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
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.
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!
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?
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?
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).
Stop to take in the beautiful views on the way to the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location.
You will find several areas along the way where you can rest, catch your breath and take photos.
Wondering what shoes to wear to walk to the Dragonstone Game of Thrones filming location? This signage features the best and recommended footwear.
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.
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
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.
Are there water fountains and restrooms on the trail to Dragonstone?
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.
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?
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.
Is there a bar at the 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.
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
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?
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
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.
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.