Best Literary Tours in Europe

Bridget Sandorford picks out her top literary tours throughout Europe.

Europe was the birth place of the Renaissance, and it has been a thriving cultural centre throughout history. Many, many famous and influential artists, musicians and writers all lived and produced their best work in Europe. You can’t visit a city in Europe without finding some connection to a famous artist, if not a sample of their work.

Many of the writers who lived in Europe drew their inspiration from their surroundings. By taking a literary tour, you can see where they lived and where they produced their best work. Plus, why not explore the places that inspired some of their most iconic works?

Here are some of the best literary tours you can take in Europe:

Paris – The Lost Generation

The Lost Generation was the group that came of age during the First World War. In literary terms, it included a group of writers who lived as expats in Paris from the time of the Great War until just before the start of World War Two. Notable writers included Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, John Steinbeck, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

La Closerie des Lilas

You can follow in the footsteps of these great authors on a literary tour of Paris, including stops at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, the La Closerie des Lilas (the neighborhood made famous by Hemingway) and, of course, the River Seine.

Dublin – Literary Pub Crawl

Dublin has produced some notable writers, including James Joyce, Samuel Beckett (who also made an appearance on the Paris scene), W.B. Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. The tour promises that you can sit on some of the very same bar stools where these great writers contemplated over a glass of whiskey.

STAG'S HEAD

If you want to get outside the pub scene, there are also tours of James Joyce’s haunts, showing you his home and some of the notable places in his novels.

Florence – Dante

Even though he was writing about the Inferno, you’ll think you’re walking in ‘paradise’ on this tour of Florence.

You’ll visit the author’s home and learn about the medieval life Dante would have experienced whilst working in Florence. Though it is a city full of culture and history, Florence is relatively small so you’ll very quickly become immersed in the setting that inspired Dante to write his classic texts.

Saint-Petersburg – Nabokov

Though his iconic work, Lolita takes place in America, many of Nabokov’s earlier works were set or inspired by his homeland of Russia.

You can tour the city where he was born and raised, and learn more about the inspiration for his classic works. HIs childhood home has also been preserved as a museum, so you can learn more about the writer’s life here.

England – Jane Austen

The English countryside is almost as imposing a character as any of the leading men in Jane Austen’s novels.

This tour takes you through the Hampshire countryside to experience the place that served as inspiration for her classic romantic tales. You can also visit Austen’s 17th century home, in which she lived the last eight years of her life.

Jane Austens original writing table, Chawton

There are many other great literary tours available, depending on where you want to travel and who your favourite authors are. These are just some of the top tours in Europe based on classic authors and their works.

Have you been on a literary tour in Europe? Tell us about the best ones in the comments!

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, who has recently been researching French culinary school. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

One thought on “Best Literary Tours in Europe

  1. I’ve been to all of these places except for St Petersburg… And you’re right: they’re perfect for diving into the literature as well as the other elements of culture.

    Maybe I’m just Kafka-crazy, but I’d also have to add Prague in here: the museum they have for him and his work is one of the best literary experiences I’ve ever had.

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