What 6 'House of the Dragon' filming locations look like in real life

A side by side view of an island hill with a castle on top.
Driftmark (a castle named High Tide, to be specific) and the real St. Michael's Mount castle.HBO and Getty Images
  • "House of the Dragon" season two takes "Game of Thrones" fans back to Westeros.

  • In real life, the show has filmed across Europe on beaches and medieval towns open to the public.

  • From King's Landing to Blackwater Bay, here's how the series compares to its filming locations.

"House of the Dragon" season two returns to Westeros for the war between the Greens and Blacks.

The show is the first "Game of Thrones" prequel project to make it to the screen, as HBO and Warner Bros. continue to expand the franchise to tell new stories set in the universe created by author George R. R. Martin. The network has several prequel shows in development, including "Nine Voyages," based on the adventures of Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), and an animated "Golden Empire" series.

HBO also renewed "House of the Dragon" for season three shortly before the season two premiere, so it doesn't look like the network is planning to leave Westeros behind anytime soon.

It's understandable, given how rich the universe is. Some of the real filming locations help make the world of Westeros feel truly unique rather than relying on CGI backdrops and soundstages.

"House of the Dragon" has shown us High Tide castle in Driftmark a few times already.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a castle on an island of land in the middle of an ocean bay.
The High Tide Castle of Driftmark.HBO

High Tide is the home of Lord Corlys Velaryon and his wife, Princess Rhaenys. King Viserys and his royal court visited the dramatic setting in season one, episode seven for a funeral.

Scenes depicting Driftmark were shot at St. Michael's Mount – a rocky island topped with a medieval castle in the UK.

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall.
St Michael's Mount, Cornwall.Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

The origin of St. Michael's Mount blends history and mythology. According to the UK National Trust, the rocky island was first mentioned all the way back in 495AD. There are reportedly tales about how seafarers were drawn to it by mermaids.

Myths aside, the mount is only accessible via an ancient causeway at low tide, and stands today as part of the seaside town of Marazion, a popular destination for beachgoers and those keen to discover its rich history.

But in the world of "House of the Dragon," it doubles as Blackwater Bay, Condé Nast Traveler reports. The bay is the primary stronghold of House Velaryon. Like the Targaryens, the Velaryon family traces its roots back to the ruined city of Valyria in Essos.

In season one, episode three of "House of the Dragon," we got a sweeping view of the Stepstones.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a war camp near the edge of a cliff overlooking a naval battle.
Camp Velaryon at the Stepstones in "House of the Dragon."HBO

This was where the Velaryon army and Daemon Targaryen held their war camp.

Filming of the fictional "Stepstones" was reportedly done in Cornwall at Kynance Cove.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall.Edward Crawford/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

According to House Beautiful, filming for a scene depicting House Velaryon camps took place in Kynance Cove, Cornwall.

If you plan to visit to enjoy the cove's beaches in the summer, you won't be running into any Westerosi soldiers but rather plenty of beachgoers — it's a popular seaside spot, according to the National Trust.

The surrounding sea is turquoise blue, and the sand is white, so it's no wonder the website advises anyone visiting to arrive early so as to avoid any disappointment in finding parking, which is a 40-minute walk from the cove.

In another episode, we saw the same region at low-tide.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a beach with the tide out covered in corpses and crabs, with a ship on fire in the distance.
The Stepstones as seen in season one, episode two of "House of the Dragon."HBO

This was the scene where Craghas Drahar was shown nailing prisoners to contraptions that would make them drown when the tide came in. In the meantime, crabs feasted on the still-alive soldiers' flesh.

In reality, Holywell Bay in Cornwall looks like a dreamy beach destination.

Holywell bay, Cornwall.
Holywell Bay, Cornwall.Kevin Britland/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Image

It's difficult to think that what looks like an idyllic English beach has been turned into the Stepstones — an inhospitable collection of islands — in "House of the Dragon."

As reported by the Radio Times, the fictional islands known as the Stepstones are found between the Narrow Sea, waters separating Westeros and Essos, and the Summer Sea. While conditions on the islands aren't livable, the group of islands still play an important role as they are right in the middle of a trade route between Westeros and the Free Cities.

In the pilot episode of "House of the Dragon," we saw the royal carriage wheeling through King's Landing.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a carriage going through a busy town square.
King's Landing in the pilot episode of "House of the Dragon."HBO

This was one of the courtyards that Princess Rhaenyra's carriage crossed. The setting included what looks like a large dragon statue made from "dragonglass" (AKA obsidian).

Jumping over to Spain, "House of the Dragon" fans will probably instantly recognize the city of Cáceres as the capital of Westeros.

Cáceres, Spain.
Cáceres, Spain.Rafael Elias/Getty Images

While shots of King's Landing in most seasons of "Game of Thrones" were filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, "House of the Dragon" used Cáceres, Spain as the primary location, Condé Nast Traveler reports.

But those who saw the opening shots of episode one of "House of the Dragon" will know that the red-tiled rooftops and winding medieval roads perfectly reimagine King's Landing much like it was depicted in the original show.

In reality, the old town of Cáceres, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has a rich history of its own. According to UNESCO, it was ruled by "powerful rival factions" between the 14th and 16th centuries and was the site of battles between the Moors and Christians.

Here we see King Viserys and young Laena Velaryon walking together in "House of the Dragon" episode two.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a man and a young girl walking together in a garden with high hedges lining the pathway.
Viserys and young Laena in "House of the Dragon."HBO

This scene came early in the first season, when King Viserys was offered the young Laena as a future wife.

The botanic gardens of Lloret de Mar, Spain, are where King Viserys Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon got acquainted.

Lloret de Mar, Spain.
Lloret de Mar, Spain.Vladislav Zolotov/Getty Images

In the second episode of "House of the Dragon" season one, Princess Rhaenys, Lord Corlys Velaryon, and other members of the Small Council try to persuade King Viserys Targaryen to marry his second cousin, 12-year-old Lady Laena Velaryon.

There is a scene later in the episode where Viserys and Laena are shown somewhat awkwardly getting to know each other while on a walk through beautiful, manicured gardens with views of the sea surrounding Kings Landing.

Filming took place in the Gardens of Santa Clotilde in Lloret de Mar, Spain. And that seascape might actually be real. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the botanic gardens — available to visit for 6 euros, or around $5.97 — overlook the Balearic Sea.

When the show jumps ahead 10 years in season one, episode six, we saw adult-Laena with Daemon in Pentos.

A scene from "House of the Dragon," showing a castle on a hill in the moonlight.
A castle in Pentos as seen in "House of the Dragon."HBO

Daemon and Laena had taken up residence across the Narrow Sea, in a city called Pentos. The castle they were living in belonged to a lord who hired them to fight with their dragons.

The night-time shots of Pentos in "House of the Dragon" look much like Castillo de la Calahorra, Spain.

Castillo de la Calahorra, Spain.
Castillo de la Calahorra, Spain.Ventura Carmona/Getty Images

Filming of Pentos took place in a rather picturesque town in Granada, home to a well-preserved Italian Renaissance castle with roots dating back to 1509, according to the tourism website.

It's also a national monument now under private ownership, but anyone can put in a request to visit.

"House of the Dragon" season two airs on Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. ET. For more, read our essential guide to all the Targaryen kids on "House of the Dragon."

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