The first season of The Witcher has been available on Netflix for a couple of weeks now and after the first (or second, or tenth) watch people have started asking in which parts of the world certain scenes of the show were filmed. In our new article series, Location Check, we’ll explore some of the sites used for shooting The Witcher, show you how these locations look like in reality and give you an impression of how they were employed to bring the Continent to life on screen.
Visiting filming locations has become a trend in the last couple of years with big productions like Game of Thrones using remarkable places in the real world as stunning visual backgrounds in many scenes. The locations sometimes profit from a growing demand in tourism later, when people are eager to explore the impressive fantasy world seen on screen on their own. The sites used for the production of The Witcher’s first season, located mostly in the Eastern parts of Central Europe, are rather far off the world’s tourism hotspots and therefore probably even worthier of exploring. Yet the show also made a journey to the impressive and well-known Canary Islands, where many scenes of the first season were filmed in the subtropical landscapes of the archipelago.
Redanian Intelligence has followed the principal filming phase of The Witcher’s first season closely from start to end. In our vast 16-part series Redanian Archives you’ll find all the clues and information we were able to gather over seven months of filming. In Part XII, we showed you a picture of a swampy pond in the Hungarian town of Fót, where the crew spent some time in April 2019. With the show out, it became obvious that this small lake must be the place where Geralt of Rivia fishes for the djinn in episode five. In this first issue of our Location Check, we take a trip to Fót and see where a very talkative Jaskier unnerved a sleepless Geralt and was finally robbed of his voice by the djinn.
Kastély Park in Fót, Hungary
Fót is a rather small town, situated just a couple of kilometers northeast of Budapest. Readers who followed the production of The Witcher will remember that Mafilm Studios, one of the two big studios used for the show’s season one filming, is located right here. The medieval set at Mafilm studios can, for example, be seen in the show’s pilot episode standing in for the town of Blaviken where Geralt fights Renfri, the princess born under the Curse of the Black Sun.
From the Fót train station (hourly trains from Budapest-Nyugati, journey time around 30 minutes) we head east to the Kastély Park entrance near the highly visible (and worth seeing) Roman Catholic Church. The walk takes about 10-15 minutes until we enter the enclosed area at the Károlyi István Gyermekközpont school (taking pictures is prohibited here), turn to the right behind the car road barriers and follow the road until we arrive at a small bridge with ponds on both sides (after 8-10 minutes).
Behind the pond and to our right we see a bunch of wooden huts. This is where we step into the woods to get to the shore of the small lake and find the place where Jaskier discovered Geralt fishing for the djinn. Filming took place here in April 2019, with trees and bushes already colored in a healthy shade of green. During our visit on a dull and chilly afternoon in January 2020, it all looks quite different, but certain details are unmistakable.
We are in the western outskirts of the park belonging to the Károlyi Castle Fót, built in the 18th century. Huge parts of the castle were used as a children’s home over the last few decades, but it got closed recently. A Waldorf school still remains in some buildings on the vast estate. There is a larger lake with an island in the middle (closer to the castle), while the pond that was used for the scenes in The Witcher is considerably smaller.
Location 1a: Western pond, Kastély Park Fót
- Location: Western pond, south shore, Kastély park, Fót, Hungary
- Location type: Real outside location
- Status: existing
- Accessibility: unrestricted by foot
- Entrance fee: none
- Season 1, episode 5, 00:14:20-00:19:11; Jaskier meets Geralt at a lake near Rinde and gets attacked by djinn escaping from a bottle that Geralt fished out of the water; director: Charlotte Brändström; CGI/VFX: djinn shadow VFX
Location 1b: Forest camp, Kastély park Fót
- Location: Forest path west of the western pond, Kastély park, Fót, Hungary
- Location type: Temporary set in real outside location
- Status: temporary set dismantled, outside location existing
- Accessibility: unrestricted by foot
- Entrance fee: none
- Season 1, episode 5, 00:19:11-00:21:21; Geralt brings the wounded Jaskier to a nearby camp in Rinde, where the elf healer Chireadan tells them they need to find a mage; director: Charlotte Brändström; CGI/VFX: none
As we reported earlier, IGN had the chance to visit this set during filming in April 2019, and they shared some behind-the-scenes footage in one of their videos.
Geralt and Jaskier finding the djinn as well as their encounter with Chireadan are an important part in the show’s adaption of the short story The Last Wish. There might be more impressive or adventurous filming locations in The Witcher, but if you happen to stay in Budapest, a quick visit to Kastély Park in Fót, combined with an afternoon walk in the park, may be a nice thing to do. Perhaps you’ll even find someone who grants you three wishes?
In the next part of our Location Check we’ll take a trip to Cintra and see where Ciri’s long journey kicked off. In the meantime we’ll keep you up to date on all things Witcher and, with season 2 production getting closer, we’ll hopefully be able to reveal some exciting new filming locations in the UK and elsewhere very soon.
3 comments on “RI Location Check I: Visit the actual lake where Geralt went fishing for a djinn”
Thank you for this.
I visited Ogrodzieniec Castle – one of the settinge – in spring 2019 and posted a bunch of photos on my blog, in case people here are interested in picturesque castle ruins 🙂 https://lostfort.blogspot.com/2019/12/medieavel-stronghold-renaissance.html
Argh, looks like Akismet didn’t like my post due to the link to my blog. It can be a bit over-eager at times. It’s just some photos of Ogrodzieniec castle, nothing on sale. *grin*