As far back as 1962, Bond was already at it in Dr No. when Sean Connery jets
off to Jamaica (Kingston, Oncaros, Crab Key and Montego Bay). The talcum
powder sands of Laughing Waters beach are the backdrop to one of the
most famous Bond scenes — busty Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) emerging
from the sea to confront the delighted secret agent.
Connery is again at the trigger of Bond’s famous Walther PPK pistol in Thunderball in 1965. The locales include France, England and the Bahamas.
Bond gets into the party spirit in Nassau, Bahamas, when he joins the Junkanoo, the island’s largest and most colourful street party. The sunken model of the Vulcan bomber at Clifton Pier, which crashes in the film, is now covered in coral and has become a popular dive site.
In 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, Thailand is the real star with the island of Khao Phing Kan in Phang Nga Bay now marketed by enterprising local boatmen as ‘James Bond Island’. The sheer rock nearby at Koh Tapu (Nail Island) contains Scaramanga’s secret weapon and is where Bond (Roger Moore) and Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) are taken.
Moore was at the helm again for Moonraker in 1979 with that infamous car chase in Venice, which soon degenerates into an unlikely boat charade on the Grand Canal. As well as a stint scaring the Venetian pigeons, the world’s most famous secret agent also pops into Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Chateau de Vaux Le Vicomte outside Paris, where the villain Drax has his headquarters. The chateau makes for a good day trip from the French capital.
During For Your Eyes Only in 1981 Bond indulged his insatiable wanderlust by slipping off tothe Ionian Sea, Albania, Russia, Spain, northern Italy and Greece, where the film culminates at Varlaam Monastery near Kalambaka. If you don’t fancy climbing the rock face like 007 does, you can wimp out and ascend by the spiral staircase. Corfu is the location of Bond’s white-knuckle car chase scenes in the movie, and is also where his Lotus Esprit gets blown to smithereens.
Pierce Brosnan’s last outing as Bond in Die Another Day (2002) kicks off and ends in North Korea, though the beach invasion scene was actually shot near Cadiz, Spain. But the most spectacular sequences were filmed in Iceland, where Bond battles across the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon (above) in an attempt to save Jinx (Halle Berry) from a sinking ice palace.
When Daniel Craig first picked up the Bond mantle in Casino Royal, the film sparked a wave of fresh interest in Montenegro as a holiday destination. Shame, then, that all the scenes set there were filmed in the Czech Republic. Italy’s Lake Como was the real deal and Venice’s Grand Canal hosted Bond once again. It was the Bahamas, though, that really got people’s attention, thanks to Craig emerging from the sea in cosy blue swimming trunks.
There are enough Bond locations to visit to easily fill a year of travelling. Kitted out with your ‘licence to travel’ and your suave black wardrobe, you could head off in search of intrigue and adventure. Though perhaps if you want to make it through security at Heathrow, it may be wise to leave the Walther at home.
» A book on Bond Locations, On The Tracks Of 007 by Martijn Mulder and Dirk Kloosterboer, has just been published. See www.onthetracksof007.com.