The Game of Thrones Iceland Route: Main Stops & Locations

Game of Thrones Iceland

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    In 2011, a series was released that took the world by storm called Game of Thrones. Due to its popularity, it ran for 8 seasons ‘till it came to a dramatic conclusion in 2019. For fans of this series, Iceland is a bucket list trip since many of the most memorable Game of Thrones scenes were shot in Iceland.

    The pilgrimage of fans to the island is very popular nowadays. In fact, one can literally take a Game of Thrones Iceland Route via a self-drive. Or you can even join a Game of Thrones tour in Iceland that includes all the most infamous locations. 

    Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan, just an admirer of beautiful scenery, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, read on. In this article, we discuss the Game of Thrones Iceland route in detail and tell you exactly what you can look forward to.

    Why Was Iceland Chosen as Location for Game of Thrones?

    The series' famous line "winter is coming" may hold the answer. To best capture the threat of the White Walkers, filming had to take place in an icy location where the safety of the cast and crew can be ensured.

    Iceland's diverse landscapes make it a practical choice for filming. The land of Fire and Ice offers multiple dramatic locations in one place. The perfect combo!

    Game of Thrones Iceland

    How Difficult was it to Shoot Game of Thrones in Iceland?

    Unfortunately for the cast and crew, the icy attraction of Iceland meant that most scenes had to be shot in winter. Anyone who has ever visited the island knows that winter is not generally considered the go-to season for outdoor fun.

    You have to deal with extreme weather conditions. From temperatures ranging between -30 to 0 degrees Celsius to Icelandic winds that will rip a car door right off its hinges to raging blizzards. Imagine having to contend with these types of conditions whilst shooting in outdoor locations for 12+ hours every day!

    Getting crew, cast, and gear to and from Game of Thrones Iceland locations was also very challenging. Road conditions in Iceland during the wintertime are extremely challenging. Extreme cold can cause difficulty starting vehicles, getting stuck in snow, or losing control on icy roads. The amazing scenes you see and love today came with blood, sweat, and tears.

    Iceland GOT Tour

    The Game of Thrones Iceland Route’s Scenes and Locations

    The following are the Game of Thrones filming locations in Iceland that you can look forward to when doing the Game of Thrones Iceland route: 

    The Game of Thrones Scenes Shot at Thingvellir National Park

    Thingvellir is not just one of Iceland’s National Parks, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s known for its beautiful attractions. Its easy accessibility via the Golden Circle also made this a good choice for shooting some scenes. Some of these scenes include:

    ‘The Bloody Gate’ Scene Shot on the Oxararfoss Trail

    In Game of Thrones, the Bloody Gate was an ancient fortification that guarded the entrance to Eyrie. Both Stark sisters had scenes shot here. Sansa is accompanied by Littlefinger to reach her Aunt Lysa, and Arya is taken there by the hound after she was made his prisoner.

    The Bloody Gate in reality is what is known as the Oxararfoss trail in the Almannagja Gorge. And whilst your visit will merely have the trail end in the parking lot, FX and CGI turned the paths end into the Bloody Gate for the Stark sisters.

    Oxararfoss Trail, Iceland

    ‘Brienne & the Hound’ Scene Shot at Nesjavellir

    One of the most epic battle scenes of the series is between Brienne and the Hound. Whilst Arya and the Hound were on their way to the Bloody Gate, they bump into Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne.

    When Brienne finds out who the Hound’s prisoner is, she tries to persuade her to join her and fulfill her oath to Catelyn Stark. Needless to say, the Hound wasn’t in agreement and a battle ensued, ending in Brienne’s victory as the Hound plummets off a cliff. Whilst it may seem like just one location, the scene was actually shot in a couple of places in the Nesjavellir area.

    You’ll be able to see these if you take a hike around Hengill Mountain, with Oxarfoss Waterfall being the victory scene after the Hound has perished. When Arya then finally leaves by boat, it is Lake Pingvallavatn that was used as the ocean.

    Game of Thrones route

    ‘Countryside of Meereen’ Scene Shot at Thorufoss

    Do you recall the scene of a shepherd boy throwing stones at a waterfall before Daenery dragon incinerates his flock? Then you will recognize Thorufoss Waterfall.

