Looking for a great reason to start planning your next adventure? We’ve got a new reason for you to travel to Cáceres in Spain this year.
You may not have heard of Cáceres, but you’ve most likely seen it on screen. The picturesque Spanish city is the backdrop for many beloved films and series — the most famous of which may just be HBO’s Game of Thrones and the new prequel series House of the Dragon.
While Dubrovnik became a tourism hotspot thanks to its starring role as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, the series eventually moved to filming in Cáceres for its seventh and final season. Now, it’s back as the fictional Westerosi capital in the first season of House of the Dragon, with more filming set to take place this year. To celebrate, the city will also hold the second annual City of Dragons festival in the autumn.
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The historic center of Cáceres shows nearly no trace of the 21st century; the Gothic and Renaissance streets, towers, palaces and walls haven’t changed much in the last few centuries. The sets for medieval-era-inspired King’s Landing barely need any adjustments or green screens — except when production needs to add in a dragon or two, of course. S
Cáceres has ancient origins going all the way back to prehistoric settlements; the city proper was founded in the 1st century BC by the Romans and came under Moorish rule in the 8th century. A melting pot of cultures and religions, Cáceres still bears signs of its flourishing Jewish and Muslim periods that create a harmonious yet eclectic mix with the city’s more recent Catholic past and present.
It’s impossible not to recognize the characteristic stone and granite buildings from your television screen, but even more thrilling to accidentally stumble upon a filming location as you wander the sloping, narrow streets of the Old Town. And Game of Thrones gave Cáceres lots of screen time in Season 7 Episode 3, when Euron Greyjoy parades victorious around King’s Landing, horse riding his way from real-life Plaza de Santa Maria to Arco de la Estrella.
The streets of Cáceres are also the setting of key scenes from the more recent House of the Dragon. It steps in for Flea Bottom during Daemon and Rhaenyra’s late-night excursion (Season 1 Episode 4) and again during the Greens stalking search for Prince Aegon Targaryen (Season 1 Episode 9). The decisive fight outside the Sept was filmed in Plaza de San Jorge, with the Iglesia de San Francisco Javier posing as King’s Landing’s main center of worship. The top of the building was altered in post-production to add monumental doors and dome, but the structure below, with the two sets of stairs is perfect for fans to pose as the characters and recreate the show’s scenes.
Look out for a small bronze statue in an alcove within the church’s front wall. You’ll see a representation of Saint George vanquishing a dragon; just one more fun connection to these legendary creatures.
In October 2022, the town hall of Cáceres launched an event to celebrate the city’s strong relationship with House of the Dragon. The first edition of City of Dragons coincided with the weekend of the show’s finale; now, it will become a yearly tradition and will return between October and November 2023, dates to be confirmed. Events include: conferences with show collaborators and experts on George R R Martin’s world of A Song of Ice and Fire, sword fighting classes, medieval jousts, concerts, cosplay contests, themed dinners, parades, and escape rooms. Both during the festival and year-round, visitors can go on guided tours of all filming locations, which extend beyond the walls of the city center.
In the wider province of Cáceres, fans can relive more Game of Thrones memories in various places. The castle in Trujillo, half an hour away by car once posed as Casterly Rock (Season 7 Episode 3), while the natural park of Los Barruecos is where Daenerys fought the Lannister army (Season 7 Episode 4). Back in the city center, fans will recognize the Museum of Cáceres from when Sam Tarly and Gilly fled from the Citadel (Season 7 Episode 5).
TV tourism has created new hot spots around Europe, and in 2023 Cáceres is sure to become a favorite destination for fans, especially after the recent Golden Globes win for House of the Dragon. The internet is already crawling with photos of cosplayers in the real-world Flea Bottom, the Street of Silk and the Grand Sept. Who knows, maybe you’ll even run into a Targaryen or two as they film the next season?
Where to eat in Cáceres
The food scene in Cáceres is a testament to its history, with many influences coming together to create a multicultural cuisine. Charcuteries and cheeses reign supreme, so make sure your table has some jamon iberico and torta del casar, and you can certainly never go wrong with Spanish tapas. In the center, sit down at BOS Taperia Ristorante behind Plaza Mayor and order a capricho extremeno. A unique spot for dinner is Jardin de los Golfines, an indoor garden with a mouth-watering menu for all palates. If you visit Cáceres during the City of Dragons festival, restaurants might be offering a themed menu, so check out your options.
Where to drink in Cáceres
Nights are lively in Cáceres, and most cafes become well-stocked bars that open until late. If you drink alcohol, make sure to have some authentic Spanish vino tinto, sangria, and cerveza. The colorful Bar Tapería La Majá is a good central place to have a drink or two and munch on something for a very good price. The best streetsto enjoy a drink to some music are Pizarro, Santa Teresa, Niza, and Dr. Fleming.
Where to stay in Cáceres
If you are traveling without a car, there are hundreds of charming apartments in the Old Town available for rent. Apartamentos El Patio Santa Clara are a perfect choice for both long and short-term stays if you’re going in a group. If you’re traveling solo or as a couple, check out the historic NH Collection Palacio de Oquendo, a four-star hotel in a charming 16th-century building. The stone facade and vault ceilings will make you feel like you really are visiting Westeros.