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Visit "GAME OF THRONES" Locations in Croatia on a Budget

Updated on August 21, 2017
Dubrovnik, the real location of King's Landing
Dubrovnik, the real location of King's Landing | Source

Avid fans of HBO's Game of Thrones already know Dubrovnik's old town, Lokrum Island, Diocletian Palace, and nearby Klis Fortress in Split, just from enjoying the show. Dubrovnik's old town will be better known to fans as Kings Landing, the scheming Lannister family's seat of power and capital of the Seven Kingdoms. The Lokrum Island Monastery and Botanical Gardens are the real life version of the city of Qarth, in which warlocks and an overly helpful merchant, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, conspired to steal Daenerys Targaryen's dragons in Season Two. Diocletian's Palace and Klis Fortress in Split were combine to create the city of Meereen which Daenerys conquered in season 4.

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Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island, and Split were chosen by the HBO series for an abundance of natural beauty and well preserved medieval architecture. All three of the real life locations are eerily reminiscent of George R. R. Martin's fictional cities in his A Song of Fire and Ice novel series. Since Lokrum Island is only 15 minutes away by boat from Dubrovnik, this area has become a prime tourist destination for Game of Thrones fans. These locations can be expensive to visit at the height of tourist season. Luckily with smart planning, they can be within reach of just about any fan vacationing on a budget.

How to Get To Croatia


April and September are great times of the year to visit Croatia on a budget. The weather is usually pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor activities, either warming up or cooling down. Plus you miss the peak of the regular tourist season, so there is less standing in line and lower prices to be found wherever you go.


A markerDubrovnik, Croatia, Lokrum island -
Dubrovnik, Croatia
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To save big bucks that you can put toward enjoying yourself while you are there, check the online travel sites for the best deals available on cheap airfare. Book in advance as far ahead as you can, at least 3 months ahead of your planned travel date.


Be as flexible as possible on the days and times you will travel. Early morning and middle of the week flights are usually going to be a better deal than flights at more convenient times and on weekends. Consider longer lay-overs and more connecting flights for bigger savings too.

Other Recommended Items to Take to Croatia

  • Bathing suit- especially one that can be used as walking shorts or as a top with a travel skirt for more versatility
  • Shower/swimming shoes
  • Tablet for reading with all the George R. R. Martin books and a few books you haven't read before
  • Free Croatian English Translator app on Android from Google
  • Camera or camera phone
  • Along with your credit cards, ATM card, travellers checks, and the like take at least 100 dollars changed in the US into Croatian Kuna
  • A conservative covered up look to wear into churches and cathedrals so as not to offend the older locals. For women, a mid shin or longer travel skirt (some reverse for more versatility) and a modest long sleeved shirt work great. Conservative trousers and a dress shirt is the male equivalent. This look will also help you out when the evening is cooler.

Try to see all you can of your connecting locations. If you don't have time, just talk to the locals in the airport. Try some of the local food available. Make your journey going there and later returning a positive part of your overall travel experience.


Travel to Dubrovnik with one bag that fits in the overhead compartment. This will save you from the distinct possibility of being parted from your luggage. You don't want to have to replace everything you brought to enjoy your Game of Throne vacation.


Pack light. Choose travel clothes that can easily layer for warmth, will take you from day into night, can wash and dry overnight, and can cover the host of activities you plan to do there.


Take two pairs of comfortable, versatile, walking shoes already worn all day a few times at least. Pack a couple spare pairs of travel socks and travel underwear that can wash, hang, and dry overnight.

Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes-Dubrovnik

Booking Ahead vs. Last Minute Deals


It is always a good idea to book a Dubrovnik old town hotel ahead just so that you will have someplace to stay. Use online travel sites to compare reviews for hotels and get the best deal. Booking far in advance might save you a lot of money.


However, it is wise to check back often to see if you can find an even better rate after your first booking. You can always cancel the first, once you have found and booked something better.


If, when you see the place, you find you are unhappy with your hotel accommodations, find a hotel that you do like and negotiate for the best price. You might find an even better price by negotiating with a helpful staff in person. The trick is not to cancel what you have until you book something better.


Dubrovnik Old City Residential Street
Dubrovnik Old City Residential Street | Source

What to Do and See in Croatia

Dubrovnik

Once you get through passport check at the airport in Dubrovnik, you will need 35 kuna per person (about 6 Dollars US) to board the airport shuttle. The first stop will take you to old town.


