Castell de Santa Florentina: The Real Horn Hill From Game of Thrones
Just outside of Barcelona, hidden in the forests of Canet de Mar sits Castell de Santa Florentina. You may recognize the castle walls and arches from the HBO series, Game of Thrones. The castle was featured as Horn Hill, the seat of House Tarly in season 6. Other Game of Thrones filming locations like San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Dubrovnik and Girona get all the glory, but Castell de Santa Florentina shouldn’t be overlooked.
As a precaution, spoilers may be ahead. Don’t continue reading if you have not watched all of GoT season 7!
I had the opportunity to spend the morning exploring all of the castle’s secrets and learning a bit about its history. The six-inch thick wooden doors swung open to reveal the breathtaking central courtyard surrounded by turrets, stained glass and an arched balcony. Talk about a jaw-dropping entrance!
Does the featured photo of this post look familiar to you?
In season 6 episode 6, Sam’s mother and sister came running down those same steps to greet Sam upon his return home. The balcony and arches were also featured right before the dinner scene when Sam sees Gilly dressed up for the first time. Although they didn’t receive a warm welcome home, the stunning locale somewhat made up for it.
The bulk of shooting at Castell de Santa Florentina was done in the main room, which was converted into the Tarly’s Great Hall. Although it was quite a tense dinner scene (Lord Tarly definitely deserved those dragons), the details of the hall itself are really remarkable. The ceiling is made of painted wood, and the marble fireplace, which was covered during shooting, is intricately carved and reaches the ceiling. The stained glass throughout the house is vibrant and provides the hall with just enough light not to be creepy. False doors covered up many of the windows during shooting. A tapestry with the Tarly sigil, a red huntsman covered the beautiful stained glass in the photo below.
I was transported back to the medieval times as soon as I set foot on the property. A dirt path leads up to the castle, which is surrounded by a Mediterranean forest. Within the walls, there are beautiful chandeliers of both glass and iron, carved columns, high ceilings and luxurious balconies. A unique circular bathroom covered in flowered tile sits at the base of one of the turrets. It was hard to forget I was inside a castle because it was freezing in there!
The castle was constructed where an ancient Roman villa once stood and has been expanded and reconstructed over the centuries. In the early 1300s, the medieval gates and towers were constructed in defense against pirates who would land on the shores of Canet de Mar. Today, the castle has a total area of 3,000 m2 and also includes a chapel with stained glass windows and a large cellar.
There are many pieces of Catalan history within the castle walls as well. Outside on the large balcony, there are tiles with the Catalan flag and crest from Canet de Mar. There is also an important painting on the wall in the Throne room, Death of Count Wilfred the Hairy. The painting depicts Count Wilfred of Barcelona lying wounded in battle, while King Charles the Bald takes the Count’s blood and marks 4 lines on a gold shield. Legend has it that this is the origin story for the coat of arms of Barcelona and La Senyera, the Catalan flag.
Plan your trip
It’s possible to visit the castle yourself and experience the real Horn Hill.
Canet de Mar in Maresme is a 45-minute car ride from the center of Barcelona. The castle is open to the public every Saturday and a few Sundays each month. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. and cost €12 for adults, €6 for children age 11 to 15 years old and free for those under age 11. Click here to book a visit or VIP tour.
Did you ever wish you could be a princess (or prince) for a day? Castell de Santa Florentina is also available to rent for private events. Just imagine those wedding photos you’ll have! They’ll be unforgettable to say the least.