March 4, 2022
Our Favorite James Bond Filming Locations
Stunning international locations have been a hallmark of James Bond films since Dr. No initiated the franchise in 1962. The actor playing British secret agent 007 has changed over the years, but the basic ingredients of the films—nefarious supervillains, beautiful Bond girls, tongue-in-cheek quips and thrilling action amid spectacular scenery—have not.
The stylish secret agent has pursued renegades and romance in an estimated 60 countries. Here are some of our favorite James Bond filming locations around the world:
1. London, England
Bond is an Englishman inextricably linked to London—the city appears in almost every Bond film. As well as being Bond’s home, it’s also the location of MI6, the British foreign intelligence service. The real MI6 offices, located on the River Thames, appeared as a backdrop in many Bond films, before being cinematically “blown up” (an effect created by computer graphics) in Spectre (2015).
One memorable action sequence in London is a speedboat chase on the Thames in The World is Not Enough (1999), which begins with Pierce Brosnan launching in a boat out of an opening high in the wall of MI6. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can arrange a speedboat ride on the Thames as part of our private London tours. It’s a great way to see iconic sites along the river, such as the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London.
We can also arrange for travelers on our private England tours to visit other Bond-related sites such as the National Gallery, Whitehall, Southbank, Vauxhall, Notting Hill, the Old Royal Naval College and Sotheby’s as well as make reservations at London’s oldest restaurant that featured in Spectre.
We arrange for our travelers to stay at one of the top luxury hotels in London, such as The Ritz London. Although it wasn’t a James Bond filming location, Bond creator Ian Fleming frequented the restaurant and included the hotel in two of the Bond novels, Diamonds are Forever (1956) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1965).
The beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands has appeared in several Bond films. Our favorite Bond locations in Scotland include romantic Eilean Donan Castle in The World is Not Enough (1999)…
…the mountains and moors of Glen Etive and Glen Coe as the dramatic setting of the Bond family estate in Skyfall (2012) and the remote rivers and hills of the Cairngorms National Park in No Time to Die (2021), both starring Daniel Craig as James Bond.
The cultural and scenic highlights of the Scottish Highlands are included in many of our private Scotland tours.
Italy is one of the most significant James Bond filming locations, with diverse scenery from mountains in the north to beaches in the south all making an appearance. Our favorite Bond film locations in Italy include iconic destinations like Venice, Lake Como and Rome, and lesser-known places in the Dolomites, Tuscany and Basilicata.
In Casino Royale (2006), Bond convalesces at Villa del Balbianello, one of our favorite places on Lake Como.
Bond then travels to Venice, sailing a yacht down the Grand Canal. We agree that Venice and Lake Como make a fantastic combination! We can arrange private tours of Villa del Balbianello in addition to other favorite villas and gardens around Lake Como.
Although the luxury Venetian hotel in Casino Royale isn’t real (the National Museum in Prague stood in for the location), there are a number of luxurious hotels in Venice that make an ideal base for private touring around the city, including a private boat charter among the Venetian islands.
For instance, The Belmond Hotel Cipriani, where Bond moors his yacht in Casino Royale, is one of our favorite luxury hotels in Venice.
Other Bond-related experiences we can arrange in Italy include tickets to the Palio di Siena the famous horse race seen in Quantum of Solace (2008); visiting the Ponte Madonna della Stella in Gravina in Puglia, the two-tier bridge and aqueduct Bond leaps off in No Time to Die (2021); and touring the landmarks of Rome seen during the car chase in Spectre.
In France, Bond has chased villains, foiled plots and gotten entangled with various women and henchmen in locations ranging from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to chateaux in the Loire Valley and seaside resort towns on the Cote d’Azur.
For Bond-style glamour on the Cote d’Azur, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is one of our favorite luxury hotels. Bond fans will remember the opening scene of Diamonds are Forever (1971) with Sean Connery, filmed nearby at a private beach on Cap d’Antibes.
Although the villain’s lair in Moonraker (1979)—starring Roger Moore as Bond—purports to be in California, the actual location was Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte. This privately-owned palace outside Paris is one of our favorite day excursions from the French capital.
We can incorporate these and other Bond-related sites in our private France tours, including private tours of chateaux in the Loire and reservations at Le Jules Verne restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower. The Michelin-starred restaurant inspired the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower in A View to Kill (1985).
Bond first appears among the spectacular landscapes of the Swiss Alps in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the only film starring George Lazenby as 007.
The film showcases the dramatic scenery of the Berner Oberland, including the areas around Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and Murren. The spectacular alpine landscapes are a highlight of many of our private Switzerland tours.
Piz Gloria, the revolving restaurant on the summit of the Schilthorn (villain Ernst Blofeld’s lair in the movie) is a popular pilgrimage site for Bond fans. We can easily incorporate a visit into a private tour of the Interlaken region.
