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16 minute read

Destinations for Bookworms

March 07, 2024

If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in locations with strong ties to famous literature – either to revel in the setting of your favorite book, to see where the some of the world's greatest writers worked, or to soak up the atmosphere of a truly world-class bookstore – then we have the list for you.

Below, you can find destinations perfect for bookworms that you can visit while traveling with Odysseys Unlimited.


Scotland: For Harry Potter and Outlander Fans

An entire book could easily be written about all of the famous media set in or inspired by Scotland’s rolling hills, mysterious castles, and misty lakes, but two that enjoy lasting popularity are the Harry Potter and Outlander series.

Though J. K. Rowling hails from England, she lived in Edinburgh while writing the Harry Potter novels, and the city’s influence is prevalent in both the books and films.

Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

You can imagine yourself in Diagon Alley by visiting Edinburgh's busy Victoria Street, which served as inspiration for the iconic shopping street for wizards and witches – which makes sense when you realize that Rowling wrote the majority of the seven Harry Potter novels just a few blocks over at The Elephant House café.

The University of Glasgow bears a striking resemblance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Meanwhile, University of Glasgow bears a striking resemblance to Hogwarts, especially when viewed from Patrick Bridge, where the university’s towers and spires peek over the trees.

The Scottish Highlands serve as the main setting for the Outlander series.

For Outlander fans, Scotland will hold many familiar locations. To name just a few: Culloden Field in Inverness, the location of the tragic, real-life Battle of Culloden; Urquhart Castle in Loch Ness; Wardlaw Mausoleum in Inverness, the family burial place of the real-life Lovat Frasers; and Glencorse Old Kirk near Edinburgh, the church where Claire and Jamie first married.

Fittingly, Edinburgh is UNESCO's first City of Literature, and you can soak in the atmosphere of the city and the countryside on both our Journey through Britain and Scotland: Highlands and Islands tours. To focus your explorations more on the Scottish Highlands, submit a reservation request for our Scotland: Highlands and Islands tour.


Egypt: Setting of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile and Location of the Library of Alexandria

Abu Simbel, where Linnet narrowly avoids being crushed to death by a falling boulder in Death on the Nile.

No doubt you are familiar with the iconic fictional detective Hercule Poirot from Agatha Christie’s books. Many scenes in Death on the Nile feature some of Egypt’s most famous cities and historical sites. We visit several – Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Abu Simbel, Karnak Temple Complex, Valley of the Kings, Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx – on our Egypt & the Eternal Nile and Treasures of Egypt tours. We even cruise along the Nile River, just like in the book!


The modern library in Alexandria, Egypt. Source

Though the Library of Alexandria has been lost to time, the modern Bibliotheca Alexandria pays tribute to the original wonder of the world and offers its own sense of grandeur. The ancient library was said to hold between 40,000 and 400,000 papyrus scrolls; today's version includes a visually stunning main reading room with space for some nine million books. We have the chance to explore this library on our Treasures of Egypt tour.


Ireland: Dublin's Trinity College, Home of the Book of Kells

The library of Trinity College. Source

History buffs and bookworms alike will delight at our inside visit to the library at Dublin's Trinity College on our Enchanting Ireland tour. The college was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth, and Ireland's greatest national treasure resides in the college's library: the Book of Kells. This masterfully illustrated work of calligraphy contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and is thought to have been created sometime around 800 CE. It is truly a sight to behold, and the setting only adds to the historic atmosphere.


Prince Edward Island, Canada: Tour the Birthplace of Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The green-gabled home that inspired L. M. Montgomery. Source

The bestselling and beloved Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is set in Prince Edward Island, which we explore on our The Canadian Maritimes tour. We even tour the very house and grounds that inspired the novels, which is now kept as a museum dedicated to Montgomery's work.


New Zealand: Scenery for The Lord of the Rings Fans

J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendary The Lord of the Rings books and director Peter Jackson’s film adaptions are, at this point, inextricably linked. One does not simply imagine Middle Earth without recalling scenery from the movie trilogy, which was filmed in the diverse landscapes of New Zealand.

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand was the filming location for Fangorn Forest.

The tangled forests near New Zealand's Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park may seem familiar to moviegoers, as Peter Jackson used this location for Fangorn Forest, home of the tree-herding Ents and where Merry and Pippin meet the wise and ancient Treebeard.

You’ll likely find many more familiar sights from the award-winning adaptations of the legendary Tolkien novels in New Zealand (including the movie set of Hobbiton!); we travel specifically to Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound on our New Zealand Adventure tour.


Kenya: Karen Blixen’s Houses and Museums (Author of Out of Africa)

Blixen's house in Nairobi, Kenya. Source

In the coastal Norwegian town of Rungsted sits the Karen Blixen House and Museum, where the writer known as Isak Dinesen (Out of Africa) was born in 1885 and spent most of her life. We visit this house, which boasts its original furniture and décor, on our Norwegian Splendor tour; the site itself comprises the house, a museum, bird sanctuary, and park.

Blixen's other home is in Nairobi, Kenya; we visit it on our Classic Safari: Kenya and Tanzania tour. Blixen's 17 years spent here on a coffee plantation in British East Africa inspired her world-renowned memoir, and the setting here gives us a glimpse of how she lived in the early 20th century.


Great Britain: Shakespeare's Birthplace, Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery

The half-timbered house where Shakespeare was born.

Immortalized playwright William Shakespeare, lyrical poet William Wordsworth, and Peter Rabbit–creator Beatrix Potter – three titans of the English language, all unique in style and all of whose writing locales are laid bare on Journey Through Britain. While on tour, we explore the homes and offices where these authors worked, all of which have been preserved to look exactly as they did in the authors' lifetime.


France: Paris, Home of Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France. Source

This English-language bookshop in Paris opened in 1951 and, between now and then, around 30,000 writers have roamed, met, and even slept between the aisles and piles of books, including famous authors and artists like Alan Sillitoe, Robert Stone, Kate Grenville, Sebastian Barry, Ethan Hawke, Jeet Thayil, Darren Aronfsky, Geoffrey Rush, and David Rakoff. The bookstore has gained a reputation for being a must-visit spot in Paris for bookworms (and it’s location across from Notre-Dame certainly helps its popularity). We have ample opportunity to visit in our free time on our Provincial French Countryside, Essential France: Provence to Paris, and European Tapestry tours – all of which also feature optional “Paris – On Your Own” Post-Tour Extensions.


If you are someone who revels in the richness that literature adds to our lives, then consider one of these small group tours for your next travel adventure. Simply call us or submit a reservation request to save your spot on tour today.

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET

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