    Thorufos waterfall, Iceland

    The Game of Thrones Scenes Shot on Iceland’s Glaciers

    Iceland has many glaciers, including the biggest one in Europe called Vatnajökull. These icy natural wonders make for some pretty dramatic scenes with their harsh and unforgiving icy surfaces and deep, dark crevasses. So, it’s no wonder that the glaciers of Iceland made such perfect locations for certain Game of Thrones scenes. These are:

    ‘The Fist of the First Men’ Scene Shot on Myrdalsjökull Glacier

    In an epic scene, the Night’s Watch is trekking through Frostfangs. They try to reach the Fist of the First Men to gain a vantage point over their enemies, the Wildings. But as they are preparing for an attack, they are completely taken by surprise by another unexpected threat; the White Walkers. These scenes were shot on Myrdalsjökull Glacier (Iceland’s fourth-largest glacier).

    Myrdalsjökull Glacier

    ‘The Quest to Catch a Wight’ Scene Shot on Gigjökull

    After Jon Snow failed to persuade Queen Cersei that the undead were marching on the living, he led a group Beyond the Wall. He aimed to retrieve a Wight to take to the Queen as evidence. This march north ended being a combination of shots taken in a studio as well as scenes shot on location on Gigjökull. It is actually an outlet of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier.

    Gigjökull, Iceland GOT location

    ‘Beyond the Wall’ Scenes Shot on Svinafellsjökull

    Many of the scenes North of the Wall in the second and third seasons were shot on Svinafellsjökull, and it’s no surprise why. Svinafellsjökull is no stranger to the screen and is referred to as “the Hollywood glacier” here in Iceland. It has sharp ridges and a deep blue tint that contains veins of black ash (remnants of past volcanic eruptions). You can visit the glacier in Skaftafell National Park (now part of the bigger Vatnajökull National Park).

    Svinafellsjökull, game of thrones location

    The Game of Thrones Scenes Shot on the South Coast of Iceland

    There are some incredible attractions along the South Coast of Iceland. Fortunately, they’re just a quick stop off the Ring Road, it was an easy decision to shoot a few scenes there. The following scenes were shot on the South Coast of Iceland:

    ‘Jon Snow Rides a Dragon’ Scene Shot at Skogafoss Waterfall

    There is a very romantic scene between Jon Snow and his lover beneath a spectacular waterfall in season eight. The backstory of the scene is less romantic, with the lover actually being his aunt and him being a threat to the Queen as heir to the Iron Throne.

    Nevertheless, if you would like to visit this magical place, you need to make a stop at Skogafoss Waterfall. To reach the waterfall, Jon Snow rides one of Daenery’s dragons over the North. These scenes were shot from a helicopter whilst flying across the Icelandic landscape. Minus Jon Snow, Daenerys, and, of course, the dragon.

    Skogafoss waterfall, Iceland

    ‘Olly’s Village Scenes Shot at Thjodveldisbaerinn Stong

    Olly was a member of the Night’s Watch, and, fuelled by his hatred of the Free Folk, became a part of the group responsible for temporarily killing Jon Snow. This hatred started when the Wildlings, including Jon Snow’s lover, Ygritte, raided and massacred a settlement of farmers. Among them, were Olly’s parents.

    The tragic scene at Olly’s village was shot at Thjodveldisbaerinn Stong. It is a reconstructed Viking-era farmstead meant to celebrate 1100 years of settlement here on the island. This makes it well worth a visit, even if you don’t know anything about Game of Thrones.

    Game of thrones Viking village in Iceland

    ‘Catching a Wight’ Scenes Shot at Stakkaholtsgja Gully

    Some of the march Beyond the Wall to catch a Wight scenes were shot at Stakkaholtsgja Gully. It is a moss-covered canyon near Porsmörk that is most known for being the start and finish point of the infamous Laugavegur Trail.

    What makes these scenes even more impressive is that the Laugavegur Trail treks through the Highlands of Iceland. And the Highlands of Iceland are unforgiving terrain in the wintertime. So much so that you don’t have access to the Highlands at all during the colder winter months. These scenes were shot in the Highlands during the winter season.

