8 Real Life Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Andalusia
Much of HBO's blockbuster show Game of Thrones is filmed in sunny southern Spain. For die-hard fans looking for some sun, Spanish flare, and a Game of Thrones fix, there are eight real life filming locations in Andalusia you can visit. You can relive the gore and glory of the bloodthirsty medieval show and take a selfie where the show’s most memorable scenes were shot.
Here's my guide to the gorgeous and unmissable Game of Thrones filming locations in Andalusia.
1. Seville's Royal Alcazar
There is no more stunning Game of Thrones filming location than beautiful Seville. On my first peek at the stunning UNESCO-listed Royal Alcázar, my face lit up like a Dornish sunshine.
The Alcázar is one of the world's greatest cultural treasures, a centuries old Mudéjar complex of palaces and fortifications, lovely courtyards, and extensive gardens bursting with orange, purple, and green colors. (I even prefer it to Granada's mighty Alhambra.)
The Alcázar also doubles as the Water Gardens of Sunspear, the ancestral home of House Martell in Dorne and southernmost part of Westeros. It's a suitably colorful and exotic place for a family as licentious, tempestuous, and incestuous as the Martells.
Game of Thrones co-writer David Weiss, said: “There’s nowhere on earth that is more like the water gardens we pictured than this place … It’s the weird kind of thing you never build for a set.”
The Alcázar appears in Season 5 in episodes 2, 6, 7, and 9. Game of Thrones uses four locations in the Alcázar: the showy Ambassador’s Hall, the Mercury Pool, the Baths of Maria de Padilla, and the Charles V Pavilion.
In this case, in a rare feat, the real life location more than lives up to its fictional rendering.
Practical Information for the Visiting the Royal Alcazar:
Hours: Winter, October to March: Mon-Sun, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Summer, April to September: Mon-Sun, 9:30 to 7:00 pm
Address: Patio de Banderas Seville
Entry Fees: 9.50 euros (general visit) + 4.50 euros (upper quarter) + 1 euro (online booking fee), retirees and students ages 17 -25 € 2. On Mondays from April to September 6:00 pm-7:00 pm and October to March 4:00 pm-5:00 pm, entrance is free.
Buy Tickets Online
2. Seville's Royal Shipyards
For two decades, Seville's Royal Shipyards have been off limits to the public. Built in the 13th century, the expansive shipyard covered over 3 acres. They consisted of 17 cathedral-like vaulted naves, built in the Gothic-Mudéjar style. Each nave was large enough for the construction of a galley. But the shipyards fell into disrepair.
In December 2018, Seville announced that restoration would begin in 2019, with the aim of opening the Royal Shipyards in 2022. This is likely due, in part, to the shipyards' fame as a Game of Thrones filming location.
The shipyards appear in two episodes of Season 7. They serve as the crypt of the Red Keep in Kings Landing. In a scene in Episode 2, Qyburn takes Queen Cersei to the basement of the Red Keep and shows her his new dragon slaying weapon. He shoots a bolt through Balerion's scull.
Later, in Episode 5, Bronn leads Jaime to the shipyard-crypt for a tense meeting with Tyrion.
3. Ruins of Italica Outside Seville
The Romans founded Italica in 206 B.C. It's reputedly the birthplace of three Roman Emperors -- Hadrian, Trajan, and Theodosius.
The amphitheater once held 25,000 people, and was the third largest in the Roman Empire. Italica is now the modern-day Santiponce. To safeguard the ruins, Santipoce has applied for UNESCO World Heritage status.
In Game of Thrones, Italica serves as the Dragonpit of Kings Landing, which was basically a stable for the Targaryen dragons. It's the site of a famous scene from the Season 7 finale. There, the heads of the major Westerosi houses meet to negotiate how to deal with the Army of the Dead, the approaching White Walkers.
Daenerys arrives late by dragon, making a dramatic entrance, and angering Cersei. The Hound brings forth a specimen of a white walker for a skeptical Cersei to inspect. In Season 7, Italica was CGI'd to add extra height.
In season 8, Italica makes another appearance. The ruling lords gather to decide the fate of Jon and Tyrion, as well choose Bran as the next king.
Practical information for Visiting Italica:
Address: Avenida Extremadura 2, 41970 Santiponce, Spain
Entry fee: 1.50 €
Getting there: The 170A and 170B buses to Santiponce leave from Plaza de Armas bus station in Seville. The 170A is more frequent, leaving every half hour, with the journey taking 30 minutes.
4. Osuna Bullring
Osuna is a charming white pueblo an hour east of Seville. Its bullring, the Plaza de Toros, was inaugurated in 1903. It was built with ashlars from the sandstone pits outside Osuna and seats 5,000. It was designed by Anibal Gonzalez, the same architect of the lovely Plaza España in Seville.
In Game of Thrones, the bullring serves as Daznak’s Pit, the main fighting pit in Meereen where slaves battle like Roman gladiators for the amusement of the rich.
The pit is seen in Episodes 9 and 10 of Season 5. The sequences were shot over 17 days in October 2014. The scene featured 550 extras and stuntmen. It is one of the most expensive series scenes in television history.
The producers used CGI to make the ring look bigger than it really is, but other than adding a couple extra layers of seats, they did very little to change the actual look and feel of it.
It's here that Daenerys is attacked by the Sons of the Harpy, an underground insurgency group who oppose Daeanerys' rule and her freeing of the slaves of Mereen.
Jorah Mormont and her other protectors attempt to fight off her attackers. But they are cornered in the center of the bullring. Daenerys' dragon Drogon soon arrives and makes short work of the pesky treasonous harpies.
