If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you have to cruise the Adriatic. We will try and make a self-tour easy using the excellent free city map from the tourist board which you can also download here. If you are going to try the tour yourself, we suggest you circle the old town once at ground level, once on the walls then relax with options for the more keen amongst you. By using that map you can take in the other sights because this route will also take you by all the major ‘things to see’. It is a great way to go round Dubrovnik. However, if you are a big fan, we suggest the guides as they know all the spots and have flip charts. But if you are doing this alone, maybe download a PDF of this page before you go. (we have other film tours at cruise stops including our spoof Angels and Demons in Rome). You must visit the Dubrovnik City Shop, Boshkoviceva 7 as they have an Iron Throne.
We can get you in the mood to look for three things, people, locations, and elements. Your guide will probably have been an extra in the film, people, done. Locations, that is the easy bit, endless, endless, read on! Then the clever bit, elements! Elements are the bits the computer guys and girls took to digitally put inside the studios in Ireland, elements are hugely important and shot by 2nd Unit, or an effects unit. They shoot architecture, walls, pillars, windows, visions of the sea. Looking for elements is like orchid hunting in the rain -forests of Guadeloupe and makes for far more fun. If you were looking for elements to build digital scenery what would you take? Carvings? Now collecting these elements is really fun, because everything you see is GOT!
Game of Thrones adopted Dubrovnik the moment they saw it, it is one of the 6 countries it was shot in (seven including the un-shown pilot shot in Scotland), and one of the most important of the 45 main locations used. Executive Producer and co-screenplay writer David Benioff is widely reported and seen on video stating, “The minute we started walking around the city walls we knew that was it. You read the descriptions in the book and you come to Dubrovnik and that’s what the actual city is. It has the sparkling sea, sun and beautiful architecture.” He also enthused, “the first time we saw Dubrovnik, I was in shock, because the whole city really looked the way we pictured King’s Landing looking.” As film-makers, we know that feeling though we have never produced a movie as big as Game Of Thrones, we have worked on many for others.
From season 2, Dubrovnik represents much of the Kings Landing exteriors and the parks were used for the Purple Wedding and other parties. We will help you visualize what is not there because in many cases it is not. As you will know films add construction materials, dressing and props then computer graphics add more. We explained this in Hawaii on the locations of Kong; Skull Island and Jurassic Park and in Rome for Angels and Demons. So, bearing in mind that all the great interiors are in studios in Ireland, Dubrovnik still offers a huge feast for the eye and most definitely makes our cruisers movie destination menu. The whole of Dubrovnik wreaks of Game of Thrones, even the Tyrrhenian Sea hints of the character name Tyrion. Walking this city is a fantastic GOT experience without the need to really geek it out to nearby quarries and derelict hotels, though we did walk to the park to see the trees. Firstly let me explain that computer graphics is easy on a blank still canvass, if a hundred people walk through it, then it is hard and you have to ‘paint’ around them. Scenes with no people, walls can be changed easily, mass crowd scenes the walls have to be physically dressed with props. So, the city walls are often made to look better, the walls of the gate crossed by many extras are not altered. We start where the cruise shuttle drops you off, the main bus stop by Pile Gate. Using your free city map.
- STOP 01 – Circle 1 on your map – Pile Gate – the main entrance to the old city, featuring an iconic arch, steps and stone pillars that look like lanterns. Joffrey is attacked by a large crowd as he re-enters the city S2E6.
- STOP 02 – Circle 6 on your map – Stradun (Main Street) the main street of Dubrovnik between Pile Gate and the Sponza Palace, was once a river. The show comes alive and the far end was used for the Walk of Penance in S510, a scene involving 500 extras, but you sense so much more, first we turn right half way up and climb the hill.
STOP 03 – Circle 18 on your map – Ethnographic Museum (brothel) The old 16th-century granary is now the very smart Ethnographic Museum. The exteriors were used as the entrance to Littlefinger’s brothel in King’s Landing (studio). (where Tyrion Lannister meets Oberyn Martell in S4E1). The arch outside is also used for many walk-through shots. Go through the arch and walk along under the wall.
- STOP 04 – Circle 44/46 on your map – Jesuite Street/Steps sometimes referred to locally as the Spanish steps they are two blocks behind the cathedral if you chose to come that way, or our way is a walk below the wall. Known as the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing, a building is inserted by CGI at the top of the steps. This is where Lena Headey as Cersei starts the incredible famous Walk of Shame in S5E10 and goes around the old city. A body double was used for most of this as we believe Lena has a number of Tattoos. The steps were also in S5E1 when crowds gathered to pay their respects to Tywin Lannister. Down the steps and weave right to the Cathedral (Circle 15). Have a look at the bay through the arch in the corner before you walk along to the next stop.
STOP 05 – Circle 13 on your map – Rectors Palace, Cultural Museum You need to put your head inside and look at the steps of the late 15th century Rector’s Palace, At the bottom, Daenerys Targaryen looked up at the Spice King of Qarth and asked for his ships to sail to the Seven Kingdoms. S2E6. This walk to the next stop was also part of the walk of shame.
- STOP 06 – Circle 8 on your map – Sponza Palace / Stradun the other end of the main street of Dubrovnik between Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Sponza Palace. Used for the Walk of Penance in S5E10, 500 extras are said to have filled the streets. (restroom stop here!)
- STOP 07 – Circle 22/26 on your map – St Dominika Street the scene of markets and many walks, including the walk of shame S5E10.
