San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

The filming location of Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone is located on the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain – a day trip from Madrid in Basque Country. It’s one of the top things to do when visiting Spain – especially if your travel itinerary includes Madrid or Bilbao.


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Guide to Game of Thrones filming location: Dragonstone, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain 

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

If you’re looking for a breathtaking (literally and figuratively) day trip from Madrid, Spain, then add San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain to your travel bucket list. It’s the filming location of the footbridge to Dragonstone in the opening of Game of Thrones (season seven).  

The Dragonstone castle is digitized in for the Game of Thrones series. In real-life, a small chapel dedicated to John the Baptist sits at the top of the hill. 

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

You do not have to be a fan of Game of Thrones or have even watched an episode to appreciate the stunning views. Wouldn’t you love to be a filming location scout for GoT and other TV shows and movies?

I was a late-comer to GoT as I only started watching a couple of months prior to my trip to Madrid, Spain. My husband and son are huge Game of Thrones fans so decided to check out the Game of Thrones out myself. And I was hooked. Game of Thrones is binge-watch-worthy! 

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

I had already booked a blogging trip to Madrid when I learned that one of GoT’s filming locations was in Spain (there are others). Of course, I had to make a visit a priority. I was short on time and traveling solo. So I took an inexpensive flight (~$150 USD roundtrip) from Madrid to Bilbao, Spain. I flew there and back the same day. Bilbao is about 40 minutes from the location.  

How to get to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

You can drive to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain or take a bus or train to the filming location of Dragonstone. It’s bout five hours one way from Madrid. Many recommend spending a couple of days in Bilbao as the charming city offers a lot to do (including the Guggenheim Museum). I will next time as I’d love to visit the entire Basque Country with my family.  

How to reserve a taxi or tourist transfer to the Dragonstone filming location

I took a 9 a.m. flight on Iberia Airlines from Madrid and arrived in Bilbao before 10 a.m., where I had reserved a taxi / tourist transfer with kiwitaxi. The driver was waiting for me in the baggage claim area. I easily found her as she was holding a sign with my name on it.

A tourist transfer is an alternative to booking a taxi or rideshare (Uber/Lyft) to/from airport to a tourist location. It cost 102 euros roundtrip for the private transfer from the Bilbao airport to Dragonstone. You can pay in advance online at the time of your reservation or pay cash in person. 



I found great reviews about kiwitaxi on a TripAdvisor travel forum, and I have to agree. Use the form below to search. I chose kiwitaxi because I was concerned that Uber/Lyft wouldn’t be available in such a remote location. And didn’t know if I would have phone coverage in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe to reserve an Uber to come back to pick me up.



You can also take public transportation/bus to Dragonstone filming location (which the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe site recommends as parking is limited). But I had time constraints and wanted to take the think out of it.  

How much does it cost to visit the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in Spain? Do I need to make reservations for San Juan de Gaztelugatxe?

Ticket office with people on the path to Game of Thrones' Dragonstone filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain.

Visiting this Game of Thrones filming location in Spain is free. However, you do need to reserve an entry time when visiting on the weekends and in June through September. You can, however, still request a ticket when you arrive. I arrived earlier than my noon entry ticket and they let me go ahead and start the hike to Dragonstone early.  

How difficult is the hike to the top of Dragonstone?

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

It’s a moderate hike to the top of the Dragonstone filming location as there are 241 steps that lead up the hill. They do advise people to be in good physical health. Honestly, for me, the walk back from the bottom of the hill to the entrance (all uphill) took more energy and left me and others a little breathless. 

The steps on the Dragonstone filming location path do feature handrails part of the way (sometimes only on one side).

Scenic overlook at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Stop to take in the beautiful views on the way to the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

You will find several areas along the way where you can rest, catch your breath and take photos.  

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Wondering what shoes to wear to walk to the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location? This signage features the best and recommended footwear.

Path to Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

What should I wear to hike the trail to Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone?

The Dragonstone path is mainly cobblestone and rough, uneven terrain so make sure you wear appropriate shoes/boots for hiking. When I first started on my hike, I saw a woman take off her flip flops to walk barefoot (her feet were pretty red). This Game of Thrones filming location hike is not a walk on the beach. 



San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Dress in layers when hiking to Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location

And dress in layers. It was cloudy and cool when I arrived at the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location around 10:45 a.m. By the time I reached the top of the Dragonstone filming location, I had taken off many layers and had worked up a sweat. On the way down the wind picked up and it started to rain. So was happy I brought my rain jacket and a waterproof daypack / backpack. And then five minutes later the sun was out.  



