Malta: Visiting Game of Thrones Filming Locations on a Budget

I won’t deny that from the moment the first season of Game of Thrones aired back in 2011, I’ve been a hardcore fan. 


Evidence of my “obsession” can be traced back to the beginning of Snow to Seas and my first handful of Instagram posts (scroll to the bottom for evidence). 

Since the show’s final episode aired within the past couple of months, (aka May 2019), I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to jump into the GoT universe and dedicate one more travel-themed post to the show. And this one will take us all the way back to Season 1 and the OG King’s Landing in Malta. 

A whole bunch of iconic scenes from the first season of Game of Thrones were filmed in Malta. Lucky for us GoT fans, when in Malta, nearly all of them happen to be super easy and affordable to visit.


So while GoT may be over on HBO, it’s far from gone IRL. Here are 7 Game of Thrones filming locations and more you can visit in Malta for cheap!


Visiting Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Malta Pin

Need more #GameofThrones in your life? Check out how you can visit 6+ filming locations in #Malta on a budget: Click To Tweet

And yes, you may notice that I’ve taken a couple creative liberties, but so have the producers and crew behind Game of Thrones (check out the many faces of King’s Landing on Twitter here and MTL Blog here). Destination 7 isn’t an exact filming location, but it’ll definitely make you feel as if you’ve stepped into Westeros. 

MIIIIIIILLLLLLD Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched Season 1 or read Book 1 and plan on doing so, please know that this post does touch on some key events from the first instalment of the series. Nothing past Season 1 or Book 1 is revealed. 

1. San Anton Palace and Gardens

Game of Thrones Episode(s):

Season 1 Episode 3 – Lord Snow

Time Stamp: 2:00
Summary: The Starks arrive at the Red Keep/King’s Landing.

Season 1 Episode 4 – Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

Time Stamp: 27:45
Summary: Ned Stark and Littlefinger discuss Jon Arryn’s death.

Season 1 Episode 5 – The Wolf and the Lion

Time Stamp: 30:13
Summary: Ned is walking through a hallway in the Red Keep on his way to see King Robert. He is called to a Small Council meeting.

Season 1 Episode 7 – You Win or You Die

Time Stamp: 53:27
Summary: While making his way to throne room, Ned Stark receives news about the City Watch and Lord Renly from Varys and Littlefinger.

Season 1 Episode 8 – The Pointy End

Time Stamp: 2:22
Summary: Stark attendants are attacked and killed by Lannister soldiers.


San Anton Palace Courtyard, The Red Keep

The San Anton Palace courtyard – featured in Episode 3, 5, and 8 (to name a few). 

Exploring the San Anton Gardens and the palace courtyard is absolutely FREE. The garden is typically open 7 days a week all year round during daylight hours.  

San Anton Palace Courtyard, The Red Keep

One of the Red Keep’s most famous hallways can be found just by the San Anton Palace courtyard. 

FUN FACT: San Anton Palace is the Maltese President’s official home. 

TIP: Up-to-date information about hours of operation in Malta isn’t always readily available online. That’s just how things roll. When visiting a place with inconsistently listed hours, try calling in advance. Otherwise, showing up right after its potential opening or just before its potential closing may not work out in your favour. 

San Anton Gardens, Malta

Just one section of the San Anton Gardens. 

2. Mdina, Malta

Mdina Main Gate

Game of Thrones Episode(s):

Season 1 Episode 3 – Lord Snow

Time Stamp: 18:50
Summary: Lady Catelyn and Ser Rodrik arrive and enter King’s Landing.

Mdina Malta City Gate

Welcome to King’s Landing. 

Mdina City Streets

Game of Thrones Episode(s):

Season 1 Episode 3 – Lord Snow

Time Stamp: 24:05
Summary: Ned reunites with Catlyn in front of one of Littlefinger’s brothels (in King’s Landing). This scene was filmed in Mdina’s Piazza Mesquita.

Season 1 Episode 5 – The Wolf and the Lion

Time Stamp: 49:55
Summary: Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister confront each other in front of Littlefinger’s brothel. This scene was also filmed in Mdina’s Piazza Mesquita.

Mdina, located in the heart of Malta, was the island’s capital from ancient (we’re talking thousands of years BCE) to medieval times. I’d say stepping through the city gates is as close to time travel as you can get. 

Not every nook and cranny of Mdina appears in GoT, but spending some time meandering down the city’s winding streets will make you feel like you’re exploring previously unseen and secret corners of King’s Landing. 

Mdina, Malta City Streets

Just a couple of Mdina’s never-ending and beyond gorgeous side streets. 

Mdina, Malta City Streets

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Even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, Mdina is beyond stunning and visiting the city will be an experience to remember. 

3. St. Domenic’s Convent, Rabat, Malta

Game of Thrones Episode(s): 

Time Stamp: 8:05
Summary: Ned Stark confronts Cersei and reveals that he knows who the true father of her children is.


St. Dominic's Convent, Malta

Cersei wraps up the encounter with the famous quote: “when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

Found in Rabat, Malta, the Church of St. Dominic and the Blessed Virgin is only a stone’s throw away from Mdina, Malta. The terraces surrounding the inner courtyard, where Cersei and Ned’s conversation takes place, are typically open and free to visit during daylight hours. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to walk in the actual courtyard at this point in time. 

