"When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die"

The Best Game of Thrones Locations in Dubrovnik

All you need to know to see Dubrovnik's Epic Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Before you start reading, be aware that this post about Game of Thrones locations is “dark and full of (spoilers)”.

Lokrum Island and The Walled City of Dubrovnik

These days, Dubrovnik’s old city has grown exponentially in popularity due to one thing, Game of Thrones. Loads of different parts of the old city and it’s immediate surroundings were used as locations for one of the most popular TV programmes of all time! The locations I’m going to tell you about are all easy walking distance from each other. Best of all, it’ll mean you can see all these places (at your own pace) for free! The only exception is accessing the city walls and accessing Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence’s Fort). You can access the Walls for free (with the Dubrovnik Card – read more about it here). You can also buy a ticket that covers the Walls and Lovrijenac from €37.50.

The Filming Locations used for Game of Thrones (excl. Lokrum Island which is a short boat trip away)

Contents

The Walls of Dubrovnik

What better place to start than the famous Walls of Dubrovnik! Principally accessed from either the Pile or Polce Gates, the Walls feature several times throughout the series. Most notably, you’ll spot them in Season 2 when Varys and Tyrion are discussing the defence of King’s Landing from Stannis’ fleet. Although you can’t readily access this area of the Walls (Fort Bokar), you can clearly see it from other angles. The only modification was the addition of the CGI Red Keep in the background.

Varys and Tyrion in Season 2 (Photo by HBO)
A Similar View from Dubrovnik’s Walls
Varys and Tyrion in Season 2 (Photo by HBO)
Fort Lovrijenac and Fort Bokar (from which the scene was shot)

The Walls not only feature significantly in Game of Thrones, they are also a great place to see some of the other locations. They include Fort Lovrijenac, which doubled as the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the Dubrovnik West Pier that features extensively too. You may recognise like the bell tower from the burning of King’s Landing by Danaerys and Drogon. The bells were to signify the surrender of the city to the Targaryen forces. I say supposed to. We all know what happened there.

The Famous Bell of King’s Landing (Photo by HBO)
The Same Bell as Seen from the Walls of Dubrovnik

Fort Minceta – The House of the Undying

The most prominent part of the Walls of Dubrovnik is the large round tower on the North-West corner of the historic walls. This tower is Fort Minčeta. You’ll recognise it’s base as the House of the Undying in Qarth. This is where Qarth’s warlocks hid Danaerys’ dragons from her. The scene, in Season 2, Episode 10, is the one where Danaerys started circling the tower looking for an entrance, pursued by Ser Jorah. She then disappears into the tower, drawn in by the magic of the warlocks (or maybe her own magic, drawing her to her dragons?).

Kovarro, Ser Jorah and Daenerys outside The House of the Undying (Photo by HBO)
Exploring the Real Life Fort Minčeta

Pile Gate

There are three entry points into the Old City of Dubrovnik and the busiest of them is the Pile Gate. That doesn’t stop you stepping back into the far corner of the area between the two parts of the gate to admire the section of King’s Landing where Joffrey, Cersei, Sansa and many other characters on returning from sending Myrcella off to Dorne in Season 2, Episode 6. They were attacked by a mob with piles (ironically) of manure. Then Joffrey orders the soldiers to attack the crowd. More observant fans will notice that the outer section of the Pile Gate features again when Jaime Lannister returns to King’s Landing in Season 3 Episode 10.

The Royal Party Returning to the Red Keep (Photo by HBO) and the Real Life Pile Gate Area

Polce Gate

The other main entrance into the Walled City is the Polce Gate. Aside from being used as a location for Game of Thrones, is an exceptionally pretty part of the city and it features regularly throughout. You can see a section of it when Cersei is finishing her Walk of Shame (one of the most powerful scenes in all eight seasons) in Season 5 Episode 10.

The End of Cersei’s Walk of Atonement (Walk of Shame) in Season 5, Episode 10 (Top and Bottom – Photos by HBO) and the Real World Polce Gate

Just inside the Polce Gate is the city’s Dominican Monestary. It has a very distinctive set of circular steps leading up to its door. You’ll notice these in Season 2, Episode 5 during a protest speech against the Lannisters.

