San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Bermeo in the Basque Country of #Spain is a stunning place, hence it was picked up as an ideal shooting location for Season 7 of “#Game of Thrones.” The spectacular landscape and daunting 241 steps to reach the chapel at the top are normally a challenge, but since the location was used in the series, tourists are making it up those steps by the tens of thousands. It’s driving the people who care for the chapel at the top crazy.

The site that played Daenerys Targaryen’s hangout of #Dragonstone has a special history. As a reward for the grueling climb up the steps, it is said that if you ring the bell above the door three times, you can then make a wish, which may come true.

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However, when it comes to tens of thousands of “Game of Thrones” fans making their way up the 241 steps then ringing the bell three times, it’s enough to drive anyone mad.

In the steps of Jon Snow and Daenerys

Before Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” hit the small screen, it was reported that several stunning locations in Spain would be starring in the show. Since it aired, who can forget the footbridge that Daenerys and Jon Snow walked in Season 7? As noted by the Telegraph in a report about stunning “Game of Thrones” locations, the hermitage at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is accessed from the mainland but that actual and historic bridge – that was no mere prop. Once across, a narrow path becomes 241 steps, which zigzags up the hillside to the top. Once at the summit, not only are visitors rewarded with an amazing view, but they can also visit the chapel with its famous bell.

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El Pais in English has calculated that in July alone there were 75,000 visitors to the fictional fort, which they worked out to be some 2,419 people every day. Multiply that by the bell ringing three times for each visitor and you can get a picture of what is going on. It must be unimaginably irritating.

The local tourist office received 28,136 requests for information about San Juan de Gaztelugatxe between the months of June and August, which is up 21.58 percent on the previous year. What used to be just an amazing tourist attraction has become a fan shrine for “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts.

Environmental concerns about San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and GoT fans

While the constant ringing of the bell is annoying enough there are also environmental concerns with thousands of people climbing the ancient steps every day.

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However, there’s also the timing. According to a spokesman for the Bermeo Tourist Office, people tend to want to go up to the shrine at around the same time – either at midday or 5 p.m. At those peak times, the steps are reportedly packed with people on their way up or down from the “new” “Game of Thrones” shrine and then a queue at the top to ring the bell. The spokesman is suggesting that at other times of day, visitors could have easier access to the site without having to queue.

Some officials are suggesting a fee should be charged for the privilege of climbing those now famous steps, while the Environment Department is working to get some balance at the location. So far they have also discussed limiting the number of visitors and cars that can access the protected area. Whatever officials eventually decide, interest in the location is not likely to decrease, even with the steep steps to climb and tiny parking space.

Not everyone is upset about all the tourists

However, while local government is pondering how to decrease pressure on the shrine at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, at least one person is very happy with the interest. The owner of the souvenir shop located inside the chapel says business has been booming for her, with at least double the normal number of tourists climbing those steps to the top. As Spain is now heading towards autumn, she made a clever quip to tell “Game of Thrones” fans to make that pilgrimage soon, as “winter is coming.”

Meanwhile, several other stunning Spanish locations were used in Season 6, so who's to know what is planned for the future?