Sex, stunts and vodka martinis. It’s not what Austria is famous for, but the Tyrol – and in particular, Soelden, the winter Valhalla tucked away at the southern tip of the steep-sided Oetztal Valley – is quickly becoming known for it. And it’s all thanks to James Bond.
The Alpine resort is where key scenes from Spectre, the most recent movie in the storied franchise, were filmed. And as of this summer, it is home to the world’s first permanent 007 museum.
In typical Bond-villain-lair style, 007 Elements is in a spectacular location, accessible only by cable car and chiselled into the summit crags of the 3,056-metre Gaislachkogl mountain. It includes a mirrored room dedicated to explosive sets and locations, an exhibit of gadgets and other props, a cinema, a 360-degree theatre and a tech lab telling the august Bond history. This generation’s Miss Moneypenny, Naomie Harris, and Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (who helmed Skyfall and Spectre) pop-up on the big screen to make the introductions.
Outside, near where Bond author Ian Fleming once holidayed, extra spectacle is provided by the jaw-dropping Ice-Q restaurant, a symmetrical, sheer-glass Tetris cube recast in Spectre as the Hoffler Clinic. It’s easy to spend the afternoon ogling the panoramas from its terrace, all while tucking into Tyrolean specialties such as cranberry-topped schnitzel and cheese-curd strudel, or that renowned 007 favourite: an olive-speared dirty martini. Later, you can check in to the aesthetically stark Bergland Hotel – now with renamed James Bond Suite – where Daniel Craig and partner Rachel Weisz stayed during filming.
Beyond the resort, drama is seldom out of sight elsewhere. You’re aware of its presence in the Oetztal Valley all the time: from the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers with their moraine skirts, to the cliff-top couloir cameos and cowbell-adorned mountain huts of Hochsoelden.
The next 007 movie is Bond 25, slated for production in December. In the meantime, Soelden is expecting you.
The writer travelled with assistance from Ötztal Tourism. It did not review or approve this article.