From ancient history to pop culture, there’s nothing like a book-inspired adventure!
You know what it is like to stay up late into the night, nose glued to the pages as your favorite characters tromped through jungles, hiked mountains, fell under magic spells, or battled mythic creatures. How would it feel to walk in their footsteps?
Here are just five of thousands of possible adventures that will make your favorite books really come to life.
For the lover of classics — Shakespeare’s fingerprints can be found all over Europe. From the balconies of Verona to the Forum in Rome to the Globe Theater in London to Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, Denmark, his timeless tales will come to life in new ways as you explore the places that inspired him. You can spend an entire trip just in England — the center of his life and work — or take a month and visit the locations featured in your most beloved plays.
Tolstoy’s St. Petersburg, Russia, blooms with moody mystery, and James Joyce’s Dublin, Ireland, is filled with quirky places, most of them still standing, that the hero Leopold Bloom wanders in Ulysses, making it perfect for a walking tour. The world of Isabelle Allende’s The House of the Spirits creates a Santiago, Chile, that is woven with rich imagination and the movements of history.
For the kid in you (or in your life) — Madeline walked the charming streets of Paris. Anne of Green Gables created mischief and fell in love on Prince Edward Island, Canada (you can catch an Anne and Gilbert festival in July). Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Woods — and trails leading to all the places mentioned in the book — lie peacefully in a place called Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England.
Even purely fictional or fantastical books have their imaginative roots in real places. Harry Potter became the greatest wizard in wizarding history across various locations in England. You can catch a tour of major filming spots in Oxford, London, and Gloucester for an experience of the real deal. Or, if you want to stay on this side of the pond, catch a new interactive exhibit at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an attraction located inside Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park.
Take in the jaw-dropping beauty of scenes in The Lord of the Rings by visiting locations around New Zealand, where much of the movies were filmed. You can even duck into The Shire — set in a town dubbed Hobbiton on private farmland just outside of Matamata on New Zealand’s north island.
For the fan of recent bestsellers — Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings figure heavily into this category, as well. The BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series has also reignited interest in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories and Holmes’s adventures around London.
Readers all over the world have sought to retrace the steps of the protagonist in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Gelato, ashrams, and Bali spas — what’s not to love about that? The heart-stopping drama of Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy has tourists seeing Stockholm, Sweden, in a whole new light.
This is, of course, barely a fraction of what’s possible. If you’re excited to create a trip that’s based around favorite authors, characters, or stories, check out the book Reading on Location, which details dozens of destinations from all over the globe that are featured in the vast lexicon of the world’s beloved literature.