Have you ever wanted to wander through Middle Earth? Do you often imagine taking a potions class at Hogwarts? Would you like to view the landscape of Westeros firsthand? To every book lover, these may sound like lovely fantasies. But Alas! you have the power to make your literary dreams come true. Create your travel plans to include visiting bookish locations, museums, and bookstores. Explore places that have significance in literature, such as the settings of famous novels or the homes of renowned authors. Check out these literary destinations that will inspire your next bookish travel adventure.
Visit Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, where she wrote Little Women in 1868. Not only is this where she wrote the classic book, but it is also the setting for the tale. Visiting the home will may you feel like you are right there, immersed in the story itself.
Visit the National Historic Landmark, Edgar Allen Poe’s House, in Baltimore, Maryland. Explore the former home of the poet and writer and learn of his short and troubled life. There is as much mystery and sadness surrounding his life and death as there is in his written works.
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice comes to life in the HBO televised series Game of Thrones. To transport yourself to Westeros and back to some of the most exciting scenes in the film head to Iceland. There you can visit Grjótagjá Cave in the Mývatn area to relive the romance of Jon Snow and Ygritte. Visit KiKirkjufell Mountain on Snæfellsnes Peninsula to travel beyond the wall to the birthplace of the Night King.
The Groundskeeper’s Cottage Have you ever wanted to join Harry, Ron, and Hermoine as they strolled over to Hagrid’s house? Well, now you can by booking yourself a magical night at his cottage. Nestled in the British countryside, you can snuggle down for a night of binge-reading all your favorite wizarding tales.
Spend a day walking about the lush green Shire as described in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. Hobbiton Tours in New Zealand will take you through the movie set of the film series. Satiate your obsession with the world of Hobbits through multiple events held here throughout the year.
Are you traveling abroad for the first time? Make sure to read this guide to get helpful tips as a first time international traveler.
Museums and Libraries for Bookish Travel
A trip to Manhattan invites every book lover into the doors of the New York Public Library. Patience and Fortitude will greet you when you arrive at one of America’s most iconic libraries. You will recognize them as the huge marble lions flanking the doors at the main location on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Rotating exhibits are open to all.
Additionally, if you are visiting New York City, you should absolutely stay at Library Hotel. Located near the New York Public Library, this is a place for all lovers of books to rest their heads. Not only will you get free digital access to the New York Times but also their collection of 6,000 print books. Each floor of the hotel is dedicated to a major category of the Dewey Decimal System. The fourth floor is dedicated to Language while the seventh floor is dedicated to The Arts. To all my fellow librarians out there- if you know, you know. The lounge known as the Reading Room is open 24 hours a day offering coffee and snacks. In the evening the rooftop becomes the Bookmarks Lounge serving up some literary-inspired cocktails.
If you are a bookish traveler who loves history as well, a trip to Washington D.C. will lead you to the most important library in the country, the National Archives. The place where all the founding documents of the United States of America are housed. You can read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights which are displayed in the Rotunda. There are permanent and temporary exhibits as well. The National Archives Museum can be visited daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Theme Parks that Embrace Bookish Travel
At Universal Studios in Orlando step into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Once there you can visit Diagon Alley then head on over to Universal Island of Adventure to make your way through Hogwarts and explore Hogsmeade. Travel between both using the Hogwarts Express.
In the park you will find rides, attractions, shows, dining, and of course, shopping. It’s the all-things Harry Potter lover’s dream come true.
Storyville Gardens is a future theme park in Tennessee based on folk tales and stories from around the world. Stay tuned.
Travel to Bookshops
Cecil Court, London
No trip to London would be complete without a visit to Cecil Court – also known as Bookseller’s Row.
It is rumored that the famous Diagon Alley from Harry Potter was inspired here. That alone is enough reason for me to want to go.
There you will find over 20 bookstores filled with antique and second-hand books just waiting to be explored.
The serious Lewis Carroll fan will need to check out this shop: Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France
First of all, wander along the Seine River to drink in the literary atmosphere of the book kiosks.
Then for a satisfying way to spend the afternoon shopping, head over to this wonderful bookstore to find some English-printed books to browse through. A lovely place to grab some bookish travel souvenirs as well.
Afterward, enjoy a yummy pastry and coffee in the adjacent cafe and enjoy the view of Notre Dame.
Citylights Bookstore, San Francisco
A combination bookstore and publishing house, City Lights has been in business since 1953. Poets, writers, and artists have been gathering there for decades to discuss, poetry, politics, art, spirituality, music, and film. It stands today as an iconic ‘literary landmark’ of the Beat Generation.
There has never been a better time to indulge in a bit of bookish travel.
A literary-inspired vacation offers the opportunity to not only explore new places and cultures but also to deepen one’s appreciation and understanding of literature.
Read how literature and folklore can enhance your next cultural travel adventure.
“A Short History of City Lights.” City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, https://citylights.itulstaging.com/our-story/a-short-history-of-city-lights/. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.
Chambers, Jewells. “Game of Thrones: Where Scenes Were Filmed in Iceland – Ep. 38.” All Things Iceland, 7 Dec. 2019, https://allthingsiceland.com/game-of-thrones-where-scenes-were-filmed-in-iceland-ep-38/.