San Juan de Gaztelugaxte, land of Game of Thrones
You don’t have to be a fan to have heard of the famous series Game of Thrones where passions go wild, a phenomenon already introduced in our articles on the film sets at Azur Window in Malta, Northern Ireland and Scotland and Croatia. What you do need to know is that the production crew love to treat their avid viewers to splendid panoramas.
Beaches, plains and also mountains, the landscapes in the series are known for taking your breath away and even certain heads! Between each epic, some places to rest are needed and emblematic ones at that.
One of the most incredible castles is that of the dragon mother Daenerys Targaryen, the castle of Dragonstone which is located in Spain, near Bilbao, at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe to be precise.
Gaztelugatxe means « castle rock », and this name suits it to a tee, even if it’s not a castle that you’ll find at the summit.
Actually, there’s a splendid chapel built in the late 19th century. But why would a so recent construction be of particular interest to the production crew? Probably because of its history.
Place of worship, strategic setting for war, refuge for a hermit, target of Sir Francis Drake but also a hideout for witches during the Spanish Inquisition, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe could certainly play one more role. The very first chapel dates from the 9th century but was burnt down several times. Rather ironic for a castle that’s home to dragons.
To maximize the incredible panorama from the summit of this outcrop, you’ll have to pay with blood, sweat and tears, as a long march awaits you in the nature reserve with its 241 steps to reach the much desired chapel. Once at the top, don’t forget to ring the bell three times and make a wish!