There is a Game of Thrones walking tour available in old town for about 80 kuna. Fans will visit the street where Joffrey got pelted with dung, see where Sansa sat when Little Finger invited her to flee with him, will gaze across the bay where Stannis's fleet was defeated at the the Battle of the Blackwater, and so much more.


The tour guides not only know a lot about the city's real history, they are also huge fans of Game of Thrones. Most have personal stories about watching the filming and meeting cast members. Some have even served as extras for the show. Be sure you ask about all the things that are fun to do after a day of exploring King's Landing. The guide will know all the best local restaurants and hotspots for nightlife.

Lokrum Island

There are Game of Thrones tour charters available to show you Lokrum Island. Compare prices and availability. Find out what is included in the tours and whether one will fit into your budget. Keep in mind that you can also take a taxi-boat from old harbor (the price includes admission to the island, which is a nature reserve.) Then you can explore the island at your own pace.

Lokrum Island Monastery
Lokrum Island Monastery | Source

Lokrum Island is nature's version of a literal tourist trap. Once you are there, you are stuck there until you leave. You won't want to leave. Do your best to go well prepared.


Before you go, buy a map of Lokrum. They aren't available on the island and make finding your way around much easier. Every person in your group should take a large fluffy towel and a 2 liter bottled water. Also consider taking a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch bought from a grocery in Dubrovnik. Bringing a big bag of non-sweetened cereal will provide safe treats to share with the resident peacocks roaming the island. Take your own lunch too. It will be far cheaper than relying on the bars and restaurants there, which are more expensive than most you will find in old town and aren't terribly special at all.


Once there, you will find the Benedictine Monastery and Botanical Gardens fairly centrally located. On the south side of the island, there is a salt water "Dead Sea" lake that is a lot of fun to swim in due to the high buoyancy provided by the extra salt. There are also picturesque caves. If you look, or don't watch where you are going, you will also find a nude beach.

A Peacock Looking for Tourists with Cereal at Lokrum Island
A Peacock Looking for Tourists with Cereal at Lokrum Island | Source

In the northern part of the island, you will find pristine beaches that fewer tourists discover and secluded pine forests. Roving bands of peacocks introduced to the island by Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg in 1859 are everywhere and may join you in a quiet, sunny spot. They are now the island's only residents because of a curse, as the story goes, put on the island by angry monks to stop the island from being sold to private entities.


If you want to bask in the sun you, will be glad you brought a towel to lie on. If you intend to swim, wear swim shoes. The beaches are cliff rock and are very sharp in places. There are marine animals on the sea bed that can sting you when you step on them, too. Protect your feet by wearing swim shoes since you have a lot more walking to do on your Game of Thrones vacation.

Split

Split, Croatia is only 215 kilometers or a four to six hour bus ride from Dubrovnik. Careful planning can get you there in time for a six hour guided tour of Diocletian's Palace and Klis Fortress, and back to Dubrovnik again for dinner, nightlife, and much deserved sleep, all in the same day. If you are travelling with a small group, keep in mind that a car rental might be cheaper than buying all those bus tickets.

Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia
Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia | Source


You will travel through Bosnia & Herzegovina so be certain to carry passports with you. If you choose to take the bus, book the route up the Dalmatian Coast to get there. You will enjoy non-stop ocean vistas and gorgeous scenery. ( Be sure to grab a bus seat on the left side to get best view.) Book the highway route back again because it is about two hours quicker in ideal traffic. Take bottled water and trail mix with you for quick pick-me-ups throughout the day when you need them.

