If you have followed me for long or you know me personally, you know I am a big book nerd. I love to read, and I especially love to read books that are set in other countries - books where I can be transported to far-off places as I lose myself in their pages. For my fellow fans of the written word who also enjoy traveling, this is the article for you.
Read on to see a list of destinations for readers.
Agatha Christie Fans
If you know me or have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a fan of Agatha Christie. Though I have not read all of her 66 detective novels, I have read several of them, and I would absolutely love to do a tour of the various locales that serve as the settings for the sleuthing of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
1. Six destinations every Agatha Christie fan should visit - This list from National Geographic includes place like Torquay, England; Egypt; and Istanbul, Turkey.
2. Travel Around the World with Agatha Christie's Murder Mysteries
3. In addition to the wonderful suggestions above from National Geographic and AgathaChristie.com, I would also suggest a stop at Paddington Station. (Be there at 4:50!)
Fans of Classic Literature
Book lovers certainly can't pass up the opportunity to visit the top literary destinations from classic literature.
1. Prince Edward Island, Canada - Years ago, I sent my parents on an anniversary trip to PEI where they visited some of the sites of the Anne of Green Gables classics by L. M. Montgomery, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Use this Anne of Green Gables Itinerary to help you navigate the small island. Talk about magical!
2. Notre Dame, Paris, France - Fans of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo really must visit the stunning cathedral where Quasimodo's life unfolds.
3. London, England - The city of London is the setting for many, many books. Read Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch for something newer or revisit the classics, like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and other classics set in London. If you have littles, read Katie in London by James Mayhew before you go! William Shakespeare buffs should visit The Globe Theatre, Doyle devotees should make sure to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and Dickens fans should take the time to visit the Charles Dickens Museum.
4. Great Neck, NY - Considered the inspiration for East Egg in The Great Gatsby, Great Neck, Long Island, New York, is a great place to take a drive along the peninsula and reminisce on this literary classic of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
5. Llandudno, Wales - If you love Alice in Wonderland like I do, you really need to visit Llandudno to search out all the Alice in Wonderland character statues throughout the town. Once you have had your fill of classic literary characters, take a hike or ride up to the top of the Great Orme for stunning views across Llandudno Bay.
6. Florence, Italy - Read A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (or a number of other books that take place in Florence); then visit the beautiful Italian city of Florence.
7. Hampshire and Bath, England - Fans of Jane Austen's works should visit Hampshire (AKA "Austen country"). Austen spent nearly her whole life (which was regrettably entirely too short) living in her birthplace of Hampshire in Southern England. Visit St. Nicholas Church, where Jane's father was the rector, in Steventon and explore Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton. Then pop over to Bath, where Jane and her family lived for five years. There you can visit the Jane Austen Centre.
8. Cuba - Ernest Hemingway spent nearly 20 years in Cuba, where he lived in San Francisco de Paula just outside Havana. Hemingway's followers can visit Finca La Vigía, once Hemingway's home and now a museum dedicated to the famous author. Several of his books were written during his time in Cuba.
9. Key West - Hemingway fans can also follow his footsteps in Key West, where Hemingway lived for eight years. Visit the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida, and drink a mojito in his honor.
10. Boston and Concord - Ralph Waldo Emerson, famous American author, grew up in Boston, attended Harvard University, and lived for many years in Concord. Read his poems and essays, then travel to Massachusetts and wander the streets of Boston, stroll along the grounds of Harvard's campus, and visit the Ralph Waldo Emerson House and Museum in Concord, less than two hours from Boston.
Other Literary Locations
Literature lovers have a plethora of locations to choose from, and these next options barely scratch the surface!
1. New Caledonia - Read Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce; then fly to Nouméa, New Caledonia, in the South Pacific.
2. South Korea and Japan - Read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; then visit the islands of Yeongdo and Jeju in South Korea and Osaka, Japan.
3. Jeju, South Korea - If you want to learn about the women divers of Jeju - their culture and customs, their hardships and their strengths - and about the island itself, (and if you don't mind crying over a book), read The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. This brilliant story follows five generations of women and deals with love and friendship, war and occupation, and so much more.
4. Marseille, France - Read The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle (or any of the dozens of other books set in Marseille); then take a trip to the South of France.
