While Greece may not be one of the first countries you think of when it comes to James Bond, it does have a couple of Bond connections. The first of those is Colonel Sun, by “Robert Markham”, but for most people the greater link is with For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore’s fifth outing as Bond in which Greece also stood in for the Spanish locations.
Much of the film was shot on location in Corfu, with its picturesque old towns and if you look carefully at the film you’ll see some of Corfu’s many monuments appearing in the background; the Old Fortress (above) can be seen in several scenes. While the island has retained much of its charm, it has also suffered the inevitable consequence of being a popular holiday destination, and today some areas are spoilt by the concentrations of tourist hotels.
For the James Bond fan perhaps the best advice on the island is to rent a car and visit as much of it as you can, exploring the mountains, towns and beaches as you go so that you can soak up the island’s many charms and sense of history, while scouting for Bond locations.
As well as the charm of Corfu, a major action set piece took place at Agia Triada monastery, named St Cyril’s in the film. The monastery spectacularly sits atop a vertiginous sandstone pillar and is reached via steep stone steps.
Bond briefly visits Athens in Colonel Sun and, as the capital of what is considered by many to be the birthplace of modern civilization, it is a good place to start. Make sure you see the Acropolis, the Parthenon and (as seen in the end credits of For Your Eyes Only, according to “On The Tracks of 007”, below) the three remaining pillars of Tholos temple.
You can visit the monastery of Agia Triada, where Kristatos and his men were holed up with the ATAC. Bond is assisted by Columbo and his men in accessing the monastery in order to stop it falling into the hands of the KGB; the monastery is located half an hour from Trikala.
As an island, Corfu has beach holidays pretty much nailed. The island is small enough to easily explore by car and visit sites of both historic interest as well as being Bond related; the dunes of Agios Georgios beach on the south-west of the island was where Locque killed the countess.
Fly direct to Corfu on EasyJet from Gatwick, Luton, Manchester and Bristol, to Athens from Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh. Agia Triada is a little more difficult to advise on, with no airports with flights from the UK close by; however, the train from Athens or Thessaloniki to Larissa is a possibility.