Books offer you the chance to escape to a different world. But sometimes you literally do want to go to some of those places. Below is our roundup of top literary destinations that will make you feel like you’re actually living your favorite novels.
Prague, Czech Republic
The Kafka Museum is hands down our favorite museum we’ve ever been to. It is not merely an homage to the author’s life – where pens and papers are trapped in glass boxes – it is an homage to his writing. Stepping into the museum is like stepping into Kafka’s mind. Beautiful, haunting installations and projections transform the space, making you feel what Kafka was trying to convey in his works.
Haruki Murakami can make you fall in love with Japan without stepping foot near it. But after reading a few of his novels, the desire to pack your bags and head to Tokyo becomes more and more pressing. We recommend checking out The Independent’s Guide to Murakami’s Japan, which takes you through milestones of the author’s life but also through key monuments and experiences of his books.
One of our founders lives in the UK and is lucky enough to have visited/ stayed in Gladstone’s Library – a residential library in Wales. Built in a beautiful historic building (think Harry Potter all the way), guests can stay in the residency hotel above the library. Your afternoons are spent exploring the library, reading, writing and enjoying afternoon tea, while your evenings are spent curled up with a book --- the perfect self-care weekend.
With the likes of Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, and Gabriel Mistral hailing from here Santiago, Chile is a top destination for book lovers. Visit La Chascana – the home of Neruda, peruse the mural of Mistral, and pore over used books in the city’s many second-hand book stores.
Being in Ediburgh makes anyone want to start writing, so it’s no wonder that so many literary greats hail from here. The city definitely caters to bibliophiles - Poet Robert Burns even has his own iPhone App! There are two different pub crawls, a literary walking tour and excursions specific to Irvine Welsh’s trainspotting. If you’d like a one-stop shop, check out the Writers’ Museum. Or imagine yourself as a fledgling writer just dreaming up the notes for Harry Potter – as J.K. Rowling did at Elephant House.
One of Dublin’s proudest exports (and it has many) is literary hero James Joyce, and the city certainly isn’t afraid to embrace it. The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl features actors telling stories and facts about the history of the city’s literary greats at local pubs. Visit Dublin’s ‘In the Steps of Leopold Bloom’ is a self-guided tour which allows you to follow Joycean character Leopold Bloom throughout the city. Dublin is an amazing experience in and of itself and even more so when you see it through a literary lens.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Dostoevsky is one of our favorite author’s and therefore St. Petersburg is high up on our bucket list. We imagine if we were to go there, we’d probably dawn a black trench coat and fedora hat and walk the streets disgruntled – just like one of Dostoevsky’s characters. But in the case you’re into actually doing something in the city, you can check out places and activities such as Pushkin’s apartment, the Dostoevsky Zone - an informal collection of areas close to Sennaya associated with his books, and the Stray Dog Café – a literary basement café that operated in the early twentieth century, hosting performances, lectures, and music nights and visited by many of St. Petersburg’s literary heroes.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco takes us back to a more modern time – the beat movement. The city even has streets and avenues named after these modern greats. City Lights Books, the printing house where Allen Ginsberg wrote Howl and Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road, is a must see. Make your way toward Haight-Ashbury and time travel back to the hippie movement, the birth of so many things creative.