I don’t even know where to begin, so let me start by saying this – I was in King’s Landing, you guys! I was in King’s Landing!
Well, I was in Split and Dubrovnik – two of the main shooting locations for Game of Thrones’ fictional city. June is a perfect time to be there, with the temperature not going above 27 degrees Celsius in the daytime. The cities of Split and Dubrovnik are in the region of Dalmatia, which is the coastline of Croatia along the Adriatic Sea. So even if the sun’s striking straight at noon, you will still get the sea breeze to cool you down.
With Italy just across the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is heavily influenced by the Roman Empire. From their cuisine, to architecture, to traditions, you will think that you’re walking in Tuscany.
Split’s Diocletian Palace is the first thing you will see once you get off the harbor. With its closed walls, narrow stone paths, and medieval structure, numerous King’s Landing and Meereen scenes were shot here. Think the Unsullied fighting the Sons of the Harpy, or Ser Barristan dying in one of the alleys. Yes, it broke my heart too. 😦 However, the actual palace in Meereen, where Daenerys is in the previous seasons, is in Klis – up in the mountains, about a 20-minute drive from the Split harbor.
I took a 4-hour bus ride from Split to Dubrovnik to continue my Game of Thrones tour. Dubrovnik has been the main shooting location of King’s Landing since Season 2 (in Season 1, all scenes were shot in Malta), and 90% of the extras in those scenes are locals. Our tour guide was telling us that the people of Dubrovnik were really trying to get roles, that he even saw his old Chemistry professor as one of the beggars… naked! :)) Safe to say that almost everyone there is a fan, which made me love the city more.
Now this part I enjoyed the most, because you will see familiar and memorable places. It’s so exciting to relive the scenes, and be able to talk about them with fellow GoT fans. Our guide, Zoran, will say something like, “Do you remember when Tyrion slapped Joffrey…”, and we will go, “Oh yeah, he cried in that exact corner!” Such fun geeky moments.
The Old Town is a real town, with people actually living in it. It’s not just a tourist attraction that became a commercial place. People have really lived and worked here for a long time. Just imagine how their daily lives stop every time the GoT set is on location. The roads are blocked, and they can’t get to work or school. Most of them are thrilled, but the elderly ones couldn’t care less about some tv show. Hahah!
I admit, I was more interested in the GoT aspect of the place, rather than its real history; but it’s easy to see why David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose Croatia for their hit series. The place screams classic and authentic medieval. You will feel how proud the people are of their country, and how welcoming they are of visitors who want to know more about Croatia. That’s why they can’t help but be thankful for the success of Game of Thrones, because more people (especially the younger generation) are seeing their beautiful country at last.
Although Croatia is not part of the Schengen states yet, you can visit on a Schengen Visa. So make sure to include it in your itinerary when you’re on your Euro tour. 🙂