How James Bond put Montenegro on the map

Back in 2006, very few people had heard of Montenegro. Sandwiched between Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania in southeastern Europe, the small black mountain state had formed as a result of the break up of the former Yugoslavia. But the small country quickly rose to fame after the release of 21st Bond film, Casino Royale.

Montenegro or not?

After earning his license to kill, Daniel Craig is depicted as racing towards Montenegro on a Japanese-style bullet train, sipping champagne.

Further into the movie we’re treated to scenes of a beautiful historic town, believed to be Budva, where Bond takes on the terrorist financier Chiffre at a poker game in the casino of the grand Hotel Splendide.

Casino Royale not only shot Daniel Craig to fame, the acclaimed Bond film also raised the awareness of Montenegro to millions of people all over the world. It crafted an image of breathtaking landscapes dotted with medieval castles, dramatic mountain ranges and luxurious resorts.

However, here’s the clincher – not one single scene was filmed in the country itself. You certainly won’t find bullet trains hurtling through Montenegro’s mountains serving up cocktails.

Where was it filmed?

Having just gained independence, Montenegro had limited resources available at that time for such a large-scale movie production, and as a result, the producers decided to use the Czech Republic as a stand in. Although there is a ‘Hotel Splendido’ in the Bay of Kotor, most of the key scenes took place in the quaint spa town of Loket in the western part of the Czech Republic.

Director Martin Campbell’s hopes that Montenegro’s tourism would erupt as a result of the movie came true. Hotels in the country saw a massive surge in bookings, even though the press continued to cite the former Yugoslavia as the set.

Emulating Bond in Montenegro

As you emerge from the turquoise waters around the Bay of Kotor and sip ‘shaken not stirred’ martinis from your lavish infinity pool with spectacular views of imposing mountains and elegant marinas, you’ll find it hard to believe none of the scenes were actually filmed here.

Montenegro is a country full of hidden treasures and is quite rightly tipped to be one of Europe’s rising destinations. You’ll find everything from adrenaline-filled adventures, Michelin-quality cuisine, breathtaking vistas and sumptuous 5* resorts for the ultimate 007 retreat.

On your visit, for the ultimate adventure, head inland to the Durmitor National Park and white water raft along the Tara River between the cliff faces of one of the world’s largest canyons. With pine tree forests complete with wolves, bears and golden eagles you’ll also find the wild wonder of Lake Skadar, which can be explored by kayak or bicycle.

Weave in and out of ancient monasteries, pretending you’re on a top secret mission before heading back to the winding cobbled city streets filled with medieval architecture, dining on fresh seafood and delicious locally produced wine.