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article imageBoutique Game of Thrones tour launched in Split, Croatia Special

By Paul Bradbury     May 24, 2014 in Travel
Split - With Game of Thrones fever continuing, a Split tourist agency launches a specialised boutique tour of the main Dalmatian locations of Season 4.
A new tourist attraction arrived on the already busy Split tourism scene on May 22, 2014, with the launch of the first comprehensive boutique tour of the Dalmatian filming locations of popular HBO series Game of Thrones, a tour attended by Digital Journal.
The tour, which took in the four main locations of the 1,700 year-old Diocletian's Palace, the Zrnovnica Quarry, Antonicin water mill at Zrnovnica and the historic fortress at Klis, culminated in a feast overlooking Split from the fortress, an event hosted by a replica Daenerys and one of her infamous dragons.
The imperious cellars of Diocletian s Palace  one of Dalmatia s best treasures
The imperious cellars of Diocletian's Palace, one of Dalmatia's best treasures
Vetus Itinera
Even for non-Game of Thrones fans, such as this Digital Journalist, the tour was an excellent introduction to the heritage, nature, traditions and gastronomy of Central Dalmatia, a region where tourism is booming, as tourist flock to experience its unique combination of sun, sea, history and gastronomy.
Guide Adriana Dada guides the group through the treasures of Diocletian s Palace  scene of some of t...
Guide Adriana Dada guides the group through the treasures of Diocletian's Palace, scene of some of the filming
Vetus Itinera
For true fans, however, the expert knowledge of local guide and true Game of Thrones fan Adriana Dada was an invaluable addition to a highly informative day out.
Starting in the cellars of Diocletian's Palace, built as a retirement home for a Roman Emperor of the same name, Dada led the group through a series of filming locations, beginning with the scene where the Unsullied entered Meereen through the sewers before meeting the slaves.
While the tour centred on Game of Thrones  there was plenty of time to take in the Roman heritage of...
While the tour centred on Game of Thrones, there was plenty of time to take in the Roman heritage of Split
Vetus Itinera
A short walk through the historic palace to the City Museum revealed the location where one of the Grand Masters was ambushed and killed by rebelling slaves.
One of the strengths of the tour is the ability to blend the story of the Game of Thrones filming with the boundless heritage and history of Split, and a photo op with modern-day Romans guarding the palace of Emperor Diocletian was one such example.
Homemade bread was part of a delightful break at the filming location Antoncin water mill
Homemade bread was part of a delightful break at the filming location Antoncin water mill
Vetus Itinera
A smooth transfer out of Split to the next filming location, Antonicin water mill in Zrnovnica, gave the group a chance to experience a different aspect of Dalmatia, its stunning nature.
The spectacular nature of Dalmatia was a theme of the trip. Game of Thrones filming location at Anto...
The spectacular nature of Dalmatia was a theme of the trip. Game of Thrones filming location at Antoncin water mill
Vetus Itinera
The water mill was the scene of the Melisandre bathing scene, and there was no doubting the serene beauty of the location.
Traditional mills such as the one at Antoncin have operated the same way for centuries
Traditional mills such as the one at Antoncin have operated the same way for centuries
Vetus Itinera
There was ample time to wander through the gardens and learn more about the tradition of milling, which has continued in the same manner without interruption for hundreds of years.
Among the attractions at Antoncin water mill was a photo album of the Game of Thrones filming at the...
Among the attractions at Antoncin water mill was a photo album of the Game of Thrones filming at the location
Vetus Itinera
Homemade bread, which was served with various domestic rakijas, was ample proof of the quality of the product, and the half-hour stop provided a welcome natural contrast to the busy city of Split.
With its natural beauty and rich heritage  it is not hard to see why Dalmatia is becoming more popul...
With its natural beauty and rich heritage, it is not hard to see why Dalmatia is becoming more popular as a filming location
Vetus Itinera
Included at the mill was a photo album of the actual shooting of Game of Thrones at the location.
