“The name’s Bond… James Bond” is the phrase on everyone’s lips at the moment as Skyfall, the 23rd film about the world’s most famous spy, arrives on general release. And, despite having been around for half a century, Bond, M, Q, the villains and the Bond girls are as popular as ever.
Over the last 50 years, we’ve seen James Bond hotfooting around the globe to exotic destinations from Hong Kong to Havana to Bilbao, and many cinema-goers have been inspired to plan holidays to the glamorous locations they’ve seen on screen.
Here we outline some of the most popular places the spy has jetted off to so you can relive your favourite Bond moments – and offer tips on how to get there for less.
The opening scene of Skyfall is set in the bustling Turkish city of Istanbul where viewers will see Daniel Craig tearing through the Grand Bazaar, Eminonu Square and the New Mosque on a motorbike. And Istanbul has been an important location for previous Bond films, with both Sean Connery (in From Russia with Love) and Pierce Brosnan (The World Is Not Enough) visiting on missions for the British Secret Service.
Straddling two continents, Istanbul is a unique city break location. Depending on your mood you could flit from haggling in bazaars and admiring grand fortresses, mosques and palaces to shopping in modern malls and sipping “shaken, not stirred” cocktails in trendy bars. And no trip to Istanbul would be complete without hopping on a Bosphorus boat tour to admire the city from the water that divides the East from the West.
Spring and autumn are lovely times to visit the city to avoid the extremes of the elements but if you don’t mind wrapping up warm while you explore, you’re likely to find more bargains in the winter months.
A short break to Istanbul needn't cost a small fortune at any time of year though. For example, we looked for short breaks in March on TravelSupermarket – when temperatures start creeping back into the 20s – and found four-night trips including flights and accommodation for as little as £153 per person (based on two adults travelling from Stansted).
If you are a fan of the classic Bond films, you’re sure to remember the iconic moment when Ursula Andress emerged from the water in a white bikini in the first film, Dr No. Shot in Jamaica, and starring Sean Connery, the scene has been voted the “sexiest movie moment ever”.
Jamaica should be on Bond fans’ must-visit list as Ian Fleming wrote all his novels about the suave spy on the island (in an estate on the north coast called Goldeneye). Visitors can even sunbathe on James Bond Beach – around 20 minutes’ drive from Ocho Rios – but without the stress of watching out for the bad guys.
And stress is something you can certainly avoid in this laid-back Caribbean country. If relaxation is your top priority, why not book yourself into one of the exclusive all-inclusive resorts on the island and enjoy being pampered in beautiful, sunny surroundings?
If, however, you get twitchy on the sunlounger, you can choose between activities on the twinkling sea such as watersports, scuba diving and boat trips, and adventures on dry land including visiting waterfalls, trekking in the countryside, touring coffee and banana plantations and even zip-lining through the forest.
But, before you rush to book a trip to Jamaica, do some research on the prevailing weather when you want to go. September and October are the height of the hurricane season (as shown in the news at the moment), while the driest time, and peak season, runs from December to April.
With a little research you can find tempting deals to Jamaica, even during the peak season. Take a look at our Jamaica holidays page where seven-night holidays are on offer from as little as £700 per person.
But perhaps the moment when Daniel Craig emerged from the sea in THOSE La Perla trunks is what attracts you to the films? If so, The Bahamas should be on your holiday wish list to relive the scene. And Casino Royale is not the only film in which 007 has sunned himself in the Caribbean country as Sean Connery was sent on a mission there in the 1965 film, Thunderball.
The Bahamas is a lovely winter sun destination and there will be a holiday to suit you on one of the many islands that make up the country – whether you want to get away from it all, play golf, sail or enjoy a break as a family. Nassau, for example, is the perfect location for those after a lively break as you’ll be able to shop and sunbathe by day then let your hair down, 007 style, in the casinos, bars and clubs by night.
And, if your budget stretches to five-star luxury, you could pretend to be Bond and stay in the setting of Casino Royale, The One&Only Ocean Club Hotel on Paradise Island – just try to avoid causing the damage Daniel Craig did on his arrival!
Again, before you plan your dream trip to The Bahamas, check the weather when you want to travel. The dry season runs from November to April, so if sunbathing is your priority, this could be the best time for you to visit. And, if you want to keep your holiday costs down, take a look at our Bahamas holidays page where prices for a one-week break (based on two people travelling) start from just £750 per person.
Closer to home, Bond has visited Venice three times over the years (in From Russia With Love, Moonraker and Casino Royale) and the magical city has been the perfect backdrop for 007’s adventures.
Venice is a popular city break destination for British tourists too, and whether you want to explore the city on the canals (although you might have to settle for water taxis or gondolas rather than Bond’s speedboat), admire famous sights such as St Mark’s Cathedral and the Rialto Bridge, or indulge in Italian food and wine such as bite-sized cicchetti, you’re bound to fall in love with the place.
If you want to explore Venice without the crowds, winter is a good time to visit. But, before you set your heart on a date, do a little research on what’s on and when in the city as big events such as Carnevale (starting on February 2, 2013) will push hotel prices up so you’ll have to book well in advance.
If you’re tempted to plan a break to the city, we found deals for four-night holidays for as little as £130 per person in January – but don’t forget to compare the price of packages with booking flights and hotels separately to ensure you get the best deal.
Need more Bond inspiration?
If you still need more secret agent inspiration, other glamorous Bond locations include Thailand, where tourists can take trips to Khao Phing Kan or James Bond Island (made famous by The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974); glitzy Las Vegas where fans can try their hand at gambling like 007 and even visit Circus Circus, where Bond sent Tiffany Case in Diamonds are Forever; and Hong Kong, one of the most popular Bond destinations, as the city has featured in films three times over the years, including Roger Moore’s jaunt to the iconic Peninsula Hotel.
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