Retracing Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego Locations in real life

Last Updated on 13 May, 2021

During the COVID quarantine period when travel was basically off-limits and I had a ton of time to spend at home watching TV, and imagine my glee when I came across the original Netflix series Carmen Sandiego, based on the original 90s cartoon series and remade in 2019 for today’s audience. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? That’s the question I asked every new episode as our titular heroine popped up in a new place around the world. It was pretty fun seeing how they depicted actual places I’ve visited and stoking that wanderlust of new places to check out in future. I thought I’d share with you how some of these locations featured in Carmen Sandiego are like in real life based on my own travels.

Some nerding-out up ahead. Did you know that way before I started this travel blog, I used to have a TV blog? It turns out that while I’m not much of an armchair critic, what helped me enjoy shows more was dissecting the information that they provided and figuring out character’s backstories or saving my favourite quotes. Since international travel seems to be off the shelf for a while, I’m indulging my wanderlust and fangirling in other ways :)

Note: The final season 4 of Carmen Sandiego launched 15 January 2021 on Netflix! It’s purported to be the last episode of the animated series, though there are talks about potential live-action movie adaptations.

SPOILER ALERT: Since I’m talking about locations from the show, it will be pretty inevitable that I might give away some spoilers because some of the locations are tied in with the I’ll also try hard not to give away too many spoilers, but be warned that I might do so unintentionally, but seriously you can find everything on Wikipedia or Fandom anyway so it’s not like I’m giving away sacred information. This series is an easy watch as each episode is just 22mins long, and there are only 33 episodes over 4 seasons. Go watch it if you can!

Netflix Carmen Sandiego Title Screen
Screenshot of Carmen Sandiego Title Screen from Youtube

Who is Carmen Sandiego?

In the 1990s

A bit of background if you’ve never even heard of Carmen Sandiego – our protagonist is a feisty master thief who educated 90’s children on world geography by going all around the world to steal things. She has an iconic look consisting of a red trenchcoat and a matching fedora.

Back then, Carmen Sandiego was popular edutainment that took the form of video games, TV series as well as TV gameshows. I remember her as a wise-cracking VILE thief who stole the weirdest and most outlandish things in space and time on the run from ACME agents, and the shows were full of the punniest puns which were clues/links to Carmen’s location or what she stole.

This is the theme song that also got stuck in my head, though I’ll admit it’s only the first 2 lines.

Today

Netflix rebooted the series in 2019 with a bit of a twist, while they kept her signature look, they gave Carmen a more interesting backstory, characterisation, made her younger and turned her into more of a heroine. but in the Netflix series she’s escaped from VILE and out-stealing them to bring them down while outwitting ACME on the go. Besides the current 2 seasons on Netflix, there is an interactive episode where you can choose your own storyline, as well as a game that you can play on Google Earth.

In most of the episodes, Carmen and her tech support Player do a simple but educational rundown of the place that they are headed to which gives a bit of context to the events that happen in the episode.

Where on earth is Carmen Sandiego?

Let’s take a look at where Carmen Sandiego has been in the Netflix series in the first two seasons. Here’s a Google Map I made plotting out the places around the world that we see her in (and that I can identify, tell me if I missed anything). When I was younger, most of these places that they visited were only things that I had read about in books, but now quite a lot of years later, it’s pretty fun to identify the places that I’ve actually been to in person, and made me think about some of my old travel memories.


Carmen Sandiego Locations in Season 1

In a nutshell, Season 1 introduces Carmen to us as a child growing up in the VILE Academy for fledgling criminals training to be the best thief, realising that she was misguided and how she escapes and tries to outwit VILE by out-stealing them. Along the way, she draws Interpol’s interest, and they in turn draw secret agency ACME’s eye. Everyone’s trying to find Carmen Sandiego while she and her hodgepodge crew skip around the world trying to stay ahead of the game.

