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007… Licence to travel!

What springs to mind when you think about Ian Fleming’s Martini-sipping secret agent? Probably a sporty car, cool gadgets, beautiful women, outrageous villains, death-defying stunts and after her Olympian effort, even Her Majesty herself, all in exotic locations!

Through his many adventures, Agent 007 has been plying his trade in over 30 worldwide locations all in the name of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

This month’s release of the 23rd film, Skyfall, marks 50 years on the silver screen for popular culture’s most enduring superspy.

In his honour, the Flexicover Team takes a look at some of the great places he has ventured to.

Jamaica: Dr No (1962)

Where better to start than where it all began… Starring Sean Connery, the first James Bond film was based on the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name (actually the sixth Bond novel). It features what may be the most famous beach scene ever – Ursula Andress emerging from the warm Caribbean Sea in that famous white bikini, conch shell in hand. Although the island of Crab Key featured in the film is fictional, the scene was shot on the stretch of sand known as Laughing Waters, Ocho Rios (near Ian Fleming’s own house, Goldeneye). This magnificent beach even has waterfalls going straight into the ocean and you don’t need it to be any more inviting than that!

Bond Fact: Sean Connery wears a toupee in all his James Bond movies.

USA: A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore’s twelve year, seven-film stint as the suave and sophisticated agent came to an end in spectacular fashion. In the finale, 007 grabs a mooring rope hanging from Max Zorin’s airship as he’s leaving the mine and during the flight, manages to tangle the rope in the Golden Gate Bridge. Zorin (played brilliantly by Christopher Walken) and Bond then fight on the bridge leading to Zorin falling into San Francisco Bay. If you do go to ‘San Fran’, venture up to Hawk Hill on the north side of the bridge; it offers a stunning view of the famed international orange art deco bridge and you’ll be able to see right over the bay and San Francisco beyond.

Bond Fact: The description of Max Zorin in the script was based on Sting, and written with David Bowie in mind, but he turned down the part in favour of Labyrinth.

Gibraltar: The Living Daylights (1987)

The pre-title sequence sees Bond and two other double-0 agents parachute into Gibraltar to test its defences. When one is killed by an assassin, Bond gives chase, hurtling down Gibraltar's narrow roads on the roof of a Land Rover. After the obligatory fight scene, Bond escapes with his reserve parachute while the assassin is killed when the Land Rover explodes in mid-air. Gibraltar is only 6.8 square kilometres, so most of it can be explored on foot. Some of the roads are very steep - especially heading to the Upper Rock, so rather than assassin-driven Land Rovers you may want to take a taxi to go and meet the famous Barbary macaques.

Bond Fact: Sean Bean was among the actors considered for the part of James Bond and eventually went on to play 006, Agent Alec Trevelyan, in Goldeneye.

Russia: Goldeneye (1995)

Forget Aston Martins - in an epic sequence Bond ‘borrows’ a ridiculously powerful army tank and pursues General Ourumov through St. Petersburg. However, we would not recommend a tank as a suitable means of transportation to explore "Russia's Window to the West"; walking is probably a better way to enjoy the city's magnificent architectural facades, monuments, attractive bridges and impressive mansions. In fact, all the major sights in the city are centrally located within easy distance of each other.

Bond Fact: Agent 006 was originally written with Anthony Hopkins in mind but he declined. When Sean Bean was cast, the part was rewritten; however, they still had the character remembering the 1940s, which makes sense with Hopkins but not with Bean.

Italy: Casino Royale (2006)

Venice is a major setting in this movie and it's featured three times in the Bond franchise (the others being From Russia with Love and Moonraker). The climatic sinking house scene is a movie set but buildings in Venice have been known to give way and sink into canals; don’t worry, though, it doesn’t happen often! This car-free city offers attractions and scenery that almost anyone can appreciate from beautiful architecture to stunning views and fascinating culture. It could be said you can ‘sink’ right in to the experience!

Bond Fact: The spectacular opening parkour chase took 6 weeks to film and is the first time there has been a foot chase in a Bond film.

Scotland: Skyfall (2012)

The latest instalment of the Bond franchise takes place mainly in China and Turkey. However Glencoe, in the Scottish Highlands, is the location for the film's denouement. Ian Fleming loved the area and wrote that the spy’s father Andrew hailed from Glencoe. This is perhaps one of the UK’s most scenic and breathtaking landscapes – popular with walkers and mountaineers alike. Situated within an area often called the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, the area offers myriad activities. Whether you want to feel like an action hero whilst kayaking, mountain biking or on fast boat rides or just play through a gentler game of golf it’s all there for the taking!

Bond Fact: This movie is the first time a Bond movie has been filmed in China. It also marks the first time that Q will be younger than James Bond.

Wherever you decide to travel, Flexicover, the travel insurance specialists, are committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!