Visiting the “Game of Thrones” destinations

The HBO drama Game Of Thrones has had an incredible effect on modern culture. As you probably know, the show itself has become one of the most popular television dramas of all time (and the show is not done yet).

Game of Thrones has launched careers, catapulted HBO to even higher levels of prestige, and before it’s all said and done it is going to lead to even more TV shows. The show is a hit almost unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the industry!

The drama also played a role in promoting the book series upon which it is largely based. Many people probably don’t realize that A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, the first book in the series A Song Of Ice And Fire, was actually first published in 1996. It was essentially another forgotten fantasy novel (and series) until it
got picked up as a TV series and millions of people around the world realized how deep and thrilling the novels were.

Naturally Game Of Thrones has also inspired a fair amount of activity in the gaming world. The longest running game might just be a slot arcade on the internet, which Microgaming calls heart-stoppingly exciting. That’s quite an exaggeration,
but it sure is a game that’s true to the spirit of the show. Other games, including a noteworthy series from Telltale, do more to help you feel as if you can control your own narrative within the Thrones world.
The most surprising impact of Game Of Thrones, however, might be how it has inspired people to leap into the world of the show in a more literal sense. One of the things that makes the show so compelling is that it takes place in absolutely breathtaking locations. Many of them have been altered through CGI so that castles and walls and the like
can appear in the show, but most are still essentially real world places. Most of those places have been seeing tourists who are there specifically because of the show.

These are a few of the destinations people are frequenting (and which you might want to visit)

Dubrovnik, Croatia

This is undoubtedly the main Game Of Thrones tourism destination, if you will. Already an incredibly picturesque Mediterranean getaway, Dubrovnik has been used as the basis for King’s Landing, one of the most important and iconic Thrones sets. The city is actually taking steps to curb tourism following an unprecedented surge. But it’s still amazing to visit should you get the chance!

Dubrovnik

Seville, Spain

Seville is another destination that was popular long before the show, and will remain popular long after its run comes to an end. The city is known for old Moorish architecture, beautiful cathedrals, and even the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
But its royal palace of Alcazar was also used for one of the prettier locations in the show: the water gardens at Sunspear.

Seville

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is listed here as a whole country because it’s actually responsible for a lot of the better-known shots in the show. The beaches of Downhill Strand were used to film scenes at Dragonstone (and do make for a fantasy-like beach view). Dunluce Castle on the coast was turned into the Castle of Pyke on the Iron Islands using CGI. And the
so-called Dark Hedges that line Bregagh Road in County Antrim were used as the Kingsroad in the show.
These are more sights to see than destinations to travel to, but if you’re a big fan of the show and/or its scenery, a tour of Northern Ireland is vital.

Dark Hedges

Doune Castle, Scotland

Doune Castle isn’t the most picturesque destination on this list, but it might be the most important pilgrimage for true fans of the books and show. It is a 14th century castle in Scotland, and incidentally may be best known now as a film location for Monty Python And The Holy Grail. However, where this show is concerned, Doune
Castle was the underlying fortification around which the visual teams built Winterfell the home of the good guys, so to speak.

Doune Castle

Split, Croatia

Split is one of the true hidden gems of Europe not in that it’s unknown, but in that it some how seems to escape tourists bucket lists (probably because of the spotlight on Dubrovnik). Split is basically a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea and a
sprawling, gorgeous city that was once the home of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Game Of Thrones used the hillside ruin of Klis Fortress to build up the image of the fictional city of Mereen, and in doing so sneakily showed off one of the more beautiful destinations in the Mediterranean.

Klis Split

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Missed it this year? Make your trip to Spain unforgettable by attending the Flower Festival in Girona next year!

Planning next year’s spring vacation is probably at the bottom of your priority list right now, as I am sure you’re currently busy vacationing with your family or friends (or solo), sipping cocktails by an overcrowded pool or hiking somewhere “off the beaten track” far away from everyone and everything. Hotel swimming pools, fruity cocktails, beach parties, or tranquility and soul searching is kinda what summer is all about. You might even be vacationing in Spain – as this country is quite popular among tourists and travelers alike (in case you’re one of those people who don’t like to label yourself as tourist).

Perhaps you’re currently vacationing in the city of Girona?

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In that case, I’m sure you’re having a great time visiting this charming Catalan city and I hope you’ll be back in May – when the city is even more gorgeous, more colorful, more vibrant than ever.