Zrnovnica quarry
Zrnovnica quarry
Vetus Itinera
A short walk along the pretty river brought the group back to the air-conditioned bus for the short transfer to the next location, the impressive Zrnovnica quarry.
A view from the top of the hill of the tour at Zrnovnica quarry
A view from the top of the hill of the tour at Zrnovnica quarry
Vetus Itinera
The quarry is an important part of the Season 4 filming, and it was featured in the scene of the arrival of Daenerys at the gates of Meereen (even though there is no actual city or town nearby), as well as the duel between Daario Naharis and the champion of Meereen.
Time for a photo op at the entrance to Zrnovnica quarry
Time for a photo op at the entrance to Zrnovnica quarry
Vetus Itinera
Game of Thrones tourism arrived in Croatia last year after the filming of previous series in Dubrovnik, and tours of a range of quality have emerged as a result, as fans of the series flock to the locations where the stars were filming.
The final explanations on the tour in a spectacular setting. The islands in the background were digi...
The final explanations on the tour in a spectacular setting. The islands in the background were digitally removed from the actual production
Vetus Itinera
A number of tours have started to appear in Split as well, but the vast majority of them merely cover the basics, and a visit to the water mill or quarry, let alone refreshments are rarely on the menu.
The Bench  the preserve of the older Dalmatia male  will soon see a little more activity with the ar...
The Bench, the preserve of the older Dalmatia male, will soon see a little more activity with the arrival of Game of Thrones tours
Vetus Itinera
The tour continued to its final, and arguably most impressive location, Klis Fortress, which has been the gateway to inland Dalmatia for centuries.
Arrival at Klis Fortress
Arrival at Klis Fortress
Vetus Itinera
Waiting to greet her guests was Daenerys herself.
Hostess Daenerys welcomes the group to Klis Fortress
Hostess Daenerys welcomes the group to Klis Fortress
Vetus Itinera
The impressive fortress featured in several scenes in the fourth series, and detailed explanations were forthcoming.
Game of Thrones tourism in Klis Fortress over looking Split
Game of Thrones tourism in Klis Fortress over looking Split
Vetus Itinera
Attending waiters in themed costumes made preparations for dinner at the end of the tour.
Attending waiters added to the authenticity
Attending waiters added to the authenticity
Vetus Itinera
The view from the torchlit ramparts was impressive indeed, with a real sense of history.
A banquet is prepared
A banquet is prepared
Vetus Itinera
And dinner was served, a superb selection of traditional Dalmatian cuisine, all presented under the watchful eye of an attentive dragon, which had been commissioned by event organisers, Vetus Itinera.
The torchlit setting for the culmination of the tour
The torchlit setting for the culmination of the tour
Vetus Itinera
Guests were free to mingle and take in a relaxing atmosphere with spectacular views. Various local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Klis, joined the group, with the mayor expressing his enthusiasm for the tour, the first Game of Thrones tour using Kllis Fortress to its full potential by finishing with a banquet.
Daenerys greets a dragon child
Daenerys greets a dragon child
Vetus Itinera
"We wanted to do something a little extra," explained Ivana Kovacevic, owner of the agency Vetus Itinera which is running the specialised tour. "We can see that there is plenty of interest in Game of Thrones, and we wanted to give our clients the option of experiencing the most comprehensive tour of Games of Thrones, as well as having an opportunity to experience the wonderful nature and gastronomy of Dalmatia.
"I am sure there will be many Game of Thrones tours being offered, which only include a fraction of what we are trying to do, but we believe true fans will want to get the very most out of a tour. It is the same with Gucci: you can buy the real thing or something which resembles the real thing."
Inside Klis Fortress. A private moment for Daenerys
Inside Klis Fortress. A private moment for Daenerys
Vetus Itinera
With rumours that next season's filming will include new Dalmatian locations of Imotski and Sibenik, the potential for Dalmatia to expand its quality Game of Thrones tourism is enticing.
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