It’s a big week next week for Game of Thrones fans! Not only is it back, but it’s returning for the last season of the TV show after 8 years since it was first aired. As the release date draws nearer, fans are only becoming more and more invested in its potential plot journey with many speculations on characters and events of the story flying about all over the internet.
Looking back through the previous 7 seasons, HBO have filmed in so many locations around the world, notably Dubrovnik and Malta. But why not venture beyond the wall or visit house Stark in Winterfell? Leave the sofa and head to the seven kingdoms; these are the top 8 winter destinations you need to visit to immerse yourself in the show’s natural wonders.
In the foothill of Námafjall, this geothermal site is an eerie wasteland with pools of boiling mud and hot springs. It was the scene in season 3 where Sam wanders through the blizzard trying to find his fellow men of the Night’s Watch. The blizzard in the scene is actually a thick mist that emerges from the geothermal vents.
2. Grjótagja Cave
This cave is where Jon Snow and Ygritte’s intimate moment during episode 5 of season 3, was initially supposed to be filmed but the surroundings made shooting the scene too difficult. Alas, the exterior of the cave was used and is still a stunning place for Game of Thrones fans to visit in Iceland. It’s a beautiful lava cave with thermal springs of hot glimmering blue water, meaning the rising steam disrupted the scene.
3. Mt Kirkjufell
Mt Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland and is seen in season 6 episode 5 when Bran Stark has a vision of the Children of the Forest creating the first White Walker and it appears again later when the Night King touches Bran. It is also described by the Hound as a ‘mountain shaped like an arrowhead’ at the start of season 7 and it’s used as a landmark to indicate how close they are getting to where the Army of the Dead are found.
4. Svínafellsjökull Glacier
The Svínafellsjökull is an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland and Europe, making up over 8% of the country. It’s seen in season 2 during the Fist of the First Man episode when Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand are held captive by the Wildlings and represents the land Beyond the Wall.
5. Castle Ward
This eighteenth century ruin is the used as the exterior of Winterfell, home of house of Stark. It’s open to the public as a National Trust property, where you can stand in the courtyard that Jon Snow taught his brother Bran to shoot a bow and arrow and can even see the spot where Jamie Lannister pushes Bran from the window.
6. Ballintoy Harbour
The location of the Port of Pyke in the Iron Islands is home of the Greyjoys’. It’s a small fishing harbour which captures Irish rural life and is the location where Theon first meets his sister Yara when he returns home from Winterfell in season 2.
7. The Mourne Mountains
In County Down, these scenic mountains were used for the pilot episode and its slopes were used as the entrance to Vaes Dothrak, the capital of the Dothraki. The mountain’s foothills were also used as the lands of the north where Bran meets Meera and Jojen in the woods.
8. Doune Castle
The medieval castle was the initial set for Winterfell, used for its exterior shots and the arrival of Robert Baratheon during the pilot episode when the great feast was held. But the production team decided it would be a logistical nightmare to continue filming due to the lack of studio space and infrastructure of the castle.