By Robbie Woods
Okay, so James Bond is a violent, volatile, womanizing, high-stakes-gambling, champagne-guzzling death machine.
But one of his more redeeming qualities is surely underappreciated: the man is phenomenally well-travelled. There is nary an entry in the Bond canon that doesn’t find the superspy fighting his way through a series of exotic locales.
In honour of the recently relaeased Skyfall, let’s take a look back at five of the Bond films’ most striking locations.
Dating back to the time of the Etruscans, Siena is a picturesque Tuscan hilltop town. Its medieval panoramas, museums, and cathedrals are world-famous.
The city was also the birthplace of St. Catherine of Siena, one of Italy’s patron saints.
In Quantum of Solace, Bond arrives during the Palio, a horse race that takes place twice a year in the stunning Piazza del Campo.
Straddling the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul has served as the gateway between Europe and Asia for millennia. Formerly known as ‘Constantinople’, it was once the proud capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Today, it is the capital of modern-day Turkey, a vibrant city of 13,000,000 people. But its architecture continues to tell the story of its rich and diverse past.
James Bond spent time around the Hagia Sophia, the vast underground Basilica Cistern, and the legendary Maiden’s Tower in From Russia with Love and The World Is Not Enough.
The 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun shot (…pun intended) extensively in Thailand.
Filming in Bangkok took place in the Thon Buri neighbourhood and at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
But nothing compares with the beauty of the islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu, which served as the lair of the villainous Scaramanga.
In fact, locals and tourists alike still refer to Ko Tapu as “James Bond Island” to this day.
With its scenic Adriatic coastline and rocky Northern regions (Montenegro means “black mountain”), this small Southeastern European country consistently ranks as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Apart from its rich architectural history and beaches, Montenegro is also home to some of the most pristine forests in the world, making it a hiker’s dream.
Unfortunately, James Bond didn’t get to do much hiking when he visited Montenegro in Casino Royale.
Last, but certainly not least, my personal favourite Bond destination…
Did you not see that coming? Come on!
As you may recall, James Bond got launched into orbit in the infamous 1979 offering Moonraker.
And you can too! In the 21st century, ordinary people finally have access to a travel experience that is literally out-of-this-world!
…Well, if you happen to be an ordinary person with $20 million burning a hole in your pocket.