Literary Holiday Destinations

To celebrate World Book Day this week we’ve taken a look at some holiday destinations made famous by the books that have been set in them. Books and travelling have often gone hand in hand, we are transported to these real life destinations by the author’s words and this often inspires us to go out and explore for ourselves. Pairing your book with your holiday has now become easy with websites such as where you can search for books based on where they are set.  Here are some suggestions for your next literary travel adventure…

The Great Gatsby, New York

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Start your stay at New York’s famous Plaza hotel where the most climatic scene in the 1925 novel occurs and enjoy the opulent décor. Cruise the bay that inspired F.Scott Fitzgerald on the 90-minute Great Gatsby Boat Tour, the 51-foot Crosby Cruiser sails around the Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound, take in the prohibition-era mansions of Kings Point and stunning estates of Sands Point. To take afternoon tea as was popular in the 1920’s head to the Willard Hotel where Fitzgerald once stayed and indulge in an assortment of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and tea whilst a harpist plays exquisite music in the background.

Twilight, Forks, Washington

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This small Pacific Northwest town in America became famous overnight when Stephanie Meyer decided to use it as the setting for her bestselling Twilight series. A four hour drive from Seattle, fans of the series can take a tour to visit Bella’s house, Forks high school and the city hall. Bella’s trucks are on show permanently outside the Forks Visitor Centre. An annual event called forever Twilight in Forks is held the weekend nearest to character Bella’s birthday (September 13th) it’s a way for fans to come together and celebrate the series. For non-Twilight fans, Forks is a great gateway to the ancient forests of the Olympic Peninsula.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Kefalonia, Greece

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When producers decided to make a film based on the book they chose the books original location of Kefalonia as they found it too difficult to find another location so beautiful and natural. Most of the book is set in the Village of Sami, spend a day exploring the local village and taking in the scenery. Relax on the stunning Myrtos Beach and head down to the Sia Monastery close by where Pelagia and Corelli’s love scene took place. The Drogarati Caves are not mentioned in the books but are still worth exploring whilst here. Head in and spot remarkable formations of stalactites and stalagmites, Speleologists think the cave is around 150 million years old.

Sherlock Holmes, London

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Sherlock Holmes is still captivating audiences with 2 Sherlock Holmes films released in 2009 and 2011 and a third one in the pipeline. London is now a very modern city compared to the descriptions of Victorian London in the books, however you can still visit some historic areas in the city that have been preserved. This includes the site where 221B Baker Street is located and the nearby Sherlock Holmes museum which has a first floor study fitted out in traditional Victorian era decorations, an insight into what Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson’s apartment might look like. A Sherlock Holmes walking tour is also offered by London Walks, navigate through the narrow alleyways of the strand and by Covent Garden’s impressive opera house.

Shadow of the Wind, Barcelona

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Follow in the footsteps of the characters from this bestselling novel by heading out on the Shadow of the Wind Literary Walking Tour. The tour can be as short as 2 hours or as long as 5 hours. Walk along the streets of Santa Maria del Mar and explore the renowned Els Quatre Gats café. You will be accompanied by a literary guide who will summarise the stories plot to you whilst you explore the city. Take in stunning destinations in the book such as the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Mar.

Memoirs of a Geisha, Kyoto, Japan

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The geisha quarter is a good place to start your journey, the story’s central character Sayuri lived here and the quarter is still home to around 260 geisha today. Wander through the cobbled streets and ancient teahouses to soak up the atmosphere. In the film young Sayuri travels to the Fushimi Inari to wish for a better chance in life. Make a wish yourself and spend the day soaking up the positive energy. The beautiful Heian Jingu shrine was built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto. Visit the stunning water garden where some of the most dramatic scenes take place during the film and enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms surrounding you.

Gone with the Wind, Georgia

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The first stop for any Gone with the Wind fan is the Margaret Mitchell House. This museum includes the apartment where Margaret wrote most of Gone with the Wind. The apartment which includes two small rooms plus a galley and a kitchen looks as it would have from 1925-32 when the Mitchell’s lived there. If you want to surround yourself in luxury like Scarlett, enjoy a stay in an authentic antebellum mansion. Twelve Oaks built in 1836 is a luxury B&B with gardens and an outdoor pool, this property was used as inspiration for Ashley Wilkes’s home in the movie.

Romeo and Juliette, Verona

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Verona still has lots of historical places that were around when Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was first performed in the 16th century. It’s hard to know if Shakespeare had particular locations in mind or if he had even ever been to Verona but local tradition has claimed some sites as settings for the famous tragedy. Enjoy a half-day walking tour with Verona tourist guides to the places related to the legends of Romeo and Juliet. Visit Juliet’s tomb, Romeos house and the place of Romeo and Tybalt’s duel as well as the streets and squares in the story. The final stop is Juliet’s famous balcony.

The Da Vinci Code, Paris

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This best seller is mainly located in Paris with a lot of the books action set in the famous Louvre. Take a specialised tour in the Louvre which traces the story in context to the paintings that are on display here. Most of this experience is based in the Grande Galerie where Da Vinci’s original paintings are hung and where the books murder inside the museum takes place. Other walking tours will take you around the city to places such as the Hotel Ritz, the Jardin des Tuileries and St.Sulpice, the site where some of the books characters believe the Holy Grail is kept.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stockholm

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The popularity of this novel has fans flocking to Stockholm to see the places where the story was set. Some travellers have even tried to find the small town of Hedestad. This location plays an important part in the story but is actually a fictional location. Fans can find the characters favourite places on the island of Sodermalm and enjoy the historical stone buildings, bars and trendy cafes that are located there.  The Stockholm City Museum offers official Millennium walking tours, the two hour tour explores all the important locations in the book and is available in Swedish and English.

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