Five ‘House of the Dragon’ filming locations to awaken wanderlust in you

HBO finally dropped the teaser of the much-awaited Game of Thrones prequel recently, and the world sat down to catch glimpses of the star-studded cast, potential plot lines and, of course, its fantasy-like filming locations.

Of its many prequels that rose and died a quick death ever since Game of Thrones aired its eighth and final season two years ago, House of the Dragon is the only one that has shown a promise of surviving ‘the long night’. The one-minute-long teaser of the spin-off series looks like it is all set to bring George RR Martin’s fantasy world back to life through not just its outstanding cast and heart-wrenching plot twists, but also its mind-blowing landscapes. From frigid wastelands to abandoned fortifications and horizon-skimming turquoise waters, we trace some of its real-life shooting locations that are totally worth adding to your bucket list! 

Cornwall, UK

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St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall looks surreal at sunset. Image: Shutterstock/Valery Egorov.

Moving away from Belfast in Northern Ireland, the prequel series has picked Warner Bros Leavesden Studios in England’s Watford as its new home base for creating all its interior sets. Speaking of shooting outdoors, Cornwall, sitting in the southwest corner of the country, has seen picked, for obvious reasons. Brimming with a whole heap of pretty fishing towns, little hamlets and gorgeous beaches, the coast of Cornwall deserves the attention it is receiving.

Visiting? When here, make sure to tick St Michael’s Mount, Holywell Beach, and the rock formations of Kynance Cove off your list. These are where most of the GoT prequel action has happened in April 2021. Cornwall is sharing the show limelight with the neighbouring Derbyshire, lined with stately homes and lush landscapes and ideal for a quick pitstop.

Cáceres, Spain

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El Torno in Cáceres. Image: Shutterstock/Manoli Perez.

A recurring location from GoT S7, Cáceres has been used time and again in the show for its labyrinthine lanes. This time, however, many parts of the historic city of Extremadura are being put to use to showcase the King’s Landing, taking you 300 years back in time from the GoT events!

Visiting? Wander through its cobblestone streets, observe architecture of different styles from Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic, and Italian Renaissance, visit age-old museums and churches, and relish local delicacies like salt-cured ham and tapas. Once done, take a short drive east to Trujillo to drop by the old eponymous Arab castle here used to depict the outer walls of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in the show.

Castle of Monsanto, Portugal

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The Castle of Monsanto looks like a faraway fantasy world. Image: Shutterstock/Rolf E Staerk.

House of the Dragon filming sites also include some otherworldly Portuguese locales. In the district of Castelo Branco, the Castle of Monsanto looks right at home in Westeros.

Visiting? Resting atop a hill, the medieval fortress, now in ruins, is straight out of a dream —complete with walled courtyards, arched gates and more. Other than the picturesque hamlet of Monsanto, Castelo Branco is known for its spots like the Old Town with a bewildering web of narrow streets through ravines of whitewashed houses, Baroque Garden with elegant fountains and tilework, Jardim do Paço or the 18th-century episcopal palace, and more.

Various locations, Croatia

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The view of Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik. Image: Shutterstock/Anna Lurye.

Considering just how many offbeat Croatian destinations got featured in GoT, it was quite impossible for the prequel to leave its extraordinary island-speckled coastline and surreal locations behind. While it is still uncertain exactly which parts of Croatia are going to be in the spotlight this time, our bets are on Dubrovnik and Šibenik. Quite off-the-radar till the GoT wave hit, Dubrovnik will easily transport you back in time, thanks to its mammoth city wall and Insta-worthy fortifications.

Visiting? Drop by Šibenik aka Braavos in the series, for its UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St James and stunning views of the bay, away from the madding crowds.

Various locations, Morocco

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The famous Ancient Kasbah in Ait-Ben-Haddou. Image: Shutterstock/Natalya Erofeeva.

Moroccan lands come off as the perfect fit for a fantasy world, and the makers of the show know it. Ait-Ben-Haddou, the UNESCO-listed fortified village along the former caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech, is Yunkai for GoT fandom.

Visiting? Built in the 17th century, its red brick constructions give an impression of an abandoned moonscape, great for some far-away land adventures. Essaouria, on the other hand, is a town on the Atlantic Coast that plays Astapor or the home of the Unsullied in the prequel. Coastal charm paired with African fort ruins, it offers the best of both worlds.

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