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Frodor’s Travel Guide to Westeros

See what I did there? Fodor’s and Frodo. Get it? Like the travel guide and the hobbit. You know, from Lord of the Rings? Right, anyway. This is the first installment of our guide. Over the coming months, we’ll be looking at the hottest fantasy vacation spots.

First up is Frodor’s travel pick of the month, northern Westeros. The continent of Westeros has been in the news quite a bit lately, so crowds will probably be especially large. However, with winter coming for the first time in years, you’ll want to visit as soon as you can-it might be a decade before you get another chance.

Westeros Map

First opened to outsiders in 1996, Westeros has had a pretty steady stream of visitors over the years, though lately it’s become extremely popular. There are few modern conveniences (no TV, internet, and heck if you get cell phone reception), so tell your boss not to contact you and be prepared to reacquaint yourself with simpler times.

You will need a standard inter-dimensional passport (these can be picked up at your local bookstore or even downloaded if you own an e-reader). Despite the long journey, the continent is mostly English-speaking, so communication should be pretty straight-forward. That is, if you speak English.

When to go

There are only two seasons in Westeros and you’ll want to visit during the long summer if possible. Sometimes lasting decades, summer means bearable temperatures, fewer snowfalls, and fewer chances the Others (aka White Walkers) will come across the wall and kill you-which would ruin any good trip.

Where to stay

Winterfell: $$$ – $$$$

If you can afford it, the Great Keep at Winterfell is the place to stay. The lords of Winterfell built the keep over hot springs and they pipe water through the walls to ensure your warmth. Close proximity to the godswood and the catacombs means you’ll have multiple opportunities to visit both of these great sight-seeing locations. The kitchens also have one of the best chefs in the north; try the honeyed chicken and summerwine-they’re to die for. Also, feeding animals under the table is encouraged.

Pros: Panoramic views, on-site archery, heated rooms, great sight-seeing options.
Cons: Expensive rates, occasional library fires.

White Harbor: $$ – $$$

Rarely visited by outsiders, White Harbor is the largest city north of the Neck. A bustling trading port with breath-taking ocean views, it is also a great place for those who love shopping and staying out late.

Pros: Ocean views, shopping, night-life, fishing.
Cons: Crowded, loud.

Castle Black: Free

If you’d rather not pay anything, you could always make the long, arduous trip up to the Wall. Castle Black always has vacancies and as long as you don’t mind sharing a roof with murderers, bastards, and general malcontents, well, huzzah for you. Free lodgings! On the other hand, the view from atop the three-hundred foot wall is unlike any you will find in the land.

Pros: Free, unparalleled views.
Cons: Malcontents, cold as you-know-what, murderous wildlings and Others a little too close for comfort.

Best Activities

Horseback riding in the Wolfswood

Winterfell is not known for its sandy beaches, but rather the breathtaking mountain views and the lush forests of the Wolfswood. You can usually take up a trail or two just off the Kingsroad, but a guide is strongly encouraged. You also may want to bring a sword as brigands and dire wolves are known to be in the area.

Editor’s Note: While baby dire wolves are undeniably cute, it is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to take them as pets.

Visit the Godswood

With an expansive array of mostly sentinel and oak, the Winterfell godswood is an eerie sight. The ancient weirwood at the center of the forest is equal parts disturbing and fascinating. One of the few cities in all of Westeros to retain their weirwood with its carved face, this is a must see. Lately, people have taken to the custom of rubbing its nose for good luck.

Walk the Wall

Assuming you aren’t daring enough to hike the Haunted Forest, the next best alternative is to look down on it from above. The Wall is a veritable man-made wonder of the world and has stood for over eight thousand years. Great visit for history buffs.

Bottom-line

If you’re willing to brave the crowds, the cold summers, and the overwhelming fear that anyone in your group could die at any moment, then Winterfell is a must see.

Editor’s Note: To my knowledge, all locations in Frodor’s Travel Guide are fantastical and can only be visited through the medium of paper and ink. If anyone knows otherwise, feel free to contact me directly. I mean, if you know how to get to Middle-Earth why are you holding out on us?! But seriously, if you know just tell me.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar Marius says:

    I absolutely LOVE this. It’s really a brilliant idea!

  2. Avatar CSmith says:

    This is hilariously awesome!!

  3. Avatar Overlord says:

    Brilliant… except… you broke my column scheme!!! 😛

  4. Fun article! Thanks.

    Now try it for the Dark Tower series 🙂

  5. Avatar ibeeeg says:

    Love it; lots of fun to read!

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