TRAVELOGUE – Biscay, Spain
Here on Tennis Tour Talk, we have previously covered the autonomous community of Valencia in Spain. This time let us head northwest to a beautiful province just south of the Bay of Biscay.
Barrika and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Biscay, Spain is known for its pristine beaches close to the Basque town of Barrika and a little further east in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Topped with a hermitage and interlinked to the mainland via a winding footbridge, the latter presents a picturesque vista of the Spanish coastline. However, there is another well-loved facet in the country that is ideal for vacationers, as well as television show producers.
Barrika’s mayor Roberto Muñoz was excited to announce that the province is the filming location of the widely popular cable television show, Game of Thrones.
The beach of Barrika’s prominence in the world of pop culture is well documented. The Spanish province, as many fans know and recognize, has been the site of the HBO program’s milieu ever since season six. The aforementioned San Juan de Gaztelugatxe coastline is a potential landing point for Daenerys and her army in the upcoming season.
The province of Biscay is surrounded by mystery, so it complements the Emmy Award-winning show’s storyline, as well as gives people a brief taste of what neighboring cities such as Bilbao have to offer aside from tapas and pintxos.
Zumaia and San Sebastian
A different Basque beach, this time in Itzurun, is also set to host film production. It is situated in Zumaia, a little bit west of San Sebastian, which is arguably Europe’s best city for foodies. Rumor has it that the Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, nestled in the Andalusian province of Cordoba, is slated to house Highgarden on the show, the seat of House Tyrell. It captures the essence of supreme royalty, as the 8th century castle sits on the banks of the Guadalquivir.
Caceres and Italica
Extremadura, particularly the city of Caceres, is also supposed to appear on the seventh series of Game of Thrones, thanks to a rock formation featured on the outskirts of the nearby town of Malpartida. The show’s producers have also expressed their desire to film at the ruins of Italica, the ancient Roman city and native land of emperors Hadrian and Trajan. Its historic amphitheater seems fit for a trial by combat scene.
As some might recall, the last season of Game of Thrones featured stunning Spanish locations such as the badlands of Bardenas Reales in the Navarre region, the town of Canet de Mar’s Castell de Santa Florentina, and the Castle of Zafra in Guadelajara. Additionally, Osuna transformed into the fighting pits of Meeren, the Alcazar of Seville became Sunspear, and the Roman Bridge of Cordoba was the Long Bridge of Volantis in the show.
All in all, Game of Thrones remains an essential part of people’s weekly viewing habits. It has become a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that its influence has already reached the realms of the digital world via the popular Game of Thrones slots game on entertainment platform Slingo. But as flattering as it is to see a globally popular TV show feature many of Spain’s attractions, looking at them through a screen doesn’t really display their full beauty.
Spain is a true summer favorite for European travelers, mainly because of its natural and manmade wonders as well as its vibrant field sports scene including the local tennis community. Of course considering the worldwide popularity of someone like Rafael Nadal, it is no surprise that the country hosts some of the most prestigious professional events. Due to Spain’s noticeably accommodating climate, tennis fans can watch and play outdoors for the majority of the year. On the men’s side, there are yearly pro tournaments in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia, while the women have notable tournaments in Barcelona, Madrid, and Marbella.
Tennis in Biscay
As for the province of Biscay itself, tournaments like Open Kiroleta in Bakio draws audiences and players from the province and beyond. Additionally, Biscay’s tennis clubs have the added appeal of the scenic views from its coastlines. And in facilities such as Bilbao Tennis Club, guests interested in learning the Spanish language even have the bonus of Spanish lessons incorporated into their tennis coaching sessions.
Tennis in Spain is extremely popular, no part down to the fact that its coastal country offers a gorgeous locale brimming with high profile tennis tournaments, famous athletes, and natural wonders. Together, they form a perfect union fit for television, increasing people’s fascination in the sport and historically rich regions like Biscay. For more exciting destinations, please check out other articles on Tennis Tour Talk’s Travelogue page.