Ring the Dragonstone chapel bell 3x and make a wish

Chapel at top of Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Once you get to the top of the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location, you’ll find the chapel and a bell. Everyone rings the bell three times and makes a wish.   

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Are there water fountains and restrooms on the trail to Dragonstone?

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

In addition to outlooks with places to rest on the trail to the Dragonstone filming location, you can find a water station to fill up your water bottle. Yes, the water is safe to drink. And restrooms are located at the foot of the hill. There are also modern facilities at the Eneperi restaurant at the entrance of the Game of Thrones filming location trail.



Restrooms at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Is the Dragonstone filming location dog-friendly?

Yes, the area is dog-friendly. I many dogs on the way to the top of the Dragonstone filming location and back. So feel free to bring your leashed dog along to hike to this Game of Thrones filming location.

What’s the nearest restaurant to Dragonstone? Where to eat near the Game of Thrones filming location in Spain?

Eneperi Restaurant at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

I stopped on my way back from the top of Dragonstone to eat my packed lunch and take in the spectacular views. However, I wished I hadn’t. The Eneperi restaurant at this Game of Thrones filming location entrance serves amazing food. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. You’ll also find a truck near the entrance that serves small snacks and souvenirs.

Restaurant buffet at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Restaurant sandwiches at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Scenic overlook and outdoor dining area at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Is there a bar at the Dragonstone filming location?

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Yes. You will find a bar near the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location. Stop in and order a beer at the Eneperi restaurant located near the entrance to the Dragonstone trail. After my hike, I enjoyed a beer and view as I sat outside at one of the restaurant’s dining tables. It was a great thing to do while waited until my 3 p.m. pick-up time from kiwitaxi. You can also sit on the grass overlooking the beautiful coastline of Basque Country at this Game of Thrones filming location.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Is there a phone charging station at the Dragonstone filming location?

There’s a closed-in alcove at the Eneperi restaurant where you can charge your phone (so remember your adapter if traveling from other countries).  I, fortunately, did not need to use their charger because I found my Anker portable chargers maintain a charge for hours. I love this one especially because it’s small and lightweight.

Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone outdoor area

Outdoor dining restaurant and public restrooms at Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

In addition to the picnic areas, the Eneperi restaurant near the Game of Thrones Dragonstone trail entrance also features a playground for children and a large grassy area.  

How long does it take to hike the Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone trail in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe?

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

The Dragonstone Game of Throne filming location hike takes about two hours. And I took my time, stopped to take lots of photos (248!), and ate my lunch. 

Is the Dragonstone filming location open if raining?

A guy at the airport told me that he and a friend had visited San Juan de Gaztelugatxe the day before I did. However, the steps leading up the Dragonstone hill were closed due to safety reasons (rain/rockslides). I lucked out that the trail to the Dragonstone filming location was open on the only day I visited. So if you’re flexible on time, may want to schedule in an alternative day in the event of inclement weather. You don’t want to miss the spectacular views at the top of the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location. 

How do you get back to the airport from Dragonstone?

I wasn’t sure if I could request an Uber from the Dragonstone filming location because it is such a remote location. So I booked a taxi with kiwitaxi ahead of time. My kiwitaxi driver arrived on time at 3 p.m. (again a prearranged time was reserved). Departing from the Bilbao airport late afternoon, I arrived in Madrid before 7 p.m. Highly recommend traveling to the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location as the best day trip from Madrid, Spain.

Where to stay in Madrid, Spain? Best boutique hotels in Madrid?

I’m a big fan of boutique hotels. The top reasons I stay in boutique hotels are for their intimacy, attention to detail, personalization, great service, location, and unique amenities. Here’s a list of the top 12 unique boutique hotels in Madrid. And many of these cool boutique hotels are right in the heart of the city of Madrid.



Most scenic day trip from Madrid: Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

The Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the most beautiful and intriguing places I’ve ever visited. Although I still don’t know how to pronounce it. And Ihighly recommend seeing it for yourself when visiting Spain – regardless if you are a GoT fan.  

And I would love to visit other Game of Thrones filming locations (especially in Ireland). My friends Hera and Mike of Travoodie took a Game of Thrones tour on the beautiful island of Malta. I never knew much about this slice of paradise and now I definitely want to visit. And I think you will too regardless if you are a GoT fan.

Another Spain hidden gem!

Guide to Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid

Until then…enjoy the scenic views of Dragonstone from my self-guided Game of Thrones filming location tour in Spain. It’s the perfect day trip from Madrid.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Spain Game of Thrones Dragonstone filming location

Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Pin it for later – Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location


Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Basque Country is a favorite day trip from Madrid, Spain

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

60 comments

  1. I am not a GOT’er but my daughter is! This would be an amazing trip whether you watch or not. The photos are beautiful!!