5. Vienna, Austria - Read A Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis (or one of these other books set in Vienna); then visit the Austrian capital.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia - Though the actual cities in the Game of Thrones book series by George R. R. Martin are completely fictional, Dubrovnik is the setting for much of the Game of Thrones show.
7. Australia - Read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson; then follow Bryson's path to see the best (and most dangerous?) that Australia has to offer.
8. Italy, India, Indonesia - Yes, it's a little cliché, and I'm probably going to lose points for this, but I loved Eat, Pray, Love, and it is my dream to follow Elizabeth's path by spending three months each in Rome, Mumbai, and Ubud.
9. Guernsey, England - Read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer; then visit the idyllic island of Guernsey in the English Channel.
10. Denmark - Read The Pocket Book of Hygge; then visit Denmark to immerse yourself in the hygge life.
11. Japan - Read The Travelling Cat Chronicles written by Hiro Arikawa and translated by Philip Gabriel; then follow the path of Nana the cat, starting in Tokyo.
12. Paris, France - Yes, there are scores of Books Set in Paris. You can also check out this list of 50 Books Set in Paris by LibroManiacs. Because I'm a fan of mystery novels, my suggestion is to start with the Aimee Leduc Investigations series by Cara Black (Murder in the Marais is the first). For the littles, read A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino.
13. United Kingdom - Though the world of Harry Potter is fictional, fans can visit a number of locations around the UK to see where J. K. Rowling got her inspiration for the Harry Potter series, as well as other interesting Harry Potter-related spots. In Edinburgh, the Elephant House is said to be where Rowling frequently wrote, and Greyfriars Kirkyard is the graveyard where she found many of her characters' names. You can also visit the Museum Context, the Harry Potter Retailer located along Victoria Street, which is believed to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. At King's Cross Station in London, you can see the Harry Potter 9 3/4 platform and the Harry Potter Shop. And take the Jacobite steam train (AKA "The Harry Potter Train") into the Highlands and across the Glenfinnan Viaduct. And while we're talking about the UK, one of my favorite books ever written about Great Britain is Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island.
14. Namibia - Read The Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch; then visit the African country of Namibia. Crouch's description of the red dirt, the animals, and the roads had me feeling like I was really there.
15. Ellis Island, New York, NY - Though there are probably thousands of books set in New York, there are dozens of books set specifically at Ellis Island. epic! has a great list of children's books set at Ellis Island, or you can check out this list of books about Ellis Island for adults from Shepherd. Read Annie Moore: First in Line for America by Eithne Loughrey. Annie was the first person who was processed through Ellis Island after her long journey from Cobh, Ireland, with her two younger brothers.
16. Cobh, Ireland - Speaking of Cobh, you can see where Annie Moore started from with a trip to this stunningly beautiful, perfectly quaint seaside town. This is also the place where the Titanic made it last stop before its ill-fated journey across the ocean. And you can read a number of fantastic books about the RMS Titanic. See this list from Marine Insight for the real story of what happened, or check out Goodreads' list of fiction novels about the Titanic.
17. Corfu, Greece - In his book My Family and Other Animals published in the 1950s, Gerald Durrell details the weather, the flora, and the fauna of beautiful Corfu, an island off the northwest side of Greece. Durrell's wit and charm are apparent throughout the book, so although he tricked me into learning about a number of animals I had never even heard of, I was so thoroughly captivated and entertained that I didn't even care that I was being surreptitiously educated.
18. Sweden - Fans of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson should visit Sweden, taking the time to explore the neighborhoods of Stockholm and visiting Uppsala University. Though Hedestad and Hedeby Island are fictitious town names, traveling up the coast north of Stockholm and stopping along in some of the small towns along the way will allow you to envision the locale where Blomkvist uncovers the mystery of the missing niece.
19. New York City - One of my favorite literary locations in the United States, New York, NY, is the backdrop for a number of great literary works. From A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead to The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, the Big Apple offers an excellent setting for our favorite stories. I recently read The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, and now I am determined to explore the Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue on my next trip to New York.
Literary tourism promises to transport you to locations inspired by your favorite authors and their most memorable characters. I hope this book lover's bucket list gets you started and whets your appetite for adventure. Explore the enchanting world of your favorite novels by embarking on a literary journey!
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