When you’re a book lover, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being transported to another world through the power of words. And what better way to experience that feeling than to visit the actual locations where your favorite books are set?
Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, romance, mystery, or something else entirely, there’s a destination out there that’s perfect for you. So if you’re looking for your next book-inspired vacation, here are a few ideas to get you started:
New Zealand is the home of Middle-earth, the fictional setting for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Fans can visit many of the real-world locations featured in the films, such as:
- Mount Doom: Tongariro National Park is home to Mount Ngauruhoe, which was used to portray Mount Doom in the films. Visitors can hike to the top of the volcano for stunning views of the surrounding area.
- The Shire: The Shire was filmed at Matamata, a sheep farm in the Waikato region. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Shire, which includes the Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and the Party Tree.
- The Gladden Fields: The Gladden Fields were filmed at Lake Pukaki, a glacier-fed lake in the Mackenzie Country. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake or simply relax on the shore and enjoy the scenery.
Other notable fantasy filming locations in New Zealand include:
- Pelennor Fields: Glenorchy
- Rivendell: Kaitoke Regional Park
- Isengard: Mount Sunday
- Edoras: Mount Sunday
- The Ford of Bruinen: Kaitoke Regional Park
- Lothlórien: Manuka Gorge
- Dimrill Dale: Kawarau Gorge
Scotland is home to many castles and ruins that have inspired countless fantasy novels, including Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. Visitors can explore these ancient structures and imagine themselves transported to another world.
- Eilean Donan Castle: This castle is located on a tidal island in Loch Duich and is said to have inspired Hogwarts. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and explore the castle ruins.
- Glenfinnan Viaduct: This viaduct is located in the Scottish Highlands and is best known for being featured in the Harry Potter films as the bridge that the Hogwarts Express crosses. Visitors can take a ride on the Jacobite steam train, which is also known as the Hogwarts Express.
- Urquhart Castle: This castle is located on the shores of Loch Ness and is said to have inspired the castle in the Harry Potter films. Visitors can explore the castle ruins and learn about the castle’s history.
Other notable fantasy filming locations in Scotland include:
- Glen Nevis: Glen Nevis was used to portray the Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter films.
- Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park: This national park was used to portray various locations in the Harry Potter films, including Hogsmeade Village and the Quidditch World Cup pitch.
- Black Rock Gorge: This gorge was used to portray the Quidditch World Cup pitch in the Harry Potter films.
- Steall Falls: This waterfall was used to portray the waterfall that Harry and Hermione fall down in the Harry Potter films.
Croatia is a newer destination for fantasy fans, but it is quickly becoming a popular spot. This country was used to film many of the locations in the Game of Thrones series, such as:
- King’s Landing: The city of Dubrovnik was used to portray King’s Landing in the series. Visitors can explore the city’s ancient walls, palaces, and churches.
- The Red Keep: Fort Lovrjenac was used to portray the Red Keep in the series. Visitors can climb to the top of the fort for stunning views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding sea.
- The Wall: The Trsteno Arboretum was used to portray the Wall in the series. Visitors can explore the arboretum’s gardens and waterfalls and imagine themselves standing on the Wall, defending Westeros from the White Walkers.
Other notable fantasy filming locations in Croatia include:
- Klis Fortress: Klis Fortress was used to portray Meereen in the series.
- Minčeta Tower: Minčeta Tower was used to portray the House of the Undying in the series.
- Lokrum Island: Lokrum Island was used to portray Qarth in the series.
- Krka National Park: Krka National Park was used to portray various locations in the series, including the Riverlands and the Vale of Arryn.
Paris is the city of love, and it’s the perfect place to visit with your significant other. You can take a walk along the Seine River, visit the Eiffel Tower, or have a romantic dinner at one of the many cafes.
Here are some specific ideas for romantic things to do in Paris:
- Take a walk along the Seine River. The Seine River is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, and it’s a great place to take a romantic stroll. You can rent a boat and cruise down the river, or simply walk along the riverbank and enjoy the views.
- Visit the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is another iconic Parisian landmark, and it’s a must-visit for any couple visiting the city. You can take a lift to the top of the tower for stunning views of Paris, or simply admire it from afar.
- Have a romantic dinner at a Parisian cafe. Paris is home to some of the most romantic cafes in the world. You can enjoy a candlelit dinner with your significant other at one of these cafes, or simply have a cup of coffee and watch the world go by.
Venice is another beautiful city that’s perfect for romance. You can take a gondola ride through the canals, visit St. Mark’s Square, or simply enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the city.
