Dragonstone Beach

TV show Game of Thrones (2011)
Dragonstone Castle overlooks an impressive beach with rock formations that look like the backbone of a dragon. The stronghold of the Targaryen family having been reconstituted by the producers of Game of Thrones on the beach of Itzurun in Spain.
Itzurun beach by Gilles Rolland.

“I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.”

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)

If the steps that the characters take to reach the castle of Dragonstone are those of Gaztelugatxe, the beach that appears on the screen is actually located in Zumaia, near San Sebastian. A place out of time, well known to the locals, that the teams in charge of the scouting have chosen because of the rock formations reminding the body of the dragons so dear to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).

The beach of Izurun in majesty

Izurun Beach appears several times in Game of Thrones. Visible when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) finally arrives in Westeros by sea, she returns when Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his men dock as the conclusion of the series begins. It is also there, in the main cave, that the producers chose to locate the cave in which Jon Snow finds an important deposit of dragonglass, the ore capable of killing the White Walkers of the Night King. A cave actually much shallower than in the show, only accessible at low tide, located on the right side of the beach.

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Residents divided on the shooting

Usually very busy, the site was closed to the public during the shooting. If the majority of the population was pleased with the arrival of such a production on their land, benefiting from the economic spin-offs, a few people denounced the very closed nature of the project, even though some locals were hired to play the extras or to contribute to the building. The special effects specialists also had to digitally erase all the modern elements and of course add the famous castle and its picturesque steps on the cliff overlooking the shore. Now forever attached to Game of Thrones, Itzurin Beach has found its tourists. The latter can play knights at leisure between the rocks, imagining that these are the remains of creatures capable of breathing fire.


Emilia Clarke is not the first actress to be chosen to play the mother of dragons. Scenes had indeed already been shot with Tamzon Merchant in the role. Having judged her performance disappointing, the producers preferred to replace her.

Daenerys in Dragonstone
Dragonstone Daenerys. All rights reserved: HBO.
Dragonstone. All rights reserved: HBO.
Dragonstone Beach
Dragonstone Beach. All rights reserved: HBO.
Dragonstone Caves
Caves of Dragonstone. All rights reserved: HBO.


Set amidst towering limestone cliffs and other rocky outcrops, Itzurun Beach in Zumaia is among the most spectacular sights of Spain’s Basque coast.

Itzurun beach is one of the best sites to observe the flysch, a geological phenomenon resulting from millennial erosion. Bordered by high cliffs, the highest of which culminate at 150 meters, the site is covered with rocks whose shape evokes the backbone of a dragon. No wonder the beach was chosen to feature in the TV series Game of Thrones. A filming location also used by Woody Allen in his film Rifkin’s Festival, also known for its strong waves and natural pools appearing at low tide.

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By Gilles Rolland

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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