Switzerland

Switzerland location map

Switzerland

The Alps, Europe’s highest mountain range, are shared by France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Shaped by glaciers 2,5 million years ago, this region with a total area of 70,000 square miles (240,000 km²) has, apart from the environs of London, the highest density of Bond locations in the world. Parts of the films Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only, Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough were filmed here.


Below is a summary of the story On Top Of The Alps, as featured in the travel guide On the tracks of 007.
Furka Pass

The St Gotthard Pass road meanders up to an altitude of 6920 feet (2109m). Near the top a gift shop is located, from where you have a marvellous view over the Alpine landscape beneath you. Descending the St Gotthard to the north you reach Hospental after a while. Here you turn left into the Furka Pass. The road between Hospental and Realp, with the railroad tracks on the left-hand side, will immediately look familiar to us Bond fans. It is the place where Bond ‘ditched’ Tilly Masterson by shredding the tires of her car in Goldfinger in 1964.

The picturesque small village Realp, with the mountains in the background that we approach next, is also visible in the film. Behind Realp the road becomes pretty narrow and steep. In a series of serpentines it ascends the mountainside. Most of the time there are not even crash barriers, only a line of concrete or wooden poles are installed to protect you from driving off the road into the deep. So you have to drive very carefully.

About 3 miles (5km) after Realp you have to look for a boulder with the red inscription ‘Kil 47’ on the left-hand side of the road. A couple of yards further down the road is a small parking space also on the left. Be very cautious when leaving the car there and walking along the busy, narrow road. Looking down into the valley you see a sharp hairpin bend directly above a torrent. At that spot the Rolls Royce is parked when Oddjob and Goldfinger take a break and buy some fruit from a street-vendor. You are on the very location where Bond stands observing Tilly Masterson’s assassination attempt upon Goldfinger. Following the Furka Pass you will see some other spots that are passed by Goldfinger’s Rolls and Bond’s Aston Martin during their ride through the Swiss mountains, like for example the Furka Hospiz.
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The 360° Panorama-Revolving-Restaurant Piz Gloria, lying on an elevation of 9748 feet (2971m) is an El Dorado for us Bond fans. You really don’t know where to go first. So, to get attuned properly, let’s start with the ‘Touristorama’. At the pillar in the centre of this cinema-like room two buttons are installed. With one you can switch on a multivision slide show (17 projectors) presenting a spectacular Alpine panorama. If you press the button with the inscription ‘007’ a movie show with the most thrilling excerpts of OHMSS starts. Seeing 007 and Blofeld chasing around and hearing John Barry’s splendid Bond-theme puts us into the right mood to continue our exploration of Piz Gloria.

Above the escalator to the next floor we discover another trace of OHMSS: Blofeld’s elaborate coat of arms (ARAE ET FOCI) is painted on the wall. In the James-Bond-Bar on this floor an imaginative range of snacks for smaller appetites is available. The walls of the room are decorated with a coloured painting of an action-scene and three black-and-white murals of Bond, Tracy and Blofeld (although you have to admit that Diana Rigg looks much better in the film than in that picture). In the adjacent gift shop Bond-souvenirs like T-shirts, mugs, postcards etc. are on sale. On the same level as the James-Bond-Bar lies the sun terrace, which we of course know better as the heliport, where Bond, posing as Sir Hilary, and the girls spent their spare time curling. Since the filming some modifications have been made. Instead of quadrangular it is now nearly round and the lateral stairs, which led to the basement, are gone. Here we are amid grandiose, mountain scenery. The famous peaks of Eiger, Monch (monk) and Jungfrau (virgin), which are almost always thought of as a trio, lay directly vis-à-vis.

The most appropriate way to admire this majestic, Alpine wonderland is to enjoy it while having a meal in the solar-powered Revolving Restaurant Piz Gloria. Ascending the stairs along the gilded grating like Bond, you enter the restaurant on the top floor of the building. The ring of tables along the windows takes an hour to do one complete revolution. Among others a ‘James-Bond breakfast’ and ‘Spaghetti James Bond’ are on offer. A nice souvenir for free are the menus and paper napkins with 007-logos. Relishing a tasty dinner (for a reasonable price), while the marvellous landscape passes by, is a really unique experience. There is much controversy within the Bond community how to evaluate OHMSS. Some almost neglect it completely, some think it is the best Bond film ever made. However that may be, about its principal location Piz Gloria atop Schilthorn mountain, there cannot be any argument, it’s without any doubt one of the most outstanding locales in the whole world.

Piz Gloria on top of Mount Schilthorn, Blofeld's hideout in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Returning from Piz Gloria you leave the cable car at the base station at Stechelberg, where Fraulein Irma Bunt bids farewell to the girls, when they have left Blofeld’s lair. From here it’s not far to the Trummelbach Falls. There are 10 waterfalls inside the mountain, which drain the mighty glacier defiles of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. They are illuminated and accessible by tunnel-lift. Going back to Lauterbrunnen you are on the same route as Bond and Tracy in their red Ford Cougar after they escaped their pursuers from the Christmas Festival. At the southern entrance of the village they pass the little church which was built in 1822. A bit further down the street into the centre of Lauterbrunnen you will find an elevated parking lot between the Kloppelstube and the Hotel Jungfrau. Here the telephone booth was installed, where Bond tries to ‘contact London’. When he comes under machine-gun fire from his assailants he escapes and is picked up by Tracy in her car in front of the Hotel Jungfrau.

The area around Lauterbrunnen and Murren south of Interlaken in the Bernse Oberland was the principal location for the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (OHMSS) in 1969. In Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name Blofeld’s lair was described as a fortress situated atop a Swiss mountain accessible only by helicopter and cable car. Since there was not such an abundance of places like that, the filmmakers were jubilant when they came across a half completed restaurant at the peak of the Schilthorn Mountain, which towered above the little hamlet of Murren. In return for furnishing the interior and constructing a helicopter landing pad EON Productions got the filming permission. Many locales in the vicinity of the Schilthorn were utilized in the movie. Considering the fact that Murren is not accessible by car, the nearby Lauterbrunnen would be an appropriate base camp to explore the region.

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This and much more can be found in the chapter 'On top of the Alps' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) - poster

Schweizerhof

Bern, Switzerland
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