In the epic fantasy and intrigue world, Game of Thrones took viewers through Westeros and Essos, exploring various stunning landscapes. One of the standout locations was Iceland, known for its otherworldly beauty and vast, untouched wilderness. From season two onwards, Iceland became the primary backdrop for scenes set north of the Wall, providing a striking and atmospheric setting for some of the series' most memorable moments. Whether you enjoy the series or admire Iceland's breathtaking scenery, these locations offer a unique adventure.
Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Iceland
The landscape in Iceland changes dramatically throughout the change of seasons, so depending on when you visit, some places may not be recognizable from the show. The optimal season for a visit to Iceland is during summer, from June to August. This period is marked by the enchanting phenomenon of the midnight sun and relatively warmer temperatures. For avid hikers, the prime months to consider are July and August, when all the trails are open and accessible.
However, don't dismiss the idea of a winter journey. The months of February, March, September, and October offer the best chances to witness the captivating Northern Lights, making them an enticing choice for travelers seeking this celestial spectacle. Winter is when you'll most likely recognize the Game of Thrones filming locations in Iceland.The popular fantasy series was also filmed in Spain, Croatia, and Northern Ireland.
1. North Iceland—Land of Mystical Landscapes
The area around Lake Myvatn stands out as the dominant shooting location for the northernmost regions, North of the Wall, in Game of Thrones. It's a place of enchantment, featuring geothermal hot springs that create a mystical ambiance in the scenes. The nearby Dimmuborgir lava fields, known as the home of Gryla and Leppaludi in Icelandic folklore, served as the backdrop for the Wildling camp scenes, adding an element of reality to the series. A delightful side note to this captivating location is that Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, who portrayed Jon Snow and Ygritte, fell for one another during the shooting. They are now married with two children.
2. The Romantic Grjotagja Cave
Grjotagja cave holds a special place in Game of Thrones lore, as it's where the characters Jon Snow and Ygritte fell in love during season three, making it a romantic and iconic location for fans. Just a stone's throw away, the Myvatn Nature Baths entice visitors with their inviting aquamarine waters, located within a geothermal wonderland. A must-visit destination, these baths offer an authentic and rejuvenating bathing experience, making it the perfect complement to exploring the mystical world of Westeros in Iceland.
3. South Iceland—Glacial Settings and Basalt Columns
Skaftafell National Park was an awe-inspiring setting for Game of Thrones, particularly for its snowy scenes in the North of the Wall. With Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajokull, standing as a natural backdrop, this location effortlessly embodied the harsh, unforgiving landscapes depicted in the series. Meanwhile, Reynisfjara, renowned for its dramatic black beach and striking rock formations, took on the role of Eastwatch in Season 7, adding a touch of mystique to the series. Lastly, Stong, a reconstructed Viking-era farmstead, was featured in the Free Folk massacre during Season 4, showcasing the historical richness of the region. Interestingly, the original Stong farmstead was believed to have been initially destroyed after a volcanic eruption in 1104.
4. Thingvellir National Park—a Geological Marvel
Thingvellir National Park, an essential stop on the Golden Circle, is renowned for its magnificent canyons and fissures. Still, in the world of Game of Thrones, it takes on a new identity as the entrance to the Eyrie, guarding the western edge of the Vale of Arryn. Meanwhile, Thorufoss finds fame as the place where Drogon, the fearsome dragon, meets an Icelandic goat in a memorable scene from season four with the backdrop of this real-life waterfall. Nesjavellir, aptly named The Vale, becomes the stage for an iconic showdown between Brienne and the Hound, where their destinies collide dramatically, showcasing the park's versatile beauty as both a serene natural wonder and a backdrop for epic battles.
5. Snaefellsnes Peninsula—Mini-Iceland on Display
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its various contrasting landscapes, emerges as a captivating backdrop featuring the Snaefellsnes glacier and the iconic Mt. Kirkjufell, which takes on the role of the Arrowhead mountain in seasons six and seven. However, this enchanting region is not just an epic fantasy realm; it's deeply rooted in Icelandic folklore. The Snaefellsjokull glacier, gracing this landscape, is believed to possess healing powers, rendering it a mystical and revered place in local traditions and legends. Its dual significance, as a real-world natural wonder and a place of mystical allure, adds to the charm of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, making it a truly enchanting destination.
6. Iceland's Highlands: Thorsmork's Beauty
Thorsmork, with its multicolored hills and picturesque valleys, played a pivotal role in Game of Thrones as a location that heightened the visual impact of scenes North of the Wall. Nearby, the tranquil Stakkholtsgja Canyon provided a perfect setting for a dramatic ambush scene in season seven, contrasting the surrounding landscape's rugged beauty. For those who seek to experience the natural splendor of this region, the Laugavegur Trail offers a popular hiking route where hikers can traverse water-carved valleys and canyons, immersing themselves in breathtaking vistas and the untouched wilderness of Thorsmork.