Call yourself a Game of Thrones fan? Then do yourself a favour and get to King’s Landing… I mean Dubrovnik, Croatia… before the series ends.
Dubrovnik isn’t just a tiny bit like King’s Landing; it’s exactly like King’s Landing. It is King’s Landing.
These are the alleyways, the castles, the parapets, the cathedrals that appear in the HBO series.
Sure, there is the odd part of King’s Landing that needs to be digitally enhanced. If you want to see the Great Sept of Baelor, for instance, then you’re going to have to draw that bit in yourself because nothing even faintly resembling the Great Sept exists. But the majority of the King’s Landing scenes are lifted straight out of the streets of Dubrovnik.
SPOILER ALERT: do not read this if you are not up to date with the HBO Game of Thrones series.
Pile Bay, Dubrovnik
This little stone jetty is where Sansa Stark used to sit with Shae when she was held captive in King’s Landing (Season 3). Sansa liked to watch the boats as they glided in and out of the bay.
It’s also the site where Princess Myrcella boards the ship that takes her to Dorne in Season 2. And where Cersei Lannister waits anxiously for her daughter to return in Season 6.
Fort Lovrijenak, Dubrovnik
Fort Levrijenak, in Dubrovnik, performs the role of the Red Keep, in King’s Landing – although the fort does gets a little touch up in the HBO series.
It’s where King Joffrey enjoys his name day celebrations (Season 2), and orders the drunk Ser Dantos put to death. Sansa Stark urges leniency; she counsels that killing a man on your name day will bring bad luck.
The fort’s central courtyard was used several times as a clandestine meeting place for Cersei and Littlefinger.
Power is power, Cersei informed Lord Baelish as her guards lifted him by the throat.
Who can forget the Purple Wedding? It’s the one where King Joffrey, who is due to marry Margaery Tyrell, meets his untimely-but-everyone-agrees-much-deserved death.
The table of honour was set up in front of the view above.
Dubrovnik city walls
Dubrovnik’s city walls feature heavily in Season 2 (if you can remember that far back).
Tyrian Lannister and Lord Varys would oft-times meet atop the walls to discuss the pending battle with Stannis Baratheon’s army.
And does this charming little cove look familiar?
That’s because it’s the location for the terrible Battle of Blackwater Bay (the naval battle between the armies of Stannis Baratheon and King Joffrey).
Remember the scene in Season 2 when King Joffrey was booed and heckled by the crowd? That happened here, at Pile Gate.
Yes, that is a Game of Thrones tour clogging the passageway.
Minčeta Tower, Dubrovnik
Minčeta Tower, Dubrovnik, is transformed into the House of the Undying: the lair of the warlocks of Qarth.
Pyat Pree, the evil warlock, steals Daenerys’ dragons and brings them to the House of the Undying. Daenerys runs around and around the base of the tower looking for a door, but she cannot find an entrance.
Dubrovnik Old Town
The Old Town of Dubrovnik has been used as backdrop for so many King’s Landing scenes it would be outlandish to attempt to name them all.
One of the more memorable moments that took place in Old Town was Cersei’s Walk of Shame. You can retrace her steps if you like; she walks from the Jesuit Steps to the Church of St Ignatius.
Dubrovnik: a little history
The port city of Dubrovnik dates back to the 7th Century CE, at which time it was known as Ragusa.
The city was part of the Byzantine Empire at first, then merged with the Most Serene Republic of Venice – that was its real name – before becoming a semi-autonomous city-state under the Kingdom of Hungary.
Somehow Dubrovnik managed to maintain its independence during Ottoman rule, though doing so required a hefty tribute to be paid to the sultan.
Dubrovnik really hit its stride in the 15th and 16th Centuries; it was such a successful maritime port it began to rival Venice in importance, much to the dismay of the Venetians.
Sadly, much of the city was destroyed in a powerful earthquake that shook the city in 1667. Only a few buildings, such as Sponza Palace, built 1522, survived the earthquake.
The wealthy port city was soon rebuilt though, and the new settlement continued to embrace its much-loved Gothic-Renaissance architectural style. The post-1667-earthquake city is more or less the city you see today, and that city is… King’s Landing… I mean Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik has its own international airport with flights to many cities in Europe.
You can get local buses to Zagreb, Split, and Zadar, and international buses to Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kotor (Montenegro) and Budva (Montenegro). More transport info here.
Read more on the Old City of Dubrovnik in the UNESCO World Heritage listing.