Yes, dear ladies and gentlemen, every year in mid-may, Girona is transformed into a magical flower haven!

I’m talking rainbow magic. Unicorn magic. Every bridge, every monument, every building, every street – everything is decorated with beautiful flowers, arts and crafts and colorful fabrics, to celebrate the wonderful season of spring.

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What is the story behind the festival?

It all started out as a small exhibition contest at the Municipal Theater Hall of Rest in 1954. The event received great feedback and plenty of interest from people who visited the exhibition that year and the success was repeated the following year. With growing involvement of citizens, the event grew bigger and better, year after year. In 1979 it was (for the first time) organised on behalf of the l’Associació dels Amics de les Flors i dels Jardins (Association of Friends of Flowers and Gardens), and in 1983, the l’Associació d’Amics de la Girona Antiga (Association of Friends of the Old Girona) was also involved. This allowed the opening of many more patios and private gardens that remained closed to the public during the rest of the year. Since 1992 the City Council has also been involved in the organisation of Temps de Flors. What once was a small exhibition has over the years evolved into a large festival, as we know it today. It’s a celebration of spring, flowers and the city of Girona!

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How did I hear about it?

While planning my solo trip to Toulouse (France) and Narbonne (also France), I knew I wanted to cross the border and visit a city in Spain – but I wasn’t quite sure where to go. While doing a bit of research, Girona caught my interest. Not only did it look like a charming city, but according to the city’s official website I’d be there just in time for a flower festival? And just like that, it was settled. I was going to Girona!

How did I experience it?

I arrived at my hotel, which happened to be located right next to a bunch of colorful, decorated tents displayed side by side, all along a large shopping street. I didn’t want to spend more time than necessary in my beige and boring hotel room, as I didn’t wanna risk missing out on all the spectacular photo opportunities waiting for me outside, on every single corner. My camera battery was fully charged, my phone was dying. I went to the bathroom, peed as fast as I possibly could, and ran out the door faster than you could say “have fun”. I was impatient. Just like a little kid in Disneyland, waiting in line to meet their favorite princess, I was ready to witness magic firsthand.

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I snapped a few pictures of the colorful tents, and made my way to the nearest bridge. Did I want to do a little shopping from the vendors selling handmade products? Did I want to photograph the view of the colorful buildings and their reflection in the water? Was I feeling hungry yet? I was too excited about everything to even make up my mind and focus on just one thing.

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I went photo-crazy and paparazzied everything that looked even remotely colorful. A lot of those pictures didn’t even turn out that well, and many were photobombed by selfie-takers, ice cream-eaters, angry old people, careless children, tour groups and other photo-crazy tourists just like yours truly.

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Whether I was strolling along the narrow streets, crossing the different bridges or exploring the Sant Pere de Galligants medieval church and monastery, I was always surrounded by colorful art in different shapes and forms. Sometimes even in the cheeky shape of a butt with a flower sticking out of it (those pervs!)

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Every now and then I asked strangers to take pictures of me, but most of the time the result was worse than anything I could ever imagine. While visiting the monastery, I found a lady who had a Nikon – just like mine – and asked her to take a photo of me. Thanks to her, I have at least one nice photo of myself from the festival.

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The only time I let my feet (and camera) rest, was while I was busy eating tapas and drinking wine or vermouth at local restaurants. Good thing I don’t live in Spain, because all those croquettes and Spanish ham can’t possibly be good for me. To make matters “worse”, I ordered a healthy salad….with delicious pieces of deep-fried cheese inside of it. Just like everything else I’ve ever eaten in Spain, it was amazing.

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And how can anyone possibly resist eating ice cream from the famous gelateria Rocambolesc while wandering around town in twenty-five degrees Celsius? I sure couldn’t!

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As much as I enjoy traveling solo, the beauty of this festival was giving me the blues and made me miss my boyfriend. I shared the entire experience with him through photos, videos and texts, but it just wasn’t the same. This festival is an experience that needs to be shared with someone. With your partner, your children, your parents, your friends. It’s not something you should keep to yourself. And frankly, no matter how good your photos are, they’ll never capture the essence of being there, experiencing it and seeing it all with your own eyes.

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Are you as excited about this as I am?

Because I sure will be returning next year!

Dates for next year’s festival are not yet announced. Visit the official website of Temps de Flors to stay updated. Hope to see you there!

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