In order of episode appearance – those in green are places I’ve personally visited, and some of my stories are below:

  • Canary Islands, Spain – there are 8 main islands with Tenerife being the most well known, but likely VILE’s secret island was an obscure unrecorded islet in this area
  • Poitiers, France
  • Morocco – they never specify where in Morocco the dig site is, but there are several across the country
  • Paris, France
  • Java, Indonesia – it’s not clear where exactly in Java they are, though from the map on screen it could be forested areas in Central or Eastern Java
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Mumbai, India – specifically the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya national museum though they never mention its name on screen, the silhouette is quite distinct
  • San Francisco, USA

Paris, France (Episode 3)

Episode 3 is when Carmen’s current adventures begin (the first 2 episodes are backstory of how she became who she is today, pretty interesting setup), and there is a chase scene right in the beginning in Paris. I don’t have that much to say because I also only spent a very brief time here, but here’s a picture I used quite a lot in the beginnings of this blog when I was a bit more shy about showing my face. I liked the relaxed happy vibe I had going on here, and yes I have my feet in the pools at the Louvre but it was high summer and SUPER HOT.

France Paris Louvre Water Me
Also yes, I was walking around in flipflops, sadly I can’t do that for too long now!

Ecuador (Episode 4)

Episode 4 saw Carmen heading to Ecuador, and opens to her scuba diving in their waters. While I never saw any wrecks, fancy doubloons or giant tuna, I did manage to scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands during my career break and it was some of the most amazing diving I’d done to date. Hammerheads and other sharks galore!

Read about my Galapagos Islands guide for the solo traveller to see more pix (and a cool video of hammerhead sharks!)

Galapagos Kicker Rock Diving Me Fish
we swam through a giant ball of Salema fish! What you’re seeing here is just a mere fraction of what we saw
Galapagos Kicker Rock Hammerheads
How many hammerheads can you see? The visibility was not great but holy moly SO MANY sharks. (p/s there are 5 hammers in this shot!)

The action moves from sea level up to Quito, second highest capital in the world after La Paz, Bolivia which I also visited later that same trip. South America’s markets were always a great place for cheap colourful eats, though I never knew about all the fish auctions. I did do a local tour and ate a ton of food – mmh tamales yummy.

Ecuador Quito Panecillo View Me
On the top of El Panecillo, the ‘little bread’, a hill in Quito which has a really large statue called the Virgen de Quito on it

One thing they weren’t kidding about was the altitude sickness that Carmen succumbs to in the show. It really creeps up on you and is the worst~ I felt its worst effects while further down south in Peru while in Arequipa. Made a trip to Colca Canyon and was absolutely FLOORED when I came back, spent most of that evening without an appetite and slept so much. The local remedy is to drink lots of coca tea – that really worked for me.

Another fun fact – the episode revolved around the Ecuador 8 Escudos Doubloon, and while I never saw one in Ecuador, one thing you’ll probably encounter is the US$1 coin. You can only use it in Ecuador as they use the dollar bill in USA!


Amsterdam, Netherlands (Episode 5)

I visited Amsterdam on the tail end of my jaunt through the Balkans and Baltics mostly because it was one of those famous places that I had never visited at that point. And one thing I ended up doing a lot was catching up on culture and doing lots of museum visits.

Amsterdam’s Museumsplein (Museum Square) is where you’ll find most of the large and famous museums. I visited the Van Gogh Museum because I love Almond Blossom and Starry Night (which is in MoMA), the Foam Museum where they were having a Helmut Newton photography retrospective, the contemporary Stedelijk Museum as well as the Moco Museum because they had a Banksy exhibition.

But of course the most famous must-see is the national museum aka Rijksmuseum, and while I definitely prefer contemporary over classical art, I was curious to see what the big deal was about. The Rijksmuseum is a major location in Episode 5, in particular the Vermeer work Woman reading a letter. While the episode makes it sound like this was the only Vermeer work in the Rijks, you can also see The Milkmaid and View of Houses in Delft.

Amsterdam Rijksmuseum Vermeer WomaninBlue
I will admit I don’t always remember the masterpieces that I’ve seen, so it’s nice to discover through photos that I actually did see them in person. The Milkmaid is to the left of this painting

I remember the highlight being Rembrandt and his humongous Night Watch piece, but as I was looking through my shots, I did actually take a shot of the Woman in Blue – I knew I found the painting familiar when I watched the episode!

