As the ever popular fantasy TV series Game of Thrones heads into its eighth and final series next year fans are beside themselves with excitement of finding out the fates of their favorite fur wearing heroes and dragon mothers. But the excitement is bittersweet, especially here in Iceland since the end of the series means our beautiful country’s time as parts of Westeros has come to an end. But the upside of of living in a country that’s basically a naturally occurring fantasy film set is that even after the cast and crew have gone back to their normal lives, the locations are still here and accessible to the public. We’ve picked out some of our favorite Game of Thrones shooting locations in Iceland that you can visit today!
The imposing and mysterious landscape of North Iceland has been a favorite for the Game of Thrones crew since season one. The area around lake Myvatn has stood in for North of the Wall, its geothermal hot springs of Hverir lending a mystical feel to scenes and even standing in for a blizzard like in the beginning of season three when we see Sam braving the snowstorm, which in reality was just the sulfur smelling mist from the hot springs. Ah movie magic!
The peculiar lava fields of Dimmuborgir is known to the locals as the home of Gryla and Leppaludi, the parents to the thirteen Yule Lads. Game of Thrones fans will be familiar with the area as the Wildling camp seen in season three. It was also used as a corner of the Haunted Forrest so keep an eye out for any roaming White Walkers.
The whole area around Lake Myvatn is full of prime GOT spots. The most romantic is without a doubt the Grjotagja cave. This small cave used to be a popular bathing place for the locals but since geological activity in the years 1975 – 1984 raised the temperature of the water bathing is no longer possible. That didn’t stop Jon Snow and Ygrette from falling in love there in season three. Actors Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie have also credited their time shooting in Iceland for the beginning of their romance, saying they fell in love under the northern lights. While we can’t promise that you’ll find your soulmate in Northern Iceland we can guarantee an authentic bathing experience in the stunning Myvatn Nature Baths. The North’s answer to the Blue Lagoon, a dip in the aquamarine waters of the Nature Baths surrounded by the contrasting black and reds of the geothermal area will make you feel like you’re in a fantasy land.
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Where better to film the chilly lands North of the Wall than the Skaftafell National park area? Home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull the filmmakers barely had to add any effects to the snowy scenes in seasons two and three. Mostly filmed on Vatnajokull itself, as well as the outlet glacier Svinafellsjokull, both locations offer glacial hikes and other day tours so you can explore your inner Wildling.
The area around Vik, especially Reynisfjara with its distinctive black sand beach and rock formations has appeared as the beach at Eastwatch in season 7, as well as northern Westeros. You’ll remember the imposing basalt columns of Reynisdrangar and the beautiful Dyrholaey that lend the area its mystic feel. Reynisfjara is one of the most popular beaches in Iceland and a must see for all visitors.
The reconstructed Viking-era farmstead of Stong is the perfect setting for the village where the only survivor of the Free Folk massacre in season four, Olly lived. Stong offers a wonderful opportunity to see how the settlers of Iceland lived hundreds of years ago. The farm is believed to have been destroyed when the volcano Hekla erupted in 1104 but was rebuilt in 1974 as a part of national celebrations of the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland.
Thingvellir National Park is a part of the Golden Circle, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and with good reason. Thingvellir is the site of the original Icelandic Parliament, one of the first in the world. The park is also a geological marvel, as it sits right on top of two tectonic plates that are slowly drifting apart. This causes Thingvellir‘s many canyons and fissures lending the place an otherworldly feel that the makers of GOT have used to their advantage, most notably as the entrance to Eyrie, the main stronghold of the House of Arryn, seen in season one and four when Sansa and Littlefinger arrive to Eyrie.
Thorufoss is a stunning waterfall close to Thingvellir. It’s the site of the fatal meeting between the dragon Drogon and an Icelandic goat in season four. The Icelandic goat is an endangered species but luckily dragons aren’t native to Iceland and therefore aren’t normally a threat to the friendly little animals.
Nesjavellir are better known to Game of Thrones audiences as The Vale. It’s the location of that iconic fight between Brienne and the Hound at the end of season four. In real life Nesjavellir is the site of the second largest geothermal power station in the country. The geothermal energy underground is evidenced by the columns of steam rising from the land as you drive through the green fields close to Thingvellir National Park. Special Game of Thrones tours are operated in the area that will take you through each shooting location and give you behind the scenes information on the cast and crew’s time in Iceland.
The Snaefellsnes peninsula is often referred to as “mini-Iceland” since its landscape is so diverse and showcases everything Iceland has to offer, from the majestic Snaefellsnes glacier, to black sand beaches and gorgeous waterfalls. Mt. Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed mountains in the country and has of course appeared on GOT as the Arrowhead mountain in seasons six and seven. Snaefellsnes is regarded as a mystical place in Icelandic folklore and the glacier is thought to have healing powers so a trip up west is a must for anyone interested in what lies beyond the physical world.
The multi-coloured hills and valleys of Thorsmork in the Icelandic highlands are breathtaking in the summer months, which is the best time to visit. The makers of GOT are not ones to pass up the opportunity of natural sets and used the beauty of Thorsmork to enhance the scenes taking place North of the Wall. The quiet calm of the Stakkholtsgja canyon was the perfect place to film the scene in season seven when Jon Snow leads the team to ambush a pack of wights.
Thorsmork is a very popular hiking spot and the trail leading between Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork, known as Laugavegur, is almost a rite of passage for any Icelander. It’s the perfect way to take in the breathtaking vistas of this water-carved valleys and canyons.
Visit the legendary Icelandic landmarks featured in the Game of Thrones for 5 days on our Game of Thrones Iceland: Beyond the Wall.