September 18, 2020

Filming locations of Game of Thrones in Iceland

Many movies, TV shows, and music videos were filmed in Iceland thanks to its wild and varied landscapes. None, however, have toured the country as much as Game of Thrones. Below is a list of some of the most amazing and easy-to-reach locations filmed for Game of Thrones in Iceland. Needless to say, there are countless more filming locations of Game of Thrones in Iceland, but getting there requires good weather conditions and a hardy 4WD vehicle.

DetourOn Tip: You can find the below itinerary on the DetourOn planning page. Type “Iceland” in the search box and select the Game of Thrones filming locations travel template. You can modify the itinerary and print out a personalized roadbook. We recommend you add more travel days to the planner and load other templates for Iceland that fit your interests. Check out our post about things to know before visiting Iceland.

Filming locations of Game of Thrones in Iceland
Filming locations of Game of Thrones in Iceland

1. Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park (pronounced Thing-vet-lir) is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. This is the site of Iceland’s first parliament, one of the earliest parliaments in the world. It is also one of the only places on Earth to simultaneously stand on the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates.

GoT scenes

When it comes to Game of Thrones, Þingvellir is most recognized for being the location of the Bloody Gate, the castle that guards the western edge of the Vale of Arryn. It sits on the road through a narrow canyon to the Eyrie. This canyon is in fact the Almannagjá, the rift between the Eurasian and North-American continents.

dirt path through shallow canyon in Iceland

Littlefinger and Sansa passed here in Season 4 on their way to the Eyrie. Later in the same Season, Arya and the Hound arrived here following a long trek. The exact location of the Bloody Gate sits near Oxararfoss waterfall, though the scenes were filmed in several locations within the canyon.

Another scene filmed within the Thingvellir National Park boundaries featured the wildlings Ygritte and Tormund running into the cannibal Thenn Styr.

Getting to Þingvellir National Park

From Reykjavik, it takes about 45 minutes to drive to the park. Take Rd 36 for 30km, then turn right to the visitor center. Entrance to the national park is free, but you must pay a daily fee for parking. From here there is a nice easy path through the Almannagjá rift that leads to the waterfall Öxaráfoss. It is about a 15-minute one-way walk.

Another way of hiking to the waterfall is from Langistigur trailhead. It is located just off Rd 36, 2.4 km north of the Visitor Center. This 15-minute hike is a bit more rugged, and therefore less popular.
Fun fact: Öxarárfoss is actually a man-made waterfall. As strange as this may sound, geologists and historians have discovered that the river Öxará was moved sometime in the 9th century. For what purpose? To learn more about this, add the Öxarárfoss hike to your DetourOn trip plan and download the roadbook for it.

2. Skogafoss (waterfall)

Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, located just off the Ring Road (Rd 1) which encircles the island. It is 60m tall and 25m wide, often graced by a lovely rainbow.

GoT scenes

In the first episode of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Jon and Daenerys land the dragons at the base of a set of waterfalls. Most of the falls and rock formations in the scene were added digitally, but the big central waterfall is in fact the real Skogafoss.

Other movies filmed at Skogafoss: Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And of course Justin Bieber’s music view “I’ll Show You”

waterfall with rainbow in iceland
Getting to Skogafoss

From Reykjavik, it takes about 2 hours to drive directly to the waterfall. Take Rd 1 for 90km, then turn left toward the waterfall and the village Skogar. Entrance and parking are free. Toilets are available for a fee. It is possible to walk right up to the base of the waterfall, though be warned that it is quite powerful and will get you drenched long before you arrive. There is also a steep staircase from the parking lot (370 steps) that leads to a viewing platform above the waterfall.
Fun fact: The cliff from which these falls descend is the former Icelandic coastline. To read more about this, add this attraction to your DetourOn trip plan and download the roadbook for it.

3. Reynisfjara Beach and Dyrholaey Rock Arch

black sand beach with sea stacks in the distance in Iceland
Reynisfjara black sand beach and sea stacks

One of Iceland’s most popular black sand beaches is Reynisfjara. However, it is not a swimming beach. The current here is extremely dangerous and violent waves can injure people on shore! The beach is mostly known for its sea stacks, caves, and basalt columns. At its western end is Dyrholaey, the southernmost point of the Icelandic mainland. A lighthouse and a huge rock arch in the sea cliff mark this point.

GoT scenes

Jon Snow and his band of hunters land their boat here on Season 7 of Game of Thrones. The beach and its surroundings, including Dyrholaey Peninsula, make several appearances as the backdrop to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the castle and port located at the far eastern end of the Wall.

Other movies filmed in Reynisfjara: Star Trek: Into Darkness and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Getting to Reynisfjara

Access the beach from the town of Vik, on the Ring Road, in the southern coast of Iceland. It is about 2.5 hours from Reykjavik, 180km east on the Ring Road. From Vik, drive 5km west on the Ring Road. Turn south onto Rd 215 and follow it to the end. There is a big free parking lot here and a large path leads down to the beach. Access Dyrholaey from Rd 218, 12km west of Vik.
Fun fact: Dyrholaey and the Reynisfjara sea stacks (called Reynisdragar) are popular nesting spots for sea birds, including puffins and arctic tern. There are access restrictions in May and June, in an effort to protect the bird nests. During this time, the area around the Dyrholaey lighthouse is open only to pedestrian traffic and during daylight hours.

4. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a stunning canyon, about 100m deep and only 2km long, with sheer narrow serpentine walls.

river flowing through canyon in Iceland
GoT scenes

The canyon was featured in the dragon flight scene of Season 8, episode 1, before landing in Skogafoss (see above description). Thought it is quite magnificent in Game of Thrones, this canyon was really made very famous by Justin Bieber’s music view “I’ll Show You”.

Getting to Fjaðrárgljúfur

From Vik, continue 65km east on the Ring Road. Turn left onto Rd 206 and proceed 3km to the parking lot. Small passenger cars can make it to this parking lot. Beyond this point, the road becomes a rugged 4WD road.

Visit the canyon either by walking along its rim or by wading in the river. The walking path along the edge of the canyon is by far the more popular choice. However, it may get slippery when wet. On a hot day, walking in the cold calm river is a refreshing option.
NOTE: The canyon and hiking trails are often closed in an effort to protect its delicate vegetation. Luckily, there is a beautiful view into the canyon from the bridge, just past the parking lot. If closed, please respect the signs and boundaries. If open, please stay on the marked paths. Check for closures at the visitor center in Kirkjubaejarklaustur before heading out. It is located 5km farther east on the Ring Road.

5. Hverir

Hverir is a geothermal area of sulfurous steam vents, hot springs, and boiling mud pots. It is located just off the Ring Road (Rd 1) in northeast Iceland, near Lake Mývatn. Aside for the burning steam, this area is especially stinky from all the sulfur.

steam rising from volcanic crater in Iceland
Hverir Geothermal Area
GoT scenes

Season 3 of Game of Thrones features Hverir in the opening scenes. Sam Tarly makes his way through a thick blizzard, which is in reality steam from the geothermal features at Hverir!

Getting to Hverir

To get here from Reykjahlíð, a town on the northeastern shore of Lake Mývatn, drive 6km east on Rd 1. Turn right onto a short gravel road (marked Hverir) to the large parking lot. It is about 1 hour (80km) east of Akureyri. There is a wooden observation platform at the parking lot. From there, walk with caution through the geothermal field and around its features. If you have extra time, continue on the trail to the summit of Namafjall Mountain for more views of the Lake Mývatn area. NOTE: This geothermal area is particularly stinky (sulfurous). DO NOT ENTER THE ROPED-OFF AREAS.

6. Dimmuborgir

Dimmuborgir, the Dark Fortress, is a lava field of interesting formations near the Lake Mývatn area in northeast Iceland. According to Nordic folklore, this is the place where Satan landed when he was cast from heaven. More importantly, in Icelandic culture, this is home to Iceland’s Yuli Lads, the 13 Santa Clauses who come out one by one during the 13 nights before Christmas to decide whether children have been naughty or nice.

GoT scenes

In Game of Thrones, Season 3, Dimmuborgir featured in winter as the camp of Mance Rayder and the Wildlings. Season 3, episode 5, feature Dimmuborgir as the location where White Walker attacked Sam Tarly and Lord Commander Mormont. It is also the location where Ygritte stole Jon Snow’s sword.

Getting to Dimmuborgir

From Reykjahlíð, drive 5km south on Road 848, then turn left onto a gravel road (marked Dimmu Borgir). Continue 2.5km to the big parking lot. Parking is free, but donations are welcome. There are toilets at the coffee shop on site. The lava field has numerous easy well-marked hiking trails. They depart from a paved path at the eastern end of the parking lot. They are very well-marked.

natural tunnel through a rock mound in Iceland
Kirkja at Dimmuborgir

7. Höfði

Höfði is a small peninsula on the shores of Lake Mývatn, across the road from Dimmuborgir. It offers great views of the interesting lava pillars Kálfastrandavogar and the lake itself. This is also a great place for bird-watching.
NOTE: This trail is particularly infested with midges. Wear long sleeves and a head net.

GoT scenes

Höfði is another location for the camp of Mance Rayder and the Wildlings in Season 3. Scenic shots were filmed here for episode 5. The appear just before Jon Snow and Orell’s conversation over the Night’s Watch functions.

Getting to Höfði

From Reykjahlíð, drive 7km south on Road 848, to the small parking area just off the road on the right. Entrance and parking are free. There are pit toilets on site. A network of trails begin at the gate in the back of the parking lot. Walk in and close the gate behind you.
Fun fact: This small peninsula is the only forested area around Lake Mývatn. A couple that owned the land introduced the trees before donating it to the public.

8. Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell, on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is one of the best-known and photographed mountains in Iceland. It is most iconic when photographed with Kirkjufellsfoss, a small scenic waterfall in the foreground.

GoT scenes

The mountain made a few very short appearances in numerous scenes in Season 6 of Game of Thrones. In Season 7, episode 6, Jon Snow and his band of hunters search for this arrowhead-shaped mountain.

Getting to Kirkjufell

From Reykjavik, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive to the Kirkjufell parking lot, located on Road 54 which circles the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. There is a large parking lot on the road, often full, from which departs an easy hiking path to the viewing point of the mountain and waterfall.
NOTE: This is an extremely popular stop. Though a quick turnover, waiting for a parking spot could result in slowdowns on the main road.

Bridge over 2 waterfalls with a mountain in the background
Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, west Iceland.

DetourOn Tip: In case you find yourself in Reykjavik without a vehicle or Game of Thrones travel buddy enthusiast, consider joining this GoT-themed day tour from Reykjavik. Book your flight and hotels around Iceland today!

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