Spain as the dragon flies: the route of the Seven Thrones

Six seasons go a long way. If the imagination of the scriptwriters of “Game of Thrones” and “House of Dragons” seems inexhaustible for inventing all kinds of scenarios, Spain is the country that always seems to have the right place to film whatever crosses their minds. 

Want to tour the free city of Meeren, Raven Hill, King’s Landing, Antigua, Braavos, Khal Moro’s camp, the Tower of Joy, and Dragonstone?

Watch out, because this screen route is one of the most epic and impressive that we propose from Spain Screen Grand Tour. There are no dragons, battles or secret meetings, but there are fascinating gardens, legendary castles, breathtaking natural landscapes and lots of good food. 

Shall we begin?

Andalusia, Extremadura, Valencia, Castile-La Mancha, Navarre, Catalonia and the Basque Country

No other production filmed in Spain has been filmed in as many locations as the series based on the work of George R. R. Martin. For those few who have not heard of this phenomenon – first literary and then television – Martin’s books relate the experiences of a group of characters from different noble houses in the fictional continent of Westeros to gain control of the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms that make up the territory.

After filming in other international locations such as Dubrovnik (Croatia) or Northern Ireland, the HBO series arrived in Spain. And it stayed. The region with the most locations chosen was Andalusia. Be sure to read this article in which we tell you all about them.

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Another of the producers’ favourite regions was Extremadura, where, in fact, the episodes of “La Casa del Dragón” are still being filmed. Here we give you all the clues.

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Peñíscola: the free city overlooking the sea

Peñíscola‘s urban layout, with a beautiful medieval quarter surrounded by walls, a castle and several beaches, made it ideal for the location of the city of Meereen in the sixth season of the series, broadcast in 2016. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Tyrion and Varys, you can start in the Plaza Mayor, walk through the Portal Fosc and arrive at the walled Renaissance square of Santa Maria. There you can have a drink in one of its quiet terraces and recharge your batteries to continue discovering Peñíscola-Meereen.

Walking up the Paseo de Ronda, Tyrion and Varys take in the views of Peñíscola’s southern beach, a favourite spot for locals and outsiders alike. The beautiful Artillery Park served as the setting for the scene of Tyrion’s encounter with the slavers. You can simply enjoy the incomparable views before continuing the climb up to Papa Luna’s Castle.

Tyrion meets the slavers in the Artillery Park / Peñíscola Film Office

The people who know best all the ins and outs of this filming are the people in charge of the Peñíscola Film Office, who will recommend you this guide so that you don’t miss a single corner of the screen.

Barcelona and Girona: a castle and staircases for history

Although the series passed through the province of Barcelona to recreate Colina Cuervo, not many people know that Casa Tarly’s home is in the magnificent castle of Santa Florentina. This medieval-style fortress, located in the Barcelona municipality of Canet de Mar, was restored following the modernist precepts of Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Today it is a private residence but can be visited, which we recommend if you are visiting the area.

Cuervo Hill, better known as the castle of Santa Florentina / Castillo de Santa Florentina

We are still in the sixth season of the series. In 2016, the producers discovered one of Spain’s great Romanesque cities: Girona. There, different corners of King’s Landing, Antigua and Braavos were recreated. Arya Stark passed through the Calle del Bisbe Josep Cartaña, the Plaça dels Jurats and the Paseo Arqueológico (where the Braavos market was located).

But probably one of the most emblematic scenes filmed in the Catalan city was the one in which Queen Margaery has to undertake the walk of shame to redeem her sins from the Great Sept of King’s Landing, capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Which is none other than Girona Cathedral with its famous staircase. 

Another location in the area is the Monastery of St. Peter of Galligans, which serves as the backdrop for the end of the season with the moment when Sam Tarly arrives in Antigua to become a maester. 

The fact that so many good scenes were filmed in this area was the work of the Catalunya Film Commission, the entity in charge of facilitating the needs of any production team.

Biscay Coast: the kingdom of Dragon Rocks

The same happened in the Basque Country. In this case, the Bilbao-Vizcaya Film Commission was responsible for facilitating filming on the Biscayan coast. 

Although the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe has become famous, the mythical scenes of the seventh season (2017) in which Daenerys arrives in Westeros to recover the throne of the Seven Kingdoms were not only filmed there. Itzurun beach and the Flysch (a unique geological site where cliffs, tidal flats and beaches create an idyllic landscape) were the main scene of the first episode of the season.

Zumaia and Muriola beach (near Barrika) also served as the setting for recreating the landing on Dragon Rock beach. 

Undoubtedly, this area of the Basque coast was chosen for its spectacular beauty. And for that ascending path of more than 200 steps that culminates in a small hermitage, digitally transformed into a tremendous castle with dragons included. The actors Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Conleth Hill (Varys) surely enjoyed the climb and the views.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe turned into Dragon Rocks / HBO

The filming of “Game of Thrones” in the Basque Country ended on Muriola beach, a natural spot surrounded by cliffs and a surfing paradise just a few kilometres from Barrika. It was there that Tyrion and Ser Davos met to negotiate the meeting between Jon Snow and the Mother of Dragons.

Bardenas Reales: the Navarrese desert

Better known as the Sea of the Dothraki in the Seven Kingdoms universe, this natural landscape is a surprise for anyone who associates Navarre with meadows and mountains of intense greenery. It is undoubtedly one of the best examples of why Spain is an unbeatable country for filming: where else can you find a desert less than 100 kilometres from the Pyrenees?

Following our “Game of Thrones” route through Spain, it is here that the scenes in which Daenerys regains control of the Dothraki people at the end of the sixth season were recreated. Its impressive natural architecture, shaped by erosion, reminds us of a lunar landscape … or one of the worlds of Westeros. As well as enjoying its silence and taking the best photos of your life, visit the Raft of Curtains. This is where Khal Moro’s camp was built. A task in which the collaboration of the Navarra Film Commission, a perfect connoisseur of the particularities of its territory, played a key role.

The Sea of the Dothraki, better known as Bardenas Reales/ Navarra Film Commission

The Tower of Joy, in Guadalajara

One of the show’s best-kept secrets came to light in season seven, in the midst of Bran Stark’s vision. It showed a young Ned Stark, accompanied by another character from another family saga, holding a baby in his arms. The setting for this crucial unknown was the Tower of Joy, which was brought to life with the castle of Zafra, in the province of Guadalajara.

The castle of Zafra stands like a mirage / HBO

It is a fortress of Arab origin located in the middle of the plateau of La Mancha. A location not so well known to the general public, but well known to the heads of the Castilla-La Mancha Film Commission, who worked with the film crew to show the beauty of this unique spot. 

Close to Molina de Aragón, it is worth rounding off a trip to this area with a visit to what many consider to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, with another impressive castle and a unique Jewish quarter. By the way: the film crew of the series stayed here. 

We chose this on-screen destination to end a route through the scenes of “Game of Thrones” that has taken us to some of the most extraordinary places in Spain. Do you already know when you’re going to experience what you see?

By María Parcero

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