Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: overview of the Old Town

“Our guide will be waiting at the fountain holding a Lannister banner.”

You know that you are about to be surrounded by other fans, geeking out about Game of Thrones, when you receive this message about the meeting point for the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour.

To be honest, the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour was the main reason why I wanted to visit this city. Yes, I acknowledge that Dubrovnik is beautiful and historic, and the walled city is majestic and enchanting. But I look past the red-tiled roofs, gelato stands, and hoards of camera-snapping cruise ship visitors, and see Dubrovnik for what it really is:

King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: looking back towards King's Landing

Robert was our excellent guide for the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour. After seeing the mob scene of large groups getting organized near the tour buses, leaders shouting into microphones in a variety of languages, I was instantly relieved about our small group size (max of 8) of like-minded Game of Thrones fans.

Our first stop was the setting for the Red Keep, the home of the King and his family.

In reality, it is the St.  Lawerence Fortress, a stone structure rising 37m out of the Adriatic Sea and dating from the 15th century.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: The Red Keep

Shockingly, this fortress which is open to the public, remains empty almost all day long, while the walled city, just a few hundred meters away, is packed. Our guide said that they only sell about 200 tickets a day, and about 180 of those tickets are bought by Game of Thrones fans. Once you reach the top of the fortress, you have one of the best views of the walls of Dubrovnik and the Old Town, almost all to yourself.

Considering it will be the only time you are not being pushed and jostled by frenzied tourists in Dubrovnik, enjoy the peace.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: setting of a scene from the Red Keep
Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: Being a nerd with replica pieces from Game of Thrones

The fortress was used in numerous scenes, including Joffrey’s Nameday Tournament, when Tyrion slapped Joffrey (a favorite scene for most fans, who unite in their hatred of Joffrey), and when Cersei explains what real power means to Littlefinger.

From the fortress, we descended towards the chaos of the main gate of Dubrovnik Old Town. We passed the “Docks of King’s Landing,” which in reality, is a small concrete dock used by local fisherman and numerous kayaking tour companies. Robert’s flip book of still images from the show, including the scene where Sensa considers leaving with Littlefinger, helped recreate the scene while inexperienced kayakers frantically paddled out to the Adriatic.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: the view from the Docks of King's Landing

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: a scene from King's Landing docks

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour

Passing through Pile Gate, it was hard to imagine filming anything here, as it’s the main funnel for people to enter the Old Town and habitually crowded. But somehow, they managed to film a scene in this area, a major feat once you’ve seen the masses.

In Season 2, Episode 6, at around 24 minutes, Cersei is chased by the peasants during a revolt. She runs through the large main gate.

Our guide was cast as an extra (peasant #44 to be exact), and was in the chase scene, “expertly” leaning on a railing. Robert explained that even during this filming, the main entrance remained open to the public. They would film for twenty minutes, break for ten minutes to let people in, then resume filming. Completely closing the area was out of the question, so they managed the shoot around the visitors.

Of course, this past spring, the crew of Star Wars, on location in Dubrovnik shooting Episode 97 (or something like that) managed to not only close the main entrance, but the ENTIRE OLD TOWN for two whole days.

Money talks, I guess.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: Robert showing off his lean and his photos as a Game of Thrones extra
Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: the stairs that Cersei descends during the walk of shame

Inside the walls, we came upon the staircase that Cersei descends as she does her walk of shame, from the Sept of Baelor back to the Red Keep, completely naked.

Through the magic of CGI, they added the Sept of Baelor, which does not actually exist, and the Red Keep, which was added to the hillside. The staircase was real at least!

Robert noted along the walk through Old Town that the actress playing Cersei got final approval on her naked body double, flipping through over a thousand candidates. Why couldn’t she just do it herself? Well, the actress has a full sleeve of tattoos on both arms in real life, and seeing the Queen covered in tats would be a bit jarring, and not especially regal.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: replica shield from the show

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: the stairs of the Spice Palace of Qarth

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: inside the Spice Palace of Qarth

We passed by the doors used as the entrance to Littlefinger’s (by the way, best character name in the show) brothel in King’s Landing, and the Palace of the Spice King of Qarth.

The tour finished overlooking the marina of Dubrovnik, with the wooded Lokrum Island in the distance, the setting for the utopia of Qarth.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: a look back up the hillside of Dubrovnik

For any fan of the show, the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour alone is worth the trip to Dubrovnik. The town is a little crazy and always busy, but the small group size and excellent guiding by Robert made it absolutely worth it.

Plus, the tour wasn’t just about saying what scenes happened where, but how the filming took place, how they hid electrical wires and modern amenities on the buildings, and the role of CGI in the making of King’s Landing.

The two hours flew by, and it brought one of the best shows on television to life for me, no matter how dorky that sounds.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Having you taken the Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour? Share you thoughts below!

My tour was complimentary from Game of Thrones Croatia, which normally cost €54 for the 2.5 hour tour. Of course, all opinions are my own. Plus, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, so of course it was awesome!