READ MORE: Step into the world of Game of Thrones in Sintra, Portugal 

4. Fort Ricasoli, Kalkara, Malta

Game of Thrones Episode(s):

Season 1 Episode 3 – Lord Snow

Time Stamp: 1:45
Summary: Immediately after the opening credits, the Starks arrive in King’s Landing. The fort’s main entrance is the King’s Gate.

Season 1 Episode 5 – The Wolf and the Lion

Time Stamp: 26:05
Summary: Arya sneaks back through the King’s Gate into King’s Landing. Again, the fort’s main entrance is the King’s Gate.

While it’s not possible to enter Fort Ricasoli, (no part of the fort is currently open to the public), you can catch a pretty impressive view of it from the Upper Barraka Gardens in downtown Valletta. 

Fort Ricasoli, Malta

Fort Ricasoli (in the centre, across the bay) as seen from the Upper Barraka Gardens. You can catch a better view of the fort further into the garden. I’ll admit I was so caught up admiring the garden that I forgot to take a snap of it. 

5. Fort Manoel, Manoel Island, Malta

Game of Thrones Episode(s): 

Time Stamp: 50:05
Summary: Ned Stark stands trial and Joffrey sentences him to death.

Located on Manoel Island between Valletta and Sliema, Fort Manoel only opens up to the public for 1 day every one to few months. You can check out and search “Manoel” to take a look at any upcoming openings. MIDI, a local company, is currently running a large scale restoration project of Manoel Island – including Fort Manoel. They open up the fort every so often to showcase their progress and the fort’s history. 

If your trip to Malta doesn’t overlap with a Fort Manoel “open house,” taking the ferry from Valletta to Sliema will get you pretty close to the GoT filming location. A ferry ride during the day costs €1.50 and a ride at night costs €1.75.

Fort Manoel, Malta

Fort Manoel as seen from the Valletta-Sliema Ferry. 

READ MORE: 12 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Malta

6. Azure Window, Gozo

Game of Thrones Episode(s):

Season 1 Episode 1 – Winter is Coming

Time Stamp: 50:00
Summary: Daenerys Targaryen marries Khal Drogo.

The Azure Window collapsed in 2017. But the terrain surrounding it (and pretty much the rest of the coast on the islands of Gozo and Comino) looks pretty reminiscent of Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ wedding venue. 

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta

 The famous Azure Window pre-2017. Image by Olaf Janssen from Pixabay

Comino, Malta

Smaller but similar formations can still be found around the islands of Gozo and Comino. 

7. The Blue Grotto

Game of Thrones Episode(s):  


Time Stamp: N/A
Summary: N/A

Feels Like: King’s Landing 

While there’s no record of any spot around the Blue Grotto being a Game of Thrones filming location, the area’s terrace will make you feel as if you’ve found your way into the Red Keep and you’re overlooking the Narrow Sea. Just take a look at the photo below!

Above the Blue Grotto, Malta

Just another corner of King’s Landing. Am I right or am I right?

How to Get Around (Game of Thrones Malta Tour NOT Required)

Yes, an official Game of Thrones tour in Malta exists. Malta Film Tours offers it. It has great reviews, and you can learn more about it on the company’s official website or on Viator

However, as a solo traveller, I could only sign up to take the tour on a Saturday, and I just didn’t happen to be in the country on a Saturday. The tour also costs approximately €60. As a budget traveller, I wanted to visit GoT filming locations for less. 

For the first time in my life, I chose to rely on Hop On Hop Off double decker buses to get me from Point A to Point B in Malta. AND I totally encourage others to do the same. 



After researching routes using Malta’s public transportation system, I discovered that while public buses can take you nearly anywhere on the island, they also take AGES to get you from place to place. Hop on Hop Off buses, on the other hand, are a great deal faster. These tour buses do typically take the scenic route, but they make fewer stops (they usually only stop at popular points of interest around the island). 

Hop On Hop Off Buses will take you to Valletta (where you can check out Fort Ricasoli and Fort Manoel), San Anton Gardens, Mdina, Rabat, and more. It’s also worth knowing that you can haggle Hop On Hop Off day pass costs with vendors. I paid €15 for 2 day passes and managed to go all around the island. 

In order to get to Gozo, you can either grab a regular ferry from the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal on the northern tip of Malta or opt for a trip to Gozo as part of a 1-day boat cruise. A one-way ferry ticket with Gozo Channel costs €4.65. Boat Cruise tickets, which typically include stops at Comino’s Blue Lagoon and Gozo, start at around €25. (Despite the Blue Lagoon’s status as a tourist hotspot, I totally believe that it is worth the visit).

READ MORE: Planning the Perfect Day Trip to Comino, Malta’s Blue Lagoon

Sea view in MaltaWhile HBO’s Game of Thrones may be over, my quest to visit as many GoT filming locations as possible is far from done. Dubvronik, Croatia and Malta were nothing short of impressive, but I have my eyes set on visiting on Spain, Ireland, and Iceland next!


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A post shared by Ania (@snowtoseas) on

One of my 15 first Instagram posts on @snowtoseas. It didn’t take me long to bring up my obsession with the show.

Planning a trip to Malta? Check out:


Have you visited any Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta or beyond? Do you want to? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Note: in the interest of NOT getting into a copyright pickle, I did not include screenshots from the show in this post. Instead, you can find the exact episode and moment a scene in any of the locations listed above takes place. That way, you can experience seeing these destinations Malta on HBO’s Game of Thrones yourself. And I’m not going to lie, re-watching these scenes was pretty cool. 

Happy Travelling

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