Reading books isn’t just a way to pass the time. For some, books can be a passport to destinations beyond your front door–books were my first escape. Reading through the pages of a memoir, novel, or historical fiction, can often transport us to lands far and near; they can also be a source of inspiration for our travels; fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for example, may enjoy visiting the Sherlock Holmes Museum. If you’re ready to get lost in a new land these book-based travel destinations will inspire you to book your very own real-life adventure.
Book-based Travel Destinations for Your Next Big Adventure
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On the Road by Jack Kerouac – Across the U.S.
There isn’t a more classic travel novel than On the Road by Jack Kerouac. This one will have you pining for a trip across the United States. Based on the lessons, stories, and themes from Kerouc’s own travels, On the Road follows Sal as he and a friend set out on several road trips between 1947 and 1950. The pair travel from Denver to New Orleans, San Francisco, and everywhere in between, exploring the ups and downs and people and places along the way.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – London
If you’re up for some holiday travel, A Christmas Carol – which has been adapted into both film and television many times over (my favorite version is The Muppet Christmas Carol because it’s the absolute best and you can hush)– first published in 1843 by Charles Dickens, is a great place to start. During the holiday season, you can explore the historic sites of the city, visit the Tower of London, and enjoy holiday markets to your heart’s content. While there, consider a Charles Dickens Christmas Walk Tour!
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Prince Edward Island
Anne of Green Gables will have you wishing to explore the stunning landscapes of Canada; from the small villages to rolling green meadows, you’ll wish you could transport right into the book’s idyllic setting. Visit Prince Edward Island yourself to understand Lucy Maud Montgomery’s inspiration for this beautiful province. The Island Drive and Anne of Green Gables Tour from Prince Edward Tours is a must-do if you intend to take this fabled trip.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Scotland
Outlander – currently a top-running series on STARZ – is a historical fantasy novel series published in the early nineties by Diana Gabaldon. A nurse time travels between WWII and 18th-century Scotland. The novel and subsequent television series have been attributed to Scotland’s tourism surge in recent years; much of the story takes place in the Scottish Highlands.
Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach – Across Europe
What woman doesn’t want to set out on her own; on a solo trip with no one to answer to or for? Without Reservations chronicles Steinbach – the first woman to earn a Pulitzer Prize for The Baltimore Sun – and her journey through Europe. After reading this book you too will want to pack up and just go! Steinbach takes us along on her journey through Paris, Vienna, and Rome, authentically and unapologetically.
The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher – Cornwall and London
Rosamund Pilcher had a way of describing a place that makes the reader feel as though they’ve been there before. You’ll feel as though you were born and raised in Cornwall or at least, wishing you could hop on a plane today, and visit. Whether she’s describing the villages in Scotland’s Highlands, or Cornwall’s rocky coastlines and cozy cottages, Pilcher’s words pull you in until the very last page. Fans of Pilcher will enjoy visiting St. Ives, Lands End, Lamorna Cove, and St. Michael’s Mount; all inspiration for her books and destinations to be explored on The Inspirations of Rosamund Pilcher Tour.
City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York by Tyler Anbinder
Today, over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to Ellis Island, and in City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder, readers can dig deep into the immigrant history that shaped the city. Look beyond everyday New York City tourism, shows on Broadway, and endless shopping and explore the contributions and resilience of the immigrants who made New York City their home. The Immigrant Walking Tour from Streetwise is a great way to begin.
Dracula by Bram Stoker – Romania
While there’s no indication that Bram Stoker knew of Bran Castle in Transylvania when he wrote Dracula, it is marketed as Dracula’s Castle to international tourists and is one of Romania’s top attractions. The setting is the same–an imposing castle on a rocky precipice that has spectacular views in Transylvania. It’s easy to imagine Dracula stalking the halls of Bran Castle and for fans to get caught up in the fantasy–as long as you remember that the castle actually had nothing to do with the book. Head there in October for the yearly Halloween party.
Book-based Travel Destinations Based on Historical Fiction
Just because these are travel destinations based on historical fiction does not mean we wish or should want to go back to tumultuous times, it is simply an interest in time and place that draws us in. This is evident in books like those written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, James A. Michener. Michener’s novels, like Hawaii, Mexico, and Tales of the South Pacific – which inspired the Broadway hit South Pacific – bring the histories and culture of these parts of the world to life.
Similarly, if Medieval history appeals to you, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet may deserve a spot on your bookshelf. The Pillars of the Earth chronicles the building of a cathedral in 12th-century England. The book may inspire you to visit Westminster Abbey or Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. For true historians, Far Horizons offers an all-encompassing two-week tour of England’s abbeys, cathedrals, and churches.
Traveling to destinations inspired by the pages of a book can be humbling, educational, and everything in between. Our minds are opened the minute we begin poring through the pages of a book; that expanse is magnified when we take what we’ve learned within those pages and bring them to life through travel. Whether you opt for a guided tour through one of the aforementioned destinations, prefer to travel solo, or just for now, wish to stay put and explore as a reader only, both reading and travel have the power to inspire us and broaden our understanding of the world.