Amsterdam Rijksmuseum Rembrandt NightWatch
Here’s what everyone was really enraptured by, probably because of its sheer size. Rembrandt’s Night Watch

Also of note are the many, many canals that crisscross Amsterdam. My hostel was on a lower level that overlooked one. Everywhere I walked I’d cross one canal or another. They are what makes Amsterdam quite unique.

Amsterdam Canal Waterway
One of the many canals I crossed in Amsterdam

Sydney, Australia (Episode 6)

Episode 6 sees Carmen visit the Sydney Opera House during the opera Carmen and it’s hard to miss that iconic white sail-like roof when in the area. In more recent years I’ve spent time in Melbourne and Western Australia, but the last time I was in Sydney was wayyyy back in the early 2000s on a family trip. We took a road trip from Melbourne through the Blue Mountains and ended up in Sydney, where of course we went to see Darling Harbour where the Opera House is as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Opera House Me
20-year old me with the Sydney Opera House in the background. We did get closer and sat on its front steps, but we didn’t go inside.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Me
Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

Sydney actually is just a quick stopover in this episode; the main action takes place in the Outback close to Uluru, which sadly I’ve not seen for myself at this point… someday!


San Francisco, USA (Episode 8)

You can’t miss the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The rolling fog is a pretty incredible experience especially coming from Singapore where fog is non-existent. I never knew the fog was named Karl, but did you know Karl has an Instagram account with over 250k followers? They even have their own book! Sadly because of Karl, I never did get much of a view of the Golden Gate Bridge because it was just perpetually covered up.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Foggy
Foggy, foggy, so foggy

The episode highlighted the Golden Gate Bridge, but also mentions other San Francisco highlights. I did get to ride the iconic cable car clinging on to the side for my life and stroll around Fisherman’s Wharf, but I did not visit America’s oldest and largest Chinatown nor did I go to The Rock aka Alcatraz Island. I thought they nailed the chase scene with the hilly streets but I thought it was a missed opportunity not to show the crookedest Lombard Street!

I only spent 4 days wandering around San Francisco but I did cover a fair bit in that time, from visiting its major tourist sights and deciding if they were worth the hype, to exploring San Francisco’s street art scene.

San Francisco - Cable Car on the go
Hanging on to the corner of the cable car!

Also if you’re curious about the stamp that was stolen in this episode, the one-cent Black on Magenta is better known as the British Guiana One-cent Magenta and is really worth US$9.5million – it was bought by American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman in 2014. The Smithsonian has a pretty good article about the history of the stamp.


Carmen Sandiego Locations in Season 2

Season 2 sees Carmen continuing to caper around the world, but this time with the question of her ancestry and family on her mind. Her crew expands, she sets up a HQ, and learns more secrets along the way about her past and how VILE and ACME really fit in her life.

  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Carmen is seen at the Christ the Redeemer viewpoint and conducts a chase through the slopes of the Dona Marta favela. The episode ends with Carmen and Shadow-san likely at Copacabana Beach.
  • Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan – specifically Matsumoto Castle, one of the most complete original castles in Japan and a National Treasure. Armor and swords are on display, but I don’t know if the Daisho shown here is actually real.
  • Athens, Greece – I visited Athens quite a long time ago with my family so I don’t remember it very well. The team is seen sitting around the Acropolis before they head to Milan for the mission.
  • Milan, Italy
  • Boston, USA – Zack and Ivy are from South Boston, but I can’t tell if the racetrack is based on a real one
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Auckland, New Zealand – The Sky Tower is featured in the rundown but most of the episode takes place in the outskirts
  • Stockholm, Sweden – The City Hall Bell Tower is where Carmen and Jules meet. No idea where the forest that Carmen lands in or the Ice Lodge that Ivy is kidnapped to are!
  • Canary Islands
  • Botswana – it’s not clear where exactly they are, but they do mention the Kalahari desert that occupies a large part of Botswana. Carmen is later on a train that cuts through the plains – I did something similar in Kenya but the pix don’t look like the current trains that run through Botswana as far as I can tell from online pix
  • The Alps – Shadow-san interrupts a VILE handoff in a cablecar ride up the ALPS but it’s never explicitly stated where exactly
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – Shadow-san’s past mission took place in a small town outside of the capital city though it is not known where exactly

Prague, Czech Republic (Episode 1)

Season 2 kicks off with Carmen tailing VILE operatives in Prague‘s Old Town Square, and while we don’t spend a lot of time here, they did a pretty good job with the location and accuracy. While I’m not sure a taxi could actually stop along that road, if you look in my picture below, it seems quite accurate in relation to the location of the Jan Hus Memorial.

