Don’t we all love James Bond? That dapper, sexy man who can make heads turn wherever he goes, there’s style in his every move, there’s oomph in whatever he does. And as the MI6 007 he might have to take a lot of risks and be in danger for most of his time, what captures my attention, apart from the sexy Mr. Bond, are the amazing locations he gets to go to. From the snow capped mountains, to pristine beaches, from royal palaces and forts to forests and so much more. So, I decided to put together a list of some of the best locations that James Bond has been to in his movies.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica in Dr. No
Once Bond creeps into Dr. No’s Crab Key island, he comes across a bikini clad Honey Ryder emerging from the sea, conch shell in hand, which went on to become one of the most iconic sequences in Bond movies, which has been re-enacted in movies as well as by the public on their holidays countless times.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul in From Russia with Love
The Soviet embassy clerk Tatiana Romanova arranges to meet James Bond in the ornate Hagia Sophia, a church built by the Roman emperor Justinian in the 6th century and now a museum, where she waits with a decoding machine.
Miami Beach, Florida in Goldfinger
Goldfinger earned huge popularity (its James Bond after all!) for its Bond Girl named Pussy Galore and that giant laser beam. But recall the opening scene where Bond gets a rubdown at the poolside at the renowned Fontainbleau Hotel at the Miami beach. The hotel is designed by Morris Lapidus in the early 50s, and is an awesome luxury destination even today.
Paradise Island and Nassau in Thunderball
In pursuit of SPECTRE, agent Emilio Largo, James Bond finds himself on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, the backdrop for a game of poker and an epic underwater battle between himself and Largo’s men in the movie. James Bond does return for another game of poker, in Casino Royale.
County Meath, Ireland in Casino Royale (1967)
This beautiful location, just north of Dublin in Ireland has been the spot where M’s Scottish Castle in the movie has been pictured. In the film, M has passed away, and James Bond meets with his widow, who has actually been replaced by a SMERSH agent. If you have read the novel, Gone with the Wind, it mentions that Gerald O’Hara, Scarlet O’Hara’s father was born in County Meath.
Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan in You Only Live Twice
The screenplay of You Only Live Twice was interestingly written by renowned British children’s author Roald Dahl. The scene where James Bond visits the Ninja Training School run by Bond’s Japanese Secret Service contact – Tiger Tanaka, are filmed at the Himeji Castle, which dates back to 1333.
Piz Gloria Rotating Restaurant, Schilthorn, Mürren, Switzerland in On Her Majesty’s Secret service
This movie stars George Lazenby as James Bond, his only one in the role. A lot of action in the movie takes place in the Swiss Alps at the Piz Gloria, which is a 360 degree rotating restaurant, including an observation deck carved into the summit of Mount Schilthorn. The restaurant still serves guests everyday and has a permanent ‘Bond World’ exhibition as well as a 40 person capacity theater showing clips from the movie.
Las Vegas, United States in Diamonds are Forever
This movie featured some interesting locations from Amsterdam and Los Angeles, but quite a majority of it got shot in Las Vegas. It features the Casino city, there’s Circus Circus as a backdrop of the meeting between Bond and Tiffany Case. It also features the Riviera Hotel and Casino where Bond wins at the Casino. Bond’s hotel here is the Tropicana, Las vegas Boulevard South.
Falmouth, Jamaica in Live and Let Die
The crocodile farm with the ‘Trespassers will be eaten’ sign is the Swaby’s Swamp Safari, Foreshore Road, Falmouth, Jamaica. And that infamous sign is actually there. The farm belonged to Ross Kananga and he himself performs the running over the crocodiles stunt. Interestingly, Bond escapes in a boat from there, to move through a chase sequence through Louisiana and then jump over Highway 11 at the Crawdad Bridge south of New Orleans.
Phang Nga Bay in Man with the Golden Gun
Remember the scene where Bond flies over that beautiful bay on his way to hitman Scaramanga’s island hideaway on Ko Tapu, which has now become famous as the James Bond Island? Here, Scaramanga shows Bond his solar plant hidden in the rocks, destroys his plane, sits down for lunch with him and then suggests a duel on the beach, which he walks away from. Such is the popularity of Mr. Bond that he now has an island named after him!
Giza Plateau, Giza, Egypt in The Spy Who Loved Me
This movie got nominated for a trio of Oscars in 1977 and happens to be one of the most acclaimed movies in the James Bond series. Among the locations where the film is shot at, the most exotic one would be the Giza plateau, with the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids, filmed at night. The ‘Sound and Light’ show featured in the movie is open for tourists even today.
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro in Moonraker
There’s a scene in the movie where James Bond battles it out with the metal mouth Jaws atop two cable cars strung high above Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay before sliding down the cable with astrophysicist Bond girl Holly Goodhead.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Meteora, Greece in For Your Eyes Only
One of the harrowing experiences in this movie feature James Bond scaling a rocky cliff face to reach the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora, Greece. The monastery is also accessible via a 140 step staircase cut into the side of the cliff. It is a place for those who are athletically inclined and unafraid of heights.
The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India in Octopussy
Disguised as a crocodile, James Bond swims over to this floating palace in India, populated by women only, and the lair of Octopussy, who is suspected to be involved in the smuggling of the Faberge egg. The movie also features the Jag Mandir and the Monsoon palace.
