These off-the-beaten path destinations have us wishing for 007's travel schedule.
Not-so-secret missions and philandering often take James Bond to places that travelers don't usually go—and we're sure we'll see some cool off-the-beaten-path locations in the series' latest installment, Spectre, debuting November 6th, 2015. These destinations sometimes gain popularity following their role as the backdrop for Bond’s adventures. If you’re feeling a bit tired of the popular European capitals that have become 007’s mainstays, here are some of the offbeat destinations Bond has visited through his five decades of travel around the globe.
1. Kingston, Jamaica
With its white-sand beaches and crystalline waters, Kingston, Jamaica was relatively unknown before appearing in a 007 film. Bond's brief time in Kingston in the film Dr. No showed the city as a lush destination featuring colonial architecture and sultry afternoons. Since then, Jamaica has majorly embraced their opportune placement as the first big Bond destination: You can fly into Ian Fleming International Airport—named after the original books' author—from U.S. and Caribbean destinations, and immerse yourself in 007 lore at Fleming’s own GoldenEye resort (from $630 per night).
2. Estoril, Portugal
As Portugal has risen in popularity due to favorable exchange rates, Lisbon and Porto have become more crowded. Instead, follow Bond’s lead in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and check out oft-overlooked Estoril near the westernmost point of the European continent and Sintra-Cascais National Park. The iconic Hotel Palácio received only short screen time but serves as one of many options in the area for exploring the dunes, forests, and castles of the surrounding countryside, and gets you well away from the crowds (from $250 per night).
3. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
The rocky crags surrounding Cortina d’Ampezzo made it the perfect location for a villainous hideout in For Your Eyes Only, but this winter sports destination is still tucked far away from the popular Italian cities to make it a place to plot world domination in your own way. By car it’s only two hours from Venice, but it will feel like worlds apart as you ski down pristine slopes or relax in the nearest chalet. If you trust Bond’s judgment on accommodations, try the Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel (from $420 per night).
While Octopussy shows some of the spectacular scenery in other parts of India during the introduction to the country, it’s Udaipur that forms the backdrop for 007’s encounter with the titular character. Follow in Bond’s footsteps and visit the Monsoon Palace—formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace—to gaze out over the city and surrounding countryside. In the heart of the Rajasthan state, the city itself features beautiful architecture and history, with modern amenities for even the most luxurious traveler. Splurge on a stay worthy of 007 at The Oberoi Udaivilas (from $710 per night).
In the opening scenes of The World is Not Enough, it’s easy to see why Bilbao should be on your itinerary, in addition to its southern and eastern neighbors, Madrid and Barcelona. The city's combination of modern and classic architecture briefly appears in the film. Nestled along the shores of the Bay of Biscay and Bilbao Estuary, Bilbao is the heart of Basque country, culture, and food. Don’t rush back to London like Bond did—opt instead for time to explore the city’s waterway parks and affordable accommodations. Stay within a stone’s throw of the Guggenheim Museum featured in 007’s adventures at the Silken Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao (from $158 per night).
In his next adventure, Spectre, Bond will visit a small town in the Austrian Alps commonly known for its snowy activities. With fewer than 5,000 residents but nearly 150 kilometers of ski slopes, Sölden’s setting has rightfully earned a reputation for winter sports and relaxation at any of the town’s chalets and resorts. It also offers equally excellent entertainment in the summer, as many resorts operate water parks nestled between lush forests and steely blue alpine slopes. It’s unlikely you’ll see Bond relaxing in Sölden during Spectre, however—based on the promo shots, which include snow machines and handguns, he'll be very busy. But dispite the action in the film, the town is quite calm and secluded. Grünwald Resort on the outskirts of Sölden offers easy access to the mountain and relaxing or adventurous options all four seasons (from $197 per night).