At Prestige Holidays we’ve always extolled the romance and beauty of Dubrovnik, but in recent years the city has garnered an entirely new demographic of admirers. As the location setting for the fictional city of King’s Landing in the fantasy drama series Game of Thrones, the whole world is cottoning on to what we’ve known for years. When you join us on the Game of Thrones Tour, Dubrovnik IS King’s Landing…
It didn’t take a television series to make me fall in love with the magic of UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik. But I have to admit, since we started offering our Prestige Holidays’ three-night “Game of Thrones” City Break I do feel somewhat like a proud father when I see this magnificent city enamour itself to the legions of fans, and what a thrill they get seeing their fantasy world come to life. Minus the raging battles for the lands of Westeros of course…
If you’re a fan of the series here’s a taste of what you can experience in Croatia on a three-day visit to King’s Landing – sorry, Dubrovnik.
Game of Thrones Tour, Dubrovnik: Day One
Surrounded by fortified walls and virtually unchanged since medieval times, the Old Town of Dubrovnik needs very little to front up for its role as the mythical King’s Landing. I think the first day of our tour is actually the most memorable – even before you visit the iconic filming sites – because your first sight of Dubrovnik, a Baroque treasure against the shimmering Adriatic Sea, is nothing short of breathtaking. The transfer from the airport takes you along a spectacular coastal route and, while you may only physically travel 20km, as you enter the Old Town centuries fall away.
A Warm Welcome
The first evening is for settling in to your accommodation (Prestige has some exceptional luxury properties in Dubrovnik for your stay) and joining a welcome dinner with your fellow travellers.*** But it’s not just any meal – we start as we mean to go on, with an authentic Game of Thrones dinner. Naturally!
Jesuiti, where you’ll dine, is a small restaurant located right in the heart of the Old Town and close to where much of the action is filmed. So it’s no surprise it’s seen its fair share of celebrity diners, with many of the cast and crew regularly dropping in for its renowned seafood specialities – including stars such as Natalie Dormer and Sophie Turner. Keep your eyes peeled…
After dinner, it’s time for a stroll to walk off your dinner. True to our promise to immerse you in the GOT experience, you’ll recognise the route from one of the most brutal and emotive scenes, where the fallen queen, Cersei, was forced to strip and walk through the streets in what became known as her “walk of shame”. (Here’s a bit of trivia – that particular scene cost in excess of USD$200,000 to film over four days, due to the special permits and security required.)
***We run our tour with a minimum of two people.
My clients tell me their taste of the GOT experience on the first evening is enough to well and truly whet their appetite for what’s to come. You’ll awake in your luxury hotel and after breakfast it’s time to get out and explore some very famous GOT sites.
Enter a Fantasy World
The first part of the day is spent with our experienced guide wandering the Old Town (or if you’d prefer to call it by its alter ego, the City of the Iron Throne) through the “War of the Five Kings”. Die-hard fans of the show have told me it’s a surreal experience, stepping into what is essentially a real-life movie set and being able to walk through their favourite fantasy world!
Some of the filming sites you’ll see around the city are:
- The ancient city walls
- Pile and Ploče gate
- Lovrijenac Fortress
- Bokar fortress
- Minčeta Tower (aka the House of the Undying)
- The back streets and parks where many scenes were filmed, including St. Dominika Street
Lokrum Island aka Quarth
You might know it as Quarth in the Jade Sea, which was visited by Daenerys Targaryen in Season 2 of GOT, but in reality it’s the stunning island of Lokrum. Situated about 600m off the coast of Dubrovnik, the island is itself a UNESCO-protected site, covered with thick vegetation and fringed by idyllic beaches.
You’ll explore the beautiful Botanic Gardens (Tresteno, in the series) and wander through the Benedictine monastery, where some of the scenes between the characters Margarey Tyrell and Sansa Stark were filmed.
After the short boat trip home you’ll be free to spend the evening exploring Dubrovnik on your own. My advice? Be adventurous. Dine in an authentic Croatian restaurant (if you like seafood, I highly recommend Proto), then lose yourself in the Old Town and strain for the echoes of history in its medieval streets and architecture.
Day three sees you aiming high – with the help of a panoramic cable car ride! As you ascend Srd Hill on the Dubrovnik Cable Car, you’ll be afforded the most spectacular views over the Old Town and the tiny islands off the coast studded into the Adriatic. I’ll stop short of calling them emerald jewels in an azure ocean, but that’s exactly what they look like…
When you can drag yourself away from the vista it’s on to the next GOT site: the Trsteno Botanical Gardens – which stood in for the gardens of King’s Landing. Many of the pivotal characters appeared in scenes set in these stunning gardens throughout the series, including Oleanna Tyrell, Sansa Stark, Margarey Tyrell, Lord Varys and Lord Baelish.
Once you get back you’ll have another opportunity to spend your last afternoon and evening in the city (yes, it came all too soon) doing whatever takes your fancy. I recommend a sunset stroll around the walls before dinner. Take your time to soak in the views of the Adriatic in all its glory on one side and the red-roofed buildings of the Old Town on the other. I challenge you to think of anywhere else in the world you’d rather be… (Except maybe on the sofa with season 7 of Game of Thrones.)