SHILLANAVOGY VALLEY: Dothraki sea.
Only 40 minutes driving to the north from Belfast, we find Shillanavogy Valley. A striking Irish valley which, just for a moment, became Dothraki territory.
Through its green meadows rode Khal Drogo alongside her new wife Daenerys Targaryen, and her greedy brother towards Vaes Dothrak. The only city in the Dothraki Sea.
However, the area in the foothills of Slemish was already famous before it appeared on television. Some other illustrious figures had already walked through these green pastures. And we are talking about none other than St. Patrick.
In fact, the 17th of May (St. Patrick’s day) there is a quite large pilgrimage to the top of the mountain.
CARNLOUGH: A Braavos canal.
Carnlough is a small coastal town 50 kilometres north from Belfast (about 50 minutes by car). But be warned, Carnlough’s appearance in Game of Thrones is very, very brief.
The only spot of this town we see on screen is a small part of its harbour. Specifically, one of the stone steps which go down into the sea (we warned you this was a small appearance).
These are the steps Arya crawls up to go back to the streets of Braavos after having been stabbed by the Waif in season six.
CUSHENDUN CAVES: Melisandre's cave.
Near the town of Cushendun (1h 15min away driving north from Belfast) it is hidden among cliffs the mystical cave where the Red Witch Melisandre gave birth to the shadow. A dark creature who will kill Ranley Baratheon in season two.
If you walk down to the sea following the course of Glendun river, you will find Cushendun Caves to your right behind a row of white buildings.
DARK HEDGES: The Kingsroad.
One hour driving north form Belfast, it is located one of the most famous roads across Ireland… or it would be better to say across the world.
This popular road known as Dark Hedges and guarded by hundred-year-old beech trees was, in the series, the longest and grandest highway in Westeros: the Kingsroad.
Arya Stark (dressed as a boy) and Gendry travelled this road in their way up to the North in season two.
Nowadays, this path is a road section of Bregagh Road. In the 17th century, the royal family of the Stuarts planted here these eye-catching beech trees in order to impress whoever came to visit their property. ¡And they surely did!
Unfortunately, in January 2016 a huge storm took down some of these trees. But don’t panic, these fallen trees are still part of the Game of Thrones universe in some way. Their wood was used to build 10 doors with carved images of some of the most famous scenes of the show.
Click on our ‘Activities’ section to discover how and where you can visit all of them in the ‘Journey of Doors’.
AREA OF BALLINTOY HARBOUR: Iron Islands.
In the show, the Iron Islands are one of the most hostile places within the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Bathed by troubled waters, this unwelcoming archipelago of eight islands has very few safe harbours to find shelter at.
And what better place to recreate this harsh coastal landscape than the Ballintoy harbour. Grey menacing skies and dozens of rocky islets on the horizon welcome you to this small seaside town in the north of Northern Ireland (1h 20min away from Belfast).
With such view, it is not difficult to imagine yourself in Lordsport, on the island of Pyke, watching in the distance how Theon Greyjoy’s ship approaches on his way back home in season two.
Don’t leave Ballintoy without paying a visit to a small cove next to its harbour. You can easily walk to this spot where Theon was baptized into the Drowned God religion. This is the scene where the words “what is dead may never die” are said as part of the religious ritual.
This little cove appeared once more in the series in season six, when Yara Greyjoy talks to the Priest of the Islands.
We keep exploring the surrounding area of Ballintoy, and just before the entrance to the town it is located the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This stunning bridge is 20 metres long and it was built by fishermen in order to access their ships.
It is one of the most touristic points in Northern Ireland and the surrounding landscapes where used in the series to recreate the region of the Stormlands and Ranley Baratheon’s camp.
The bridge itself hasn’t been confirmed as a filming spot. But maybe it inspired the scene where Balon Greyjoy is pushed over a hanging bridge by his brother Euron. Do you dare to cross it?
DUNLUCE CASTLE: The Castle of Pyke.
Following the road coast road to the west, only 20 minutes away by car from Ballintoy, there is Dunluce Castle. There is no way you can miss it, it is an impressive castle build on a cliff.
This castle was constructed in the 16th century and it was abandoned in 1690. From that day its ruins have defied gravity and the harsh Irish weather to remain in place.
The character of this spot next to the sea was perfect to recreate (with some digital retouching) the exterior of the Castle of Pyke. A fortress known to be the ancestral seat of House Greyjoy.
Dunluce Castle had already made its appearance in another fantastic world, its ruins featured in the film The Chronicles of Narnia.
If you want to finish the route around the touristic places of this area, 7 kilometres away it is located the Giant’s Causeway, declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
This is not a filming spot in Game of Thrones but the legend around it about a fight against giants could easily be a part of George .R. R. Martin’s universe.
DOWNHILL STRAND: Dragonstone beach.
In the Game of Thrones universe, Dragonstone is the ancestral fortress of House Targaryen. Well, at least until it was taken by Robert I in the War of the Usurper. Then, King Robert gave this fortress away as a present to his brother Stannis Baratheon.
The walls of this castle (digitally created) were built on the same exact spot as the Mussenden Temple. A circular temple of the 18th century on the verge of a cliff located 1h 20min away driving northwest from Belfast.
However, Downhill Beach, located at the foot of the cliff was truly lighten up by the fire in the Burning of the Seven Gods scene. This was a religious sacrifice to the Lord of Light orchestrated by Melisandre in season two.
Explore these sceneries in the northern area of Northern Ireland with a guided tour that will drive you to the Iron Islands, Braavos canals and Dragonstone beaches. More info to be found in the ‘Activities’ section!