Iceland's best Game of Thrones filming locations

Dotted with glaciers, geysers and steaming lava fields, Iceland has an unforgettably elemental landscape. But it may feel weirdly familiar, even to first-time visitors due to its use as locations in 'Game of Thrones'. There’s nothing like experiencing the haunts of your favourite characters for real...
The black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock
The black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock


Be aware that many of the scenes in the series are more than one location spliced together by HBO editors, so don’t be surprised if things look familiar but not exactly right. In this feature, we will be revealing some of the plot lines from across the series – so spoiler alert! Iceland’s best Game of Thrones filming locations include: 


Iceland’s South Coast & Vatnajökull National Park

Icelanders often say that their country was unfairly named, since it is, after all, strikingly green for much of the year. But anyone paying a visit to the southeast of the country may well disagree. This area features prominently in many scenes of the episode ‘Beyond the Wall’. It is the fictional home of Frostfangs Mountain Range (filmed near Vík) and the Fist of First Men (filmed at Morsárjökull glacier). 

Iceland’s southeast region is dominated by Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajökull (Marsárjökull is one of its fingers) from which an enormous glacier pours through every crack in the coastal mountains. Skaftafell is the most popular area of Vatnajökull National Park, a land of ice caps and ice caves. Several of Jon Snow and Ygritte’s scenes were filmed here, including the capture of Ygritte and the ensuing chase, as well as that of Ygritte taking Jon to Rattleshirt.

It is also here that you’ll find some of Iceland’s dramatic black-sand beaches, which provide backdrops in Season 7. Black volcanic sands, pounding Atlantic surf and jagged rocks give Iceland’s southernmost coast a certain gothic majesty. Near Vík, the coastline reaches out to the Reynisdrangur, towering fingers of black rock standing out to sea and inhabited by colonies of Arctic terns. As you try to stay upright in the wind, marvel at the fact that no land stands between you and the Antarctic! 

Horse riding on a frozen Lake Mývatn, Iceland.Horse riding on a frozen Lake Mývatn, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock


Around Lake Mývatn

Sitting just to the west of the mid-Atlantic ridge that is slowly tearing Iceland apart, the Lake Mývatn district is one of the most volcanically active regions on earth. Created by a powerful basaltic lava eruption 2,300 years ago, the lake and its surrounding landscapes are dominated by curiously shaped volcanic landforms such as pillars of lava. Visit Lake Mývatn and many other filming locations as part of Insight Guides' Iceland: A Game of Thrones Road trip

It is here that you’ll find the haunted forest where Sam and Lord Marmont are attacked by White Walkers, as well as the cave where Jon and Ygritte first make love (Grjótjá), and Mance Rayder’s Wildling camp in Season 3 (filmed at the lava stacks at Dimmuborgir). Filming is reported to have taken place at temperatures as low as –11° C (12° F ).


Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula area is packed with historic jewels and literary associations, as well as some iconic Game of Thrones backdrops. Kirkjufell Mountain, perhaps the most memorable, stars as the mountain shaped like an arrowhead, which appears in The Hound’s vision before we see it for real – when Jon Snow and his group set out beyond the wall in search of the dead. 

Kirkjufell Mountain, Iceland.Kirkjufell Mountain, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock


Þorufoss

The green area around cute little Þorufoss waterfall features in Season 4. This location is where Drogon steals a goat from an unsuspecting goat herder. What only took one day’s filming was apparently something of an ordeal – finding enough goats and even putting up temporary fences to prevent them from escaping during the shoot!


Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park is the historic heartland of Iceland, and also a Unesco World Heritage Site thanks to its marvellous natural setting and unique medieval Norse culture.

When Iceland’s unruly early settlers decided to form a commonwealth in 930 AD, the site they chose for their new national assembly, the AlÞingi, was the natural amphitheatre of Þingvellir, also known as Parliament Plains. It was a grand experiment in Republicanism at a time when the rest of Europe was wallowing in rigid feudal monarchies, and it lasted, despite the odd lapse into chaos, for more than three centuries.

Today Þinvellir is still regarded with reverence by Icelanders. Its historical weight is reinforced by a serene natural beauty that was used to great advantage in Game of Thrones. Þinvellir features as the pass to the Eyrie, where many of the characters have scenes – Sansa, Arya, Catelyn among them – and is also where Brienne and The Hound engage in their bloodthirsty duel. See it for yourself as part of Insight Guides' Iceland: A Game of Thrones Road trip

Þingvellir National Park, Iceland.Þingvellir National Park, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock


Ready to experience Iceland's locations for yourself?

Our local experts can plan incredible trips to Iceland for you, from start to finish. To get the ball rolling, simply get in touch to tell us your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. We will then create an itinerary for you, which you can amend until you are completely happy with every detail before booking. Browse our existing itineraries for inspiration, and keep in mind that all of our pre-planned itineraries can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.


Updated 2 May, 2019