Spain’s Basque Country benefits from the Game of Thrones effect

Next season of addictive HBO saga will be shot near Bermeo and Zumaia on the northern coast

Mikel Ormazabal
'Flysch' rock structure on Itzurun Beach in Zumaia
'Flysch' rock structure on Itzurun Beach in ZumaiaJAVIER HERNÁNDEZ

The globally popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, is about to film its next season in two of the most stunning beauty spots along the Basque coast – the tiny island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, near Bermeo, and Itzurun, close to Zumaia.

The seventh season of the series, which follows the fortunes of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryen in one of the most expensive television productions ever, will also unfold in other Spanish locations such as Seville, nearby Santiponce, Cáceres, and Almodóvar del Río in Cordoba.

Oier Korta, Zumaia’s mayor, has been congratulated on HBO’s decision to shoot part of the series on the town’s territory because of the inevitable boost to tourism in the area.

Zumaia's local council will be taking down details of locals who want to be involved in the shoot

A Game of Thrones film crew will begin preparing sets during September using the magnificent cliffs at Itzurun as a backdrop while shooting itself is expected to start around September 26 and last little more than a week with the beach closed to the public during that time.

Prior to the production team’s invasion, the town hall will be taking down details of locals who want to be involved in the drama. Korta calculates that the shoot will need around 400 people to work as cleaners, drivers, general assistants and extras.

“This is an event which will have direct repercussions on the town’s economy, in retail, restaurants and hotels and possibly in the creation of new jobs,” he says. “The benefits are significant.”

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Zumaia already has extensive experience of movie shoots, and has been the setting for eight Spanish films, such as 8 Apellidos Vascos and Zipi y Zape. But playing host to Game of Thrones will allow it to show off its spectacular landscape and flysch to a much wider audience.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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