    Laugavegur trail, Iceland

    ‘Eastwatch-by-the-sea’ Scenes Shot at Reynisfjara Beach

    As the army of the dead descends on the Night’s Watch castle, one catches a brief glance of the coast around Eastwatch-by-the-sea. Although quite impressive, the fact that so much trouble was caused by this black sand beach in Iceland Game of Thrones scene (which was displayed for such a fleeting moment) seems bizarre. 

    The famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach was used for the coastal geography. However, the necessary permission was never requested from the Environmental Agency of Iceland. And with a ban on driving in the area, the vehicles transporting cast and equipment across the beach caused quite a stir.

    Game of thrones Black sand beach

    The Game of Thrones Scenes Shot in Myvatn

    The Myvatn Area is known for its breathtaking landscapes with dramatic lava fields and craters with an abundance of birds. The Game of Thrones location scouts could not let an opportunity such as this to depict scenes North of the Wall slip through their fingers. The following scenes in season three were shot in Myvatn:

    ‘Ygritte and Jon Snow’s Love Cave’ Scene Shot at Grjotagja Cave

    One of the show’s most popular will-they-won’t-they couples finally sealed the deal inside a cave. This cave is one of Iceland’s lava caves called Grjotagja Cave. But this location isn’t really part of our Game of Thrones Iceland route. At least not anymore.

    Now it serves as a warning to respect the rest of the locations on this route. After the episode aired, visitors flooded the “game of thrones cave in Iceland”. They completely ignored the no-bathing rule due to the volatile temperatures of the waters. In an attempt to salvage the site, it was closed to the public in 2018.

    Jon Snow's cave in Iceland

    ‘Mance Rayder’s Wildling Camp’ Scenes Shot at Dimmuborgir Lava Field

    Jon Snow convinces the Wildlings at the King Beyond the Wall’s base camp that he has switched sides. And that he has also abandoned the Night’s Watch and his lover, Ygritte. The Dimmuborgir Lava Field was used as this base camp. And with its huge, dark, rock formations it’s easy to see why.

    Dimmuborgir Iceland GOT location

    ‘Corner of the Haunted Forest’ Scenes Shot at Hverir Geothermal Area

    Samwell Tarly escapes the army of the dead at the Fist of First Men and has to struggle through a storm on a wintery wasteland. In reality, the cold blizzard was thick, hot steam released by the vents of the geothermal area. It really is a barren land due to sulfur composites in the ground. But, unlike in the scene, the ground is dyed with all sorts of colors due to the minerals brought up from the depths of the earth.

    Hverir geothermal area

    The Game of Thrones Scenes Shot in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

    The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is also called “Iceland in Miniature”. This is because the Peninsula will really give you a taste of all the different landscapes and terrains that can be found all across the island. This is why it’s a bit odd that only one Game of Thrones scene was shot here:

    ‘The Mountain Shaped like an Arrowhead’ Scene Shot at Mt. Kirkjufell

    ‘The Mountain Shaped like an Arrowhead’ makes quite a few appearances throughout the series. Such as during the visions of the Hound and Bran Stark, and it’s the final destination of Jon Snow and his group on their mission to catch a Wight.

    But even though the mountain is seen in multiple scenes, it is merely Mt. Kirkjufell shot from different angles during the summer and winter seasons, and then superimposed on the various scenes via special effects.

    Kirkjufell Game of Thrones mountain

    The Game of Thrones Iceland Route; Worth the Road Trip Whether a Fan or Not

    Do yourself a favor and just Google some of the attractions and locations mentioned in this article. You don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fanatic to be blown away by the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. That’s why we’ll recommend this route to anyone.

    Rent a campervan in Iceland so you can take an affordable road trip in comfort. Walk (or rather drive) in the footsteps of Jon Snow and the rest of the beloved Game of Thrones characters!

    Let’s go on an adventure!

    Unbeatable prices. Premium customer service.

    Book now

    Our website uses targeted advertising cookies. By continuing, you are agreeing to allow us to deploy cookies, as detailed in our privacy and cookies policy.
    Learn more

    Book now