Though the castle itself is just an elaborate CGI masterpiece, the breathtaking setting where the show films is completely real — and it's free to visit.
Located near Bermeo, Spain, the site is known as San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and was originally built as a religious hermitage by the Knights Templar in the ninth century. A church sits atop the tiny island, accessible only by a narrow set of stairs that bridge the island to Spain's mainland.
While the monument and staircase never close to the public, getting there can be tricky. Not only is it about an hour and a half drive from the closest town, but the trek up the mountain is far from easy. The path is straightforward, thanks to the island's status as a popular tourist destination, but it's a steep hike and not recommended for anyone not in good physical condition.
"Not a long walk but quite hilly," TripAdvisor user Jane C. commented on the site's page. "The final path to the chapel, you do need shoes with a bit of grip especially if it has been raining."
Other TripAdvisor users left similar comments. If you're planning to visit, here's what you need to know, according to those who have already make the trek:
Despite the hike's challenges, those who have done it say it's well worth the effort.
"It is even more amazing and beautiful than the photo," TripAdvisor user Smilepolitely said. "No one can ever be a hermit here again, but moments of peace and reflection are quite attainable. I didn't want to leave."
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