In other memorable scenes in the franchise, the super spy takes on the hairpin curves of the Furka Pass in Goldfinger (1964) and bungee jumps off the Verzasca (Contra) Dam (standing in for a Soviet base) in the opening of Goldeneye.
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, the magnificent ancient city on the Bosphorus, is an unforgettable location in From Russia with Love (1963), The World is Not Enough and Skyfall.
Spectacular Istanbul landmarks in the films include the Hagia Sophia, the New Mosque and the Basilica Cistern. And who could forget Bond’s motorcycle chase across the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar in the opening of Skyfall. All of these locations are included in our private Turkey tours featuring Istanbul.
Like many of our travelers, Bond has taken boat rides on the Bosphorus, which is a great way to enjoy the views of Istanbul.
Egypt is a favorite destination of Artisans of Leisure travelers and features prominently in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), one of the most acclaimed Bond films of the Roger Moore era.
Abu Simbel, one of the most iconic sites of ancient Egypt, appears as the temporary joint headquarters of MI6 and the KGB.
In Cairo, Bond visits a contact in an Ottoman-era home, where he proceeds to get into a fight on the roof. We take our travelers on private tours of historic homes in Cairo, including Bayt al-Suhaymi and the Gayer-Anderson Museum (the film location), which make a great complement to the more famous monuments.
Nearly all Bond films feature the jet-setting spy in numerous countries. One exception is You Only Live Twice (1967), which takes place primarily in Japan.
Notable backdrops in the Sean Connery film include a sumo match in Tokyo, the white towers of Himeji Castle and the volcanic landscapes of Kyushu, where Blofeld, Bond’s greatest nemesis, has a hideout.
For travelers on our private Japan tours, we can arrange tickets to a sumo match, private touring of Himeji Castle and other historic landmarks and insider touring of Kyushu, renowned for its beautiful landscapes, cuisine, hot springs and ceramics.
The beautiful islands and limestone karst formations of Phang Nga Bay, including Koh Tapu (James Bond Island), in Thailand made for incredibly scenic locations in The Man with the Golden Gun (1997) and Tomorrow Never Dies, where they’re a stand-in for Halong Bay in Vietnam.
We recommend staying at one of our preferred luxury resorts such as Amanpuri and having us arrange a private boat cruise around Phang Nga Bay.
The Man with the Golden Gun also has scenes in Bangkok at one of our favorite hotels—the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok—where Bond stays while on assignment.
India was a primary filming location for Octopussy (1983). A view of the Taj Mahal from Bond’s helicopter marks his arrival in India before the action moves to Udaipur. Bond might not have had time to tour the Taj Mahal, but the stunning landmark is a highlight of many of our private India tours.
One of the unusual film locations used for Octopussy’s home was the Lake Palace, a retreat built for the local maharana on an island in Lake Pichola, Udaipur, in the 18th century.
Artisans of Leisure can arrange reservations for meals at the Lake Palace, which is now a luxury hotel with several restaurants.
We include the Taj Mahal and Udaipur in many of our private India tours. Artisans of Leisure arranges private boat charters on Lake Pichola and private tours of the magnificent City Palace complex, which overlooks the lake and the Lake Palace.
A particularly memorable Bond car chase takes place in Die Another Day (2002). Pierce Brosnan and the villain pursue each other by speeding and sliding their cars among spectacular ice formations on the frozen Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.
Jokulsarlon is a top scenic attraction that we include in many of our private Iceland tours. In the summer, our travelers can enjoy a boat cruise on the lake and get up close to its floating icebergs, bergy bits and growlers.
Jokulsarlon also portrayed Siberia in A View to a Kill (1985).
12. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic stood in for multiple locations in Craig’s Casino Royale, including Miami, London and Montenegro.
The Strahov Library in Prague, a magnificent Baroque library, appears in the film as the House of Commons in London. For a special experience, we can arrange exclusive tours of the Baroque-era library.
Karlovy Vary, a beautiful UNESCO-listed spa town outside Prague, was used for Montenegro scenes. The facade of the Kaiserbad Spa, for example, became the entrance to the film’s Casino Royale.
We arrange private touring in Prague, private excursions to Karlovy Vary, and private tours of the real Montenegro, which makes a great combination with neighboring Croatia.
The memorable opening sequence in Spectre reveals Bond making his way through a Day of the Dead parade in downtown Mexico City past landmarks such as the Zocalo (the historic main square), one of the places we take travelers on our private Mexico tours.
Daniel Craig’s Bond escorts a woman through The Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico before climbing out of the window for an action sequence that concludes in a helicopter stunt over Zocalo. The Gran Hotel and its stunning Art Nouveau glass ceiling also appeared in License to Kill (1989), with Timothy Dalton as 007.
Movies are often a source of travel inspiration, and we can easily customize our private tours to include James Bond filming locations or other film locations around the world. Contact Artisans of Leisure to begin planning a private luxury tour.