Prague Old Town Square Pano
Prague’s Old Town Square – a scene where Carmen interrupts a dropoff happens where you can see the horse and carriage in the bottom left

Prague was one of those places that I’d wanted to visit for awhile, and I made sure to see the main sights, and of course the Old Town Square is one of the must-sees on the list. The Prague Orloj or Astronomical Clock is like many that you’ll find across Europe, although this has the title of being the oldest clock still in operation. Everyone waits around on the hour for the apostles to appear – it’s one of those things you just need to see once in you life.

I did write about other things in Prague that caught my interest, like climbing up to the top of Charles Bridge, my discovery of Mucha and art nouveau, the first time I ever attended the opera as well as my jaunt to nearby Kutna Hora with its macabre bone church.


Milan, Italy (Episode 4)

This episode was set during Fashion Fest – which in reality is a reference to Fashion Week – and Milan, and while they don’t actually show a lot of Milan’s landmarks because most of it is spent on the runway, they did show two landmarks that I recognised immediately from my visit to Milan in the mid 2000s during winter while on a family trip.

Right when the team lands in Milan, they can be seen in an open town square with the iconic Duomo aka Milan’s Cathedral in the background. This is Piazza del Duomo and one of the main sights to see, but sadly when I was there they were fixing the exterior so it felt like I saw more hoarding than actual architecture. I remember it being very grand and quite opulent inside.

Milan Duomo Hoarding Night
Sorry for the crappy pix – seems like we were there only at nights and that darn hoarding…

At the end of the episode, there’s a quick glimpse of the iconic covered walkways of the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II to show where Carmen and Shadow-san are shopping. The oldest shopping mall in Milan still in operation, it’s home to all the high-end fashion boutiques so it isn’t surprising that the prices are – to quote Shadow-san – steep. I definitely wasn’t doing any shopping when wandering around here, but it’s very beautiful.

Milan Galleria Interior
this picture doesn’t even begin to show the ornate beauty of this old shopping mall

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Episode 6)

Episode 6 revolves around a super race car and a party that takes place at the artificial islands of the Palm Jumeirah. They also mention the famously tall Burj Khalifa – I never visited it, just saw it from a distance while driving around the city.

Dubai Driving Burj
That’s the closest I got to the Burj!

While Dubai can be a fancy ritzy place with super modern architecture, what I love about Dubai are the bits of its older culture still left standing in the shadows of these architectural giants, the abra boats on the creek and the busy souks. Read more about my short time in Dubai or an even older account where I visited Dubai with my dad.

Dubai Creek Boat Ride Lomo
Riding across the Dubai Creek on an Abra

Moscow, Russia (Episode 7)

Moscow only features very briefly in this episode as the team hits what seems like an underground server room in the Kremlin. We see a panned shot of Red Square with the colourful domes of the St Basil’s Cathedral and the red Kremlin wall exterior.

I visited Moscow once with my Dad and my biggest memory is what a pain the visa was to get – it took 4 visits to the Russian embassy just to get that settled! I mostly tagged along with my dad who brought me to see the major sights, and St Basil’s Cathedral is as pretty as you might imagine, though a lot smaller than it might seem from pix. Read more about that memory here.

Moscow St Basils Cathedral
St Basil’s Cathedral and its colourful onion-shaped domes
Moscow Red Square
The crowded Red Square. Moscow’s roofs all seem to be topped or covered with golden stuff

Most of the action happens in New Zealand after that – I’ve been mostly to the south island, I never actually made it to Auckland as far as I can recall.


Carmen Sandiego Locations in Season 3

Season 3 has just 5 episodes but sees Carmen Sandiego continuing her capers as she searches for her long-lost mother. Masks are a theme that carry through all the episodes. Only countries in the Americas and Europe this time around though, but then again it’s hard to cover a lot of ground in just 5 episodes.

