Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, Game Of Thrones is one of the biggest shows on TV right now. I have never watched a TV show that was so epic; crazy battles, deep, well-developed characters, exotic locations fantastic scripts, the list goes on.
I understand that not everyone is a fan of GOT. There are those who find the rampant sex disgusting, the insatiable appetite for world domination disturbing and the medieval violence, with all its blood, guts and gore hard to stomach.
I, however, am not one of those people.
For those people, I put together a detailed 3 Days Malta Itinerary. Although it will still include some of the Game of Thrones Malta filming locations, GOT is not the focus.
That being said if you’re as big a fan as I am then you know that one of the most attractive features is its locations. So cue the G.O.T. opening theme music.
GAME OF THRONES MALTA LOCATIONS
The Game of Thrones shooting locations spans several countries including; Spain, Morocco, Ireland, Iceland and Croatia for starters, and of course here in Malta.
I’m ashamed to say I never really thought about Malta as a destination until season one of Game of Thrones. So while I was in Malta, I wanted to surround my senses with the exact spots where the series produced some of its most memorable scenes.
GOZO & THE AZURE WINDOW – Daenerys and Khal-Drogo Wedding
Out of all the Game of Thrones Malta locations, the island of Gozo with the Azure Window is one of the most memorable. The island of Gozo is located on the Mediterranean sea and forms a part of the Maltese Peninsula.
However, due to extreme weather, on 8 March 2017 (about 6 months after I was there writing this), The Azure Window collapsed and was lost to the sea.
The Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window, was a limestone arch on the island of Gozo. The natural 28-meter-tall arch was used for the epic Drogo and Daenerys wedding scene.
During filming, it looked entirely different as the producers used a mesh-covered in the sand to create a desert-like effect.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta and home to a few of the locations used in Game Of Thrones.
The location has also been used for several other TV shows as well as popular movies like Gladiators, Troy and Assassin’s Creed. When the site is not in use for filming, it is open for tourists to visit. You can hire a “dghajsa” (modernized water taxi), to travel through the city in style.
FORT RICASOLI – The King’s Gate
Aside from various King’s Landing scenes, Valletta’s 17th century Fort Ricasoli was used to represent the King’s Gate, aka. the entrance to the Red Keep.
You might remember it as the gate the Starks rode through the first time they arrived at the Red Keep. Unfortunately, the stag’s head over the gate in the show was added digitally, so it doesn’t exist in real life.
This is also the gate that Arya was trying to get through to get back into the Red Keep when the guards think she’s a beggar boy.
FORT ST ANGELO – the dungeons of the Red Keep
Fort St Angelo appears in the show as the dungeons of the Red Keep. You might specifically remember the scene when Arya was chasing cats? Yep, that was inside Fort St Angelo.
You can see Fort St Angelo from Valletta’s Upper Barraka Gardens. It used to serve as a key military location throughout Malta’s history, but it has since been restored and converted to a museum-type experience and is open to the public.
EAGLE STREET – a street in King’s Landing
Walking around the city of Valletta will definitely give you some serious King’s Landing vibes. But more specifically, Eagle Street has been confirmed as the street where Arya was trying to trade a pigeon for a loaf of bread.
FORT MANOEL – the Great Sept of Baelor
Fort Manoel will go down in GoT-fan-history as the filming location of our least favourite scene of the whole series. As the Great Sept of Baelor, Fort Manoel served as the location where everyone’s favourite Ned Stark was beheaded.
In close competition with the Azure Window, one of my absolute favourite Game of Thrones locations in Malta is Mdina. Before Valletta, it was the original capital of Malta, and it’s the most beautiful location.
Mdina is sometimes called the Silent City, and with its medieval walls, plazas, sandy stone buildings, and horse-pulled carriages are sure to awaken memories of King’s Landing.
This is probably because it was used as King’s Landing in season one before the Lannister’s packed up and sailed over to Croatia’s Dubrovnik and set up shop for season two.
MDINA GATE – gate into King’s Landing
In real life, the Mdina Gate is the main gate into the fortified city of Mdina. In Game of Thrones, it’s the gate into King’s Landing that Catelyn arrives through before going to Littlefinger’s brothel in Season 1.
It’s also where Ned and Catelyn share a memorable goodbye kiss that we (and they!) didn’t know would be their last.
MESQUITA SQUARE – Littlefinger’s brothel
This is just another square in the city of Mdina, but it was also the filming location for the exterior of Littlefinger’s brothel. You’ll probably recognize it right away from the memorable scene when Littlefinger and Ned have a little misunderstanding until Cat sticks her head out the window and calls Ned inside.
OTHER GAME OF THRONES LOCATIONS IN MALTA
Of course, the show filmed in lots of different locations across Malta, not just in Valletta and Mdina. Here’s a list of some standout spots to visit to complete your fangirl/boy travel dreams:
ST DOMINIC’S PRIORY in Rabat – gardens of the Red Keep
These beautiful gardens in the St Dominic’s Priory are one of the lesser-visited Game of Thrones filming locations, so you’ll likely have the place mostly to yourself! In the show, it features the gardens of the Red Keep in the scene when Ned confronts Cersei about the actual father of her children, and she says the pivotal line “When you play the Game of Thrones, you live or you die.”
VERDALA PALACE in Siġġiewi – when we first meet Danaerys
Verdala Palace is the filming location for the mansion of Illyria Mopatis, who hosted the Targaryon siblings in Pentos. It’s only featured in the first episode of the series, but it’s when and where we first meet Danaerys and her brother, and where she first meets Khal Drogo.
In real life, Verdala Palace is the summer residence of the President of Malta, so it’s closed to the public, but you can get a look if you buy a ticket to an official tour.
SAN ANTON PALACE – the courtyard and stables of the Red Keep
The final Malta Game of Thrones film location is a few miles East of Mdina called San Anton Palace, the President’s Palace and the poshest area of the island. Its peaceful gardens, exotic animals and beautiful fountains were used for the courtyard and stable scenes around the Red Keep.
It shows up in several scenes throughout the first season, but the worst (or best?) is the horribly memorable scene when Jofrey brings Sansa up to see her father’s head on a pike.
MTAHLEB VALLEY – Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre
This is the filming location for the scenes in Game of Thrones where the Dothraki were camping after Khal Drogo collapses and Danaerys demands blood magic to save him.
It’s also where Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre scene was filmed when Danaerys emerges from the cinders with her baby dragons.
MANIKATA – the village the Dothraki pillage
Manikata is a small village in the northwestern part of Malta. On its outskirts are some remnants that were featured in the series as Lhazareen village, the place the Dothraki violently pillage leading up to Khal Drogo being poisoned.
Other than that there is not much more to see in this location. In fact, it’s quite a trek to even get there, so this filming location is reserved for the die-hard fans.
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