© 2014 Besarien

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    • Besarien profile image
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      Besarien 20 months ago

      Hi techygran! I really hope someone gets to benefit from all the little missteps we made on our vacation! Thanks for stopping and taking the time to comment. I hope you do decide to see Croatia one day. It is beautiful and well-coming, as are the people. We got to meet family too and had lot of fun sight-seeing and learning about the history and culture.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 20 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Wow, Besarien, I think I would like to take this trip just to make use of your superb directions around what to wear when and what to take along to snack on in between eating the no-doubt delicious local food. Your photos are also captivating.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 21 months ago from Canada

      Besarien - Just a little note to let you know that you spelled correctly "Good morning/afternoon. How are you?" in Croatian language. It looked so cute coming from an American.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 21 months ago

      Dobar dan! Kako si? That is pretty much all I ever learned, really and if I accidentally just told you my uncle on fire, just ignore it. My travels have never yet taken me to Zagreb but I know it is rich with Roman history and would love to see the Andautonia excavation some day. But yes, wherever we end up we are still who we started to a large degree. Thanks for reading and letting me know what you think ValKaras! It is always a pleasure and a surprise finding out.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 21 months ago from Canada

      Besarien - Thank you for advertising the beauties of the country where I was born (its capital Zagreb), grew up, went to school, and served the army, before emigrating to Canada at the age of 23. Yes, it's loaded with history, (Zagreb is more than a millennium old), and the spirit of European history is everywhere around to be found.

      Looking at these photos certainly brings up some nostalgic thoughts and feelings, for deep down I will always stay a European.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from Perth UK

      Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island, and Split are all very beautiful indeed. I have never played this game, but I'm not surprised at their choice of location. Great hub so informative. Shared.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 2 years ago

      Hello Larry! Hello Akriti Mattu! Thanks for your kind words!

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 2 years ago

      Hey au fait! Thanks for stopping by! I did without cable for a good part of the nineties. People would talk to me about Friends and Dawson's Creek, then look at me like I was from another planet when I told them I only used my TV to watch movies on my VCR. I used to be a lot more productive back then too!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I love Game of Thrones! Thanks for the backstory.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      The photos are great and this sounds like a very interesting place to visit. I confess I have no television and haven't had one for years so I have no knowledge of the HBO program you talk about, although I have heard the title before and now I have a better idea of what it is. Voted up and interesting!

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Wow. Just wow. This is so cool

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana ZK 2 years ago from California

      I'm not sure I'm that avid of a fan to travel to Croatia just to check out the filming location, but I'd go anywhere at least once, especially if there is a chance to do it on a budget! The new season started kind of slow.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      This is great, I saw "A Day In The Life Of" for GoT and saw some of the locations for Series 5. Very cool and brings an extra depth after watching the series! Voted awesome ;)

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Besarian,

      I read this piece because my sister is a Game of Thrones fan, and Croatia sounds like an interesting place. You have lots of helpful info here about getting bargains going to Croatia. Hope to someday go there and do the tour.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      some of the historical sites are worth to visit, thanks

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I guess I've read all your hubs...well, it was nice to read this again. We've watched all the episodes and I'm now hooked on this show. :) Very violent for sure, but still, the characters are fascinating and there is never a dull moment.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      I'm also one of those weird people who have never seen or read Game of Thrones, but I enjoyed reading your Hub. Dubrovnik is a city that fascinates me because of its city walls and the fact that I'm reading a novel set in the mid 15th century, when the city was known as Ragusa.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Hello word55! It was awesome. My son has cousins there who he had never met. The people we met were so warm and welcoming. I know how she feels. I really didn't want to come home either.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words! It means a lot.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Thanks for your kind words! I'm happy you liked it.

    • Besarien profile image
      Author

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Hi Nell Rose! Thanks for your comment! It is filmed all over the place really. I know parts were filmed in Ireland and Malta neither of which I have visited sadly. Maybe some day! I read the books that are out ages ago and really didn't expect the TV series to be as good as it has been since most American TV is truly awful. I'd highly recommend the books as well. They are fun and surprisingly quick to read. There are a lot of characters and details to keep track of, but nothing crazy like the Silmarillion.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Besarien, sounds like a very beautiful place to visit. Your hub was very descriptive of all it's beauty. A hub pages sister DDE (Devika) lives there. No wonder she doesn't want to go back to her home. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Lwp3 profile image

      Leslie W. Penman III 3 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Nice hub.......love GOT!

    • Cercle Marrakech profile image

      Cercle Marrakech 3 years ago from Marrakesh, Morocco

      Thank you , I saw the film and I like it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I wish....never been abroad...maybe one day. :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Sounds amazing! I am one of those pathetic people who haven't seen game of thrones! LOL! but that's because I don't have SKY tv. But I never knew where it was filmed, so I learned something new, and what a lovely country! great hub! voted up and shared, nell