The episode culminates in one of the season's most dramatic moments -- with Daenerys flying out on Drogon, the first time she rides a dragon in the series. Here is an HBO video with the dramatic scene from the Season 5 episode Dance of Dragons : https://youtu.be/G-yYULj7NAU
The Osuna tourist bureau has even added a massive dragon skull to the bullring corridor, which makes for a good photo op. I rather wish I had taken a selfie there, and not just inside the bullring.
If you need even more of a Game of Thrones fix, you can stop in quickly at the Museum of Osuna. The museum has added two rooms dedicated to Game of Thrones lore.
They feature a collection of props, costumes, and memorabilia donated by the show's producers. You'll find a collection of weapons -- the mighty sword Longclaw, a dragon glass dagger, and a Dothraki sickle sword. There is even a life size white walker.
Practical Information for Visiting the Osuna Bullring:
Hours: Open Sat & Sun from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Address: Calle Lantejuela, 8, Osuna
Entry: Free (however, I've read elsewhere that it may cost 2 euros)
Tel: +34 954 81 57 32
Practical Information for Visiting the Museum of Osuna:
Address: Calle Sevilla 37, Osuna
Hours: Tues-Sun: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Monday: closed
Sunday (June and September): closed
July and August: Tues-Fri: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Thur: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Mon & Sun: closed
Entry: € 2, free on Wed
5. Córdoba's Roman Bridge
The first thing you will see when approaching historic Córdoba is its handsome 1st century Roman Bridge with 16 undulating arches.
The Roman Bridge was featured in Season 5 of Game of Thrones. Enhanced by CGI, the ancient Roman Bridge became the Long Bridge of Volantis, one of the nine free cities in Essos. There is a stunning aerial shot of the Roman Bridge in Episode 3.
Tyrion Lannister and Varys are journeying from Pentos to Meereen. Tyrion has been hidden inside a box for days, to avoid detection after committing patricide and flowing Westeros.
He's finally sprung free and the two men walk across the Long Bridge. In George R.R. Martin's book Dance of Dragons, the Long Bridge is referred to as one of the nine “Wonders Made by Man.”
In the TV show, the Roman Bridge is made taller and crammed, via CGI, with dilapidated buildings. As Varys and Tyrion walk, they see houses, shops, a preaching priestess, and a brothel.
The actors shot in the studio and did not actually visit the bridge. The production team used a drone, which captured aerial sequences as a base for computer graphics. You can watch a clip from Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3, "High Sparrow," here.
Practical information for Cordoba's Roman Bridge
Address: Av. del Alcázar, s/n, 14003 Córdoba
6. Castillo Almodovar del Rio
Just a short 15 mile jaunt from Córdoba is the beautiful and isolated Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, one of the most dramatic Game of Thrones filming locations in Andalusia. Here, you'll find yourself in Highgarden, the ancestral home of House Tyrell.
The imposing castle is 1300 years old, dating back to the 8th century. When the castle was originally built, it was called Al-Mudawvar, meaning "round" or "safe," which is the origin of the town's name, Almodovar. Ruling from the Alcazar in Seville, Peter the Cruel used the castle as a prison and treasury.
The castle is open to the public and you can explore its rugged walls, musty dungeons, and nine crenelated towers. Because it is a bit off the beaten track, it is delightfully free of the tourist hordes that clog most Game of Thrones sites.
The castle appeared in Season 7 of Game of Thrones and will return in Season 8. In Season 7, “The Queen’s Justice,” there is a dramatic scene where Jaime Lannister and the Tarlys march on Highgarden and seize control, helping Queen Cersei best Daenerys and Tyrion in the battle for Westeros.
Practical Information for Visiting Castle Almodovar:
Address: 14720 Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba
Entry fee: € 9, children 4-12 € 5
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11:00 am to 3:30 pm & 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. (Winter) Monday to Friday: 11:00 am to 2:30pm & 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Summer)
Sat, Sun, & holidays: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (Winter) 11:00 am to 8:00 pm (Summer)
Pro tip: It's a bit of a hike from the parking lot. There are guided tours on the weekends at 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm (4:30 pm in winter)
7. Alcazaba Fortress of Almeria
The Alcazaba of Almeria was built in the 10th century by Caliph And-al-Rhaman III. It's a formidable military fortification with fantastic crenelated battlements.
The Alcazaba is the largest Moorish fortress in Spain and parts were modeled after the Alhambra. Almeria was once an enormously important trading city in Andalusia. The saying went: "When Almeria was Almeria, Granada was but its farm."
The Alcazaba has been used as a filming location before, in Indiana Jones for example. Now it's once again been made famous by Game of Thrones. The Alcazaba was the location for a bloody death scene in an early episode, filmed in October 2015, shot in the Patio del Gobernado.
The Alcazaba, along with the Royal Alcazar, also doubles as Dorne. Interior scenes, scenes from the Dornish peninsula, and even Water Garden scenes were shot at the Alcazaba.
To make the Alcazaba garden look like Dorne, the pool was merged by computer with the grotto wall of the Alcazar of Seville, where scenes in Season 5 were shot.
Practical Information for Visiting the Almeria Alcazaba:
Address: Calle Almanzor, s/n, 04002 Almería, Spain
Hours: Tues-Sat 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Sun 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Entry fee: € 3.5
8. Torre de Mesa Roldan
Nearby Torre de Mesa Roldán is a flat top extinct volcano and part of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. It is also serves as Mereen, the city of pyramids in Essos. It appears in Episode 9 of Season 6 where Daenerys punishes the Masters for their treachery and rode Drogon into the bay.
Practical information for Visiting Torre de Mesa Roldán:
Address: Crta. AL-5106, Km. 9,900 (Punta de los Muertos) 04140 Carboneras