The exciting world of James Bond, Ian Fleming's iconic fictional spy, continues to captivate audiences around the world, as do the many streets, buildings, beaches and exotic locations where his character's thrilling adventures were filmed for the blockbuster movies.
May 28 marks Fleming's birthday; either November 11 or 16 is Bond’s, according to ‘experts’. Either provide the perfect opportunity to take a look some of the real-world locations used in the film, so here are some thoughts to inspire your ‘Bond’ holiday, especially compiled by the Europesure Travel Insurance team.
Istanbul's unique position, straddling Europe and Asia, made it an ideal setting for Bond's adventures and it’s no surprise it was the location for three of the films. 'From Russia With Love' in 1964, 'The World is Not Enough' in 1999 and more recently, Skyfall, in 2012.
From the Grand Bazaar to the iconic Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, this vibrant city offers a wealth of cultural wonders to explore, including amazing architecture, museums, places to shop and delicious food.
Top of the list should be the Grand Bazaar – one of the world's oldest and largest markets and a place to take in the sights, sounds and smells, whilst shopping!
The hustle and bustle of Istanbul can mean there's a risk of overcrowding, scams and pick-pocketing, so be sure to stay alert and keep possessions close and bags zipped up.
Jamaica holds special significance in the Bond world, as it is where Ian Fleming lived and penned many of his 007 novels. The lush landscapes, picturesque beaches, and charming towns provide an idyllic location for travellers.
For those Bond fans looking to trace the characters’ steps, you will be spoilt for choice, but even non-fans will appreciate some of its magnificent locations. Famous filming spots, such as 'Laughing Waters' in Ocho Rios, the beach used in Dr No for Ursula Andress’s iconic exit from the waves, are privately owned, so access is restricted. However, there are other great places to visit.
James Bond Beach, in the parish of St Mary on the north coast, is open to the public, with a small fee payable. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the beautiful waters and then make your way to the waterfront ‘Moonraker’ bar, for a cocktail.
For one of the more unusual locations, add the Green Grotto Caves to your itinerary, located in Falmouth, between the resort towns of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. These mystical caves provided inspiration for Dr Kananga's secret base in 'Live and Let Die' and you can enjoy a fascinating tour of their geology and history.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Jamaica and another location for Dr No, Dunn's River Falls is both beautiful and activity-packed for a day of adventure. Spanning 183 metres, the impressive waterfalls can be climbed and visitors often spend a relaxing time at the top,. bathing in the lagoons. With a beach to relax on, zipline for those adrenaline junkies and a splash-pad play area for children, it's a location that will keep everyone entertained for a day or more.
Whilst enjoying exploring Jamaica, travellers should exercise caution in certain areas known for petty theft and be mindful of the tropical environment, which creates a risk of hurricanes between June and November, with August and September being peak hurricane season.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
From the pulse-pounding chase scenes in ‘Moonraker’ to the iconic cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro has featured prominently in Bond films.
Take a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for simply jaw-dropping views of the harbour, skyscrapers and beach below.
For something a little more back to earth - why not explore the beautiful Jardim Botanico, a real life tropical paradise and the perfect place to spend a few hours relaxing surrounded by orchids, palm trees giant water lilies and resident wildlife, including toucans, marmosets and turtles. This area also has some of the region’s best bars, cafes and restaurants, for foodies looking for a bite to eat.
A trip to Rio would not be complete without stepping on the famous, Copacabana Beach and its 2.5-mile long stretch of sand. Watch (or get involved) with the beach volleyball, walk the shoreline, or taste some of the delicious food supplied by the many food vendors lining the beach.
While Rio is undeniably captivating, visitors should be vigilant, as pickpocketing and theft of necklaces, watches, bags and other items, is rife, even by day and when items are being worn!
Additionally, favelas (shanty towns) should be avoided due to a risk of crime and violence. In Rio de Janeiro, there are favelas located around the city, including close to the tourist area of Zona Sul, and there is a risk of injury and even death for those walking around these areas. For more detailed information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil/safety-and-security
In the French Quarter of New Orleans you will find another of the filming locations for 'Live and Let Die' and the setting for the famous 'jazz funeral' scene. As an official historic district, much of the location and its buildings are unchanged.
Music, food, culture – New Orleans has it all and if this destination is on your bucket list, you will want to visit the lively French Quarter and other well-known spots such as Frenchmen Street – bursting with music venues offering jazz, reggae and even rock, alongside some of the city's best restaurants.
Take a ride on a historic streetcar for a great way to explore the city and perhaps make a few stop offs at the National WWII Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art or at one of the many green parks such as City Park, with its lake and swan boats, winding paths and nature trails. If out and about at night, it is advised to book a taxi, to avoid walking home from eateries and other venues. Crime and violence is rife in the city, so do not flash items of value. It's advised to stay in the well-trodden tourist areas of the city and to avoid quieter locations, with some surrounding areas having a particularly high crime rate. Be alert, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and stick to the main streets.
If visiting for Mardi Gras, travellers should be mindful that the event draws huge crowds. Petty scammers and purse snatching can be a risk to tourists in large crowds.
Travellers should also be aware that natural disasters can occur in this region with hurricanes not uncommon. You should always check the weather ahead of any trip but particularly so during hurricane season, which is from July to October. Visiting at another time of year might be advisable.
Known for its bustling street markets, ornate temples, and vibrant nightlife, Bangkok is a city that exudes energy and mystery. So it's no surprise that it has been used as a location for two Bond films - 'The Man with the Golden Gun', shot in Bangkok and Southern Thailand in 1974, and 'Tomorrow Never Dies', filmed in Phang Nga Bay.
This vibrant city has an abundance of must-see attractions including The Grand Palace with its stunning temples and priceless artefacts and Wat Phra Kaew, otherwise known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. There is also Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha and Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn - a majestic white temple that sits on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Livelier areas of the city include the Khao San Road, with its many bars, street-food vendors and huge party scene – a popular destination with backpackers. It's wise to stay vigilant in these busier areas, which have a higher risk of scammers, petty crime and drugs.
For art and culture, visit the Bangkok National Museum and spend an hour or two appreciating the Thai art, Neolithic artefacts and regional crafts.
The Jim Thompson House Museum, once home to the American entrepreneur responsible for making Thai silk famous all around the world, is a fascinating place to visit. Here you will find traditional Thai houses built in teak, unique artefacts and detailed information on Thompson's interesting life.
Bangkok, as with many bustling cities, has its share of risks, such as scams, tuk-tuk drivers overcharging tourists, and crowded spaces where pickpocketing can occur, therefore maintaining awareness and taking necessary precautions, such as booking your travel insurance in advance, are the route to a safe and enjoyable visit. For more information on the best travel insurance for your trip, whether via a single trip or an annual multi-trip policy, visit www.europesuretravelinsurance.com