By this point, it’s a given that any new Game of Thrones filming location will be a hit among travellers, but one has attracted fans in their tens of thousands since it made its Westerosi debut in the show’s latest season.
The picturesque islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spain’s Basque Country is easily recognisable thanks to the whimsical winding footbridge via which it’s accessed. It, and the unique rock formations that surround it, were transformed into the fictional location of Dragonstone, the ancestral home of the once-powerful Targaryen family.
And now, according to El Pais, GoT fans are flocking there in their tens of thousands, with 75,000 climbing the 241 crooked steps in July alone. The publication adds that, while there’s no data on 2016 visits, local tourist offices were on the receiving end of almost 30,000 requests for information about the islet between June and August this year.
At the top, there’s a bell traditionally rung three times for good luck, and it seems it’s getting quite a workout. But, to avoid having to queue, local tourism authorities have recommended avoiding peak times around midday and between 5pm and 7pm.
They’re also planning to improve access and signposts and are considering measures for conserving the unique landmark, like capping daily visitor numbers. But, so far, local business operators say it’s been a “blessing” for the tiny port, which is around two hours’ drive west of San Sebastian.
(Lead image: Carlos Olmedillas / Flickr)
Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.