After a few days soaking up the sunshine in Split, we hired a car and drove around 3 hours south to Dubrovnik for our second Game of Thrones tour in Croatia… and to sip cocktails by the sparkling sea, of course!
If you thought Split had historic vibes, then Dubrovnik will make you feel like a kid in a candy store. The city’s towering 13th century walls hint at its glory days as a prominent trading city-state rivalling the Venetian empire. They also made for ideal scenery for Kings Landing.
To relive the many scenes set in Kings Landing and learn a bit about Dubrovnik’s 1,500-year-long history along the way, I booked a 3.5-hour private Combo Game of Thrones & History Tour with local guide, Marina.
Overlooking Dubrovnik from the city walls
Srd Lookout point
Our tour started off on a high… with a short and steep drive to the top of Srd (pronounced like “surge”) for a brief introduction. From our vantage point on Srd, Marina pointed out important historical buildings within Dubrovnik’s old city walls and shared humorous local superstitions. She also pointed out the Croatian borders in the east with Bosnia and south towards Montenegro, from which it came under attack during the 1991 Yugoslav War.
The view of Dubrovnik from Srd is unmistakably Kings Landing, just without the Red Keep which was added using computer voodoo. Marina showed us a few screenshots of the Red Keep in different places within the city walls – apparently it was moved around from scene to scene. Keep an eye out for the moving Red Keep next time you’re having a GoT throwback binge, I had completely missed it!
Marina gave us some free time to wander around Srd and visit more lookout points and a small war museum. There’s also a restaurant if you want to grab a quick snack for the road.
Outside the City Walls
We parted with our driver just outside the city walls and walked down to the stone pier immediately west of the old city where several Game of Thrones scenes were filmed, most recently one from the final episode where Jon, Sansa, Bran and Arya say their farewells. The pier provides a vantage point for nearby filming locations like the Fort Bokar, a rocky beach, and even old fishing and storage sheds. Marina held up screen shots to refresh our memories of scenes from earlier seasons.
We also had a panoramic view of Fort Lovrijenac, where many scenes set inside the Red Keep were filmed. Marina offered to take us inside the fort, but since we planned to visit it and climb the city walls in our own time, we headed straight over to the Pile Gate to enter the old city.
Dubrovnik Old City
Since Kings Landing features in all 8 seasons of Game of Thrones, there are plenty of filming locations to find inside Dubrovnik’s city walls. But the city also bursts with fascinating history and culture, which Marina was more than happy to share.
We strolled through the city’s narrow pedestrian-only streets while Marina pointed out architectural changes from different periods in Dubrovnik’s history; from 12th century cobblestone pavement, to repairs from earthquake damage during 1667, to bullet holes left in walls during the 1991 war.
Marina showed us around her favourite parts of the city, like Dubrovnik Cathedral, the central market where we tasted candied orange peel, and a city square where pigeons are fed “anti-baby-pills” every day at noon. She also shared handy tips on choosing restaurants and bars and how to avoid the dreaded cruise ship crowds.
This tour provided the perfect balance between history, modern culture, and Game of Thrones, since many historically significant sites were also filming locations. The Ethnographic Museum was the set of Littlefinger’s brothel in season 4, the Rector’s Palace set the scene for Daenerys’ visit to Qarth’s Spice King in season 2, and the Jesuit Stairs doubled as the steps of Baelor for Cersei’s infamous walk of shame in season 5. If you missed that episode, shame on you!
Marina has a deep bucket of entertaining stories to share about locals’ experiences with the cast and crew while they were filming in Dubrovnik. She even has a few secret set photos (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) that show the difference between what we saw on the screen and what was actually filmed. That’s pretty darn cool to a GoT fan like me.
The Bottom Line
Love it or hate it, the final season of Game of Thrones brought an end to the characters and stories captivating fans for the last 8 years. When you commit to something for that long, it can be hard to say goodbye. The good news is you don’t really have to.
Split and Dubrovnik are 2 cities in Croatia that can’t be beaten for a relaxing seaside vacation with amazing food, picturesque scenery, fascinating backstories, and oodles of Game of Thrones filming locations to explore. When I was shown around Split and Dubrovnik by local guides Filipa and Marina, I got to relive my favourite GoT moments. Although the guides focused on Game of Thrones, they both had incredible knowledge on the history of their city.
I fell in love with both Split and Dubrovnik and was seriously inspired to binge-watch Game of Thrones again. But the real question is… have I inspired you?
Pass the popcorn, please!
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