Considered a welcomed escape from the everyday life, reading is a magical experience. Like a blooming garden carried in our pocket or purse, reading unleashes a world we relate to through circumstances, events and characters, or simply a life unimagined.
But if you, your family or friends ever read books together and dream of entering narrated worlds of places far and wide, there are an increasing number of tourist hot spots that revolve around some of our greatest and most beloved pieces of literature.
London may be a popular destination year-round, but if you’re an old school literature lover, this is the spot for you! Not only is the bustling city home to notable favorites like Charles Dickens or a staple milieu for Sherlock Holmes as he scours the streets of Victorian London, but it’s also a Shakespearean haven — think Stratford-upon-Avon. However, most recently it’s become a popular hub for “Potterheads.” Thanks to its Muggle Walking Tours, fans of the Harry Potter series can check out real-life spots that inspired Diagon Alley and drink “butterbeer.” However, if you’re looking for love a la Jane Austen or even the Bridget Jones series, this is the city for the romantic Womanista.
Ah, c’est Paris! We’ve seen its beauty in countless films, so it’s only natural such exquisiteness would be explored more intricately through narratives. Considered a paradise for literary lovers, Paris is home not just to the Hotel La Pavillon des Lettre, which pays homage to 26 different writers in each of their rooms, but it’s also the city that inspired writers like Émile Zola, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo and Henry Miller with his modern classic, Tropic of Cancer. Additionally, it’s also home to the lovable Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans that your daughter cannot stop reading.
From delicious foods to an immaculate history, Rome is a city everyone must visit. For the book lover, it’s a city rich in detail painted across numerous works from Henry James to Elizabeth Spencer with her heartwarming classic, Light in the Piazza. The Bard might have been from England, but three of his most popular plays are actually set in ancient Rome with many of its sites still preserved today for tourists to gaze upon. If you’re looking for works catered more to new-age classics though, head out on a Roman holiday to spots that inspired Elizabeth Gilbert’s food journey in Eat, Pray, Love or even Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons that have reinvigorated our passion for history and art.
Best known for Ulysses, James Joyce’s characters might wander the streets of Dublin over the course of a day, but since his groundbreaking novel, an influx of talented writers have proven there is much more to see on this emerald island. With tours available to celebrate Joyce, lit lovers can stop by the Oscar Wilde House, where the Dorian Gray author spent much of his childhood. And while acclaimed author, Frank McCourt depicted the hard Irish life in his novel, Angela’s Ashes, but between Circle of Friends and P.S. I Love You, Dublin is a destination perfect for bookworm in search of a hearty and introspective vacation.
Key West, Florida
If you’re looking for a warm trip close to home, look no further to Ernest Hemmingway’s Key West. While it might have initially been a stopping-off point for the famous writer, its gorgeous sunny location with crisp blue skies inspired some of his best works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and A Farewell to Arms, which captivated the island’s relaxed ambiance. Besides holding tours on the island of his famous home and sites he frequented, the island pays homage with its Hemmingway Days Festival, complete with lookalike contests, reading, literary competitions and a hilarious take on Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.