With Season Seven of Game of Thrones underway, fans across the globe are waiting with baited breath: will Dany’s ambitious alliance be successful, or will Tyrion discover Ellaria Sand’s alliance to the Targaryens? Will Jaime react to Cersei’s despotic leadership? And where (and when) will Daenerys finally land?
Whether you are a Game of Thrones aficionado or you can take or leave it, it is impossible not to be inspired by the breath-taking scenery. The humble island of Malta has been used throughout the series’; its rugged, beautiful landscape the perfect setting for some of the show’s key scenes. So, here it is: our definitive Games of Thrones guide to Malta.
Featured scenes: various warmer locations of the Seven Kingdoms, including King’s Landing Series 1, Episodes 3 and 5) and the Great Sept of Baelor (Series 1, Episode 9)
The medieval, walled city of Valletta was built in the 16th Century, built by the Knights of St John. The old town is crammed onto a small peninsular, just 1km by 600 metres, but has gradually sprawled out over the centuries. Despite its natural growth, the ancient city still bears most of its medieval charm; set in a grid of narrow streets (all the better to see, and shoot, the enemy, apparently) flanked by stunning sandstone houses. The ancient beauty of the untouched buildings is simply dazzling: the whole city is a UNESCO world heritage site and was described by the organisation as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world”.
If you head to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and look across the Grand Harbour, you will catch sight of Fort Ricasoli. GoT fans will know the site better as the outside of The Red Keep at King’s Landing. Unsurprisingly, the commanding 17-th Century fort is a popular movie location and it is often closed for filming. If this is the case, catch a gondola (known locally as a dghajsa) and enjoy the view from the water.
If you look across the water towards Manoel Island, you will see Fort Manoel, which was used for the Great Sept of Baelor, where Ned loses his head.
Featured scenes: Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding, Series 1, Episode 1,
The tiny island of Gozo is located at Malta’s north end. Although the island is rising in popularity, just 30,000 people live on the island, accompanied by goats, vineyards and archaeological sites.
It is also famous for its Azure Window, a 30-metre rock formation that has been sculpted by the see to give an almost honeycomb-like appearance. The Azure Window is great for a snorkel, dive, or just a rock scramble, but Game of Thrones fans may prefer to stop and stare, for this is the iconic location at which Daenerys and Drogo got married. Aside from a bit of GoT sightseeing, the island is sleepy, tranquil and utterly beautiful; a great way to spend the day exploring beaches, coves and ancient churches.
Mdina & Rabat
Featured in scenes: various, including Littlefinger’s brothel, The Red Keep, Series 1, Episode 3, The Red Keep Garden, Series 1, Episode 7.
As soon you step into Mdina, you will step back in time. Or, as a Thrones fan, you may just step into Westeros! At the tip of the island, Mdina’s ancient walls encompass a maze of houses, shops and winding alleys. Dating back as far as 1,000 BC, the original citadel was built by the Romans, who called the city Melita. When the Arabs arrived in the 9th Century, they fortified the city with strong walls, and dug a moat between the walled city and the surrounding area. The city was renamed Medina (Arabic for “Walled City”) and the surrounding suburbs were called Rabat (Arabic for “outside suburbs”). Mdina lost its position as Citta Notabile (the Noble City) in the 16th Century, when the Knights of St John developed the walled city at Valletta.
Today, the moat has been landscaped into gardens, but as you approach the city, you will see Mdina’s Old Gate, which served as King’s Landing in GoT. You can walk or get a horse and carriage through the remarkably intact city, where you will find a plethora of other familiar scenes, including Piazza Mesquita, home to “Littlefinger’s Brothel”, where Lord Baelish takes Ned to meet Catelyn. It is worth spending a little time wondering around Mdina, its labyrinth of shops, cafes and ice cream parlours add a relaxed aura to a city that seems to ooze history from every brick.
Just outside Mdina’s walls, you will find the suburb of Rabat, which is well worth a wonder. GoT fans can head to St Dominic’s Priory, aka The Red Keep’s garden, where Ned confronted Cersei over their children’s parentage.
Do you fancy a trip to some of Westeros’s most iconic locations? Book cheap flights to Malta here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ for cheap deals, travel advice and trip inspiration.