The figures are in, and Dubrovnik is firmly on the map for UK travellers, helped by the fact it prominently features in HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Filming tours now take place all over the old city, guiding fans around the real King’s Landing and spots from the show including the Red Keep and the setting of the Purple Wedding.
“[Game of Thrones] filming has led to a rise in the popularity of Dubrovnik as a tourist destination,” explained Sandra Milovčević from Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
Dubrovnik’s tourism authority has published a Game of Thrones map to make it easier for visitors to track down the exact locations from each Game of Thrones scene.
Tiny lanes and stone houses untouched by the modern world snake through the city, and St Dominica Street is of particular interest. This is where many Game of Thrones market scenes, and City Watch or ‘Gold Cloaks’ scenes, plus the murders of King Richard’s illegitimate sons take place.
“Dubrovnik is a great city that welcomes visitors all year around,” urges Milovčević. “The combination of its cultural and natural heritage makes it a unique destination on the Croatian coast that leaves each visitor enchanted.”
Meanwhile, six hundred metres off Croatia’s mainland, in the beautifully blue Adriatic Sea, tourists will find the city of Qarth, otherwise known as Lokrum island, where Daenerys Targaryen gets a frosty welcome from the Spice King. In reality, its just as mysterious, this fascinating place dates back to 1023 and legend holds that Richard the Lionheart sheltered here, after his ship was wrecked when he was returning from the Crusades.
Scenes from the highly-anticipated season five of the HBO fantasy series has also been filmed in Dubrovnik’s old town, plus Croatia’s second-largest city Split and the neighbouring settlement of Žrnovnica. Plus, scenes have been shot at Šibenik’s St. James Cathedra, rumoured to be the House of Black and White in Braavos, the headquarters of characters the Faceless Men, who have the ability to physically change their appearance.
Game of Thrones season five is set to air in April 2015.