When we bibliophiles travel, we tend to plan a book-run – or ten – in our itinerary. Sometimes, we even go as far as making books the epicentre of our travels! Sigh, finding glorious old libraries and independent bookshops are just the tip of the iceberg. Whilst gallivanting around Europe – continental and non-continental, sorry UK – you’ll be met with so much literature it’ll blow you away. Even the US of A has so much to offer when it comes to the written word! From finding plaques with author’s names on them and beautifully aged gravestones, to buildings in the shape of books and beautiful structures housing books – find below a booklover’s dream vacation.
It’s simple, planning a vacation, all you do is book your ticket, hotels, and check visa requirements and jet off. But when you’re a bookworm, you tend to be more specific. You’ve read about all sorts of epic adventures in books and you want to embark on one yourself. The question here is, how does one do so with charted territories? Simple, you find the places that are adventures – in and of themselves. With a plethora of options, you need never be lost for choice, you just go and adventure will find you.
But if adventurous lands aren’t for you, then consider a quaint little book town in your itinerary. Head to Wales and find the little town of Hay-on-Wye for a little inspiration. OK, maybe a lot of inspiration! The entire town has nothing but books. Charming little hotels/cottages, cafes, and books! Bookshop upon bookshop, every genre doesn’t just get a shelf, but an entire shop! The mayor is actually the King of Hay, and the castle is a gigantic bookshop. Need I say more? Oh, they’re also home to an annual literary festival, which is HUGE by the way. A must visit!
While Paris is usually associated with shopping and glamour, literary speaking (so punny, I know) Paris is an excellent destination for a bookworm. Visiting all the little cafes and bistros the great Hemmingway drew inspiration in, the hot spots the Fitzgeralds (Zelda and Scott) socialised at, and generally perusing the sights and sounds of Paris. Nothing about the city is short of aweinspiring – from the winding streets to Paris in the rain, everything is novel-worthy. A notable must-visit for all traveling bookies is the iconic bookshop, Shakespeare and Company on the Parisian Left Bank. Draw in as much inspiration as you possibly can while in this city – for it is glorious.
Having inspired an entire generation of writers – this city has been home to some of the greatest creations in classical fiction. The Russian classics are known for their tragic, dark twists and turns inspired by their frightful history in an otherwise vibrant baroque age. Visit St. Petersburg and walk down the very paths described in Crime and Punishment and visit the epic Dostoyevsky’s home. Better yet, pay tribute to the infamous Pushkin – for he died as tragically as he wrote – at his memorial apartment, and see the city as he did. Experience a meal and dine at the Literary Café to bask in a writing haunt of foods past. St. Petersburg has inspired many a Russian classical writer and an entire generation of readers gone and to come.
Reading in and of itself is an adventure, but why not travel the world for real and visit the greatest literary cities and book towns of the world? As Ibn Battuta once said “Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Safe journeys and happy readings!