Game of Thrones Guide in Malta: The Original King’s Landing
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
Whilst many Game of Thrones fans instantly associate King’s Landing to Croatia as its real-life location, most of the fandom aren’t equally aware that Malta served as the first home of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms! The Maltese archipelago was in full display as a default Westeros-location across several episodes in Season 1 of this phenomenal HBO TV series. Even if the country is too minute to easily locate in the map and much less popular compared to its neighbours, the show has pleasingly showcased this Mediterranean gem to the world that many tourists started noticing.
The geography of the very convoluted Iron Throne story has been said to be patterned after Great Britain’s medieval age. However, show producers needed to look into filming locations way outside UK to find its own King’s Landing – and why not Malta where there’s abundance of fortresses and well-preserved walled cities.
Spoiler Alert: This post contains story lines from previous GOT seasons.
Time to re-experience the opening season of the show that swept the world one decapitated head at a time…
VERDALA PALACE, DINGLI
GOT: Illyrio’s Mansion – S1E1 Winter is Coming – In front of the mansion, Khal Drogo was introduced to Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen
REAL-LIFE: Official summer residence of the President of Malta
GATE OF MDINA, MDINA
GOT: Entrance to King’s Landing – S1E3 Lord Snow – Through this gate, Catelyn Stark arrived and left King’s Landing after a short sneaky visit
REAL-LIFE: Mdina is the original capital of Malta before Valletta. It is a well-preserved 8th century walled city.
MESQUITA SQUARE, MDINA
GOT: Little Finger’s Brothel – S1E5 The Wolf and the Lion – Ned Stark was attacked by Jamie Lannister’s group
REAL-LIFE: Turn left after entering the Mdina main gate and you’ll find this square. There's a local restaurant to dine.
MTAHLEB CLIFFS, RABAT
GOT: Khal Drogo’s Funeral – S1E10 Fire and Blood – Daenerys went into the flames during Drogo’s funeral and gave birth to three dragons
REAL-LIFE: Beautiful views of the sea off the cliff
ST. DOMINIC’S CONVENT, RABAT
GOT: Red Keep Garden – S1E7 You Win Or You Die – Ned confronted Cersei about her secret relationship with Jaime and their children
REAL-LIFE: Just a short walking distance from Mdina’s main gate, the courtyard of the miraculous Holy Virgin hides behind a church.
SAN ANTON PALACE, ATTARD
GOT: S1E10 Fire and Blood – Joffrey showed to Sana the heads on spikes, including her father’s
REAL-LIFE: Official residence of the President of Malta
FORT SAINT ANGELO, BIRGU
GOT: Red Keep Prison and Underground Chambers – S1E5 The Wolf and The Lion – Arya chased a cat into the dungeons near the dragon's skull but accidentally heard an intriguing insider wisdom
REAL-LIFE: A large fort in Birgu. Best viewing deck to see the fortified walls is from Upper Barrakka.
FORT MANOEL, GZIRA
GOT: Great Sept of Baelor – S1E9 Baelor – Ned Stark was executed in front of his daughters under King Joffrey’s command
REAL-LIFE: Privately-accessed 18th century fort on the Manoel Island
FORT RICASOLI, VALLETTA
GOT: Gate of the Gods, Red Keep, King’s Landing – S1E3 Lord Snow – Starks' (Ned, Sansa and Arya) arrival at King's Landing; S1E5 The Wolf and The Lion - Arya was almost denied to re-enter the Red Keep
REAL-LIFE: 17th century fort built by the Order of St. John. Best view is seen from Upper Barrakka Gardens.
GOT: Lhazareen – S1E8 The Pointy End – The vulnerable village ambushed by the Dothrakis warriors
REAL-LIFE: A small farming village with prehistoric-like stone fences
AZURE WINDOW, GOZO
GOT: Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s Wedding – S1E1 Winter is Coming - Pentos landscape
REAL-LIFE: Azure Window is now a thing of the past when heavy storms caused the picturesque 30-metre high natural limestone formation collapse into the sea on 8th March 2017.
Tired of cliché travels to the world's famous cities? If you're a dear GOT fan and it so happened that a higher-level travel challenge is of any satisfaction to you, why don't you engage in a Game of Thrones locations hunt around the world?
After the shoot and prior to the fall of the famed Azure window, GOT production has encountered natural preservation issues with the Maltese government. Due to the show’s production demand, alterations made in the set has allegedly caused environmental damage. Apart from the spots being already fully maximized throughout one season, the issue might have contributed to the decision of relocating King’s Landing to Dubrovnik, Croatia for Seasons 2-6 and then to cities in Spain for Season 7.
Isn’t it sensational how GOT has created a virtual world for fans to indulge in and also massively boost tourism of the locations many haven’t heard much of before? ➳