Game of Thrones fans have watched the series’ main characters battle in the bitter cold, sail across vast seas, and ride through grassy plains. Seeing the exploits unfold on screen is exciting, but taking on Westeros-style adventures yourself is even more thrilling.
Try one of these five television-worthy experiences, and you’ll feel like you’ve jumped straight into the show’s magical world.
CONQUER AN ICE WALL IN THE NORTH
The enormous ice wall at the northern edge of the Seven Kingdoms guards against Free Folk, the people who live on the other side, and White Walkers, humanoid ice creatures that threaten to annihilate everyone south of the Wall. Climbing it is near impossible, but not entirely so—Jon Snow, his love Ygritte, and a group of Free Folk, or Wildlings as others call them, manage to make their way to the top with ice axes, crampons, anchors, and rope.
You’ll use similar equipment to climb the real-life ice walls in Alberta, Canada. In the winter, climbers flock to the region to tackle the tremendous frozen tundra, including the just-as-impressively named Weeping Wall in Banff National Park. And though you won’t be escaping the deadly grasps of icy reanimated corpses, your efforts to reach the top still warrant an evening by the fire with an ale in hand.
BACKCOUNTRY CAMP LIKE THE FREE FOLK
Though royalty in King’s Landing live with wealth and splendor, not everyone in the Seven Kingdoms has the luxury of silk quilts and golden candelabras. Many of the series’ characters spend their nights in the wilderness, fending for themselves with only what they can carry. Bran Stark, Hodor, and Meera Reed sleep under the stars as they make their way through the land beyond the Wall, and Jon Snow camps with Ygritte in the same region before they reach Castle Black.
To experience the thrill of self-reliance and the beauty of the natural world for yourself, head to Iceland. Not only was some of the show filmed here, the country encourages visitors and locals to set up camp at nearly any of its wide open spaces—while heeding the necessary safety and preparation warnings, of course. Harness the show’s spirit of adventure and join in on the backcountry-camping love near one of Iceland’s moss-covered lava fields or towering rocky waterfalls.
Backcountry campers spend the evening beside Skógafoss Waterfall in southern Iceland.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAMIRO TORRENTS, GETTY IMAGES
EARN THE TITLE OF HORSELORD
Channel the power of the Dothraki, who give new meaning to the phrase, “Ride or Die,” on an epic horseback trip across the plains of Mongolia. The fictional nomadic warriors have a special, spiritual bond with their horses, and you’re bound to feel the same sense of kinship with your equine partner after traversing the country’s rolling grasslands.
Sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolia is made up of towering mountains in the northwest, the vast Gobi Desert in the south, and wild highland prairies spread between the two. Find a guide or touring company that focuses on ecotourism and community building, and you’ll likely get the chance to practice sustainable camping and spend time with local herders.
Eagle hunters ride their horses across a grassy Mongolian plain. The Kazakh tradition has been preserved in Bayan-Ulgii, a western Mongolian province, where visitors can attend the annual Golden Eagle Festival to watch celebratory parades and competitions. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHALERMKIAT SEEDOKMAI, GETTY IMAGES
SOAR THE SKIES LIKE THE MOTHER OF DRAGONS
While you’re unlikely to ascend to the clouds on the back of a dragon in your lifetime, you can achieve your dreams of exhilarating flight by booking a voyage on a paraglider. Daenerys, who now owns the only known living dragons in the Game of Thrones world, flew atop one of her reptilian sons to escape a deadly battle—taking in the far-reaching, green scenery below as she soared.
Find similarly dramatic vistas by paragliding over New Zealand’s mountainous landscape. Multiple outfitters offer paragliding experiences in the area. Some glide over the snowy hills beyond Queenstown, others give flyers perfect views of Lake Wakatipu, and one offers the chance to float above the city itself. Fire breath not included.
Paragliders float past the clouds after jumping from Bob's Peak, part of the Ben Lomond mountain at the edge of Queenstown, New Zealand. PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT GEORGE YOUNG, GETTY IMAGES
SAIL THE MEDITERRANEAN ON A DAENERYS-INSPIRED VESSEL
A summer in the Greek islands brings hordes of boating tourists, but Daenerys Stormborn wouldn’t spend her time idling in the sea. She’s much too busy sailing to reach Westeros in her bid to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
To attempt your own legendary journey across a “Narrow Sea,” strap on your sea legs and follow the coast of the Mediterranean in a sailboat fit for lengthy expeditions—either on a personal chartered trip or as a crewmember on a boat looking for volunteers. Depending on your route, you could visit the archeology-rich Turkish site of Ephesus, the territory of Gibraltar and its massive limestone “rock,” or the scuba-friendly waters of Malta—where scenes from the show's first season were filmed.
A sailboat crosses a stone-walled harbour on the coast of Malta, an island nation where the Game of Thrones crew filmed scenes for the show's first season.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SYLVAIN SONNET, GETTY IMAGES