James Bond: The 10 Most Exotic Locations In The Franchise, So Far


The James Bond franchise is known for a lot of things – spectacular action, beautiful cars, beautiful women, and corny jokes. But there’s one other ingredient that makes the Bond movies so successful – the exotic locations. From the very beginning in 1962, the James Bond franchise has provided paying viewers with some spectacular locations and breathtaking cinematic shots. Part of the fun of each respective movie is seeing where Bond goes next – and enjoying the sublime sense of adventure the locales have to offer.

And James Bond has visited some truly exotic locales. No matter how often these movies are revisited, these locations are sure to inspire awe.

10 Piz Gloria

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is an oft-ignored entry in the James Bond franchise, but it contains an amazing location in the Piz Gloria. Serving as a revolving restaurant, the Piz Gloria is located at the summit of the Schilthorn in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps. In the movie, the revolving restaurant serves as Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s “allergy clinic” and secret hideout. The restaurant opened in 1969 – the same year as the movie’s release – and it has retained the fictional name for over fifty years.

9 Lake Palace

Formerly known as the Jag Niwas, Lake Palace is a hotel that once served as the summer palace of the Mewar royal dynasty. Located in India, Lake Palace is located on Lake Pichola and was constructed in the mid 18th century. It’s a gorgeous and unique location – one befitting royalty. Lake Palace was used as the shooting location for Octopussy’s home in Octopussy. While a much-maligned Bond film, Octopussy contains one of the franchise’s greatest locations in the Lake Palace.

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8 Himeji Castle

While only briefly seen in You Only Live Twice, Himeji Castle nevertheless made for a spectacular filming location. This movie sees Bond travelling to Japan. While there, he witnesses ninjas training at Himeji Castle. This hilltop complex is widely regarded for its stellar architecture, white exterior, and unique defensive systems. The castle dates back to the mid 1300s, and it received significant expansions in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having been registered back in 1993.

7 Giza Pyramid Complex

After two so-so outings from Roger Moore, The Spy Who Loved Me got the Bond series back on track and is widely regarded as one of the best movies in the series. This movies goes to Egypt and was shot on location at the world-famous Giza pyramid complex.

This complex houses three great pyramids (including the famous Great Pyramid of Giza) and the Great Sphinx. According to Movie-Locations, the sound and light show seen in the movie is a nightly occurrence that continues to this day.

6 Basilica Cistern

Sean Connery’s From Russia with Love is set in Istanbul, and the movie visits some of the city’s most popular locations, including the Hagia Sophia. But the movie also contains a little-known treasure, and that is the Basilica Cistern. Located beneath Istanbul, the cistern – complete with 336 columns – is located to the southwest of the Hagia Sophia. While the location makes for a wonderous setting, the movie does contain a few inaccuracies. The cistern does not lie underneath the Soviet consulate, and it was not constructed by Emperor Constantine.

5 Realp

Goldfinger is often regarded as one of the best and most influential James Bond films. It also contains one of the series’ best locations in Realp. Realp is a municipality in Switzerland, and it is famous for its towering green mountains and narrow, winding roads. This is where Bond tails Goldfinger after their golf match, and it’s where Bond is nearly shot by Tilly Masterson. That specific scene was filmed on the steep and winding Furka Pass.

4 Green Grotto Caves

Live and Let Die is unique within the Bond canon, as it’s the only Bond movie to mainly take place in a fictional location – the Caribbean island of San Monique. Jamaica stood in for San Monique, and it was the second time that Jamaica was used as a filming location – following Dr. No (the very first Bond film). Kananga’s underground base was filmed in a tourist attraction known as Green Grotto Caves – a series of massive underground caves that have been used since the 17th century (as a hideout for the Spaniards during the English invasion).

3 Monastery of the Holy Trinity

For Your Eyes Only is another stellar Roger Moore outing, and it contains one of the most visually resplendent climaxes in the entire series. Serving as Kristatos’ hideout is Greece’s Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Located on a 400-metre tall precipice, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity dates back to the 14th century and is situated in the Peneas Valley. The monastery is still occupied to this day, serving the Orthodox Catholic Church. It is also one part of a wider UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2 Korean Demilitarized Zone

Die Another Day is also a unique Bond film. Not because it’s the worst (critics might say it is), but because it’s the only Bond film to visit North Korea. The opening hovercraft chase takes place in North Korea, and the Korean People’s Army plays a significant role throughout the rest of the movie. Perhaps obviously, the sequence was not actually shot in North Korea, or even the wider Korean Demilitarized Zone. Rather, both England and Hawaii stood in for the Korean peninsula.

1 Khao Phing Kan

Lying northeast of Phuket, Thailand is an island known as Khao Phing Kan. The islands are primarily composed of karst towers, and it includes a famous 20-metre tall islet called Ko Tapu. Serving as part of Ao Phang Nga National Park, the coastal area is more popularly known as James Bond Island owing to its inclusion in The Man with the Golden Gun. Ko Ta Pu is described as a “mushroom-shaped rock” and it contains two sun-locking solar panels.

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About The Author

Nathan Sharp (852 Articles Published)

Nathan Sharp is a writer from outside Toronto, Ontario. He has a love of movies and television, having enjoyed them for more than twenty years. His preferences include drama, action, and horror, with the former being a particular point of interest and fascination.

He also has a love of video games, particularly those of Rockstar.

Whether it be about film, television, or video games, Nathan loves a good discussion and has written hundreds of articles for Screen Rant.

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