When it comes to cities full of fascinating bookshops, grand state libraries, and key settings that served as inspiration for iconic works of literature, there are certain destinations that are superior to others. If you love reading or writing, then you need to include some of the world’s top literary destinations on your bucket list.
Cities like Dublin, New York City, London, and Stockholm have inspired some of the most popular novels in history. They have also been home to some of the greatest writers in history, and you can still walk in the footsteps of these writers by visiting these cities today.
Check out these 10 literary destinations for all book lovers.
10 St. Petersburg, Russia
The iconic Russian city of St. Petersburg was home to several great writers, including Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, and even Vladimir Nabokov before he left Russia. But it also served as the setting of many famous literary masterpieces.
While in St. Petersburg, you’ll get the chance to see locations featured in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, including where Rodion Raskolnikov conspired to kill Alyona Ivanovna. St. Petersburg was thought of as the cultural center of Imperial Russia, so it’s a must for anyone interested in literature and the arts.
9 Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is another European city that has produced and served as home for many great writers. Notably, author Stieg Larsson, who wrote the Millennium trilogy (including the popular The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) called Stockholm his home.
Head to the City Museum while in Stockholm and check out the exhibition that’s devoted to books set in Stockholm and those written by local Swedish authors. Book lovers should also pay a visit to the National Library of Sweden, where you can see the biggest medieval manuscript in existence, known as the infamous Devil’s Bible.
8 Mainz, Germany
There are several destinations to include on your literary bucket list that might not be the setting of famous novels, but they did play an important role in the history of global literature. One such city is Mainz in Germany, which was home to key historical figure Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented the printing press. Where would us book lovers be without him?
The Gutenberg Museum, located opposite the Mainz Cathedral, showcases all of Gutenberg’s fantastic achievements. Here, you’ll also get a chance to see a Gutenberg Bible— the very first book made with moveable type.
7 Edinburgh, Scotland
The Scottish capital boasts a long and rich literary tradition and has been home to the likes of Robert Burns, Irvine Welsh, and Muriel Spark. The city has one of the highest concentrations of libraries in the world, with more than 60 per 100,000 people.
The main reason book fans should visit Edinburgh is to check out the Elephant Café. This colorful little eatery is none other than the place author J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books that attracted millions of children to reading and transformed her from a single mother on welfare to a billionaire.
6 Hay-On-Wye, Wales
If you’ve heard of the little village of Hay-On-Wye in Wales, it’s probably because of the interesting bookshops for which it’s famous. Even though the village is home to less than 2,000 residents, it still features a number of unique bookshops, some of which are dedicated to specific genres.
The main point of interest to see in the village is the open-air bookshop near Hay Castle. Known as the Honesty Bookshop, it features shelves of books that are free to browse. Customers can purchase them by putting money into a slot since there’s no shopkeeper.
5 London, England
London has certainly inspired works across all genres and has been home to many legendary writers. One of the main things to see if you love literature is Shakespeare’s reconstructed Globe Theatre, located in the Bankside cultural quarter by the Thames.
Here you’ll be able to tour the theatre itself and find out about the history of the remake as well as the original theatre. The tours, which run every day, will also give you insight into the life and work of William Shakespeare Also be sure to check out a show!
4 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Though Buenos Aires doesn’t typically come to mind at the thought of literary destinations, the Argentinian city has to make this list for one solid reason: it has more bookshops per person than any other city in the world.
Paying a visit to El Ateneo is a must if you’re a fan of books. The bookstore was converted from a stunning old theatre in the early 2000s and is a sight you won’t want to miss. Buenos Aires also hosts an Annual Book Fair which draws in famous writers from all over the world.
3 New York City, USA
New York has historically inspired endless works of literature, and it will always continue to do so. It has also been home to various brilliant writers. Names like Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg struck creativity in the Big City and went on to write famous works.
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The city itself has served as a backdrop for such iconic novels as American Psycho, The Catcher in the Rye, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Aside from visiting the settings that inspired these stories, you can visit the numerous New York independent bookshops.
2 Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is another city that was home to some of the greatest writers the world has ever seen. It’s also home to several important literary sites that any book lover would be dying to see. The main highlight to include on your bucket list when traveling to the Irish capital is the Trinity College Library.
Dating back to the 18th century, the immense library looks like something out of a storybook. But it’s not just the design of the library that should draw you in — although that is a strong selling point! Inside you’ll find the manuscript of the Book of Kells on display.
1 Bath, England
There is one major reason to visit the charming city of Bath, aside from the Roman baths that reside there. The city was once home to Jane Austen, who lived here from 1801 to 1806. Bath served as the backdrop for Austen’s novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
While in Bath, be sure to check out the Jane Austen Centre, which exhibits the work and life of the writer, but also a showcase of life in general in the 19th century. Every September, the city plays host to the Jane Austen Festival.