Trsteno Arboretum: The Gardens of the Red Keep

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A visit to Trsteno Arboretum completes the ultimate Game of Thrones walking tour in Dubrovnik. Although the place isn’t as magnificent and as magnified as the Old Town, this is one of the places in Dubrovnik where you can appreciate the coastal views and stillness of nature, without the large group of tourists.

coastal view of dubrovnik from arboretum

As part of our GOT walking tour, we headed to the arboretum by car from Pile Gate. It took us around 30 minutes to reach the place, not knowing what to expect when we see the private estate.

Trsteno Arboretum was the renaissance inspired summer residence of the Gučetić-Gozze family. Being a massive garden of more than 70 acres (the biggest in the region) atop a rocky hill, species upon species of trees and plants welcomed us in the chilly, yet sunny afternoon.

trees in a massive garden

The arboretum doubled as the Red Keep’s garden. We maneuvered through rocky pathways until we reached a section that looked all too familiar for avid Game of Thrones fans. Dubbed as “Tyrell Gardens”, this pavilion is well-known for Lady Olenna’s scene. Whether she’s having tea time with Sansa or Margaery, or simply plotting revenge against Cersei, the beautiful gardens will always be a remembrance of the fiercest Tyrell.

Lady Olenna's Pavilion
The pavilion looked lovely when it’s covered with bougainvillea and other blooms. Too bad we weren’t able to see it’s glorious state, as we were there during the start of winter.

garden pathway
garden information center

Many scenes were also filmed along the pathway going to the pavilion, including Tyrion and Sansa walking around the gardens with Shae trailing behind, and another innocent Sansa just having a conversation with Sir Loras Tyrell.

fountain with Neptune's statue
Neptune Fountain
At the areas where trees provided shade, you can imagine how Lord Varys slowly walks with Lady Olenna as they converse about Littelfinger’s desire for Sansa. As we reached the Neptune fountain, I was transported back to Seasons 3 and 4 of the show where the place became Sansa’s refuge, despite being all alone in the Red Keep.

The aqueducts are arch structures supplying water to the fountain.
Although the garden was placed on a hill, a constant supply of water for the fountain and the entire garden was made possible through the aqueduct.

Red Keep Godswood
Finally, the godswood is the location where Ser Dontos gave Sansa a necklace with seven amethysts as a symbol of gratitude, for the lady Stark saved his life during King Joffrey’s nameday celebration. You may not remember who Ser Dontos is, but his character was instrumental in Sansa’s escape from King’s Landing.

I wish we had more time in Trsteno Arboretum as it was a beautiful place to take in the peaceful and coastal view of Dubrovnik. If you plan on visiting this private estate, I suggest you come during summer or spring to see the flowers in full bloom. However, groups of tourists could be in full bloom, as well.

costal dubrovnik

Otherwise, if you prefer a more tranquil atmosphere and have your own “privacy”, the off peak season at the beginning of winter is your best bet. After all, Game of Thrones fans will find it exhilarating to know that winter is coming.

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