Martini. "Shaken, not stirred."
With this catchphrase and a host of other one-liners and sexual innuendos, James Bond has made his mark as one of the planet's most popular secret agents. The literary world was introduced to the smooth-talking, emotionally isolated agent in 1953 when Ian Fleming published the first book about him, but it wasn't until the movie Dr. No featuring Sean Connery as Bond, that he was catapulted into the pantheon of cultural icons. In a mission to eliminate chaos, Bond travels to places as exotic and beautiful as the women who inevitably fall into his lap. If you're a fanatical fan or if you're simply looking for your next great place to visit, take a look at a few of the best Bond film locations for inspiration.
Thunderball Grotto - Bahamas
Sean Connery--Thunderball (1965)
The white sand beaches and stunning turquoise waters of the Bahamas are in and of themselves a worthy vacation destination. Add to that an intricate underwater cave system featured in not one, but two James Bond movies with Sean Connery, and suddenly a trip to these tropical islands sounds even more appealing. Bond and a crew of Navy SEALS dove beneath these picture perfect waters to recover stolen nuclear warheads, but we promise your diving experience will be far more relaxing.
Companies like Exuma Watersports and Starfish Exuma Adventure Center offer half day tours featuring a ride around the islands and coves, a look at the famous swimming pigs and a snorkeling excursion through Thunderball Grotto. The rock outcropping doesn’t look particularly interesting, but the island is actually hollow and the cavern inside can be accessed by swimming through one of several holes. Your journey underwater will take you past swarms of tropical fish and up into a giant chamber filled with sunbeams. It’s unquestionably one of the most outstanding snorkeling attractions in all of the Bahamas.
The Schilthorn - Switzerland
George Lazenby--On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
George Lazenby only made one appearance as Bond
but he certainly capitalized on his stardom with a trip through Switzerland’s
Berner Oberland region to the top of Schilthorn. In the movie, the mountain was
under the control of SPECTRE leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld when Bond dropped out of a moving helicopter and onto the snowy slopes. Today the Swiss peak can be reached by gondola or by foot. As long as it’s not cloudy you’ll be privy to the area’s best views of
the Bernese Alps, a gift shop with an assortment of Bond paraphernalia and a
museum appropriately named “Bond World.” If you find yourself getting hungry, walk
into the Schilthorn’s rotating restaurant, and enjoy 360 degree views of the
Alps while you eat off “007” emblazoned dishware.
James Bond Island - Thailand
Roger Moore--The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
This area of Thailand has become so intricately tied with the Bond movies that the former “Ko Tapu” is now far more commonly called “James Bond Island.” In excursions run by Phuket Tours wooden longtail boats navigate past towering limestone formations and around the same area through which Bond traveled in search of a particularly well-paid assassin. Depending on which tour you book, you may have the chance to canoe through Mangrove forests, snorkel the turquoise waters, visit a Muslim fishing village, or feed monkeys at a nearby Buddhist temple.
Key West - Florida
Timothy Dalton--License to Kill (1989)
A rogue Bond finds himself in the tropical, palm tree-studded paradise of Key West after the murder of his friend Felix Leiter. His goal to track down and put an end to one of the international drug cartel's most powerful leaders takes him to the Overseas Highway (an incredible engineering feat resulting in 113 miles of overseas bridges and archways leapfrogging from island to island) and a trip to the house of Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway. Daily tours of the residence means you can visit this unique property and see where Bond met with M16's chief, Robert Brown. Don't be surprised to see a multitude of cats lying around either. Hemingway was given a six toed cat by an old ship captain and its descendants are among the dozens of four-legged friends that wander the property.
Verzasca Dam - Switzerland
Pierce Brosnan--Goldeneye (1995)
After a six-year hiatus, James Bond returned to the big screen making quite the splash. Or more accurately, a considerable fall. At 2,250 feet, the Verzasca Dam is the fourth tallest dam in Switzerland and the gateway to one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. The opening scene of Goldeneye shows the British agent fearlessly bungee-jumping off the top which, at the time of filming, set the record for the world’s highest bungee from a fixed structure. If you find yourself aching to make the same death-defying leap, book an excursion with Trekking Outdoor Team. With their expertise, you'll feel like a secret agent during the 7.5 seconds of free fall.
Grand Bazaar - Istanbul, Turkey
Daniel Craig--Skyfall (2012)
James Bond has made multiple trips to the culturally diverse city of Istanbul, most recently in the 2012 film, Skyfall. Amidst the chaos of the crowded city, Bond looks as suave as ever, before taking off on a motorbike in hot pursuit of a dangerous hit man. When you visit you probably won’t be flying across tiled rooftops, but there's plenty to do and see below. The Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. With 4,000 shops spread out over 61 streets, a whopping 250,000-400,000 visitors come here to shop every day. Hand-painted ceramics, woven carpets, spices, and antiques, are just a few of the thousands of items you can find to barter over.