Spanish Game of Thrones locations - 2016
I recently took a trip to Spain and as well as some much needed sunshine, took in some Game of Thrones filming locations whilst there.
Following a brief stay in the fantastic city of Barcelona, we arrived in the town of Girona, located around 30 minutes from Barcelona on the train. This town replaced Dubrovnik as Kings Landing for season 6, and also featured as Braavos this year.
Upon arrival, I took a walk into town from our hotel. The first thing that hit me was how small and silent the place seemed to be, a real contract from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. As I passed through the narrow cobbled streets, a number of streets seemed familiar but I just couldnt place them as being in Game of Thrones at that time. Still, the first location I recognised for certain was a bridge which has been used in a recent episode of the show, where the Waif stabs Arya. In reality, the bridge itself has no water under it, and the actual scene of Arya in the water was filmed in a harbour in Northern Ireland. Even so, the bridge iself is very distinctive and easily recognisable.
Next to the bridge is the large square where Arya watches the Mummers acting troop perform their play regarding the history of Westeros.
Next, I took a walk to the cathedral which doubles in Season 6 as the Sept of Baelor. The main external shot at this location was when Jamie and Mace approach the sept with the Tyrell Army to free Queen Margaery from the imprisonment of the Faith Militant.
The next day we went walking around the town and in between some quality tapas and a couple of local beers, quiet literally stumbled across some other locations.
The most notable of these was the stairs where blind Arya resorts to begging in Season 6 and then fights the Waif before leaving with Jaqen.
The next location we found was the location where Arya leaps from the Waif during their chase in Episode 8. The top of the location is taped off, perhaps to stop idiots recreating the scene. Even so, I decided to take a little walk up on the ledge anyway.
Next to this is where the Braavos market scene a number of times in Season 6, most recently when Arya books safe passage back to Westeros and is then chased by the Waif.
Overall Girona is a quiet little town with some great restaurants and bars and a real sense of history. I was hoping the show would return there for Season 7, but according to the producers this will now no longer occur due to script reasons.
Following a few days in Zaragoza, we took a trip to one of the most iconic locations of Season 6, the Tower of Joy, otherwise known as the Castillo De Zafra. This is seen in the show when Bran has a flashback to his father's youth, where Ned Stark enters the Dornish Mountains to rescue his sister Lyanna, who is seemingly imprisoned in a tower by Rhaegar Targaryen. Mirroring the remote location on the show, this is based in the middle of no- where in the rural countryside. To say the terrain is hilly would be an understatement, and im pretty sure we actually went over a mountain to get there!
It was certainly worth it though, the remote castle is built on the top of rocks and it is easy to see why it has been such a strong defensive position over the centuries. The internal of the castle is not accessible to the general public but the exterior is stunning enough that it is definetly worth a visit. We were fortunate enough to be the only people at the site and got some fantastic unobstructed photos.
If you would like to know more about our Visit to the Tower of Joy/Castillo De Zafra, please click here(coming soon) for a more in depth look and more photos.
Upon our return to civilisation via a quick trip to Seville, we then took the hour long train journey from Seville to Osuna, home of filming of one of Season 5's iconic scenes, where Danaerys leaves the fighting arena aboard Drogon following an attack by the Sons of the Harpy. This location was filmed at the bullring in Osuna and featured around 600 extras.
Osuna is a small town, and after visiting Seville, Barcelona and Zaragoza it was nice to spend some time in a quieter setting. The town now gets a steady stream of visitors due to Game of Thrones, and even has a Game of Thrones Museum which cost the council over £30000 euros.
We suffered a set back upon arrival when we were informed that the bullring was not open during the week unless you were part of a group. Very surprising considering I had been assured normal tourist hours had now been re-instated. Even so, the local tourist office were very helpful and we were able to gain access to the Bullring for a private tour in the early evening.
No trip to Osuna would be complete without a trip to the aforementioned Game of Thrones museum, which was based over two floors and consisted of proprs, costumes, photos and other filming related materials.
Our final stop was Almeria, used in Season 6 to represent the Water Gardens of Dorne. This new location replaced Seville, which was used for the Water Gardens the year before. The filming location was the old Moorish fotress of the Alcazabar, located on a hill overlooking the port.
The main recognisable location from the show is the garden within the inner area which featured in Season 6, Episode one when Ellaria Sand murders Doran Martell in cold blood.
Episode 10 might even bring about more shots from this fortress, so I may update this in due course. What's next? Well I never did get to visit Hornhill so perhaps I'll be back in Spain in the near future!