  • Outer Hebrides, Scotland – The new VILE headquarters! The last time I visited Scotland was in winter and I mostly covered Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oban, never made it all the way to this part of Scotland. It was pretty damn cold as well though.
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – Carmen’s birth country, and another place I want to visit eventually when I return to South America! Fellow travellers I’ve met always raved about their awesome steaks.
  • Veracruz, Mexico – the luchadora or Mexican masked wrestlers are so iconic!
  • Mexico City, Mexico – I’ve always wanted to check out Mexico and the Day of the Dead celebrations especially after watching the Pixar movie Coco…
  • New Orleans, USA – Another place that I’ve never been, but want to
  • Venice, Italy
  • London, UK

Venice, Italy (Episode 4)

Venice features prominently in the fourth episodes, with the team attempting to foil VILE stealing valuable masks from an exhibition.

On the same trip to Milan back in 2006, we made a day trip to Venice as well. It was winter so it was pretty cold and rather overcast. I mostly did the tourist sights – St Mark’s Square and walking around the bridges. No exorbitant gondola rides for me though I did indulge in buying some of the iconic masks as earrings – they are some of my favourite and I still wear them today.

Venice Canal Me
Crossing one of the many bridges in Venice
Venice Canal Me
Managed to get a classic gondola shot
Venice Masks
Creepy masks?

London, UK (Episode 5)

The episode sees Carmen Sandiego attempting to perform the impossible heist of breaking into the Tower of London to steal the crown jewels. Many prominent landmarks can be seen right from the get go – Picadilly Circus, the London Eye along the Thames, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Westminster Clock Tower.

London is a place I’ve travelled to several times for work and blog stuff so I’m quite familiar with it now, but most of the touristy stuff I did way back on my first visit in my early 20s. It was a pretty rare trip where it was just me and my parents, no other siblings tagging along where we covered Manchester and Liverpool on a road trip before ending up in London.

I visited the Tower of London twice in 2005 and in 2014, but I don’t have many great pictures inside the tower – but I do remember seeing the crown jewels and the ravens that are also mentioned in the episode.

London Tower of London Me
ah, pre-travel blogging days me when I was absolutely useless at taking photos. That’s the Tower of London behind me.
London Work Trip - Thames London Eye
Me in 2014 on my first overseas work trip, and the one rare day that week London had lots of sunshine!
London Tower Bridge Gloomy
More typical London weather. This is the Tower Bridge that least to the Tower of London on the left side

Carmen Sandiego Locations in Season 4

I’m in the midst of watching Season 4, but here are some actual locations spotted so far:

  • Reykjavik, Iceland – that impressive looking opera house where they found Gray in right at the beginning of the episode is known as Harpa concert hall. It’s one of those places I feel everybody (but me) has visited!
  • Beijing, China
  • Munich, Bavaria, Germany
  • Singapore – my home country makes an appearance!
  • Himalayas – I prefer my mountains from afar
  • Oxford University, England – where Jules is teaching
  • Nevsehir, Turkey – I’d only heart about Capadoccia and its hot air ballooning
  • Giza, Egypt – the Pyramids and the Sphinx are iconic places that I’d love to visit one day!
  • Svalbard, Norway – Looks too cold for my liking but I really want to see Aurora Borealis at some point in my life
  • ?, India – Where they find the 3rd relic. No idea where exactly this is though?
  • Seattle, USA – Starbucks and the Space Needle in the background of where Chief and Carmen had their meeting
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Brussels, Belgium – Place 1 where Bad Carmen was spotted. The arches suggest this could be the Royal Museums of Fine Arts
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • St Petersburg, Russia – Place 3 where Bad Carmen was spotted. Most probably the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
  • Casablanca, Morocco – On my bucket list! Anyone know which museum this is?
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • San Francisco, USA – the season and show ends here in San Francisco, which was also where Season 1 ended

Beijing, China (Episode 1)

This first episode is themed around Peking Opera and the famous Forbidden City complex. I visited Beijing back in 2017 when invited up by the Jen Hotel folk. Unfortunately I didn’t have that much free time on this trip and spent my free day at the Great Wall of China in Mutianyu, but I did pop by Tiananmen and made my way as far as I could to the Meridian Gate. I didn’t have time to enter the Forbidden City and see the Palace Museum which were spots that featured prominently in the first episode.

