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'Game of Thrones' tours launched in Croatia and Northern Ireland

By Frances Cha, CNN
May 30, 2013 -- Updated 2211 GMT (0611 HKT)
Dubrovnik or King's Landing? Real fans know the difference.
Dubrovnik or King's Landing? Real fans know the difference.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Online travel company Viator launches two "Game of Thrones" tours
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia, serves as setting for fictional King's Landing
  • Belfast and Northern Ireland tour visits cave where Melisandre gave birth
  • Viator also books "Harry Potter" and "Downton Abbey" tours

(CNN) -- Here's a question for die-hard "Game of Thrones" fans.

Is your reaction to newly launched tours of "Game of Thrones" filming locations a) tittering fanjoy at the thought of seeing King's Landing in real life, or b) uneasy fear that touring the modern day castle without a sadistic boy-king inside it would impede your suspension of disbelief?

Either way, beginning this summer, devotees of topless fantasy, medieval bloodlust, flayings, dragons, direwolves, White Walkers and Peter Dinklage will be able to visit locations used in the filming of the epic HBO series.

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San Francisco-based online travel company Viator has announced the launch of two "Game of Thrones" tours, one in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the other in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The cities and surrounding areas serve as settings for fictional locales depicted in the series.

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Dating to the seventh century, the walled city of Dubrovnik serves as the official setting of King's Landing, capital of the Seven Kingdoms.

You may get to see King\'s Landing long before Khaleesi ever reaches it.
You may get to see King's Landing long before Khaleesi ever reaches it.
Both tours follow in the footsteps of tomboy Arya Stark as she escapes her captors in King\'s Landing.
Both tours follow in the footsteps of tomboy Arya Stark as she escapes her captors in King's Landing.

Highlights of the three-hour Dubrovnik walking tour include the ancient city walls and 11th century Lovrijenac Fortress, where battle scenes, including Stannis Baratheon's Battle of the Blackwater at King's Landing, were filmed.

Belfast tour sites

The nine-hour Belfast tour (an epic in itself) takes in sites around Northern Ireland, including the caves where red priestess Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to an evil shadow-baby assassin, and Ballycastle, setting for the Free Cities where the eunuch Lord Varys was born as a slave.

The tour continues to Dark Hedges, where Ned Stark's fierce, tomboy daughter Arya reinvented herself as a boy, then moves on to Lordsport Harbour, where unlucky traitor Theon Greyjoy returned to his homeland of the Iron Islands. Also included is Downhill Strand, the real world setting for Dragonstone, where Melisandre burned the Seven Idols of Westeros on the beach as an offering to her Lord of Light.

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The Belfast tour also throws in locations that haven't been featured in the show but are iconic in themselves, such as the Giant's Causeway.

"Movie and TV-themed tours have always been popular on Viator.com -- 'Harry Potter,' 'Downton Abbey' and 'Sex and the City,' to name a few," says Viator spokesperson Kate Sullivan, adding that the company began taking bookings shortly after the new tours were announced. "Given the popularity of 'Game of Thrones,' not to mention the amazing backdrops provided by the shows' filming locations, we knew these would be very well received."

The tours are operated independently of the show.

Viator says its guides will be completely fluent in all things Thrones, meaning it may be worth taking a tour if only to get a credible explanation of just exactly what the hell is going on in the show.

"Game of Thrones" Walking Tour of Dubrovnik departs daily at 10:15 a.m. from Dubrovnik Old Town and costs start at $72 for adults, $36 for children.

"Game of Thrones" and Giant's Causeway Tour departs at 9 a.m. (minivan pickups arranged from various central Belfast hotels) and costs start at $110 per person.

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