No Time to Die: The ultimate James Bond travel guide

The sandstone city of Matera, Italy.

The latest Bond blockbuster to hit the big-screen takes us around the globe in the way only a Bond film can: spectacular danger in spectacular locations. No Time to Die (2021) is the 25th instalment of the franchise’s 60 year run.

As usual, we’re along for the ride as Bond speeds his Aston Martin through scenic territory and takes a break from the gratuitous violence of it all on a tropical island beach. Exotic locations have been a staple of Bond films since Sean Connery was first cast for the role in the 60s. 

But every time I find myself watching one, slumped on my couch with my fingers covered in popcorn dust, I can’t help but feel a little jealous of the super spy’s travel itinerary and the stamps he must have in his passport. So, I’ve done a little reconnaissance mission of my own to zero in on some of the locations featured in No Time to Die. It should make for the perfect Bond-inspired getaway – minus the mortal danger, especially if you factor in international travel insurance.

Matera, Italy

The sandstone city of Matera, Italy.

We first meet Bond in Southern Italy, in the ancient town of Matera. When I say ancient, I mean 9,000 years old. Built on hills, the sandstone city dips and dives, jutting out of the landscape. Matera has actually undergone an incredible transformation over the last few decades, with Italy’s prime minister describing it as a national shame in 1950. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site and in 2019 was named a European Capital of Culture.

While once characterised by poverty, a town inhabited by cave-dwelling troglodytes, it is now home to cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. It’s a city characterised by change. I can’t help but wonder if it was chosen to reflect the changing nature of Bond himself, as he seeks to leave behind the chaos of his whirlwind existence and settle for the quiet life with Madeleine Swann. In any case, if you’re after a change of scenery, Matera’s winding alleys and mountain-side stays are the perfect place for a getaway.

Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway

The arched bridge featured on Norway's Atlantic Ocean Road

Like something straight out of a car commercial (which, funnily enough, it is), Norway’s Atlantic Ocean Road is a road-tripper’s dream. The 8km stretch of road snakes across the ocean like a great asphalt python, connecting a cluster of islands off South-Eastern Norway. It won the award for Norwegian Construction of the Century in 2005 and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage declared it a cultural heritage site in 2009. 

We see Bond zoom along the Atlantic Ocean Road in a high-octane car-chase when escaping the villain, Safin. 

The road’s main attraction is the Storseisundet Bridge, which arches like a cat waking from an afternoon nap high above the ocean below. It has a beautiful simplicity as it rises, curves slightly, then falls, making it both a picturesque feat of engineering and a thrilling drive.

Port Antonio, Jamaica

A tropical island beach in Jamaica

Jamaica is essentially 007’s birthplace. As some of you might know, the films drew inspiration from British writer Ian Fleming’s books which were penned in his winter home, named Goldeneye, in Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica. 

While the private beach where Bond was set to retire (in his less-than-modest shack) isn’t open to the public, you can still find some of Jamaica’s finest beaches on Port Antonio’s coast. The town itself is a patchwork of architectural styles, with ample places to savour local cuisine like the always moreish jerk chicken. Port Antonio also features the Blue Lagoon, a 60m deep pool of water containing legend of a dragon which resides in its depths. The sapphire waters are a perfect way to cool off after a long day of hiking the nearby Blue Mountains.

Jamaica’s Port Antonio is a classic Bond getaway, whether you’re trekking through the rugged forests, or reclining on the white sands of a beach. Just don’t venture too far into the jungle, or you might stumble upon a Bond villain’s lair…

Havana, Cuba

A colourful Cuban home with a bicycle resting on its wall and a statue of a dog in the doorway

Havana is Cuba’s capital and largest city. Its tropical climate and cultural diversity make it a must-see destination for anyone seeking a low-key getaway. While Cuba is a country still recovering from shaky economic ground since the Castro Revolution, it’s rapidly becoming a hub for tourism, with estimates of over 1 million travellers arriving each year.

It’s often said the city can be divided in three parts: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana, rich in history, holds Spanish-style architecture and remnants of a colonial past. If you like the sound of strolling through sometimes-crumbling colourful architectural canyons of narrow streets, surrounded by three-storey buildings, then Old Havana is a walker’s paradise. Vedado, on the other hand, is the happening, commercial part of Havana. This is where you’ll find the majority of hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, and clubs. There’s plenty to discover in this densely populated milieu, whatever slice of the cultural pie you’re looking for.

Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A small fishing boat, dwarfed by a grassy cliff face

The lair of No Time to Die’s villain Safin is hidden on a remote island somewhere between Japan and Russia in the film. But in actuality, it was shot on Kalsoy, part of Denmark’s Faroe Islands. With sheer cliff-faces that drop off into the sea below and 13 looming mountain peaks, this isolated island (with no bridges or roads connecting it to any other landmass) is the perfect place to host a Bond villain hideout.

Thinking of going on a Bond-inspired adventure?

Before you go, make sure to read through some of our top travel tips, because while you might not be chased through the cobblestone streets of Matera by a motorcycle assassin (hopefully), it’s still good to be prepared for the unexpected.

Travel tips

Find a travel insurance policy that works for you

While you might not have MI6 watching your back, it's a good idea to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong on your trip. If you get injured or fall ill, lose your luggage, or need cover for a pre-existing medical condition, a travel insurance policy is as indispensable as an exploding wristwatch is to 007. 

Have adequate car insurance or rental car insurance

If you’re doing a real James Bond inspired trip, you might hire out an Aston Martin to whip around in. Making sure you’ve got car insurance covered could save you a fair bit if you have an accident. Some travel insurance providers will cover the excess on rental car insurance should you need to make a claim – just another reason why travel insurance is so useful for travellers. 

Check the travel requirements when heading overseas 

When leaving Australia, you need to be fully vaccinated and test negative to a COVID-19 PCR test. You’ll also need to check if the vaccine you’ve been administered is recognised by your destination’s standards for vaccines. On top of that, many countries require you to present an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate

Check the Smartraveller warnings for your destinations

While international travel is opening up, there are still risks you have to consider when heading to another country. By checking in with the Smartraveller advice levels, you can have a better idea about your safety in another country. COVID-19 is still a factor to consider when travelling abroad, but the advice levels cover things like natural disasters and terrorist threats too. When it comes to travel insurance, most providers won't cover you if the advice level is at level 4 (Do Not Travel), so keep that in mind when looking for a policy for your trip.

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