    1. Thank you! My husband and son have been huge fans for years…I just started watching in March (and now I’m hooked). But I agree…this place offers incredible views whether you’re a fan or not. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing all the incredible photos! I LOVE the real life chapel at the top, even though I loved that scene in the series. This is going on my bucket list to be sure to visit!

  3. I had no idea this existed! I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones so this is super exciting! Thank your for sharing! Your photos are beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much! My husband and son have been huge fans for years and I just started binge-watching a couple of moths ago (hooked!). When I learned this was so close to Madrid, I had to go…so beautiful!

  4. Even though I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, it’s easy to see that this filming location is stunningly beautiful!

  5. Thanks for sharing your Game of Thrones filming location day trip from Madrid! Breathtaking for sure. I need to get those lenses for my iPhone, thanks!

    1. My pleasure…so happy you enjoyed them! I do love my iPhone lenses…came in handy for this adventure…as did the new wrist strap I purchased.

  6. Great pics and post!! After seeing The GOT destinations in Malta, I wanna see other sites like this. Always wanted to go Spain. They really picked incredible countries with the most dramatic scenery for the show.

    1. Thank you! Wouldn’t it be fun to have that job to scout out all the locations? And now I want to check out the other GoT sites including Malta.

  7. GOT Fan or not, this place is beautiful and definitely worth the hike! Thanks for sharing. I would love to visit myself!

  8. I have not seen the show and probably will not. I am trying to limit TV time this summer to work my blog. LOL. These shots are gorgeous. How neat that you were able to go and see it all. What camera do you use for all your shots?

    1. Thank you! I took all the images with my iPhone 7, and also used my Moment telephoto and wide-angle lenses (specifically designed for mobile devices).

  9. I admit, until last week, I didn’t even know whether Game of Thrones was an actual game or a TV show! 🙂 I have never seen a single episode…But regardless, this place looks absolutely STUNNING! I am so overdue for a trip to Spain, and I will definitely put this on my itinerary! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. 😂 I’m a latecomer…just started watching GoT in March when I learned about this place (still have four seasons to go). So happy my post provided some destination inspiration…you won’t be disappointed!

  10. I haven’t seen the show but regardless that looks like an amazing place! Those views are breathtaking. I would love to visit there! Great tips on what wear and where to eat! So helpful!

    1. Thank you so much…happy to hear you found the tips valuable. I agree…I don’t think you need to be a fan of the show to appreciate these stunning views.

  11. These location are simply breathtaking 😍 I can’t believe I was in Spain so many times and never visited! this is truly inspiring! the landscapes are just magical!

  12. Wow this place is just as impressive in real life as it was in the TV show. I loved watching it, so definitely putting it on to my wish list as I’d love to go back to Madrid.

    1. Awesome! This Game of Thrones filming location of Dragonstone is even more stunning in person. I highly recommend this day trip from Madrid.

  13. I must admit I did not know there were Game of Throne locations in Spain. And something we could see on a day trip from Madrid. I have never heard about tourist transfers before. A good option for visiting. We would certainly want to do the hike to the top of Dragonstone.

    1. I think you would love hiking the stairs to the top of Dragonstone at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. It’s the best day trip from Madrid.

  14. Wow!! Dragonstone is just stunning – so cool to visit Game of Thrones filming locations! I saw a couple in Iceland, but I had no idea they filmed near Madrid too. I definitely want to check out Dragonstone!

    1. I loved this Game of Thrones filming location. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is indeed stunning. It was so cool to see where Dragonstone was filmed.

  15. I am such a fan of Game of Thrones so I’d love to visit Dragonstone! I haven’t been to Spain yet but making a note I need to add this when I do. The views from the top are stunning and even better to enjoy with a beer after that hike!

    1. I was a late-comer to Game of Thrones but quickly became a fan. So grateful I had the opportunity to visit the filming location for Dragonstone in Spain.

  16. Oh my goodness, this is such a gorgeous destination! I love the Game of Thrones and would love to visit some of the filming locations. Pinning this for later!

    1. Awesome! I hope you get the opportunity to visit this Game of Thrones filming location in Spain. Even more breathtaking in person.

  17. I can see why this area close to Madrid was selected as the backdrop for some of GoT filming. It’s scenery is incredible and dramatic. Wonderful idea to go there on a day trip from Madrid.

  18. I’ve been to a few GoT filming locations in Spain but didn’t know about this one! We’re heading to Madrid next week so I’ll see if we have time to plan a trip here.

    1. You definitely don’t have to be a Game of Thrones to enjoy these views. The filming location in Spain is breathtaking!

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