Villefranche-sur-Mer, South of France in Never Say Never Again
There is this amazing motorbike chase sequence that has been filmed in the narrow streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer, a picturesque old fishing port east of Nice on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France. The same spot has also been featured in the movie Maximum risk with a car chase sequence starring Jean Claude Van Damme.
Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire, UK in A View to Kill
This movie includes the pop band Duran Duran on Bond theme duties and the androgynous sex symbol Grace Jones as a dominatrix-like love interest for James Bond. Some of the most nuanced scenes of this movie were shot at the Ascot Racecourse about 50 minutes away from London. It is renowned for the famous Royal Ascot, a five day equine extravaganza, which the British Royal family attends, perfect of Queen spotting.
Vienna, Austria in The Living Daylights
The theater in Bratislava where General Koskov apparently defects during the concert is the Volksoper Vienna. The Bladen safe house from where Koskov is abducted by Necros is the Stonor House and Gardens. James Bond meets Saunders at Prater Cafe in Vienna’s Prater Park between Danube and Danube Canal. Bond and Kara later attend the opera at the Schoenbrunn Palace here.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, Florida in License to Kill
There is one key scene in this movie that involve James Bond resigning and then running amok on the second floor balcony of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Nobel prize winning author’s one time paid pad and current flophouse for 40-50 feline occupants.
Contra Dam in Golden Eye
The Contra Dam is an arch dam on the Verzasca River in Switzerland. The dam supports the 105 MW Verzasca Hydroelectric Power Station and was constructed between 1961 and 1965. The opening scene of the movie shows James Bond (the newly signed Pierce Brosnan) jumping off the dam. The dam is shown to double up as the Arkhangelsk Chemical Weapons Facility located in the Northern Soviet Union during the Cold war. Owing to the popularity of the movie, the dam owners leased access to a commercial bungee umping operator and since then over 10000 people have jumped the 220 m from the dam.
Buckinghamshire in Tomorrow Never Dies
Remember the hotel where James Bond finds Paris Carver dead and has a face of against the hitman Dr. Kauff? That site is the Stoke Park Club, Park Road, Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire. The exterior of the hotel is however the Atlantic Hotel in Kempinski on the banks of Aussenalster in central Hamburg. There have been quite a few movies that have been shot in Buckinghamshire like Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bride and Prejudice, Layer Cake, Wimbledon and Goldfinger.
Maiden Tower, Istanbul, Turkey in The World is not Enough
The Maiden’s Tower is an old watch tower lying on a small islet in the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey. According to popular Turkish legend, an emperor had a much loved daughter an one day an Oracle prophesied that she would be killed by a venomous snake on her 18th birthday. To thwart this, the emperor built this tower to keep her away from snakes. The princess was placed here, where she was only visited by her father. On her 18th birthday, the emperor brought her a basket of fresh fruits, happy that he beat the prophesy. However, an asp was hiding in the basket, which bit the princess and she died in her father’s arms. The interior of the tower today is a popular cafe and restaurant. This is the tower where M was taken after her abduction, from where Bond gets a signal from her locator card. bond is also then taken to this tower where Elektra tortures him with a Garrote.
Lake Jokulsarlon, Iceland in Die Another Day
The superb ice palace owned by Graves and the superb ice chase sequence has been filmed near the Lake Jokulsarlon in Iceland, near Hofn. The amazing invisible car being, compliments of Q, driven by James Bond to save Halle Berry playing Jinx who is trapped in the palace by icy cold Miranda Frost played brilliantly by Roasmund Pike is an amazing sequence to watch, and the place is just as beautiful.
Hotel Cipriani, Venice in Casino Royale
Casino Royale has had significant portions shot around Venice, especially around Hotel Cipriani. James Bond moors his yacht at the Hotel Cipriani when he and Vesper Lynd make plans to get supplies before their escape. A fast paced chase sequence leads the pair to go all around the city into disguised buildings and into the waters of Venice. The Hotel Cipriani is an Orient Express hotel, on an island in the lagoon and has some of the best views of St. Mark’s Square.
Siena, Italy in Quantum of Solace
The frantic road chase where James Bond delivers the hapless Mr. White to the secret MI6 lair is alongside Lake Garda in Northern Italy. From there Bond moves to La Spezia in the Apuan Alps of Tuscany, Italy. This place has historic significance as it has supplied marble to Italy’s most famous sculptors, including Michelangelo. Bond then drives into Siena, where there is an attempt of M’s life.
Varda Bridge, Kiralan, Turkey in Skyfall
The scene of the fight sequence between James Bond and the assailant Patrice that begins at the Grand Bazaar and Eminonu Square in Istanbul moves to Adana a city towards the Syrian border. When they reach the Varda bridge, under orders from M, Eve takes a shot to kill Patrice, but misses and ends up hitting Bond instead. Bond falls off the bridge and is presumed dead. This bridge was built by the Germans in 1912 as part of the Istanbul-Baghdad railway line to connect Berlin with Basra.
Mexico in Spectre
The opening sequence is set in Mexico City in Mexico during the El Dia de Muertos celebrations. As the skull masked reveler (actually James Bond) mingles through the crowd, he makes his way to the beautiful lobby of Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, making his way to the terrace to take out the assassin Sciarra. It features the Zocalo, which is the second largest square in the world, after Moscow’s Red Square.