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour

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  • October 4, 2016

    I need to do this tour! I love that he carries a book with photos from the series so you can compare it to real deal! 🙂
    Dominique recently posted…Jeju Island – A Handful of Cultural SightsMy Profile

    • October 5, 2016
      Julie

      It was fantastic! the book with all of the scenes was the most helpful actually because there is so much CGI it can be difficult to actually picture everything!

  • October 6, 2016

    We will be in Dubrovnik in June (I know it’s a long time from now) and plan to do this tour. We’re huge GOT fans and admit it’s one of the reasons we chose a cruise that stops in Dubrovnik. This looks like a great tour and glad he brought the show to life for you.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Fun at Linnanmäki Amusement Park HelsinkiMy Profile

    • October 6, 2016

      Mary – that is the best thing I’ve heard all day! I love planning way in advance like that, gives me something to look forward to (!), and we pretty much planned this stop around the GOT tour too! You’re in good company!

  • October 8, 2016

    I’m not a Game of Thrones fan, but Dubrovnik looks incredible. Great shots! I’d much prefer a history tour of the city and certainly with a smaller group like you had. If I were to do a tour based on a TV series, it would be for Downton Abbey!
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…How 1 Fairytale Day Will Make You Love Sighisoara Romania ForeverMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Truth be told, I’m not a huge GOT fan either. It’s OKAY, but Drew is the real fanatic. My favorite series tour? Sex and the City, in NYC. Now THAT was amazing! (BTW, you can go in the Downton Abbey house!).

  • October 8, 2016

    I’ve actually never watched Games of Thrones, but I have been to a few filming locations now. I absolutely loved Dubrovbik and I can totally see it being a great filming location for a show like that. You’ve captured some beautiful shots and it makes me want to go back!
    Jennifer recently posted…The 5 Senses Luxury Wine ExperienceMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Apparently Dubrovnik is used VERY frequently as a filming location. The local government is really open to it (unlike Split, where they’ve had some issues), and they try to not impact other visitors too much. Always appreciated!

  • October 8, 2016

    Not only do I love Game of Thrones I’m researching a trip to Dubrovnik. Couldn’t be better timing. Thanks!
    Wandering Carol recently posted…How to make an award winning travel videoMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Ooh, enjoy it! And you can’t miss the GOT tours…there are plenty to choose from 🙂

  • October 8, 2016

    I’m afraid to admit it here, but I’ve never seen Game of Thrones… In saying that, I love ‘behind the scenes’ tours so this would still be a fun tour. And I love that your guide was an extra on the show!
    Nadine recently posted…Revive & Restore – An Intimate Yoga Retreat in FranceMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      I think that most locals have an easy time getting on the show in one way or another. If you have a ‘special skill’ like horseback riding, you get a lot of opportunities. The guide kept mentioning how he has trouble watching the show now without seeing people he knows!

  • October 9, 2016

    I am not a Game of Thrones fan but you have piqued my interest! Dubrovnik looks stunning and I am planning to visit. Gorgeous photos – I enjoyed seeing your photos of the places you were visiting 🙂
    Nancy recently posted…Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale – The Best of the WestMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      I hope you enjoy Dubrovnik when you make it over! It’s beautiful (I mean, can’t go wrong in Croatia…it’s all gorgeous!)

  • October 9, 2016

    Me too never watched Games of Thrones, I wonder if I missed a lot. But this place being connected with something so great definitely makes it very special.

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Fortunately, you can take your pick of filming here. Apparently it will be heavily featured in the NEXT Star Wars movie (due out in late 2017 I think).

  • October 9, 2016

    Funnily enough, I’ve just come back from a cruise that included Dubronik. Sadly it was a grey, rainy day and I couldn’t bring myself to walk round that much. But, I will go back soon and I’ll try to find out more about Game of Thrones before I do that
    Fiona Maclean recently posted…North Indian Restaurant in South Kensington – ThaliMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      I was wondering how it would be different without the crazy heat! It would probably be nice to see a slightly different side of the place.

  • October 9, 2016

    I must be the only person in the world who doesn’t watch Game of Thrones. If it’s filmed in this setting, well, I can see I’m really missing out.
    Leah recently posted…The Best Foods to Eat in Paris (and where to find them)My Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      I’m glad I’m not the only one – Drew is the real fan in our family. But a beautiful setting can be appreciated no matter what!

  • October 10, 2016

    I am a big enough GOT fan to anchor a European trip on it. I always tacitly assumed all the cities were a combination of CGI and sound stages. It’s impressive to see King’s Landing in the flesh. I wonder if Dubrovnik was cannon for King’s Landing in the book too or from the minds of the show.

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Great question. We’re not sure if the author originally imagined one of these Med cities as King’s Landing. In season 1, actually, it was filmed in Malta, but there were issues with getting permissions and whatnot for further seasons. I bet Malta is kicking itself now for not continuing on!

  • October 10, 2016

    I will definitely join this tour when I get to visit Croatia. A big fan of GoT too but I don’t Baelish character hahaha

    Your photos were really beautiful too.
    Carla Abanes recently posted…Your 4 Day Boracay Itinerary and Travel GuideMy Profile

    • October 11, 2016
      Julie

      Thanks and enjoy it!!!

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