Aside from a deep appreciation for martinis shaken, not stirred, true James Bond fans boast a zest for travel. The franchise was built around Bond’s globetrotting to exotic locations from Istanbul to even outer space. Since the first Bond film was released in 1962, Bond has traveled to 146 places across 49 countries. If you want to travel suave spy, don’t leave these classic 007 destinations off your itinerary.
It wouldn’t be a James Bond travel itinerary without England. Aside from London, Bond globetrotters should hop over to the Ascot Racecourse, known for the annual Royal Ascot. The iconic racecourse was featured in A View to a Kill. Other Bond films highlight grand English estates like Blenheim Palace in Woodstock (England) as seen in Spectre and Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Tapu Island, Thailand
Fans of the Bond series probably already have Thailand‘s Tapu Island on their bucket list. Most of the film The Man with the Golden Gun was set in Ao Phang-nga National Park, which is home to the island. Tapu Island is where 007 and the villain Francisco Scaramanga duel on the beach. The island’s connection to James Bond has earned it the moniker “James Bond Island.” The area is worth the Bond vacation not just for the island itself, but also for the park’s towering limestone formations, turquoise waters, Buddhist temples, and mangrove forests.
Lake Como, Italy
Featured in both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig as Bond, Lake Como in northern Italy makes for a truly glamorous Bond destination. Villa Balbianello on the lake is featured in the film, doubling as a hospital where Bond recuperates. Situated at the tip of the promontory overlooking Lake Como, the 12th-century villa opens up its doors and gardens to visitors throughout the year. Once you’re done touring the Bond villa, you can explore an area that boasts George Clooney as a neighbor.
Key West, Florida
While Timothy Dalton wasn’t the most popular of Bonds, he did make Key West, Florida a key stop on any James Bond travel itinerary. Featured in License to Kill, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum plays a part in the film. The acclaimed author’s former home is open for tours and you can even see the more than 40 cats that inhabit it! In the movie, the home played the setting where Bond meets M16 chief Robert Brown. To get there, catch flights to Florida and be sure to cruise the Overseas Highway — the engineering marvel spans 113 miles through the Florida Keys and is also featured in the film.
The Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Switzerland exudes Bond bravado from its opulence and natural beauty. It’s no wonder that the country plays a role in a few Bond films, including Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sean Connery starred as Bond in Goldfinger and makes that unforgettable drive through the Swiss Alps in his Aston Martin DB5. One-time-Bond George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service shows off Switzerland’s 360-degreee rotating restaurant Piz Gloria, which sits atop Mount Schilthorn.
True Bond purists wouldn’t want to miss flights to Jamaica during their Bond world tour. It was on the Caribbean island that Ian Fleming dreamed up the 14 James Bond novels. Fleming first came to Jamaica during World War II. He stayed on and penned the famous character at a retreat you can stay at to this day, appropriately called GoldenEye. It’s no wonder that the first Bond flick Dr. No would be set in Jamaica. Most of the filming took place in the small town of Oracabessa. Jamaica also played a role in Live and Let Die as the fictitious island of San Monique.
Teetering on two continents, Istanbul has long been a favorite Bond destination. Thought to be Ian Fleming’s favorite city, Istanbul takes the stage for From Russia With Love, The World Is Not Enough, and Skyfall. You can be like Sean Connery and visit the Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern while in town. Other Bond must-sees in Istanbul include the Maiden’s Tower in the Bosphorus and of course the Grand Bazaar (just don’t be like Daniel Craig and have an epic motorbike chase right through it!).
While we hope you aren’t getting involved in crazy car chases or duking it out with sinister villains, these Bond destinations are sure to put a little 007 in your step.
What’s your favorite Bond destination around the world? Share your pick with us in the comments below.