Set Jetting to the Exotic Filming Locations of ‘Skyfall’

See photos and read about the picturesque filming locations of "Skyfall." From Shanghai to London, James Bond sure got around in the popular 2012 film.

Dakota Smith - Jan. 27, 2015

Thrilling action, beautiful Bond girls and exotic filming locations are three things that all James Bond movies are known for, and the film Skyfall is no exception. Several of its scenes were set in stunning foreign locales, as the film saw Daniel Craig’s James Bond travel across the world battling nefarious villains and seducing distressed damsels. In this article we’ll take a look at a few of the set locations used in the film, some of which were made clear – Shanghai and London, for example – but also a few others that were a little more obscure.

Istanbul, Turkey

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul – photo by Miriam Mack

The opening scene of Skyfall takes places in Istanbul, the Turkish capital, and sees Bond chasing an enemy operative on a motorbike. In one scene the chase moves to the rooftops and the imposing Hagia Sophia, the city’s iconic 1,500-year-old mosque, can be seen clearly in the background. The most thrilling part of the chase, however, is when Bond crashes through the window of the Grand Bazaar and continues his high-speed chase in the 18th century market.

Fethiye, Turkey

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Fethiye, Turkey – photo by Emrah Bozkurt

After Bond is shot, he resurfaces at a bar on a tropical beach attempting to drink without being bitten by the scorpion on his hand – oh Bond, that’s classic him! This scene was also filmed in Turkey, in the city of Fethiye. A nine-hour drive south of Istanbul, Fethiye is at the heart of what’s known as the Turkish Riviera, and is a popular holiday spot for Europeans.

Shanghai, China

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Shanghai, Eastern China – photo by OyOp

Later on in Skyfall, Bond travels to Shanghai in an attempt to glean information from an assassin about a plot to sell an MI6 agent list. The scene has its usual assortment of violence and suspense, with a big fight taking place in a Pudong skyscraper. But the most striking parts of the scene are its visuals of Shanghai’s futuristic skyline. Shanghai, of course, is a Chinese megacity that’s home to almost 25 million people and many of the world’s tallest buildings. When not admiring the skyline from the Bund, visitors to Shanghai can take it all in and get a Bond-esque view from the observation deck on the 94th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Hashima Island, Japan

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Hashima Island, Nagasaki – photo by Chris

Bond villains always have cool hideouts and Skyfall’s Silva, with his island fortress, is no exception. Though the small island, with its abandoned and tightly clustered decrepit buildings, seems to be the work of a filmmaker’s imagination, it is very much real. The artificial Hashima Island lies just off the coast of Nagasaki and was built by Mitsubishi in the early 20th century to house workers for an underground coal mine. At one time the island housed more than 4,000 people, but when the mine closed in the 1970s the rapidly leaving workers left behind the urban ghost town seen in Skyfall.

London, England

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Houses Of Parliament, London – photo by Alvin and Rose

Much of the film’s third act takes place in London and several identifiable London locales are shown in the film. Bond and Q (the gadgets guy!) have a not-so-clandestine meeting at the National Portrait Gallery, for instance. The Old Vic Tunnels underneath Waterloo Station fill in for MI6’s secret, World War II-era underground base, and Bond’s end-of-film vantage point of London was shot from atop the Department for Energy and Climate Change building.

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Glencoe, Scotland

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Glencoe, Scotland – photo by Simon Heyes

Finally, Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands, 100 miles north of Glasgow, was the scene for the film’s final act, which saw Bond return to his family home, an estate called Skyfall. The isolated wilderness of Glencoe providing the perfect backdrop to the destructive fight scenes. Since most visitors to Glencoe won’t have to ward off a helicopter attack by a crazed villain, they can instead enjoy the area’s many outdoor attractions. Cycling, hiking, nature walking and even skiing are just some of the activities that can be found in the area.

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