In honour of the new Bond film Spectre, set to open worldwide on 26th October, we explore some of the most beautiful places of the most recent Bond reboot that you can visit, from Casino Royale to Skyfall.
The first Bond movie to feature Daniel Craig as well as the first book featuring Bond written by author Ian Fleming. The movie follows Bond as he tracks down the elusive Le Chiffre, and goes head to head in a high stakes poker game. Let’s take a look at some of the spectacular locations used:
Grandhotel Pupp, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, aka the Hotel Splendide
The exterior of the Hotel Splendide is actually the Grandhotel Pupp, which is not in Montenegro, but in fact in the town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. This hotel has been in operation since 1711 and has been used as a filming location for many other films, such as La Vie en Rose with Marion Cotillard and Shanghai Knights with Jackie Chan.
Albany House, New Providence Island, Bahamas aka Alex Dimitrios’s Mansion
After a high speed chase through Miami airport, Bond travels to the Bahamas to track down Alex Dimitrios, associate of Le Chiffre, and ends up seducing his bored wife in the process. Dimitrios’ Mansion, and the beach outside were filmed at Albany House, a luxury resort part owned by Tiger Woods that lies on the southwest coast of New Providence.
Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como, Italy
After being brutally tortured by Le Chiffre, Bond has some much-needed rest and recuperation in an idyllic setting. He takes in the beautiful scenery over Lake Como whilst sitting in the gardens of Villa del Balbianello, a villa built in 1787 on the site of a monastery for a Cardinal. The villa now belongs to the National Trust of Italy and can be visited by the public.
Palazzo Michael, Venice, Italy
Near the end of the film Bond tracks Vesper to a building undergoing renovations in Venice, and in the aftermath of the gunfight that follows, the inflatable supports keeping the building up are punctured, leading the whole building to collapse into the water. The exterior for this building was the Palazzo Michael, in Venice, near the famous Rialto Bridge. No buildings were harmed in the making of this film – the collapsing building scene were filmed in Pinewood Studios near London, leaving the Palazzo Michael entirely intact!
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Sadly Quantum of Solace received a slightly less enthusiastic reception than Casino Royale, but luckily for intrepid travellers, it is not short on amazing destinations to see! As the film takes place only a few minutes after the end of Casino Royale, we see more lovely shots of Italy, as well as locations in South America.
North-western shore of Lake Garda & City of Siena, Italy
The film opens with a car chase as Bond is pursued by agents of Quantum northwards along the eastern shore of Lake Garda, passing the town of Malcesine, along Via Gardesana and past Navene. After losing the agents on his tail, we cut to Bond driving into Siena (around 4 hours south of the actual location of the car chase). No other location was used as a stand-in – this really was Siena.
A few minutes later on in the film, you can see some scenes of the famous bareback horserace, the Palio de Siena, which occurs twice a year (2nd July and 16th August) outside the Piazza del Campo in Siena.
Andean Grand Hotel, La Paz, Bolivia aka Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Panama City, Panama
Bond travels to Bolivia, where a General is plotting to overthrow the current government. In actuality, no real footage of Bolivia was used. Filming took place in either Panama or Chile. When Bond turns his nose up at the accommodation that has been arranged for him, he instead checks into the Andean Grand Hotel. The hotel isn’t available to check out in real life – but you can instead visit the National Institute of Culture in Panama City, which was transformed into the hotel for the film.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Bond crash lands in the desert that the General has traded with Quantum in exchange for help in disposing the Bolivian Government, and learns that Quantum is planning on monopolizing the water supply. We are to believe that this is still Bolivia however the filming was in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama is the driest non-Polar place on earth, with some parts receiving no rainfall for up to four years. Despite this, there are some salt lakes scattered across the desert and occasional rainfall results in a spectacular display of flowering cactuses.
Dominic Greene’s Desert Bolthole aka The Paranal Observatory, Antofagasta, Chile
The finale of the film where Bond catches up with Dominic Greene and General Medrano, takes place in an eco-hotel in the middle of the desert. This building is the Paranal, one of three observatories of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the Atacama Desert. Guided tours of the facility are available, but the website recommends booking well in advance.
Skyfall offers a whole lot for both movie fans, and travel fans. There are even more amazing locations featured in Skyfall that can be seen or visited, but here we pick a few of the best:
Skyfall opens with Bond chasing an agent who has stolen a hard drive through Istanbul. The action moves through Eminonu Square, near Galata Bridge and then inside the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets of the world.
Shanghai Rooftop Pool aka Virgin Active Riverside Club, Canary Wharf, London
As Bond heads to Shanghai, we see aerial shots of the city, which zone in on a rooftop swimming pool, and then cuts to Bond doing a few laps. These pool scenes were filmed in London, at the Virgin Active Riverside Club in Canary Wharf and the background was digitally edited to resemble Shanghai. Unfortunately, not just anyone can use the pool – you need to be a regular member of Canary Wharf Virgin Active Gym to access it.
MI6 Headquarters, London
Following her meeting with Malone, M is driven back to MI6 headquarters, only to see the roof dramatically burst into flames. Although entry to the public is not permitted, the facade of the building can best be seen by heading to Pimlico tube station, and walking southeast across Vauxhall Bridge, just as M does!
10 Trinity Square, London
After the hard drive is stolen, M is summoned to meet Gareth Malone. The building where she is dropped off is 10 Trinity Square near Tower Hill in London; a Grade II listed building that was formerly the offices of insurance company Willis Faber. Currently the building is being converted into a 5* hotel, private residence and members club.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London
Bond is grumpily eyeing up a painting of “a bloody big ship” when he is approached by his new Quartermaster, Q. These scenes were shot in The National Gallery in London. To be exact, they were shot in Room 34, which is where the painting (The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner) hangs. A must-see for any trip to London, the National Gallery is free of charge and features several world famous works of art.
Hashima Island, Japan
In the movie, we never actually find out the name of the mysterious island that is acquired by Silva after he sets off a mass panic, causing workers to flee. The scenes on the island were filmed at Pinewood Studios, but the long-shots are real. Hashima – also commonly called Gunkanjima, meaning Battleship Island – off the west coast of Japan was a coal-mining community owned and operated by Mitsubishi. Gradually, coal-mining declined, and workers moved away. The island was most recently declared a UNESCO world heritage site and you can catch boat tours from Nagasaki Port to see the island.
Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag, Glencoe, Scotland
Bond and M flee from Silva and drive towards Scotland, where they encounter some breathtaking highland scenery. The two peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag are located in the west highlands, around 80 miles north of Glasgow and have also been used in the filming of Highlander and Braveheart.