The Lannister Protest (Photo by HBO) and the Dominican Monestary Steps

Fort Lovrijenac – The Red Keep

Game of Thrones Locations You Can See from Fort Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence’s Fort) has one of the highest concentrations of Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik! When it comes to these filming locations, Fort Lovrijenac has rightly earned the nickmane of “The Red Keep”. It overlooks Dubrovnik’s West Harbour, another haven for Game of Thrones fans. Access to the Fort is included on your ticket for the City Walls and on the Dubrovnik Card.

Dubrovnik West Harbour with Locations that were used as the Blackwater Shore (A) and the King’s Landing Pier (B)

From the Fort, you can clearly see the areas of the harbour that doubled as the shores of Blackwater Bay (A) and King’s Landing’s Harbour (B). You also get a wonderful view of Fort Bokar (a section of the City Walls) and the sea edge of Dubrovnik’s Walls. From the pier below you can clearly see that the only addition made by CGI for the series was the addition of the Red Keep Castle.

Game of Thrones Locations within Fort Lovrijenac

Joffrey’s Name Day Tourney in Season 2, Episode 4 (Photo by HBO)
The Inner Courtyard of Fort Lovrijenac

Anyway, back to the Fort itself. Here, you can see the location for the Joffrey’s Nameday fights from Season 2, Episode 4. You know, the episode where Tyrion arrives back to King’s Landing and Joffrey force-feeds Ser Dontas wine in an attempt to kill him.

Joffrey’s Name Day Tourney in Season 2, Episode 4 (Photo by HBO)
The Upper Section of Fort Lovrijenac

A location for a more famous scene is hidden just inside the Fort’s entrance. It’s the one between Cersei and Littlefinger where they demonstrate what power is in Season 2, “Knowledge isn’t power, power is power”. If you wish, you can even rent it as a (not Red) wedding venue for about €4000 for the day. (Is that good value? I genuinely have no idea!).

Fort Lovrijenac and an excerpt from the “…Power is power” Scene (Bottom Photo by HBO)

Dubrovnik West Harbour

As you can see from an earlier photo, Dubrovnik West Harbour is a stunning place, even if it had nothing to do with Game of Thrones! The shingly area close to the Walls of Dubrovnik, from which you can embark on a kayak tour, was used several times throughout the series. The kayaks actually had to be all rented out for each day that they filmed there! They filmed the battle scene, in Season 2, Episode 9, between the Lannister forces and Stannis’ fleet here. It was the one where a King’s Guard knight gives Tyrion his distinctive facial scar before being killed by Pod. This area was also used for Myrcella’s send off to Dorne in Season 2, Episode 6, and it’s where Cersei waits for her return in Season 6.

The Stunning Dubrovnik West Harbour with the Area Used as the Shores of the Blackwater near the Centre

The Pier

More beautiful again is the pier itself. From it, you can see a series of steps and coloured doors in the direction of Fort Lovrijenac. This is where the Gold Cloaks, under Cersei’s command, murdered some of King Robert’s illegitimate children in Season 2. As you can see, little or no changes were made to the area for filming!

An Except from the Murder of King Robert’s Illegitimate Children (Photo by HBO)
How Beautiful are these Doors!?!
Shae Watching Over Sansa (Photo by HBO)
Trying to See Where Sansa Went!

The pier itself, with the formations of rock will be instantly recognisable to any Game of Thrones fan. So so many major scenes were filmed here. The first of these was when Shae watched over Sansa speaking to Littlefinger in Season 3, Episode 1. They also shot the poignant parting of Jon, Sansa, Arya and Bran in the final episode (if you could see through the tears when watching it – both for the poignancy and for the rushed nature of that final Season (#JusticeForDaenerys!)).

The Final Farewells From the Stark Family (Photo by HBO)
The Wonderful Pier in Dubrovnik West Harbour

Gradac Park – The Purple Wedding

On the opposite side of Fort Lovrijenac lies Gradac Park. It was here, that Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, more commonly known as “The Purple Wedding” took place. It was the one, in Season 4, where Lady Olenna Tyrell poisoned Joffrey and the series’ first proper baddie met his end. Although we don’t find out the culprit until Season 6! Chances are, you might not recognise it, due to the large amount of set and props used. But as you start to spend time in the section closest to Fort Lovrijenac, parts of it will start to look familiar, especially to the more eagle-eyed fans.

