The Witcher is a critically acclaimed TV Netflix series. This Polish-American television series is based on a fantasy book series called “The Witcher,” written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The creator and the showrunner of the series is Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. The book series is one of the best-selling novels in Poland. So, the book was adapted into a video game of the same name, which was developed by Projekt Red.
Season 1 with eight episodes was released on December 20, 2019, and the makers wrapped up the filming of the second season and expected to release it at the end of the year.
The story is set upon a medieval land called “the Continent.” It revolves around three lead characters – Geralt of Rivia, Princess Ciri, and Yennefer of Vengerberg – starring Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, and Anya Chalotra. The supporting star cast includes Joey Batey, Eamon Farren, MyAnna Buring, Royce Pierreson, Mini Ndiweni, Anna Shaffer, and Mahesh Jadu.
The show’s season 1 explores the tales of a monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia, Crown Princess Ciri, and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg at different times and regions. It focuses on how destiny orchestrates some developmental events that helped shape their characters before being combined into a single timeline. On the other hand, the storyline details the invaders from Nilfgaard.
The Netflix series is set up in the 11th century. So, the background of each shot will get you to medieval Polish culture. Each lead character’s surroundings would be different from the others. The location will be based on the book, and the scene’s tone will be based on the character’s current state of mind.
The Witcher Filming Locations
The crew did an excellent job achieving them. It looks like the locations (even the ones present in lesser runtime) are hand-picked by the showrunners. In an interview, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich said that they had to do thorough research on each location to get that magnificent result in the series. She and Sapkowski also made sure the crew did not give up the Polish origins during the pre-production. Most of the scenes were shot by the lake, an island, a forest, a real-life castle, or a medieval fortress around Europe instead of using studios.
The birthplace of the book series is Poland. So, directors opted for locations in Poland instead of around the world.
This castle is used for the Battle of Sodden in the final episode. It is located on Castle mountain in Rabsztyn, which is a village situated 60km from Krakow. The castle was built in the 14th and 15th centuries in the Polish Jurassic Highland. Interestingly, the legend says that the “Black Dog of Ogrodzieniec haunts the castle.” But, the phantom is actually of the Castellan of Krakow, Stanisław Warszycki. This castle is open for visitors.
The first season was primarily filmed in Hungary because the crew used Origo Studios and Matfilm Studios to build several sets.
Vajdahunyad Castle is one of the remarkable replicas of a castle located in Transylvania. Also, the art directors have used a castle as a wizard Stregobor’s inner courtyard of the house. The castle is a unique setup as it resembles Gothic structure from one side and Renaissance from the other side.
You need to visit Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest, Hungary, as it is located in City Park. It will give you the reminiscence of a Dracula castle that you have seen in every Dracula movie.
The series-makers also used some famous locations in Budapest. Kiscelli Museum is the place in which the graduation ball in Aretuza magic academy occurred. Of course, no one can forget the scene when Yennefer makes a captivating entrance with a new body. The council of the Northern Mages’ room was also filmed here. The museum is an 18th-century monastery that has been converted into the Municipal Picture Gallery of Budapest.
Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum
It is an open air village museum featuring the traditional architectural hamlet. Here, the scenes involving Ciri in an unknown town with a windmill and Yennefer’s earlier days before joining Aretuza magic academy were filmed.
Replica Castle of Eger
This iconic castle is used to film the Battle of Sodden scenes in the last episode of the first season. The castle was built in the 1960s.
The Castle of Tata is used to film the scenes of the first encounter between Geralt and Yennefer. This house of Rinde is where Yennefer tries to become the vessel of the djinn. The castle is located near Lake Oreg, Hungary.
Another filming location is the forest of Gyarmat Puszta, which is also located in Budapest, Hungary.
The Canary Islands, Spain
The second primary filming location of the Netflix series is the Canary Islands. Just like Budapest, the showrunners have used many sites in this location.
Most of the scenes were shot on this site. One of the main sites is the Aretuza, the magic academy where Yennefer studied magic. The academy was nothing but a perfect CGI. The setting was shot in Roque de Santo Domingo in Garafia, a coastal island off the coast of La Palma.
This island will be in the sixth episode of the first season. It is used as the location in which Geralt and Yennefer, along with some dragon hunters, for the golden dragon hunt. The sites used for this episode include the volcanic flats of the Llano de las Brujas which is used as the Plain of Witches and also the peaks of the Roque de Los Muchachos.
Los Tilos waterfall
This is one of the places in Brokilon forest where Ciri and her friend, Dara, meet Queen Eithne and her Dryads. The days Ciri spent with the Amazonian Dryads are shot in La Palma’s jungles, including La Zarza cultural park, Los Tilos waterfall, and on the ferns of Cubo de la Galga.
The series has a scene in which Geralt and the bard Jaskier (aka Joey Batey) wander around the rough levels of Barranco de Fataga, Gran Canaria. Another scene was in the fourth episode when a man mysteriously attacked Yennefer and a queen. This is when Yennefer will transport herself and the queen to the dunes of Maspalomas beach. The filmmakers also used a field near Tejeda and on Guayedra beach, on the north-western tip near Agaete for the final battle scenes.
Some other scenes are filmed in La Gomera Island, Spain.
You should have seen a part where Geralt fights Striga in a ruined castle. This scene was filmed in Kreuzenstein Castle, located in Leobendorf, 25 km north of Vienna. The castle’s origin dates back to the 12th century. However, it was rebuilt in the 19th century. You can visit this castle and witness some old weapon collections. Near the castle, there is a restaurant called Burgtaverne Kreuzenstein, which offers dishes with recipes from the Middle Ages. It would make a perfect day trip in a medieval atmosphere.
These filming locations will take you to medieval Poland. The charming act of Henry Cavill, dazzling eyes of Anya Chalotra, and the innocent presence of Freya Allen will set you in motion. Poland is already famous for its stately castles, beautiful cities, and excellent green spots. This TV series is just the icing on the cake.