If you happen to be both an avid reader and a globetrotter, why not plan your next vacation around one of these famous literary locations? Think how incredible it would be to walk in the footsteps of your favorite author- to sit where they sat brainstorming their next masterpiece and wander the same streets they tread upon in years past. When all that stands between you and one of these locales associated with a famous author is a plane ticket, you do not want to miss out on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a visit. Instead of going to the same old place your family vacations every year or shoveling thousands of dollars into a luxury resort vacation, consider planning your next vacation around one of these famous literary locations.
Prague, Czech Republic:
If you’re willing to make a trip all the way out to the Czech Republic, you’ll find yourself in the birthplace and final resting place of novelist and short story writer Franz Kafka, one of the most prominent literary figures of the 20th century. Spots you’ll want to hit include the author’s childhood home (although the house was rebuilt, the original front door was preserved), the Old-New Synagogue where he attended services, the home where he spent his adult years at 16 Dlouha, a monument to Kafka in the city square, The Kafka Museum, and Kafka’s grave at New Jewish Cemetery.
In addition to being a charming English city teeming with history from its 18th century Georgian architecture to its ancient Roman baths, the city of Bath is a mecca for Jane Austen fans. While in this city, take time to indulge in everything quintessentially British: Stop for afternoon tea and a famous “Sally Lunn Bun” at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, and afterwards browse through some of the acclaimed independent bookshops in the city, such as Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights and Topping & Company. Oh, and then celebrate the Great English novelist, Jane Austen, behind such famous works as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility by touring the Jane Austen Centre, a museum dedicated to Bath’s most famous resident.
Yasnaya Polyana, Russia
Leo Tolstoy, author of Anna Karenina and War and Peace is regarded as “one of the greatest authors of all time.” With a visit to Yasnaya Polyana, the author’s birthplace and residence throughout his life, you can tour the writer’s home where he penned his most famous works and visit his grave nearby.
In between pints of Guinness, take some time to explore some of the iconic literary landmarks in this beautiful city. Visit the Trinity Library where you can view the Book of Kells, believed to be written in 800 AD. Also, if you’re a fan of Oscar Wilde, you can visit the author’s childhood home. Dublin was the home to Irish author James Joyce as well, and you can learn more about his life by visiting the James Joyce Centre and taking a tour through the city of locations that served as inspiration for his works.
In addition to being home to one of the largest bookstores in the world, Blackwell’s, and the world’s premium institution of higher education, Oxford was the stomping ground of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The two author friends, who dubbed themselves “The Inklings,” would meet at the Eagle and Child Pub to discuss their literary endeavors.
Paris is a dream romantic and cultural getaway as it is, and bibliophiles will delight in its literary offerings. First and foremost, Paris played host to “The lost generation” of writers including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and T.S. Eliot, American expatriates who wrote some of their most famous works there. You can also tour the nooks and crannies of the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore.
A trip to Edinburgh for any Harry Potter fan would not be complete without a visit to The Elephant House, the cafe where J.K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books as a struggling, down-on-her-luck writer living on welfare. Who knows? You when you take a seat with your cup of tea, you may be sitting in the very spot J.K. Rowling once was.
Most of these locations are in Europe, so if you live in America, you won’t have to travel as far for this one. Make a trip out to Hartford to visit the Mark Twain House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark and the victorian home where Mark Twain lived and wrote from 1874-1891. While you’re there, you won’t be at a shortage of things to do; Hartford is a bustling city, and there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and beaches nearby in places like Greenwich and Mystic.
Another English city (you could plan a literary tour through England!), Stratford-Upon-Avon is believed to be the birthplace of the one-and-only, enigmatic William Shakespeare. You can visit the 16th-century restored Tutor home where Shakespeare is believed to have been born and learn more about the author’s life, as well as the childhood cottage of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife. Stratford-Upon-Avon is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, a theatre troupe that performs Shakespeare’s plays throughout the year at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
If you’re a fan of Emily Dickinson, be sure to pay a visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, where you can visit two historic homes associated with the reclusive poet. The Homestead was Dickinson’s birthplace and home, while the Evergreens located next door was the home of her brother Austin, his wife Susan, and their three children.