- STOP 08 – Circle 25 on your map – Dominican Monastery the steps are featured on many tours, you will find yourself looking at the steps.
- STOP 09 – Circle 40 on your map – Ploče Gate the walk of shame ends here but it is often used in the show.
- In Transit – we are now going to walk back to Pile Gate and enter the Walls there because you can only walk the walls once and they check your ticket at all the checkpoints. You will have to get off where you got on, and we want to get off at Pile Gate. Take a walk back there and have local currency or a credit card ready (150Kuna).
- STOP 10 – Circle 1 on your map – Walls, Pile Gate this is a one direction walk – now seriously you can stop and look almost anywhere and find elements used, and see where the computer graphics added to the city.
- STOP 11 – Circle 30 on your map – Walls, Bokar Fort there were many looking out scenes here as it overlooks the bay. Like Tyrion Lannister and Varys look out in S2E8.
- STOP 12 – Circle (app 46), halfway around the sea wall on this wall so many scenes were shot it is impossible to list them all. The stairs up are icon, soldiers run up in S2E1 just after the shot of West Bay doors in the chase to kill Robert’s Bastard sons.
- STOP 13 – Circle 42 on your map – Chapels from here start to look back at the city and imagine the explosion.
- STOP 14 – Circle 31 on your map – Minčeta Tower is just a brick tower with a great view, and they didn’t need to do anything to it. It is the highest point in Dubrovnik. This was not used as part of King’s Landing. Other than in wide-shots where CGI was applied this was the exterior and steps of the House of the Undying in Qarth.
- STOP 15 – Circle (app 5 Monastery) on your map – West Walls were used for fighting practice and many other scenes. ADRIATIC CRUISE
- Break time! Having done the City in two loops we now offer a choice, take a break or see 17 and or 18 first? OUR ANGELS & DEMONS TAKE ON ROME
STOP 16 – Circle (between 1,30 & 33) on your map – Pile Bay so much happens here; the Lannisters wait by the shore to see Princess Marcella sail off to Dorne for an arranged marriage in S2E6 (who was recast for S5). Sansa and Shae are later watching ships S3E1 it is used for endless scenes. Littlefinger convincing Sansa she should escape. Look to the right, the doors in the rocks of West Harbour work as Blackwater Bay where the gold cloaks are ordered to murder King Robert Baratheon’s bastard children.S2E1.
- in one of the most iconic scenes from Season 2
- MOVIES MADE AT CRUISE DESTINATIONS
Having done the Dubrovnik Old City in two loops we now offer a choice. You can explore Pile Bay, even take a Kayak trip around the bay which is cool, sit relax and have an expensive beer while you look at the bay, or go up to
- STOP 17 – Circle 33 on your map – Fort Lovrijenac it is the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. It is much the same as you have seen, though different and has many views. With less public there to disturb filming it was easier to control. Lots of the scenes were shot here including the tournament in honour of King Joffrey’s name day; S2E1. Also during a massive CGI created Battle of the Blackwater many characters were put with this location in the foreground.
- STOP 18 – Circle (past 32 turn left) on your map – Gradac Park turn up the hill at the bus stop, walk past number 32 on the local map and turn up some steps. There is a cafe to check you are going the right way. You will come to Gradac Park. However, like Lokrum Island it is just a park with trees and your imagination. The ‘Y’ shaped tree might be the only thing you recognize. This was where they held the purple wedding and where Joffrey was at last killed S4E2. There are nice views and a walk down to a rocky ‘beach’ which must have been used for something.
We are leaving these last locations off our Cruisers tour because they all take too much time out of a one day visit. These are for the enthusiast who is investing time there, or maybe someone on a second visit.
- The Island of Lokrum is possibly more than a half-day trip from the old city by taxi boat even though the journey is under half an hour. The sets, props, and actors are not there so you will be looking at familiar gardens, though very nice they do not have the cinematic charm the S2E5 gives them in Qarth garden party where Daenerys mixes with the influential.
- Trsteno Arboretum is on a local bus route, but work that out on Google Transit before you go, as all the tourist sites will prefer to sell you a tour. Again a half a day in itself. It was the location of the Red Keep’s gardens, seen first in S3 when Sana Stark meets with the Tyrells. Olenna and the Tyrells were often seen in the gardens through S3 & S4. The gazebo that overlooks the sea is used a few times, but perhaps most memorable for where Sansa had cake with Olenna and Margaery.
- Though nearer, the Belvedere Atrium is a derelict 1980’s hotel with no access to the public. Having said that you can see the set from outside. The hotel was shelled and partly destroyed in the recent war and has been vandalised since. It is the trial by combat location, where Oberyn Martell fought Gregor Clegane.
- Dubac Quarry used as Qarth Gate in S2E4, it was a construction. Outside the gate was the Garden of Bones in the red waste where those shut out were left to die. Now gone, there is nothing there to see. It is halfway between the cruise terminal and the old town, but it was a quarry and was due to be used as a cemetery.
See our other films of Dubrovnik, the fuller tour of the walls, the tour of the old city, and a tour of Zadar. Now if you are going there to make a spoof Game Of Thrones film, for a few pounds you could look the part! You should look the part. Jean refused!
In conclusion, though we love cruise routes, this is one we would do over and over again. We love Croatia and hope to cover it again next year. Here are the buttons to the longer films of the individual cruise stops made on this cruise.
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