Bond abroad: five breathtaking filming locations made famous by No Time To Die

By Judy Cogan | 29 Sep 2021 | Culture, Travel

If you have a hankering to travel like 007, you’re in luck - these stunning destinations are currently open to visitors

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The high-gloss glamour, death-defying stunts and gripping plot lines we’ve been looking forward to for so long from the latest Bond film No Time to Die have finally arrived. The 25th film in this iconic franchise, and Daniel Craig’s swansong playing the suave British secret agent, was first scheduled for release in April 2020, but delayed repeatedly by the pandemic. Finally set for release on 30 September 2021, the trailer hints that we’re in for an exhilarating ride.

Not only do we have a marvellously malignant villain – Safin, played by Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek – but we’ll be swept away to tropical islands, hostile frozen lakes and ancient cities in far-flung locales including Italy, Norway and Jamaica. So, with Bond officially back – and travel once more on the agenda thanks to the easing of Covid restrictions – why not mark the occasion by embarking on a 007-worthy break in a destination that will leave you feeling shaken and stirred – for all the right reasons.

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Matera, Italy

Matera is known for having 1,500 cave dwellings that honeycomb the sides of a steep ravine and have had continuous human habitation since the Stone Age. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site, former European Capital of Culture – and now a Bond backdrop.

The No Time to Die trailer begins with a high-octane car chase (naturally) that magically jumps between shots of Matera and Gravina in Puglia (where Bond jumps off the famous two-tier Roman bridge) as the cars zip around south-eastern Italy.

Matera’s tight narrow streets and crumbly nooks make it perfect car-chase territory, but they are also fascinating to explore on foot without a villain in pursuit. In recent years the ancient abandoned caves in the Sassi, the oldest pocket of the city, have been renovated into luxury hotels, shiny boutiques and art galleries. High-end restaurants serve elevated versions of traditional local dishes such as crapiata, a rich grain and bean soup and fresh breads that have been eaten in the area everyday for centuries.

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Staying in a luxurious cave at the exquisite Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita hotel (pictured above) – will make you feel like a Bond villain ready to take over the world. Inside the tufa rock walls arc up to a lofty 6m-high ceilings, with stone floors dating from the 15th century.

The bathroom sinks are original drinking troughs used by donkeys in the medieval era, but you’ll have Philippe Starck bathtubs, plush bedding and all the mod-cons, only well- hidden to allow you to slip effortlessly back in time. At sunset, enjoy spectacular views of Murgia park on the opposite side of the ravine with your martini.

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Hakadal and The North Atlantic Road, Norway

In the trailer of No Time To Die, Rami Malek’s villain chases a girl (a young Madeleine Swann, played as an adult by Léa Seydoux) across a frozen lake. This is Langvann, near Hakadal just north of Oslo, a popular outdoor recreation area for locals and tourists.

The absurdly beautiful Atlanterhavsveien (Atlantic Road) that skirts the western coast features in a car chase with Bond navigating his Aston Martin along the dips, curves and arch bridges that connect a series of tiny islets located in stormy Atlantic waters.

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In keeping with Bond-levels of glamour, stay at the Grand Hotel in the centre of Oslo with its opulent chandeliers, impressive spa and well-versed, white-gloved staff. The prestigious Nobel Suite here hosts the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize every year.

Alternatively, The Thief Hotel (pictured above) will fulfil its mission to “steal you away from everyday life” with a quirky mix of Damien Hirst works alongside photos of the Queen of Norway on the walls; an impressive spa and luxurious suites that will swallow you whole.;

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Port Antonio, Jamaica

This tropical island is certainly familiar ground for Bond. It was here that Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) wandered in from the sea in Dr. No (1962), the spy’s first ever outing, and it featured again in Live and Let Die (1973) as fictional island San Monique. Producer Barbara Broccoli recently referred to it as “Bond’s spiritual home”, so it’s no wonder our man has found his way back to the Caribbean.

Rumour has it the film opens with Bond living in a beach house in Port Antonio, on the island’s north-east coast, having retired from Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Author Ian Fleming created the James Bond character on the very same coastline, and now you can rent his house, Fleming Villa (writing desk still in place). It is one of a scattering of luxury properties on the GoldenEye resort (pictured above) enclosed in a lush jungle of tropical plants and trees with outdoor showers, deep clawfoot tubs and hand-dyed batik robes. It doesn’t get much more Bond than this.;

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Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

Welcome to the next James Bond island. The film crew shot on the intimidating outcrop of Kalsoy island, surrounded by mountains in the tiny Faroe Islands, 500 miles west of Norway, in the North Atlantic. Kalsoy, with its untamed shorelines and majestic cliff faces, will become home for Malek’s evil villain.

If you visit the island, why not go full-Bond and arrive by helicopter? The landscape may appear desolate at first glance, but the Faroe Islands offer a truly luxury experience immersed in extraordinary nature. Hotel Brandan is a four- star-plus eco-friendly operation with a grass- topped roof and excellent high-end restaurant serving elegant takes on Nordic cuisine. With hot tubs, a wine cellar and a bar serving bespoke cocktails, it ticks all the right boxes.

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The Cairngorms, Scotland

By now we know Bond’s heritage lies in Scotland. Following on from Skyfall (2012), with dramatic scenes shot at 007’s family home in Glencoe, this film will take him home to the Highlands – specifically the Ardverikie Estate, near Newtonmore in the Cairngorms.

This 19th-century property has previously featured in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen and doubled up as a convincing Balmoral Castle in Netflix sensation The Crown.

Holiday cottages ranging from farm houses to miniature castles – the largest sleeping 13 comfortably – are dotted around the estate surrounded by rugged mountains, tranquil forests and the magnificent Loch Laggan. Gatelodge, for example, sits on the banks of the River Pattack with a fairytale turret, spiral staircase and woodburner – perfect for a cosy, romantic Bond-worthy break.