Beijing Tiananmen Me
Tiananmen is the outermost gate of the Forbidden City. That’s Mao Zedong’s portrait if you were wondering.
Beijing Tiananmen Reflection
It was a singularly wet and grey day when I was there
Beijing Forbidden City Meridian Gate Pano
The Meridian Gate is as far as you can go without a ticket! Beyond that lies the Palace Museum

Munich, Bavaria, Germany (Episode 2)

This episode takes place in Germany’s largest southern state Bavaria, and while most of it takes place in a factory, they do make mentions of landmarks like the Disney-esque Neuschwanstein Castle and the iconic Oktoberfest.

I was in Bavaria’s capital of Munich just before Christmas back in 2012 and it was pretty damn cold so forgive the crappy pictures because I wasn’t too keen of taking my hands out of my pockets much! I did have a ball of a time there though, it was really festive in the lead up to Christmas and I had a ton of gluhwein to stay warm.

They don’t state a place specifically, but I thought the buildings in the city street scenes in the beginning of the caper looked familiar and I’m pretty sure those are the streets of Munich. There’s a shot of a statue at 6:39 that I think is the Mariensäule, a statue of a golden virgin Mary on top of a pillar and surrounded by 4 smaller dragons that can be found in Marienplatz in Munich.

Munich Marienplatz Mariensaule
This was the only shot I took of the Mariensaule – I was more amused by the knight slaying dragons in the bottom than the gold figure on top!

At 8:51 there’s a shot of the Gothic facade of the Old Town Hall or Alte Rathaus in the background.

Munich Old Town Hall
The spot where Ivy and Dash Haber met could be right about here, right in front of the Old Town Hall

And after the caper at 21:20, Ivy and Carmen are sitting in Marienplatz again, but this time at the Fischbrunnen or Fish Fountain though I didn’t take a picture of it.


Marina Bay, Singapore (Episode 3)

Wooh we saw a glimpse of the Merlion in the intro to the show, but we finally have an episode that’s based in Singapore! Naturally they picked the most tourist-friendly and well-known area which is the downtown Marina Bay area as well as the futuristic Gardens by the Bay.

Singapore Merlion Night Crowds
The Merlion – you can see One Fullerton in the background as well in the episode
Singapore Gardens by the Bay Supertrees Night
My shot of the Supertrees at night is actually quite similar to the one in the episode with Marina Bay Sands in the background

Oddly enough, the new ‘Science Museum’ that they mention in the episode doesn’t look anything like the actual ArtScience Museum which has larger flower petals while the one in the episode looks more like a crown. I suspect there might have been a copyright issue as they don’t use the same name. That said, there is a scene where Carmen escapes by flying through the air well in the middle of the building which is similar to the actual building.

The positioning of the landmarks is pretty accurate as well. They fight on the Helix Bridge though I can guarantee you that you can’t drive a truck onto the bridge that easily! You can also see the Marina Bay Floating Platform (to be called NS Square in future) in the background as well. Pretty cool how they were fairly faithful to the original landmarks.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Helix Bridge
Here’s a shot of the Helix Bridge on the left and the ArtScience Museum on the right. The Floating Platform is behind me

Vienna, Austria (Episode 7)

I spent a few days in Vienna as I traipsed around Europe during my Career Break, and I did check out a few museums while I was there though they were more modern in nature, like the Leopold Museum and an art exhibition by Ai Weiwei at The Belvedere palace. The episode showcases VILE robbing the Hofburg, former imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty and current home to the President of Austria. I didn’t enter it but I did walk by it on the free city walking tour.

