Exploring Game of Thrones Filming Locations: Iconic Structures of Spain

Game of Thrones is full of medieval settings, and for that reason alone means it’s always on the lookout for locations that have the same look and ambience. Therefore, it seemed only natural that Spain would be chosen among some of the most prominent lands to feature in the show.

After countless hours of ocular visits, the show’s scouts saw just exactly what they needed. Now thousands upon thousands of people flock to the country to witness some of the most iconic films sets from the GoT series.

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Dating back to the Roman era, the bridge of Cordoba seems to be the very definition of an ancient structure. Although it has undergone numerous restorations over the centuries, little has changed in terms of its oldly-worldly look.

According to Watchers on the Wall, it was closed for a quick shoot, but the scene it depicted on the show was crucial. The bridge served as Volantis, which was where the slaves were freed by Varys and Tyrion.

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar of Seville is the physical culmination of the union of various cultures including Muslim and Christian. Its correct name is actually Los Reales Alcazares or Royal Palace Fortresses due to the fact that the complex is made of three main interconnecting parts. These sections were built by different monarchs who ruled the area over the years; hence the combination of several cultures.

The most striking features of the palace are intricately designed and coloured tiles, the gardens and pools, and the domed ceiling of the Ambassadors’ Hall which is adorned with shiny stones. All of these were showcased in the show as the site became Dorne, the stronghold of the Martells; a fitting match to the very nature and image portrayed by the family (at least initially) – romantic, sweet and gentle.

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Girona Cathedral is another iconic structure, built between the 11th and 13th centuries. Constructed in Romanesque and Gothic style, the cathedral houses the widest Gothic nave in the world. At 72 feet wide, its nave is the second widest in the world next to St. Peter’s Basilica, if the style of architecture is not considered.

The cathedral stood in as the infamous Sept of Baelor in the series which was (spoiler alert) blown up at the end of Season 6. It’s kind of sad that this majestic structure will not be shown in the series anymore.

Picture credit: The Telegraph

Castle of Zafra/Picture credit – The Telegraph

Out in the middle of nowhere within the Spanish province of Guadalajara lies the Castle of Zafra, a fortress constructed in the 12th century which now stands atop a sandstone cliff. The Telegraph mentioned that it had a strategic importance as a defensive structure and effectively withstood countless sieges.

This location was used in one of the most pivotal moments in the show, when the truth about Jon Snow’s parents was finally revealed. The production team did a wonderful job shooting one of the most breathtaking moments in an equally breathtaking location.

The Game of Thrones fever has truly taken over the world. In the span of a few years corresponding to its six seasons, the show’s fan base grew so much that there are people that travel just to track down and visit the show’s filming locations.

In a similar level of adoration, fans all over the world mimic GoT characters through costume parties and similar gatherings in much the same way as other classic shows and films. GoT outfits were all the rage last Halloween, and have become a focal point at most fancy dress parties.

On the digital side, apart from fan-made videos and parodies, Business Insider sampled what it described as the best Game of Thrones app ever, which reproduces the audio in one of the most memorable events in the show – the walk of shame. In case you don’t remember, it’s the scene where the nun rings a bell and shouts “Shame!”. Other digital iterations include video games, with gaming platform Slingo adding to its array of themed and tie up slot games with the Game of Thrones 15 Lines title which features the sigils of different families in the show such as the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens. Seeing all the different creative outlets tied to the series, it’s safe to say that the GoT phenomenon will not wither anytime soon, especially as fans anticipate Season 7.

For your next visit to Spain, be sure to check out these iconic structures. Because if you’re a diehard GoT fan then visiting the real life Westeros will be an experience you’ll never forget.

A story by Lena Andrews

In Bruges

You are standing on the shore of a canal surrounded by medieval buildings all brown stone and red painted window frames, the May sun is warming you up and it smells like spring, there are yellow flowers in pots around you on walls and wood fences, you can hear the distinct sound of horses on the cobblestone streets around and the engine of the boat getting closer and closer to the shore. Are you ready to board a trip through fairytale land?

Where are we going?

There’s this magic place in Northwest Belgium with not more than 120k inhabitants which is said to have been founded in the 9th century by the Vikings and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site with medieval buildings, romantic canals, cobblestone streets, beer, lace and swans. The place is Bruges and the name might very well derive from the old-Scandinavian word “Brygga” which means “harbour, or mooring place”. Curious? Than just sit down in the boat and let’s get lost In Bruges.

