Game of Thrones tourism has become an industry unto itself. Places like Belfast and Dubrovnik have seen tourists flock to their cities, hoping to see the real-life King’s Landing and places like Winterfell and The King’s Road.
An actual visit to Westeros would probably be a bad idea, if it actually existed. But the locations used on the show have been attracting a lot of visitors, much like New Zealand did as a result of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise.
So if your town ends up being used as a stand-in for some new location on Westeros, you’re now on a list of places tourists might like to visit. The newest addition to this roster is in Spain – although you may know it from the show as Dragonstone.
The breath-taking spot is near a town called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, located in Bermeo, Spain.
Featuring an amazing winding staircase causeway, it really does look like the kind of location that George R.R. Martin would dream up for A Song of Ice and Fire:
But before you book a ticket, be warned: in real life it doesn’t look exactly like it did on the show. That’s because a little CGI magic was used to introduce the abandoned castle of Dragonstone itself.
And hopefully that was obvious enough from seeing it on the show – not because the CGI was bad, but there’s just no way a castle that looked like that wouldn’t already be really famous on Earth.
For the people of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, this kind of newfound fame will probably be a mixed blessing. While an influx of tourist money is probably good for the economy, I wonder if it might get a little old to have people arriving in your town who only care about it because they like the show.
That would probably depend on whether Game of Thrones has the kind of staying power that Lord of the Rings has had in pop culture. Because the tourism boom from those movies has been going on for a while now, and not without a backlash.
But most of us will have to content ourselves with watching the show’s bloody story on screen because a ticket to Spain doesn’t actually get you to Westeros.
For that, you need CGI.
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