Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead! If you haven’t finished season 6, stop reading now!
Calling all Game of Thrones fans! If you’re a fan of the HBO series (and the books, of course), consider adding Girona, Spain to your travel bucket list. Girona was the filming location for scenes set in King’s Landing and Braavos. It’s even home to the cathedral used as the Great Sept that is blown up in the dramatic season 6 finale. I followed a self-guided tour found here.
Look familiar? It probably doesn’t, but the riverbed filled with water with the help of CGI and you might remember a scene where Arya throws herself into the Braavos canal to escape the waif.
This courtyard of Sant Pere de Galligants wasn’t in the show, but it’s worth seeing anyway. Parts of this church date back to the 11th century.
Shortly after passing through the gardens of Sant Pere de Galligants, I walked through another courtyard used as the filming location for the Braavos marketplace. Off to the right, tucked away in a dark corner, are the Arabic Baths featured in the Arya/Waif chase scene. In the show, the baths are full of steam and men in towels. When I visited, they weren’t quite as steamy, but the baths are more impressive than they appear in the show. Light steams down from the ceiling, making the bath seem rather inviting.
The star of the show, the Girona Cathedral, is an impressive feature visible throughout most of the city. It casts a great shadow over the steps leading to it. The steps themselves were used in Game of Thrones. Jaime Lannister rides his horse up them to save Margaery from the High Sparrow. The feat is even more impressive when you realize just how steep those steps are. I admit, I feel sorry for the horse who had to attempt that.
Here’s a closer look at the ornate sculptures that decorate the cathedral’s facade. In the show, they are covered by banners with stars in circles. It’s a shame the Great Sept was blown up in the season 6 finale since we won’t see this magnificent building in the show again.
After visiting the cathedral, I took a walk through the gardens that lie behind the building. The only sound besides the rustling leaves came from a man playing violin for a small audience. Archways disrupt the wall that surrounds the garden, leading to tiny courtyards.
I spent a while relaxing here before continuing my self-guided Game of Thrones tour.
Walking down the busy Carrer de la Forca led to the stairs that were also part of the Arya/Waif chase scene. Dark and sinister, it’s clear why this location was used. Walking up the narrow stairs feels like being trapped in a maze.
I visited Girona specifically to see the filming locations for Game of Thrones, but any history buff would find this city fascinating. With its Gothic architecture and buildings from the 11th century, you can easily spend an entire day exploring. And when you’ve finished exploring, head down Carrer de la Forca to shop around. I found a leather goods store where, in halting Spanish, I managed to buy a handsome wallet made from Spanish leather.
If you have any questions about Girona or the Game of Thrones tour, let me know!