10 locations to film Game of Thrones in Malta: Castles, squares and cliffs

10 locations to film Game of Thrones in Malta: Castles, squares and cliffs

Split - King's Landing (Season 5)

Some scenes of the fifth season were filmed in Diocletian’s luxurious palace in Split. Skyscanner was able to find out that Cersei Lannister will be involved in them, but we can’t say what exactly will be happening. However, knowing the lovable character of the lioness, it’s unlikely to be anything good.

The suburb of Split, Zrnovnica, has already appeared in Game of Thrones. The steep cliff of an old stone quarry served as the setting for scenes of the conquest of Meereen and the swift battle between the foot Daario and the champion rider of the city of the Great Lords.

Fortress of Cleese – Meereen (Season 5)

Fortress of Cleese - Meereen (Season 5)

Before “Game of Thrones” the medieval castle of Klis, 15 kilometers from Split, was not popular with tourists – the fortifications are decrepit, the fortress itself is small, and it is difficult to climb up to it. Actually, you could estimate the steepness of climbing – the scene of crucifixion of the Grand Lords of Meirin on crosses along the mountain road was shot at the foot of Klis. The fortress itself will only be in the frame in season five – the town market of Meereen will be located at one of its observation decks.

Krka National Park – Landscapes of Westeros (Season 5)

Krka National Park - Landscapes of Westeros (Season 5)

The enchanting landscapes of Krka National Park can be seen in several of the show’s full-scale scenes. Krka somewhat resembles the famous Plitvice Lakes, and it’s no wonder the crew couldn’t get past the turquoise lagoons, lush greenery, and eight picturesque waterfalls.

Ston – King’s Landing (Season 5)

Ston - King's Landing (Season 5)

The village of Ston in southern Croatia was transformed into the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Its fortress wall and tiled roofs, lavishly laced with special effects, became part of King’s Landing. Curiously enough, the real wall in Ston may well compete with the fictional Wall of George Martin’s saga. In medieval times, this 5.5 km long rampart with 40 towers and 5 fortresses protected the Dubrovnik Republic from the raids of the Ottomans, wildlings of the time.

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Northern Ireland

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Northern Ireland is predominantly inhabited by the Iron Men, the rugged natives of the islands of the same name and subjects of Balon Greyjoy. But the region in the north of Ireland is so picturesque that the creators of “Game of Thrones” filmed Vintrefel, the Kingsroad, and the Stormlands here at the same time. And in the fifth season of the series, the Black Castle Barracks and Rough House were also set up here.

Tollimore Forest Park – Forests of the North

Tollimore Forest Park - Forests of the North

Tollimore Park’s 630 hectares of forests at the foot of the Moorn Range are a great place to walk or even hike in Northern Ireland. The mountain river, caves, grottoes and beautiful sea views attracted the crew of the TV series here as well. In “Game of Thrones,” Tollimore can be seen several times, particularly in the first episode, when the Starks find the direwolf pups.

Castle Ward – Winterfell.

Ward Castle - Winterfell

The lush grounds of Ward Castle on the shores of Strangford Loch served as the setting for the Winterfell Castle courtyard. This is where, among other things, the scene of Robert Baratheon’s arrival with his retinue at the Stark ancestral home was filmed.

Dark Hedges – The Kingsroad

Dark Hedges - Kingsroad

Dark Hedges is perhaps the most beautiful beech alley in the world. The trees were planted back in the 18th century to impress visitors to Grayshill Castle. The idea was so successful that it outlived its creators and still impresses tourists – Dark Hedges is considered one of the most photographed places in Northern Ireland.

In “Game of Thrones,” this scenic road became the Kingsroad, the main transportation artery of Westeros, running from Storm’s End in the south to the Wall itself in the north. You can see it in the first and second seasons of the series, such as in the episode when Arya disguised as a boy goes to join the Night’s Watch, accompanied by Yoren, Gendry and Jaqen Hgar.

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Merlow Bay – Iron Islands.

Merlow Bay - Iron Islands

In clear weather, the islands of Scotland are perfectly visible from the shores of Merlow Bay in northeastern Ireland. This is the area the crew of the series chose for the on location filming of the Iron Islands. Almost all of the scenes with Theon Greyjoy on Pike were filmed here.

Ballintoy Bay – Lordsport.

Ballintoy Bay - Lordsport

The tiny fishing village of Ballintoy is one of the most picturesque spots on the coast of County Antrim. In the series, the village port and bay of Ballintoy became Lordesport on Pike, one of the Iron Islands. Here in season two Theon Greyjoy goes ashore, arriving to negotiate with his father, and from here he sails several episodes later.

Larribein – Stormlands

Larribein - Stormlands

Larrybein is one of the most dramatic stretches of coastline in Northern Ireland. The sheer cliffs rising straight out of the sea leave no one indifferent. Even the producers of “Game of Thrones,” who have arranged here another geographical anomaly of Westeros: In real life, from the Iron Islands (Ballintoy village) to the Stormlands (Larrybein) you can walk in half an hour.

