Epic fantasy requires epic backdrops. And that’s why Game of Thrones is shot all around the world, from the fortified walls of King’s Landing Dubrovnik to the wild coastlines of Ireland and the windswept vistas of Iceland. So, it’s not too hard to imagine where the ancient houses of Westeros would live if they existed in real life.
Whether you swear allegiance to the King in the North or you’re on the Lannister’s payroll, with season 8 premiering on April 14th, Contiki – the youth adventure travel company exclusively for 18-35 year old’s – shares eight of their worldwide adventures you should go on in the non-Westeros world, based on where Game of Thrones was filmed.
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If you pledge allegiance to House Stark…go on their ‘Scotland’ trek
If your allegiance lies with the Starks, Contiki’s 6-day ‘Scotland’ trip should be your next vacation. Adorned with rolling green hills, rugged mountains and unspoilt lochs, the jaw-dropping Scottish scenery reflects the harsh beauty that is “the North”. In addition to the beautiful wilderness, Scotland boasts at least a millennia of history and culture; ancient castles, which you’ll get to explore on this trip, reign historical lands, the traditional Scots Gaelic tongue continues to thrive and elegant sounds of bagpipes fill the air. You’ll also get to visit Glasgow and paint the town red (sans wedding) with live music on every corner and plenty of quirky characters abound. For those of you who truly believe Winter is Coming, make sure Scotland is your next journey abroad before the White Walkers arrive…or will they?
If you pledge allegiance to House Martell…go on a ‘Spanish Spree’
Is your skin in desperate need of Dornish sun? Then you’ll feel right at home on Contiki’s two-week ‘Spanish Spree’ trip that will get you under the covers of Spain’s culture, exploring everywhere from San Sebastian to Seville, with a side trip to Ibiza in between. If you really want to channel your inner Dornish royalty, you’ll be able to take an afternoon stroll through Seville’s Plaza de España or the beautiful gardens of the Alcázar of Seville where the location of the Water Gardens – House Martell’s private estate – was shot on the show. If you’re truly a Martell, get thee on this trip!
If you pledge allegiance to House Lannister…hop on the ‘Croatian Island Hopper North’ sailing trip
As the current ruler of the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones, your devotion to House Lannister shall send you on Contiki’s 8-day ‘Croatian Island Hopper North’ sailing extravaganza. You’ll get to sail the seas of Westeros Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Split with so many white beaches and ocean time in between. But if you truly want to be at home, you’ll get to start the trip in Dubrovnik. No other place on (real) Earth could stand in for King’s Landing, the political heart of Westeros, given that this spectacular, seaport city has been the major film set for the show’s capital. Dubrovnik is a vibrant Mediterranean getaway for anyone seeking warm sunshine, shimmering blue waters, an ancient atmosphere and dazzling Croatian scenery. If Cersei allows it, you could sail along Blackwater Bay the Dalmatian coast or indulge in a seafood feast on the trip.
If you pledge allegiance to House Greyjoy…get on their ‘Scandinavia’ adventure
Are you a sturdy, sea-bred Ironborn? It’s time you were sailing (or rather, travelling) on Contiki’s 13-day ‘Scandinavia’ trip where you’ll get to encounter museums and cinnamon buns by day and hot saunas and Swedish meatballs by night. However, it’s the five days in Norway where you’ll be able to channel your inner Greyjoy. Known for its majestic fjords, cold weather and deep surrounding seas, the occasional stormy waters and jagged mountains of Norway’s Lofoten Islands would steal the heart of any Greyjoy. You’ll get to learn about Norwegian history, which is reigned by the legendary Vikings who once dominated Scandinavia and invaded foreign lands with brute force. There is no doubt that these fierce Norse seafarers were the real-life equivalents of Iron Islanders, so unleash your inner Ironborn!
If you pledge allegiance to House Tyrell in Game of Thrones…hop on the ‘European Highlights’ trip
If your heart resembles a golden rose, you should make a beeline for Contiki’s ‘European Highlights’ adventure where you’ll get to tick off all your European bucket list items in two weeks. You’ll get to explore the luxurious French countryside which blooms with a beauty only House Tyrell could truly appreciate and explore the abbey of Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy that exhibits a grandeur worthy of Highgarden status. Indulge in some Beaujolais wine at Contiki’s very own 16th-century château – yes, their very own château! – which you’ll get exclusive access to before hitting up the French Riviera. This trip is undeniably the Reach in the eyes of those pledging loyalty to the Tyrells.
If you pledge allegiance to House Baratheon…go on their ‘Ireland’ trek
Do you pledge yourself whole-heartedly to the crowned, black stag? Then it’s time to visit Ireland on Contiki’s 8-day trip. The Emerald Isle is a land shaped by rocky sea cliffs and dominated by jagged, emerald terrain. This glorious landscape is host to thousands of castle ruins, grand mountains and stormy seas, all reminiscent of the Baratheon homeland – the Stormlands. The Emerald Isle is fuelled by a festive culture of cuisine, performing arts, literature and folklore all waiting for you to experience first-hand. On this trip, you’ll get to sip a pint of Guinness, hike the Wicklow Mountains or try your luck at traditional Irish dancing. If you proudly carry the Baratheon Sigil, make Ireland your next stop.
If you pledge allegiance to House Targaryen on Game of Thrones…go on a ‘Kiwiana Panorama’
Those with fire coursing through their veins will know that while Old Valyria may be destroyed, Targaryens will feel right at home in New Zealand on Contiki’s two-week long ‘Kiwiana Panorama’ adventure. A landscape fit for dragons and their mother, New Zealand is home to an array of mountain ranges, volcanoes, hot springs and lakes. On this trek with Contiki, you could touch the sky at Tongariro Alpine Crossing, cruise through Milford Sound or learn about indigenous Māori culture in Rotorua. Targaryens aren’t known to be thrill-seekers (except if you count riding dragons), however, you may be tempted by the countless adventure activities on offer like bungee-jumping or giant canyon swings. Mix fire with adrenaline and fly Dragon to New Zealand for your next getaway with Contiki.
If you pledge allegiance to The Night’s Watch…travel through ‘Fire and Ice’
Did you take an oath and renounce all allegiances to join your sworn brothers and sisters at the Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones? Then there’s no doubt that you’ll want to head to Iceland on Contiki’s 6-day ‘Fire and Ice’ adventure where you’ll get to glide through the island nation’s outdoor playground and devour the eccentric buzzing capital of Reykjavik. Various scenes from beyond the Wall were actually shot across the Icelandic landscape, including Svínafellsjökull Glacier, Grjótagjá and Stakkholtsgjá Canyon. Iceland is also considered to be one of the best and safest countries in the world to live, so that means you probably won’t be finding any White Walkers around. It’s time to temporarily relieve yourself of Night’s Watch duty and plan your Icelandic escape before getting back into the fight in season 8. Remember, the Army of the Dead is coming!
Where Was Game of Thrones Filmed?
The show is filmed in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, Scotland, Spain, and the United States.
Disclaimer: Travel + Design receives commissions from Contiki Canada for any tours booked through this article.