7 James Bond Filming Locations You Have to Visit
There’s a whole host of ingredients that go into making a good Bond film. Cars and beautiful women are obviously extremely important, but we’ve always felt it was 007’s exotic getaways that added to the romance of the franchise most. For us, Bond is at his best when he’s jet-setting. So we’ve picked out some of the best James Bond sightseeing meccas from around the world.
Villa del Balbianello
Film: Casino Royale (2006)
Location: Lake Como, Italy
There are plenty of locations well worth a visit from Daniel Craig’s debut, Casino Royale; The Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic is every bit as opulent as its Montenegro counterpart in the film, and the nearby secluded village of Loket is the perfect setting for Bond’s first meet with Mathis. But it’s James’ recovery villa retreat on Lake Como which really needs to be seen to be believed. Named Villa del Balbianello, the Italian home is where Bond and Vesper (Eva Green) transfer the money with the help of a bumbling Swiss banker. Built for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini at the end of the 18th century, the Villa overlooks Lake Como, almost opposite Bellagio. It can also be seen in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones.
Film: Skyfall (2012)
Location: Hashima Island, Japan
Bond villains always have cool hideouts but Skyfall’s Silva (Javier Bardem) undoubtedly takes the crown of ‘coolest’ with his abandoned island fortress. Though the island looks like it was conceived in the writing room, it very much exists. The artificial Hashima Island lies just off the coast of Nagasaki in Japan and was built by Mitsubishi in the early 20th century to house workers for an underground coal mine. At one point the island housed more than 4,000 people, but when the mine closed in the 70s, the island was left to rot away into the dystopian retreat we see in Skyfall. A small portion of the island was finally reopened for tourism in 2009, but more than 95% of the island is still strictly off-limits.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity
Film: For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Location: Meteora, Greece
For Your Eyes Only might not be Roger Moore’s most memorable Bond film, but it still features one of the most stunning finale locations. The climax takes place on the cliffs of Meteora in Greece, where Bond vertically ascends the rock to retrieve the ATAC decoder from Aristotle Kristatos’s secret monastery hideout. The church is real having been constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries. Situated at the top of a precipice over 400m high, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity used in the 1981 film is just one of 24 monasteries which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site – six of them are still open to the public.
Film: GoldenEye (1995)
Location: Ticino, Switzerland
Though Casino Royale may have taken the mantel since, upon its release we’d argue that GoldenEye had the best opening to a Bond in its illustrious history with Pierce Brosnan bungee-jumping off a 220m dam into a Russian chemical weapons facility below. It’s called the Contra or Verzasca Dam and is located in the canton of Ticino, southern Switzerland. The dam holds back 105,000,000 cubic meters of water, and is considered one of the most impressive dams in the world thanks to its clean design and slender curves. There may not actually be a Soviet bunker below but you can still bungee jump off it to this day.
Ice Q Mountain Restaurant
Film: SPECTRE (2015)
Location: Sölden, Austria
Set atop a 3,000m peak in Sölden in Austria, the Ice Q Mountain Restaurant is probably best known for something other than its food. Instead, its claim to fame is it was used as the location for the futuristic hospital in SPECTRE where Bond meets Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann. Naturally the alpine restaurant serves up some sophisticated gourmet delights and fine wines, but it’s the restaurant’s futuristic design and panoramic views which make this place as unique as it is spectacular.
Taj Lake Palace
Film: Octopussy (1983)
Location: Udaipur, India
The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India brands itself as ‘the most romantic hotel in the world’, so it would only seem appropriate for one of cinemas most notorious Lotharios to use it in one of his films. The film in question is Octopussy where Bond, disguised as a crocodile, swims up to the heavily female-populated floating island to spy on Octopussy, who he suspects is involved with the smuggling of a Fabergé egg. The hotel itself was built in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II. The 5-Star hotel now features 66 luxurious rooms and 17 grand suites, with every room offering breath-taking views of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, Machla Magra Hills and Jag Mandir.
James Bond Island
Film: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Location: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Where else could we finish but on James Bond Island? Yes, since its cinematic debut as Scaramanga’s lair in The Man with the Golden Gun, Ko Tapu off Phang Nga Bay was renamed to honour everyone’s favourite British spy. In the film, Scaramanga shows 007 around his hidden solar power plant, destroys Bond’s plane, sits down for lunch with him and then suggests a fight on the beach… which for some reason he walks away from. After the film was released, the secluded island became a popular tourist destination.
Also check out the most iconic locations in Game of Thrones you can visit!