Whether you’re James Bond, Jack Bauer, or Sydney Bristow – the life of a spy or government agent is bound to take you around the world chasing bad guys.
You can enjoy the same exotic destinations and exciting cities as your favourite secret agents without the dangers of the job. Gizelle Lau from Trip Atlas has rounded up the ten top places to discover and recreate the excitements of being a spy for a few days.
Miami – In Goldfinger (1964), Bond is found relaxing in Miami Beach, Florida – before South Beach was the hottest place to be, mind you – at the classic Fontainebleau hotel. Here, Auric Goldfinger is seen playing (and/or cheating) gin-rummy by the pool with the hotel’s iconic curved building behind.
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Orient Express – The famous Orient Express is seen in From Russia With Love (1963) where Bond hops on the train from Venice to Istanbul via Bucharest, Budapest, and Vienna.
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Italy – For the best from the Quantum of Solace (2008), head to Siena during the Palio di Siena horse race festival. Long before Daniel Craig was Bond, Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) was filmed as Bond in Costa Smeralda and stays at the Hotel Pitrizza.
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London, England – Serving as homebase of M him/herself and MI6, this world-class city also serves as the backdrop for scenes in The World is Not Enough (1999) on a high-speed chase on the River Thames. In Dr. No (1962), the first Bond film opens at the exclusive casino, Les Ambassadeurs. To get dressed like Bond, head to Turnbull & Asser on Jermyn Street, tailors named in Fleming’s novels and helped to supply some of Bond’s wardrobe throughout the films.
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Monaco – The Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco is the epitome of all-things James Bond: suave, luxurious, rich, beautiful women, and nice cars. Only in Monaco will you see a plethora of Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Aston Martins and other high-end cars at ever turn. The casino was featured in Never Say Never (1983) as well as GoldenEye (1995).
Las Vegas – For a look at what Vegas used to be, Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) is the perfect example. Here, Bond stays at the Tropicana Hotel, tracks down the bad guy at the Las Vegas Hilton (Whyte House Hotel in the film), tries his luck at the Riviera Hotel & Casino, catches a show and a girl at Circus Circus, and has a chase scene along Fremont Street where you can see the Golden Nugget in the background.
Bahamas – Not only does Sir Sean Connery himself own a property in the Bahamas, but many-a-Bond-film has also been shot here. Atlantis Resort and the One&Only Ocean Club served as the sets for major scenes in Casino Royale (2004), while the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau was used in both Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983). The Bahamas’ famous Junkanoo festival was also featured in Thunderball.
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Jamaica – This island has served as home to Ian Fleming for some time and was featured in many of his novels and the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962) where they shot in Kingston Jamaica, Laughing Waters Beach in Ochos Rios, Dunn’s River Falls, the Blue Mountains, and Montego Bay. Live and Let Die (1973) was also filmed here, featuring the Green Grotto caves in Runaway Bay, used as Mr. Kananga’s lair; as well as Swaby’s Swamp Safari attraction where the famous alligator scene was filmed.
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Thailand – Like all the best Bond villains, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) features the devious three-nippled Scaramanga hiding out among the massive limestone rocks of Thailand. Scenes were filmed on the islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu near Phuket in the Phang-nga province.
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Japan – Kirishima-Yaki National Park is where it all goes down in my personal Bond favourite: You Only Live Twice (1967). Not only is the villain’s lair so badass that it’s hidden in a volcanic crater – but Blofeld’s evil white cat alone could make your hair stand up.
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Gizelle Lau is a travel-food-wine lover turned writer based in Toronto, Canada, and the Online Editor for TripAtlas.com, the world’s largest online travel resource.