Here are some specific ideas for romantic things to do in Venice:
- Take a gondola ride through the canals. A gondola ride is one of the most romantic things to do in Venice. You can glide through the city’s canals and admire the beautiful architecture.
- Visit St. Mark’s Square. St. Mark’s Square is the heart of Venice, and it’s a great place to people-watch and enjoy the atmosphere. You can also visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile.
- Enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the city. Venice is a city full of romance. You can wander through the narrow streets, visit the many cafes and restaurants, and enjoy the beauty of the city
Verona is the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and it’s a must-visit for any romance fan. You can visit Juliet’s balcony, Casa di Giulietta, or the Roman amphitheater where the opera scene from the play takes place.
Here are some specific ideas for romantic things to do in Verona:
- Visit Juliet’s balcony. Juliet’s balcony is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Verona. You can climb up to the balcony and take a photo, or simply admire it from afar.
- Visit Casa di Giulietta. Casa di Giulietta is the house that is said to have belonged to Juliet. You can visit the house and see the famous balcony, as well as other exhibits related to the play.
- Visit the Roman amphitheater. The Roman amphitheater in Verona is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. You can take a tour of the amphitheater and learn about its history, or see a concert or performance there.
London is home to some of the most iconic mystery novels ever written, including Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. You can visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street, or the Tower of London, where many of Christie’s novels are set.
Here are some specific ideas for mystery-themed things to do in London:
- Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The Sherlock Holmes Museum is located at 221B Baker Street, the legendary address of Sherlock Holmes. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Sherlock Holmes, and it features a collection of Holmes memorabilia, including his pipe, hat, and violin.
- Take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour. There are many Sherlock Holmes walking tours available in London. These tours will take you to the real-life locations that were featured in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
- Visit the Tower of London. The Tower of London is a historic castle that has been used as a royal palace, a prison, and an execution site. The Tower of London has been the setting for many mystery novels, including Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Body in the Library.
- Visit the British Museum. The British Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the world. It houses a vast collection of artifacts from around the globe, including many that are related to crime and mystery.
- See a show at the West End. The West End is London’s theater district, and it is home to many world-class productions. There are many mystery plays and musicals that are performed in the West End throughout the year.
Oxford is another great destination for mystery fans. This city is home to the University of Oxford, which has been the setting for many mystery novels, including those by Colin Dexter and Ruth Rendell. You can visit the Bodleian Library, Christ Church Cathedral, or the Eagle and Child pub, where the Inklings, a group of writers including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, used to meet.
Here are some specific ideas for mystery-themed things to do in Oxford:
- Visit the Bodleian Library. The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest and most prestigious libraries in the world. It is home to a vast collection of books and manuscripts, including many that are related to crime and mystery.
- Take an Oxford mystery walking tour. There are many Oxford mystery walking tours available. These tours will take you to the real-life locations that were featured in the Oxford mystery novels.
- Visit Christ Church Cathedral. Christ Church Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in England. It is the setting for many mystery novels, including Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse series.
- Visit the Eagle and Child pub. The Eagle and Child pub is a historic pub that was frequented by the Inklings, a group of writers including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The Inklings would often meet at the pub to discuss their writing, and it is said that the pub inspired some of the settings in their novels.
- See a play at the Oxford Playhouse. The Oxford Playhouse is a professional theater that produces a variety of plays throughout the year. There are many mystery plays that are performed at the Oxford Playhouse each year.
New York City, USA
New York City is home to many famous mystery writers, including Edgar Allan Poe and Raymond Chandler. You can visit the Poe Cottage, the Algonquin Hotel, where Chandler used to stay, or the Museum of the City of New York, which has an exhibit on the city’s crime history.
Here are some specific ideas for mystery-themed things to do in New York City:
- Visit the Poe Cottage. The Poe Cottage is a historic house where Edgar Allan Poe once lived. The cottage is now a museum that is dedicated to the life and work of Poe.
- Take a Poe walking tour. There are many Poe walking tours available in New York City. These tours will take you to the real-life locations that were featured in Poe’s stories.
- Visit the Algonquin Hotel. The Algonquin Hotel is a historic hotel that was frequented by many famous writers, including Raymond Chandler. The hotel is now a luxury hotel, but it is still possible to visit the hotel’s bar, which is said to have inspired the bar in Chandler’s novel The Long Goodbye.
- Visit the Museum of the City of New York. The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit on the city’s crime history. The exhibit features artifacts from famous crimes in New York City, as well as information on the city’s police force and courts.
Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA
Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can learn about the history of space exploration and see rockets being launched into space. You can also visit the Astronaut Hall of Fame, which honors the astronauts who have made significant contributions to space exploration.
Here are some specific ideas for science fiction-themed things to do at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:
- Take a tour of the Apollo/Saturn V Center. This center houses the Saturn V rocket that was used to send astronauts to the moon.
- Visit the Space Shuttle Atlantis. This space shuttle is now on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and you can take a tour of it to learn more about how it works.
- See a show at the IMAX Theater. The IMAX Theater at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex shows films about space exploration and the universe.
- Visit the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. This museum honors the astronauts who have made significant contributions to space exploration.
- Take a bus tour of the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. This gantry provides views of the launch pads where rockets are launched into space.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA
White Sands National Park is home to the world’s largest gypsum dune field. This otherworldly landscape is perfect for imagining what it would be like to visit another planet. You can hike through the dunes, sled down them, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery.
Here are some specific ideas for science fiction-themed things to do at White Sands National Park:
- Take a guided tour of the park. This tour will teach you about the geology and history of White Sands National Park.
- Go for a hike through the dunes. There are many hiking trails to choose from at White Sands National Park, ranging from easy to challenging.
- Go sledding down the dunes. You can rent sleds from the park store, or you can bring your own.
- Have a picnic in the dunes. There are many picnic areas located throughout the park.
- Visit the park’s visitor center. The visitor center has exhibits on the geology and history of White Sands National Park, as well as a gift shop.
Iceland is a country with a unique and dramatic landscape, making it the perfect setting for a science fiction novel. You can visit the glaciers, volcanoes, and waterfalls of this country, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery.
Here are some specific ideas for science fiction-themed things to do in Iceland:
- Visit the Vatnajökull National Park. This national park is home to the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. You can go on a glacier hike, visit a glacier cave, or simply enjoy the views of the glacier.
- Visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This peninsula is known for its black sand beaches, lava fields, and glaciers. It is also said to be the inspiration for Jules Verne’s novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Visit the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River. This river is heated by geothermal activity, and you can bathe in its warm waters.
- Visit the Krafla Geothermal Power Station. This power station uses geothermal energy to generate electricity. You can take a tour of the power station to learn more about how it works.
- Visit the Aurora Borealis Centre. This center has exhibits on the Northern Lights, and you can also take a tour to go see the Northern Lights for yourself.
In addition to the Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon can also visit the following places related to Shakespeare and his work:
- Hall’s Croft: This was once the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall. It is now a museum that houses a collection of Shakespeare memorabilia, including his will and his daughter Judith’s wedding ring.
- New Place: This was once Shakespeare’s family home. It was demolished in the 18th century, but the site is now a museum garden where visitors can learn about Shakespeare’s life and work.
- Holy Trinity Church: This is the church where Shakespeare and his family are buried. Visitors can see Shakespeare’s grave, as well as the graves of his wife Anne and their daughter Susanna.
- The Mad Hatter Tea Rooms: This tea room is located in a historic building that is said to have inspired Shakespeare’s character of the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
- The Dirty Duck Inn: This pub is said to have been a favorite of Shakespeare’s. Visitors can enjoy a drink or a meal in the pub’s historic bar.
Austenland is a themed resort that is dedicated to Jane Austen’s novels. Visitors to Austenland can dress up in Regency clothing, participate in Regency-era activities, such as croquet and archery, and even meet Mr. Darcy. Austenland also offers a variety of packages, such as the “Emma” package, which includes a ball scene and a picnic in the park, and the “Pride and Prejudice” package, which includes a carriage ride and a dinner party at the manor house.
Brontë Parsonage Museum, UK
The Brontë Parsonage Museum is the former home of the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Visitors to the museum can learn about the lives of the Brontë sisters and see the rooms where they wrote their famous novels, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The museum also has a collection of Brontë memorabilia, including their manuscripts, letters, and personal belongings.
Charles Dickens Museum, UK
The Charles Dickens Museum is the former home of Charles Dickens. Visitors to the museum can learn about the life of Dickens and see the rooms where he wrote some of his most famous novels, such as Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. The museum also has a collection of Dickens memorabilia, including his furniture, books, and personal belongings.
Mark Twain House & Museum, USA
The Mark Twain House & Museum is the former home of Mark Twain. Visitors to the museum can learn about the life of Twain and see the rooms where he wrote some of his most famous novels, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The museum also has a collection of Twain memorabilia, including his furniture, books, and personal belongings.
These are just a few ideas for destinations depending on your favorite book genre. With so many great places to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for your next book-inspired vacation.