Vienna Hofburg Exterior
The Hofburg from the outside

The carnival area that the VILE operatives gather in after their heist is likely to be Prater, or the Wurstelprater to be exact located in Leopoldstadt. It’s famous for the Wiener Riesenrad, the 65m-tall giant ferris wheel which also features prominently in the episode. This I didn’t visit – I only spent 3 days in Vienna so I didn’t get to explore as much as I would normally have! Also I was coming off my Eastern Europe leg and finding the Euro quite pricey in comparison…

Vienna Leopold Museum Klimt Death and Life
I’ve always loved art nouveau style so these Klimt works were definitely more up my alley than Habsburg relics… A postcard of this particular painting Death and Life hangs on my wall to remind me of my time in Vienna

Other Locations

Intro

Don’t skip through the intro of the show too quickly! How many landmarks do you recognise in the trailer? Maybe these are clues for future locations. Have a watch and scroll down to see if I missed out anything on my list and help me ID those that I couldn’t figure out. I was pretty stoked that Singapore’s Merlion made an appearance at 00:18!

  • Fushimi Inari, Kyoto, Japan – those torii gates are quite distinctive, it could be some other spot but I can’t think of anywhere else in Japan which has their torii lined up like that
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
  • Manhattan Bridge, New York, USA – I’ve been to NY but it was pretty long ago and I don’t remember visiting the bridge, sadly! Thanks Joseph for pointing out that it’s not the Golden Gate Bridge!
  • Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico – Thanks again Joseph for the ID
  • ? – Desert with sand dunes, possibly the Sahara desert
  • Merlion, Singapore
  • Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  • Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
  • Elizabeth Tower aka Big Ben, London, UK
  • Statue of Liberty, New York, USA
  • Egypt – those look like hieroglyphics on the wall, but it’s not clear where exactly. Perhaps in the Pyramids of Giza?
  • Forbidden City, Beijing, China – It looks very much like the Forbidden City’s Hall of Supreme Harmony, but it also looks a lot like stuff I’ve seen in East Asian classical architecture.
  • ? – It kind of reminds me of the ruins of Machu Picchu for some reason…

To Steal or Not to Steal

This interactive episode on Netflix lets viewers choose their own adventure and sees Carmen in capers all around the world to save her crew that has been kidnapped by V.I.L.E.

  • Shanghai – that skyline is pretty recognisable. The Bund is probably the best place for a view in Shanghai, read more about what you can do in just 48 hours.
  • Xi’an, China – home of the terracotta warriors, I’ve never been but really want to see at some point in my life!
  • Hell Creek, Montana, USA
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco – I spent a day here on my very first solo trip experience to Nice
  • L’île d’Oléron – an island off Rochefort on the western coast of France. First time I’ve heard of it, gotta go find out more.

TV, films and books can make for great ways to wanderlust when circumstances don’t allow you to travel physically! It’s also kinda cool to visit places that you’ve only ever seen on screens or in your mind. Here are some other spots that I’ve visited:

2 thoughts on “Retracing Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego Locations in real life”

  1. Hello! I’m a geographer who is also a huge fan of Carmen Sandiego, and I love your site!
    You do a great job highlighting the various locations from the new Netflix version of Carmen Sandiego.

    There is one one error that I have noticed in the “Other Locations: Intro” section.
    During the theme song for the show, the bridge that is shown is not the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco), but it is actually the Manhattan Bridge of New York City (USA) as viewed from the Brooklyn neighborhood side of the bridge. You can tell as the artist did an excellent job of faithfully recreating the architecture, (the single main arch, the four knobs across the top) as well as the dense borough in the near ground and the skyscraper in the background (i.e., Manhattan) under the lower supporting arch of the bridge. (Example of the real bridge: https://www.nycgo.com/photo-galleries/new-york-city-bridges#!#slide-1 )

    Love your blog, and I think you got the other spots right. The camels in the desert looks like the Sahara based on my travels there, and the very end final shot looks like the high Andes Peruvian Inca city of Machu Pichu. (She is chased down the steps at Chitzen Itza in Mexico by the ACME agents around the Singapor lion part of the intro).

    My one question — from the intro, the very first place Carmen walks across has a beautiful compass rose on the ground, like at a major train station or other transportation nexus, based on the other people walking around or standing and talking. Where in the world is that?

    1. Hey Joseph thanks for pointing out my mistake! Will update the post accordingly with your info… good catch!

      About the compass rose – in my head I always just imagined that was the ACME HQ lobby floor for some reason, but I’ll dig around and see what I can find!

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