8 Literary Tours To Take Around The World
There’s no better way to pay tribute to your favourite authors or characters than to follow in their footsteps via these entertaining tours.
Below, we begin our round-up of literary holidays abroad and shorter tours closer to home. All will enhance your imaginary world and provide a unique shared experience, in the company of expert guides and fellow enthusiasts of the written word.
Here are 8 wonderful literary tours to take around the world:
Basho walking tour, Japan
The 17th-century haiku poet Matsuo Basho was the author of the legendary travelogue The Narrow Road to the Deep North. This nine-day tour visits the most famous sites associated with Basho’s journey, on walks of between five and 15 miles per day along country lanes, forest trails and mountain footpaths linked together by Japan’s super-efficient train system. Highlights include visits to Matsushima, with its bay of 260 pine-covered islands; Mount Haguro, one of the country’s most sacred shrines; and the ancient city of Kanazawa.
Millennium Tour, Stockholm, Sweden
The march of grim Scandinavian crime thrillers was spearheaded by Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and this walk in Stockholm, the picturesque Swedish capital, lets you relive the drama. Taking in the hip suburb of Södermalm, home to ace journalist Mikael Blomkvist and rogue IT genius Lisbeth Salander, the walk passes fictional sites mentioned in the Millennium trilogy, including Blomkvist’s home, his local cafe, Salander’s favourite tattoo parlour, Inspector Bublanski’s synagogue, Millennium magazine’s offices and, finally, Salander’s luxury apartment. It’s an atmospheric walk which helps colour in the dark outlines of Scandi noir.
Gabriel García Márquez tour, Colombia
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), this 10-night literary pilgrimage to García Márquez’s homeland visits the spots most associated with his life and works. These include Bogotá (a city tour and visit to his former school and university), Barranquilla (he was a member of the legendary Barranquilla Group), Tayrona National Park (whose indigenous tribes inspired “magical realism”), his birthplace of Aracataca, colonial Mompos and Cartagena (for a full-day themed tour).
Shakespeare and his world
An inspirational mix of live performances, visits to related sites, talks and discussions, this six-day tour is led by Shakespeare expert Dr Charles Nicholl. Site visits include Middle Temple Hall in London (Twelfth Night, 1602), villages around Stratford and Holy Trinity church, where the Bard is buried. You will see The Tempest (Barbican), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (The Globe), Antony and Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus (RSC, Stratford).
James Bond’s Mayfair, London, England
‘Shaken, not stirred.’ James Bond creator Ian Fleming coined this classic line while sipping cocktails at his favourite bar in London’s exclusive Mayfair district. This and other classified secrets are revealed on this tour conducted by guide Simon Rodway, who’s thoroughly researched Fleming’s life and its connections to his famous fictional creation. From the author’s birthplace through Berkeley Square to St James, tour members pass places with links to 007, including a naval club which evokes the author’s wartime experience in military intelligence. You can order the cocktail created by Bond, the Vesper, at the end.
Writers in Paris, France
In the early 20th century the French capital was a magnet for writers, as detailed by American writer and Paris resident David Burke in this series of walks. There are four main tours, including ‘A Band of Outsiders’, which focuses on the Latin Quarter and the exploits of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell, as well as celebrated French writers such as Honoré de Balzac and Victor Hugo. Other walks focus on the ‘Lost Generation’ of Montparnasse, the literary cafes of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Père Lachaise Cemetery’s memorials to greats such as Molière, Proust and Wilde.
Jane Austen in Bath, England
It is a fact universally acknowledged that a Jane Austen fan visiting England must be in want of a good walking tour. Well, good sir or madam, here it is, and in a delightful city as a bonus. Bath is renowned for its graceful architecture. It was also where the famed author lived, and became the setting for her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The Jane Austen Centre leads this walking tour of literary highlights each weekend.
Literary Landmarks, Boston, USA
In the 19th century Boston was a hotbed of literature, spawning influential movements such as American Romanticism, American Realism and Transcendentalism. The Fireside Poets, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, triumphed here with their popular verse; joining other literary stars such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Henry James and Nathaniel Hawthorne. This tour reveals their haunts, including the secret of the Saturday Club.
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