Massenden Temple and Downhill Beach – Dragonstone

Massenden Temple and Downhill Beach - Dragonstone

Few people expect beautiful sandy beaches from Northern Ireland. But they do exist, and Downhill is one of them. This 11-kilometer beach is known primarily for the temple of Massenden, a neat round building standing alone on a high cliff on the Atlantic coast.

The beach and the temple came into the frame during the filming of the full-scale scenes on Dragonstone. Remember when Melisandre burned the old gods on the beach? Well, this is the place.

Cushendan Cave – Stormlands

Cushendan Cave - Stormlands

This beautiful dark cave in the northeast of Ireland can be seen in season two of Game of Thrones. By order of Stannis, Davos Seaworth brings Lady Melisandre here. Here he also realizes what monsters the red priestess is capable of spawning, and how these creatures can affect the course of the war.

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Magheramorn – The Black Castle and the Harsh House (Season 5)

Magheramorn - Black Castle and Rough House (Season 5)

Magheramorn in County Antrim is hardly even a village – just a couple of cottages by an abandoned limestone quarry. Life returned to this dreary place in 2014 with the “Game of Thrones” crew, Jon Snow, and the Ravens. The quarry warehouses served as the setting for the Black Castle barracks. And on the shores of the bay in the fifth season of the series, we learned, there will be a battle that didn’t happen in the book – a battle with the Inhumans at Rough House, one of the abandoned fortresses of the Watch.


A hot country of forts, fortresses and palaces – Malta seems to be specially created for filming. The island is heavily dependent on tourism, and the local authorities are doing their best to ensure that the film crews are happy, and Malta appears at its best on the screen. Where else in the world would the president of the country give up his residence for the filming of a TV series?

The Gates of Mdina – Gateway to King’s Landing

Gate of Mdina - Gate of King's Landing

Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta, is more than 4,000 years old. From a kaleidoscope of kingdoms and empires, the city has preserved a scattering of beautiful medieval buildings and cathedrals, sheltered by fortress walls. One of the main attractions of the city is the imposing gate within these very walls, which the creators of “Game of Thrones” turned into the gateway to the capital of Westeros.

The Azure Window – Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding

Azure Window - Daenerys and Drogo's wedding

“Azure Window” is one of the symbols of Malta – a 50-meter rock arch of natural origin on the island of Gozo. The creators of Game of Thrones chose this location to film the beautiful wedding of Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo in the first season of the series. But they weren’t pioneers; before them, episodes of numerous films have been filmed here, from “Battle of the Titans” to Andrei Konchalovsky’s “The Odyssey.”

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Verdal Palace – Pentos, home of Illyrio Mopatis

Verdala Palace - Pentos, home of Illyrio Mopatis

At the very beginning of the first season of Game of Thrones, young Daenerys and her brother Viserys are visiting Illyrio Mopatis (it is he who will introduce the Targaryens to Khal Drogo). These scenes were filmed at the summer residence of the President of Malta, in the beautiful gardens of Verdala Palace. The palace is closed to tourists, but you can stroll through the garden and try to imagine Daenerys resting somewhere in a gazebo behind the trees.

San Anton Palace – The Red Castle

Palace of San Antone - Red Castle

Once again, the Game of Thrones team disturbed the president of Malta. This time he had to concede already his official residence – the Palace of St. Anton in Attard. You can see him in several episodes of the first season, for example, in the scene of the Starks’ arrival in King’s Landing or in the episode when Varys and Littlefinger assure Eddard Stark that the Golden Cloaks fully obey him. But you can’t get a glimpse of the presidential chambers – the palace was only filmed from the outside.

Fort Sant’Angelo – The Catacombs of the Red Castle

Fort Sant'Angelo - Red Castle Catacombs

No one knows exactly when the “Sea Castle” was built, as this majestic fortress in the Maltese city of Birgu was once called. But it is known that in the Middle Ages Fort Sant’Angelo already served as the residence of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller Order.

In the first season of Game of Thrones, the interior of the fort can be seen in the episode when Arya chases a cat through the Red Castle and enters dungeons with dragon skulls.

Fort Manoel – Baylor’s Great Septa

Fort Manoel - Baylor's Great Septa

This medieval fortress of Maltese knights guards the entrance to Marsamxett harbor west of Valletta. In the world of Westeros the fort became the Great Sept of Baylor, the main temple of King’s Landing and the seat of the Great Septon.

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In Game of Thrones, Fort Manoel is shown more than once. On the steps of the Great Septa, among other things, the climactic scene of the first season of the series (the one with Sean Bean) was filmed.


“Game of Thrones” producers chose just one set in Scotland. But now we can brag that Winterfell is only an hour’s drive from Skyscanner’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

Doon Castle – Winterfell

Castle Dun - Winterfell

Doon Castle is a medieval fortress of the Stuart dynasty. It’s not far from Stirling and the site of the famous battles for Scottish independence involving William Wallace (“Braveheart”). Long before getting the role of Winterfell in “Game of Thrones,” the castle managed to become the star of the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

The fortress’ fate is in many ways similar to that of Winterfell – after the Stuart family lost influence, the castle fell into disrepair. But what can you do, valar morghulis.

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