No one can outrun Bond. After all, he is the world’s best spy. In the 26 movies released to date, my favourite spy has taken around 150 trips to more than 50 countries across the globe. When I see him in his flashy tuxedo striding across luxury hotels, driving fancy cars with the latest gadgets, it’s these locations that leave me wishing that I too could become a spy and travel the world!
For more than 50 years now, Bond has done two things – left us shaken and stirred with his daredevil adventures and added to our travel lust. From Dr. No to Spectre, here's a look at seven of the most stunning locations one can visit to satiate that Bond-induced wanderlust. And it's perfect for some couch-travel while we wait for the latest film, No Time To Die, which we hear has been postponed yet again (sigh).
Hagia Sophia, Turkey
From Russia With Love (1963) is the second Bond film, but its locations are some of the best in the series. Primarily filmed in Istanbul, Turkey, the film features some splendid places including the Basilica Cistern where the spy makes a secret getaway. However, it is the majestic Hagia Sophia that stands out. The grandeur of a building is the setting for Tatiana Romanova's pre-arranged rendezvous with the agent.
Himeji Castle, Japan
You Only Live Twice (1967) was one of the early films in the series that flaunted the colours and exotic beauty of Japan. One of the major locations was the Himeji Castle located in Hyogo Province. The stunning white castle was the perfect location for the agent to undergo his ninja training.
Ko Ta Pu Islet, Thailand
At 20 meters, this tall islet was an awe-inspiring structure even before it shot to fame, along with the Khao Phing Kan, in the 1974 film, The Man with the Golden Gun. Featured as Francisco Scaramanga’s hideout in Phuket’s Phang Nga province, it is now known as the James Bond Island. There’s no solar ray weapon hidden inside, but you can go on an exploration trail here and, who knows, you may stumble upon a mystery.
Monastery of Holy Trinity, Greece
From Athens to Mykonos, Greece has laid out picturesque backdrops for many films. However, in the 1981 Bond flick For Your Eyes Only, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora did the trick. Located above Kalambaka, the monastery is believed to be founded in the early 13th century by monks seeking refuge. Getting to the place is a Herculean task thanks to the steep 140-steps climb.
Taj Lake Palace, India
The only Indian location where about half of a Bond movie was shot, the Lake Palace used to be the summer residence of the Maharajan family of Udaipur. The palace was then turned into a hotel in 1963, making its royal setting perfect for the 1983 Bond film, Octopussy. In the film, the floating palace was featured as an island populated only by women.
Lake Como, Italy
Daniel Craig's debuted as Bond in 2006 with Casino Royale which featured a list of exotic locations including Prague, the Bahamas, and Uganda. It was in Italy, however, that the agent’s true awakening came as it was in the backdrop of Lake Como that he recovered his sense after being tortured by the terrorist financier Le Chiffre.
Blenheim Palace, England
A list of Bond locations would be incomplete without featuring a royal palace. Blenheim Palace is a country house that featured in all its beauty in the 2015 Spectre. It was the site of the mysterious Spectre meeting and the starting point of probably one of the flashiest car chases in the franchise. In the film, the scene is set in Rome, but it was shot at this World Heritage Site located in Woodstock, England.