Outside of reading, traveling is my biggest passion. There’s nothing like hopping on a plane, eating terrible airplane food, watching a few recent movies, and then landing in a whole new place. The thrill of setting foot in a new city for the first time is unlike anything else. Using my list of travel destinations for readers below, you can turn your next trip into a perfect bookish holiday.
This is not in any way a comprehensive list – there are so many amazing places to visit for book lovers all around the world. This is just a list of places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit during my travels.
Here are my suggestions for book oriented places to visit:
Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France
Located only a few meters from the famed Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare and Company has become a tourist destination in its own right. This is one of my favorite travel destinations for readers. The store is packed to the rafters with mostly English books of all genres. Go upstairs, and you can appreciate a nook with a perfect view of Notre Dame, check out old tomes (not for sale), and play (or listen to) the well loved piano.
If you do plan to visit, I advise you to visit in the morning or an hour before they close. During peak tourist season there is often a line out the door, and the store itself become cramped and hard to navigate. Going early will give you plenty of time to peruse and explore the cozy French bookshop. Be sure to buy a book and request that they stamp it – it makes for a phenomenal keepsake.
The Strand in New York City, USA
In a city as large and metropolitan as New York City, it can be hard to find places that are truly quiet. The Strand is one of those places. The Strand is home to more than 18 miles of books, and is an independent, family owned bookstore. They host plenty of amazing author events and the staff are super knowledgable and helpful. Take some time to get lost in the stacks, buy some books, and take in an author event if you’re able to.
Seattle Central Library in Seattle, USA
An architectural marvel, the Seattle Central Library is a sight to be seen. It’s one of the most beautiful modern buildings in Seattle, and is great to wander through when it’s pouring outside. Be sure to check out The Red Hall, a perfect place to take a memorable Instagram selfie (if that’s your jam).
The Globe Theater in London, England
Though the modern version is technically the third iteration of the famed theater (the first burnt down, and the second was closed by an order to close all theaters in London in 1642), it’s still worth the visit. You can see a play the same way people did back in the 1600s – and for only £13.50 per person. Who doesn’t want to experience a Shakespeare play the way it was originally intended?
Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey in London, England
Westminster Abbey is a massively popular tourist destination in London, England. It stands as one of the most visited churches in the city, attracting over 1.5 million visitors every year. It’s also the resting place of many, many notable English folks, including Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Charles Dickins. In addition to the notable people buried in the church, there is also a corner of the abbey dedicated to recognizing people with significant contributions to English Literature. This is almost more of a reading pilgrimage than one of the most popular travel destinations for readers.
Take some time to peruse the names – among them you’ll find William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Charles Dickins, Geoffrey Chaucer, CS Lewis, and more.
Want to learn more about Poet’s Corner? Check out the official webpage here.
Fontana dei Libri in Rome, Italy
This fountain is one of hundreds (if not thousands) of fountains that adorn the streets of Rome. It’s relatively new compared to most things in Rome – having been designed by Pietro Lombardi in 1927. If you’re already in Rome, you should definitely take a pit stop and appreciate this small tribute to literature in the streets of such a culturally rich, ancient city.
Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens, London
The Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens was originally commissioned by Peter Pan author JM Barrie, and stands in the place that Peter Pan lands in the story The Little White Bird. Given the fact that it was commissioned by the author, and it’s in a spot relevant to the story (and in one of the prettiest parks in London). If you’re in Kensington Park, it’s worth stopping to admire it.
New York Public Library Main Branch in New York City, USA
The main branch of the New York City Public Library is an architectural gem that sits at the edge of Bryant Park. Initially opened to the public in 1911, the library is home to approximately 1.5 million books. The library is a popular tourist spot, drawing over one million visitors every year. Take time to wander through the stacks, and take in the Beaux-Arts architecture, make a stop in Astor Hall and McGraw Rotunda. The main branch has also made numerous appearances in films and television (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ghostbusters, 13 Going on 30, Sex and the City), so it’s perfect for fans of movies too.
Bouquinistes by the Seine in Paris, France
Walking along the shores of the Seine is a quintessential experience when traveling n Paris – and touring the Bouquinistes is one of the best travel destinations for readers. Lined along the banks of the Seine are bookselling stalls, selling collectable, new, and used books. There are exactly 250 of them, and wandering and browsing them is a perfect way to see the Seine and areas around Notre Dame. Bouquinistes are a true relic of a simpler time – they’ve barely changed their operations in the hundreds of years they’ve been around. Picking up a book from one of them is a phenomenal keepsake to remember your time in Paris.