Europe is a book lovers’ haven. It is teeming with bookish cities and places that have inspired great works of famous authors from across a span of centuries. From Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling, there seems to be an endless list of world-famous literary figures whose footsteps can literally follow. You can pick a city and find libraries, cafes, pubs, and museums with literary significance that make for memorable book-themed travel experiences.
Copenhagen may not be the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. But it was where some of the timeless and much-loved fairy tales like The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling were born. Some of the literary attractions you can find include the writer’s home in Nyhavn and the statue of the Little Mermaid.
If there is one city every book nerd needs to visit, it would be Dublin. The UNESCO City of Literature is brimming with bookish attractions. You do not have to look far and long to find plaques and landmarks dedicated to literary legends like Brendan Behan, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde among others. Other attractions you would not want to miss include the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Writers Museum, James Joyce Centre, Marsh’s Library, National Print Museum, The Long Room at the Trinity College Library, various bookshops, literary festival, and the literary pub crawls.
Edinburgh is another European city that made it to the UNESCO City of Literature list. Literature is deeply embedded into the culture and identity of the city. Among its many top literary sites include cafes like The Elephant House and Spoon where J.K. Rowling did some work on her famous Harry Potter series. The city is also home to attractions like pub tours (Deacon Brodies Tavern, Milnes Bar, the Oxford Bar), The Royal Mile, Central Library, National Library of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling Centre, The Electric Bookshop, and various bookstores like the Armchair Books, Edinburgh Books, and Looking Glass Books.
Beautiful architecture and impressive art collections in world-famous museums and galleries may be among the first things that come to mind when you think of Florence. But the city also has a strong link to one of the greatest works of all time – Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. A tour of the city will bring you to many places where the Italian poet once walked and wrote some of his pieces including the Divine Comedy.
There is simply no way a literature lover would want to skip a visit to London if given the opportunity. From the replica of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre to the famed Platform 9 and ¾ at King’s Cross of the Harry Potter tales, there is simply no dearth of places to go if you want to spend a book-themed vacation in the city.
The City of Light not only became home at some point to many literary legends. It is also a treasure trove of charming bookshops. Its many literary attractions include the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company, the Bouquinistes or booksellers along the banks of the Seine, Cimetière de Montparnasse (Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, Susan Sontag and more), Cimetière du Père Lachaise (Oscar Wilde, Colette, Marcel Proust, and Gertrude Stein among others), Maison de Victor Hugo, Musée du Montparnasse, Musée de la Vie Romantique (George Sand’s House), Mouffetard Quarter of the Left Bank, Café de Flore, and Les Deux Magots.