Immediately after I had finished watching Game of Thrones season 4 finale I made a decision: this year I have to visit Dubrovnik and check some filming locations from the show. It’s not happening often that a popular show has so many locations near you (unless you live in L.A., of course).
For those who never heard of Dubrovnik: it’s a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, in the region of Dalmatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. According to CNN it’s also one of the 10 best preserved medieval walled cities in the world, which makes it a very suitable location for some scenes from the show.
There are some organized Game of Thrones tours in Dubrovnik, but since they are quite expensive and I’ve also done some research I decided to make my own three day tour. During my stay in this lovely city I managed to find the majority of locations from HBO’s hit TV show and also explored one abandoned hotel.
In Game of Thrones Dubrovnik was used to represent the King’s Landing and for some locations with Daenerys Targaryen. Locations used in the show include St. Dominic street, Lokrum island, Knežev dvor and Sponza palace, Fort Lovrijenac, Fort Bokar, the Minčeta tower and the aforementioned abandoned hotel Belvedere. The production also used the nearby Trsteno arboretum.
Locations from inside and around city walls
On the first day in Dubrovnik I check the locations around and inside the Old Town. The city wasn’t crowded and I was reasonably prepared, so it was fairly easy. Here are some screen captures from filming locations.
King’s Landing harbor
St. Dominic street
On the second day in Dubrovnik I decided to take a walk on the city walls. The views were amazing and almost at the end of this pleasant walk you see the Minčeta tower. It was used as King’s Landing’s walls and also as the House of the Undying where Daenerys enters after her dragons are stolen.
For the third day in Dubrovnik I planned a very peculiar visit: hotel Belvedere. The infamous hotel has a short but very interesting history. It’s located some 2 kilometers south of the Old town and is positioned on the steep beach. It was built in the eighties and started receiving guests in 1986. This luxury hotel on 18 levels was forced to close just six years later, when became a target of Yugoslav army. During the first few months of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the hotel had served as a refugee shelter.
Today the hotel is abandoned and demolished and it’s not allowed to enter the building, even though there were several curious tourists around the hotel. The hotel was sold at the public auction a few months ago for slightly more than 12 million euros. The new owner is Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, also known as the man who possesses of one of the greatest private collections of Faberge’s eggs.
The hotel was used in the fourth season of Game of Thrones as the setting for the battle between prince Oberyn and The Mountain.
Due to the fact that the hotel is abandoned I was expecting to see the scene from the show. But after a steep descent down to the beach I saw something totally different: some local football fans painted the scene with the crest of Hajduk, the football club from another Croatian city Split.
You can also read a special post on my visit to hotel Belvedere.
Of course I had to see the beautiful island of Lokrum that was used in the second season when Daenerys and her associates attend a party held by Xaro Xhoan Daxos in Qarth.
On my way home I made a stop at Trsteno arboretum, located a few miles northwest of Dubrovnik, which is the oldest arboretum in this part of the world. In the third season of the Game of Thrones the arboretum’s beautiful setting was used as a garden of King’s Landing palace.
If you happen to be in this part of the world you have to visit Dubrovnik, because it’s really amazing. I haven’t been on an official Game of Thrones tour, but it’s fairly easy to make your own tour. The old town of the city is rather small and all major attractions are either behind the walls or nearby.
There was one thing I noticed: I heard a lot of (foreign) tourists mentioning King’s Landing and Game of Thrones, some of them even whistled the main theme song. On the other hand I haven’t really seen a lot (in any) Game of Thrones merchandise. I’m not sure why that happened, maybe because of some licensing issues. Anyway, it looked like a lost opportunity for Dubrovnik.