Not many television shows have achieved the critical acclaim and global fanbase as Game of Throne has in its 8 years of run time. Beyond its award-winning actors and complex and intriguing plot, Game of Thrones also has some of the most amazing sets, utilising everything from medieval castles to entire UNESCO World Heritage Site cities. Because of this, Game of Thrones is able to preserve its history even after the show ends and let its fans relive some of their favourite scenes whenever they go on holiday. Below, we explore the cost of a one-week trip to the most recognisable Game of Thrones filming locations, which also set the backdrop for majestic wedding photos.
Explore North of the Wall in Vatnajökull, Iceland
Iceland is no stranger to otherworldly landscapes, which makes it the perfect setting for George R.R. Martin’s bestseller fantasy novels. Vatnajökull was the filming location for season 2 and 3’s territory of the Wildlings north of the Wall. Vatnajökull is Europe’s largest glacier and is located in Skaftafell National Park. The average cost of a filming location tour is S$148, including transportation.
One of the best ways to see Iceland is to rent a car because it gives you easier access to different parts of the country beyond the Ring Road. However, renting a car can be quite costly, with prices for a 7-day rental averaging S$817. Similarly, hotels in Reykjavik can also be pricey, costing between S$153 per night for a 3-star hotel and S$210 per night for a 5-star hotel. Alternatively, there are plenty of Airbnbs scattered throughout Iceland’s countryside if you are looking for something more affordable and prefer to surround yourself in Iceland’s landscapes. For instance, while the average price of an Airbnb costs around the same as a 5-star hotel per night (S$276 per night), you can easily find places that cost below SS$150 per night.
Discover the Great Sept of Baelor in Manoel Island, Malta
Fans interested in the wedding and funeral locations of Game of Thrones can travel to Fort Manoel in Malta to see the location for the Great Sept of Baelor. However, Malta has been home to several other Game of Thrones locations. Other filming locations include Mdina as season one’s King’s Landing and the Azure Window in Gozo for the wedding of Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen. You can easily visit all the locations if you rent a car, which costs an average of S$178 for a 7-day rental period. Period piece lovers can also take a detour to Valleta’s Fort Ricasoli which was the filming location for films like Troy, Gladiator and Assassin’s Creed. Hotels cost on par with most of the other locations on this list, averaging between S$169 per night for a 3-star option and S$260 per night for a 5-star option. Tours are quite pricey averaging at S$91 for a group tour, but they can range into the hundreds of dollars for private and bespoke options.
Visit Winterfell in Stirling, Scotland
If you want to visit the homebase of the Stark family, then the Doune Castle in Stirling, Scotland would be the destination you’ll want to see. However, Doune Castle isn’t only known as the setting for Winterfell, it has also been the filming location for Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Castle Leoch from Outlander. This makes it a good option if you or your spouse are a fan of the other films and shows this castle has been home to. Most tours start from Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic capital, so there is plenty to do once you finish your tour. For instance, you can take a stroll through Edinburgh’s Old Town and take in medieval history or head to Craigmillar Castle to see where some of Scotland’s most iconic figures stayed (S$10.60). Hotels in Edinburgh cost between S$152 for a 3-star hotel and S$305 for a 5-star hotel.
Tour the King’s Landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia
If you want to visit the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, then you should head to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Croatia and has been used as the filming location for King’s Landing. The city is littered with familiar scenes from the show and you can even take a tour to go up the city walls to see other locations that would be normally hard to find without a trained guide. The cost of a Game of Thrones tour is reasonable compared to some of the other locations on our list, with an average price of S$31. Because of how many scenes have been filmed there, Dubrovnik can be a great option if you want to immerse yourself completely the Game of Thrones atmosphere. Hotels are slightly more expensive compared to other cities in Croatia, costing an average of S$96 for a 3-star option or S$232 for a 5-star hotel.
Visit Astapor in Essaouira, Morocco
Morocco is still an exotic destination for many travellers, but its vivid landscapes and bustling, historic cities make for a trip that is sure to please Game of Thrones fans. One of the locations worth a visit is Essaouira, which is the filming location for Astapor (dubbed as the Red City), the renowned training post for the Unsullied. Essaouira is about two hours away from Marrakech, which is where most travellers fly into, so you will have to either take a taxi or shuttle. Prices range between S$11 and S$156 depending on your desired level of privacy and luxury.
You can walk around the city without a guide to find the familiar sites you’ve seen on the show, but hardcore fans may opt for the multi-day Morocco/Game of Thrones filming location tours. However, these tours can be pricey, as they generally tend to cost over S$1,000 per person. Hotels in Essaouira more on the affordable side compared to some other destinations, and cost between S$74 per night for a 3-star hotel and S$169 per night for a 5-star hotel.
Explore the Water Gardens of Dorne in Seville, Spain
Fans interested in getting a first-hand experience of House Martell’s private residence (the elegant Water Gardens of Dorne) can visit the 700-year old royal palace called the Alcazar of Seville in Seville, Spain. Even those who have never seen Game of Thrones may appreciate the castle’s Mudejar architecture style—a blend of ornamental Islamic elements and Christian Romanesque stylings—and its regal gardens. You can take a guided tour of the locations for an average cost of S$94. Seville and the Alcazar is another good location on this list for movie buffs, as it has been featured in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Lawrence of Arabia and Kingdom of Heaven. Hotels are quite expensive, costing between S$231 per night for a 3-star hotel and S$463 for a 5-star hotel. Because of this, we recommend getting an Airbnb, where the average price is S$128 per night for an entire place.
Explore the Castle Black in County Antrim, Northern Ireland
The entrance to the Castle Black was filmed in Magheramorne Quarry in County Antrim but fans may have a hard time recognising the Wall behind it since it was added digitally to the location. Nonetheless, it is one of several filming locations for Game of Thrones in County Antrim, making it worth a visit as you tour other nearby locations like the Cushendun Caves, Murlough Bay and Ballintoy Harbour. It may be more convenient for travellers to stay in Belfast rather than in County Antrim, since this is where most location tours originate from. Hotels in Belfast are on par with other locations, costing between S$134 per night for a 3-star hotel and S$279 per night for a 5-star hotel. However, getting to County Antrim is cheap and quick if you want to tour the locations yourself, only costing between S$8-12 for a train from Belfast.
How to Save Money on Your Trip
While there is no guarantee you will always be getting the cheapest hotel and flight prices, there are still things you can do to reduce your trip’s cost as much as possible. For instance, you can try booking trips a couple months in advance and choosing destinations when it’s their off or shoulder season. Travellers who do not have the luxury of flexibility in their schedule can take advantage of the credit card points and airmiles they have accumulated. They can also compare Airbnb and hotel costs to see which option is cheaper.
Lastly, since these trips are more costly than the average 3-day weekend getaway, it is advisable to protect yourself with a travel insurance policy. A good travel insurance policy can help you retro-actively save money if your flight is delayed, you get injured or if your belongings get stolen.
This story was originally published on ValueChampion.