Bruges - Boat ride

Bruges – Boat ride

What to do

Markt and Burg

Markt and Burg are the most important squares in Bruges. Markt is located in the heart of the city and is a large square surrounded by historical buildings like the Belfry Tower (83 meter high) and Provincial Court and medieval looking houses (many of the houses are just modern reconstructions of the medieval styles).

Bruges Markt

Bruges Markt

The Markt was freed from traffic in 1996 and is the place where the carriage rides around Bruges also start.

Bruges Markt

Bruges Markt

If Markt was the commercial heart of medieval Bruges Burg was the administrative heart. The Burg square is the house of the Town Hall (House de Ville) and of the Chapel of the Holy Blood. The last one seems to be the more famous one being the house of the bottle of rock crystal containing Christ’s blood and the place of the yearly Procession of the Holy Blood.

Bruges Burg

Bruges Burg

Minnewater

If you are taking a train to Bruges what you will most likely notice first while walking towards the city centre is Minnewater or the lake of love (the Dutch word “Minne” meaning love). Minnewater is a canalized lake with plenty of swans. The legend says that in 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria called Pieter Lanchals (long neck). Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity.

Minewater

Minewater

Begijnhof

Right there next to Minnewater lies Beguinage De Wijngaard (the Vineyard). A group of houses around a garden with large trees and flowers which became a monastery and the home for the Benedictine sisters since 1937 until today.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

In the 13th century a mystical form of religion was born as reaction to the growing material and formal aspirations of the regular clergy, one that apostle poverty, simplicity and preaching. The female followers of such movement were tolerated in the form of the Beguine movement and were allowed to live in separate parts of the cities called Beguinages. The beguines lived like regular nuns but with less stringent vows than the regular ones. Although most of them made the vows of obedience and chastity they did not make the vow of poverty and they could break their vows at any time and leave the beguine community.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

Canal rides

In the Middle Ages, the canals in Bruges were used by ships to deliver goods to the city and to take exports from local merchants. Today the canals are exclusively used for tourist boats. There are five families that are allowed to organize tourist boat rides on the canals with 4 boats for each family. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes and offers a great view of the city, with medieval buildings on the shores, small bridges, nice gardens and swans swimming all around.

Bruges Canals

Bruges Canals

Bicycle rides

Central Bruges has a couple of shops where you can rent a bike for an hour or more to wander around the city. If you have more time and you start in the morning you can even take a bicycle and ride to the windmills, the nearby Flemish countryside, the North Sea or even go to the Netherlands. We choose the streets and parks of Bruges and it was all worth it. For the trip from Bruges to the Netherlands check out the stories from Avem Diacritice.

Bruges

Street wandering

The streets of Bruges have plenty to offer. From small hidden streets along canals, to private gardens along the shores, medieval look like houses..

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

colourful doors, souvenir shops, lace shops, parks with colourful tulips and open air concerts, carriage rides, windmills…

Bruges

Bruges

Brugesand if you get tired just stop of any of the restaurants or canal side terraces you see on route for waffles, Belgian beer, frites or the local gem – moules.

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Where to crush

We stayed in Lybeer Hostel Bruges just 10 minutes away from the city centre and easy to reach from the train station. Great private room with private bathroom, good prices and very nice staff. The hostel has also a shared area downstairs with a bar and a piano.

What are people in Bruges famous for?

The Bobbin Lace, a very expensive type of lace to make, is a speciality of Bruges and is a technique that requires that each thread is wound around a separate wooden bobbins. Lacemaking is an industry which nowadays employs in Belgium about one thousand lace works, all of them ladies aged between fifty and ninety years of age.

Bruges

Bruges

Click here for our Top 10 experiences in Bruges.

For more photos from Bruges just click here for our Facebook page.

For what to experience in the close neighbouring city of Brussels, waffles, frites and Belgian beer check out our post on What do Manneken Pis, exquisite chocolates, French fries, dark beer and BDs have in common?

Top 10 Bruges

Top 10 Bruges

  1. Charming houses and colourful doors;
  2. Canal rides;
  3. Bicycle rides on the streets of Bruges;
  4. Belgian beer;
  5. Chocolate and bananas Belgian waffles;
  6. Breakfast time in a restaurant in Markt;
  7. Minnewater and especially the swans;
  8. Begijnhof;
  9. Open air concerts in a park in Bruges;
  10. Chilling beside the windmills.