see the Targaryen ancestral home in all its scenic glory: An island with a distinct flysch coastline and a fairy-tale-like staircase leading up to the castle entrance. The Dragonstone exteriors were filmed at three locales in the Basque Country, an autonomous region in Northern Spain: Itzurun beach, Zumaia beach, and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. This feed showcases these and other regional landscapes that are just as mesmerizing. If you’re in San Sebastian, one of the world’s best places to eat and surf, explore the surroundings. Follow in Jon Snow’s footsteps up that majestic staircase… anyone looking to proclaim “I’m not a Stark” should keep an eye out for any low flying dragons.
Andalucia, the autonomous region in southern Spain, is home to several locations seen in “Game of Thrones'” fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. There’s an occasional ‘gram of Real Alcázar in Seville, which was like a character in and of itself as the setting for Dorne’s Sunspear Palace and Water Gardens in seasons five and six. The Italica Roman theater ruins outside Seville served as the backdrop for the season seven finale’s iconic Dragon Pit scene. Also in this region is Castillo de Almodóvar del Río near Córdoba, the castle of a recent Lannister acquistion: Highgarden, the ancestral home of the dearly departed Lady Olena Tyrell. Scroll through this feed to find images of castle-topped hills and verdant green landscapes seeming to wait the appearance of shrieking Dothraki on the horizon. Hardcore Dorne enthusiasts might want to check out the official Instagram of the Real Alcázar.