The Beautiful and Peaceful Gradac Park
The Set for and a Still from the Purple Wedding (Photos by HBO)

The Ethnographic Museum – Littlefinger’s Brothel

For ages, I had no idea what Ethnography or an Ethnographic Museum was. Essentially, it’s a study of a people and their culture. Naturally, Dubrovnik’s Ethnographic Museum is dedicated to the region’s people and culture. But we’re not focusing on Dubrovnik here, we’re focusing on King’s Landing and Game of Thrones. A large part of the “culture” of Westeros is the use of brothels. Is it poetic then that the entrance to Dubrovnik’s Ethnographic Museum was used as a filming location for the entrance to Littlefinger’s Brothel in King’s Landing?

The Ethnographic Museum Entrance with Stills of the Same Entrance of Littlefinger’s Brothel (Top R and Bottom Photos by HBO)

The Rector’s Palace – The Spice King’s Palace

The Rector was the title of the ruler of the Republic of Ragusa from the 14th Century until 1808. Dubrovnik formed part of this republic. Built in the mid 1400s, the Rector’s Palace served as the Rector’s (Leader’s) “seat” until Napoleon conquered Ragusa in 1808. Since 1872, it has served as the History Department of the Museum of Dubrovnik. As well as being a fascinating museum, the staircase in the building’s atrium (built after a huge earthquake severely damaged the building in 1667), is a thing of beauty. This staircase was used to film the scene where Qarth’s Spice King, a member of the Thirteen, refused to give Daenerys ships to sail to Westeros during Season 2. This short scene took several days to film, which gives you an appreciation fo the sheer amount of work involved!

Qarth’s Spice King Breaking Bad News to Daenerys in Season 2 (Photos by HBO)
The Staircase in the Rector’s Palace

Ulica Uz Jezuite (Jesuit Staircase) – The Walk of Shame

On this stunning set of steps on Ulica Uz Jezuite, in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik, one of the most famous and most powerful scenes, not just of Game of Thrones, but of any TV Series, was filmed. This is where Cersei’s Walk of Shame began. This powerful scene made me personally feel for one of the most ruthless characters TV has ever seen! (Huge huge praise for Lena Headey and her phenomenal performance through the whole series). The scene was also really expensive to film! They had to pay all the businesses along the street full daily earnings. What’s more, everyone who lives on the street were paid not to look out their windows during filming as a privacy gurantee! If you miss this on your trip to Dubrovnik it would be a “Shame, shame, shame *ding ding*! (I’ll let myself out…)

The Beginning of Cersei’s Walk of Atonement (Photo by HBO) and looking down the Wonderful Jesuit Staircase

As well as this famous scene, they also used it for other scenes where characters were approaching or leaving the Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing.

Approaching the Sept of Baelor (Photo by HBO)
The Jesuit Staircase on Ulica Uz Jezuite

Lokrum Island – Qarth

Lokrum Island, just offshore, is a blissful paradise with it’s own collection of unique sights. You can hop on a ferry for a short ride out to it from the main pier in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old City. The main collection of buildings served as a Benedictine Monestary for centuries until the last of the minks left in 1808. Later, in 1859, these buildings welcomed a new occupant. Given the beautiful and peaceful nature of the island, it was no wonder that the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg (later the short the short lived Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico) built his palatial summer residence here. He bought the island using the dowry funds from his marriage to Charlotte of Mexico. That, believe me, is a whole other story that I won’t get into now.

Ser Jorah and Daenerys Meeting Members of the Thirteen in Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ Gardens
The Gardens of the Benedictine Monestary/Maximilian’s Palace

The buildings then went on to house botanical gardens and that is where things start to get relevant! Although extensively damaged by the bombardment from JNA forces during the Homeland War in the 1990s, the gardens captured the attention of the Game of Thrones location scouts. The inner courtyard became the lavish gardens of Qarth’s powerful Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a member of the Thirteen.

This is the scene where Daenerys was introduced to the rich and powerful citizens of Qarth. Today, one of the buildings adjoining this section of the now largely abandoned palace houses a replica of the Iron Throne. Sure it’d be rude not to have a sit in it!

“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

Don’t forget, “In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground”. Dubrovnik certainly won! I hope you enjoy it!

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