It’s incredibly fascinating how fantasy stories brim with fictional beliefs, superstitions, cultures, and most of all, entire new universes that have been meticulously devised and planned out by their creators. And the deeper you delve into the world-building of these, the more you drift away from your own sense of reality. World-building is indeed not just a framing device, but it is the very essence of every fantasy tale. But what’s even more captivating is how some of these fantasies—straight out of our imagination—are brought to life with their movie and TV adaptations.
‘The Witcher’ is one of those creations that is known to be a masterpiece of world-building. And, we can’t help but wonder if the series will be able to reshape and repurpose the stories of Andrezej Sapkowski’s novel into a seamless world, where everything feels complete, cohesive and most importantly, realistic. Will ‘The Witcher’ be able to take on the daunting task of bringing new life to its source? Well, you can be the judge of that. With that said, here is everything you need to know about the filming locations of ‘The Witcher.’
The Witcher Filming Locations
For what seems to be a potential successor of the renowned ‘Game of Thrones‘ series, the creators of ‘The Witcher’ are certainly not holding themselves back. When it comes to the filming locations, most of the show is shot in Europe. From the grand castles of Hungary to the lavish forests and exotic Islands of Spain, ‘The Witcher’ walks through it all.
According to reports, ‘The Witcher’ has been predominantly filmed in Hungary, where its principal photography for the first season started on October 31, 2018. In the past, Budapest has also been the filming location for other big TV projects such as ‘Van Helsing‘, ‘Season of the Witch’, and even Dwyane’s Johnson’s ‘Hercules’. Netflix’s drama series, ‘Marco Polo’, was also shot there and not to mention, the dreamy atmosphere and serene landscapes of the capital of Budapest also inspired Wes Anderson’s Academy Award-winning film, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (although the film is actually set in a fictional country). So it comes as no surprise that even for ‘The Witcher’, the location was chosen as a backdrop for a fantastical world.
In an interview, Eamon Farren, who plays the role of Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach in ‘The Witcher’, said that a great deal of shooting has been done in the capital of Budapest and the filming sets are just incredible. While no official stills of the Budapest set were released, fans took it to themselves to find out where the filming was taking place.
Just recently, a behind-the-scenes video surfaced, where the crew of the series can be seen loading into the stately Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest, Hungary. As we all know, there is no shortage of grand castles in the ‘The Witcher’ series. Vajdahunyad Castle, built in the 1986, seems to be the perfect setup for its medieval milieu.
We have a clip from yesterday’s filming at Vajdahunyad Castle. While interesting it is very short and can’t really capture the full glory of the castle. Have a look at these pictures for a glimpse into the world of The Witcher. 👀😮 #TheWitcher #Witcher https://t.co/4Doqk7QtxP pic.twitter.com/fR9a1MjGeL
— r/NetflixWitcher (@netflixwitcher) March 29, 2019
The film crew was also spotted near Tata, Hungary, for a couple of days, where the filming took place at the renowned Tata Castle and a swamp near it. According to some local spectators, the filming took place for about 4 days there, both inside and outside the castle.
Ogrodzieniec Castle, Slaskie, Poland
Much before the video games propelled the hype around ‘The Witcher’ to an international scale, Andrezej Sapkowski’s work with the novels, which was originally in Polish, was mostly popular in Poland. So, for obvious reasons, to perfectly encapsulate all the European folklore and mythology of the original, Poland was chosen as one of the filming locations for the series. And, of course, since the original work is in Polish, a huge chunk of the fanbase of the series can be found there. The creators of the show certainly didn’t want to disappoint them.
The first of many leaks of the series came from the show’s filming at the ruins of the Orgodzieniec Castle in Poland. Through many sources, and of course, the vast Polish fandom of the ‘The Witcher’, it was confirmed that a crew parking was spotted and even some sort of a trebuchet, likely built for the series, was seen right outside the castle. It was also reported that a significant amount of filming also took place inside the castle. On April 13, Lauren S. Hissrich, the producer, had also posted a picture of the castle on her Instagram account.
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There’s also another still from the sets, that has been going around, which shows crew member holding a clapperboard, which reveals that portions of episode 8 was shot at the castle. As a part of her trip to meet author Andrzej Sapkowski and to further understand the roots of the story she has adapted, Lauren Hissrich had also visited the castle a year before the filming of the series.
La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
One of the 200 extras hired in La Palma for the shooting of ‘The Witcher’ revealed that the shoot specifically started off in the prehistoric laurel forest of Los Tilos. The forest brims with an explosion of biodiversity and different shades of green, giving it a very natural fantastical appeal. So it is a possibility that all the scenes of the Brokilon Forests, which are ruled by the Dryads in the world of ‘The Witcher’, were shot here. It was also revealed that many hours were spent by the film crew in the vicinity of the Pino de la Virgen, which is located in the upper area of El Paso.
Director Charlotte Brändström also posted a picture on her Instagram, in which, she reveals La Palma as a location for the filming of the series.
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Since the Canary Islands form an archipelago, it is a possibility that the location has been used as a setting for Skellige. Just like the Canary Islands, even Skellige is an archipelago located in the Northern Kingdoms. However, since the climate of the Islands is naturally a bit too dry, it is also a possibility that it has been used as a setting for Zerrikania.
Apart from that, according to several local news sources, the filming was done in other locations of La Palma such as La Cumbrecita or Llano del Jable (El Paso), La Zarza, Juan Adalid (Villa de Garafía) and Bosque de Los Tilos (San Andrés y Sauces).
In conclusion, the building blocks of ‘The Witcher’ are already available to the world through the books and the games, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the creators of the show to traverse it into something visually special and believable. And considering the vast array of filming locations that have been covered for the filming of the series, we can certainly expect something truly spectacular. So don’t be surprised if some of the most iconic moments of fiction unfold right before you, exactly the way you had imagined them.
Read More: The Witcher Map, Explained