Dubrovnik has long been one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, but its stock soared when HBO launched the medieval fantasy epic Game of Thrones in 2011, with Dubrovnik’s Old Town doubling as King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros. Since then, tourist numbers have climbed between 9 and 12 percent annually, according to the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
The streets where Cersei Lannister made her naked Walk of Atonement in the Season 5 finale as Septa Unella rang a bell and cried ‘Shame!’ are now similarly crowded with Game of Thrones tour guides and their rapt customers. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth installment of the Star Wars saga, were also filmed in Dubrovnik in 2016, as were scenes from the upcoming Robin Hood: Origins movie starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx. Ivan Vukovic Vuka launched his own Game of Thrones tour in 2012. “So many more Americans and New Zealanders come here because of the show,” Vukovic said. “Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik have a lot of medieval history in common but during the tours tourists are not that much interested in Dubrovnik’s history,” he said, recounting how some tourists are puzzled as to where the walls of the Old Town are stored during the winter.
“I used to lead up to five tours per day but I don’t do more than three anymore,” he said. “I’m too tired if I work more and hence it’s not that interesting for tourists. It’s the same with Dubrovnik. It would be better for everyone if the city would settle for less profit.”
A tourist guide points at the filming location of the “Walk of Shame” from the TV series Game of Thrones. Photo: © Ana Opalic