Top 10 Literary Locales
In a way, books are like travel – each one has its own story and provides unforgettable memories, people and places. Start your adventure based on one of these literary treasures with our Top 10 favorite literary locales.
J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series (1997 – 2007)
Harry Potter may live in a magical world, but that doesn’t mean muggles everywhere can’t enjoy it. Visit places where locations in the series draw inspiration. Mostly set in Oxford, England, hot spots like Christ Church College’s dining hall and Bodleian Library at the Divinity School of Oxford University will give readers a taste of Hogwarts. Craving more magic? Head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926)
A poetically placed expat, Jake Barnes in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises drinks his way through Paris and Pamplona. If you’re traveling to Paris, grab a cocktail at the places he does in Book 1: The classic 1920’s bohemian character drops in at la Rotonde and sips the night away at Les Deux Magots, where he meets Lady Brett Ashley. Follow in their shoes next to Pamplona, where they watched the running of the bulls.
Roger Lancelyn Green, Robin Hood (1956)
Joined by his cast of merry men, Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and then hid in a tree in the Sherwood Forest. While it may be folklore, travelers can visit the Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England to explore its trails and other activities. Each summer, the Robin Hood festival welcomes visitors (dressed in medieval attire) to enjoy the surroundings and make an eco-friendly donation to help upkeep the greenery.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
In a fictional critique of the American Dream, F. Scott Fitzgerald painted a portrait of New York City in the 1920’s. One of the most iconic settings in the novel is the Plaza Hotel, which serves as a haven for Gatsby and his crew to escape the summer heat with Mint Juleps. It comes at a price, but staying at the Plaza in New York still summons the glamour and drama of the 1920’s epic.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
In search of solitude, Henry David Thoreau chose Walden Pond in Massachusetts as his escape. There, he wrote about simplification, and the idea of living deliberately. For those philosophical lit fans, there are tours of Walden Pond, which provide attendees with some idea of where Thoreau found his inspiration. Although the area is 2,500 acres in total, only 1000 visitors are allowed on the reservation at a time - most likely to keep the solitude that the author valued so much.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (1597)
Brit lit geeks will love the place deemed “Juliet’s Balcony” in Verona, Italy. The balcony (and the house) belonged to a Veronese family whose epic rivalry with neighbors inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The balcony, and its courtyard below attracts tourists from all over the world, and the statue of Juliet is supposed to give luck when touched.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love (2006)
It’s the trip heard round the world - Elizabeth Gilbert’s solo travel excursion that took her to through a carbohydrate-filled quest in Italy, a reflective period in India, and an adventurous journey in Indonesia. Now, you can do the same. Fill up on gelato and pizza in Rome, pay homage to the Taj Mahal in India and mellow out one of Bali’s beaches of Nusa Lembongan.
Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa (1937)
A memoir written about the truth and everyday pictures of life on a plantation, Out of Africa is a portrait of Kenya when it was British East Africa, before World War II. Visiting Kenya allows for access to some of Dinesen’s unlikely neighbors - game like elephants, rhinos, lions and gazelles - one of which made a temporary home with her. Visit Kenya to evoke her story of living and working in the country’s outdoors.
Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (1998)
From the branches above to the twigs below the soles of your shoes, the Appalachian Trail is Bill Bryson’s setting for his nature-based narrative, A Walk in the Woods. The trail itself spans more than 2,000 miles and is the country’s longest footpath, touching 14 states total. Follow in the footsteps of Bryson and his comedic partner, Katz, in this U.S. nature conservancy.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
A surprise to her adoptive guardians, Anne of Green Gables is a spirited young girl that takes her adventures all through Prince Edward Island in Canada. Cavendish now celebrates her literary legend with tourism-friendly spots like the Balsam Hollow which inspired the Haunted Woods. Visit Cavendish to explore the quaint surroundings of Anne’s eventful story.