That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m the type of person who says “yeah, let’s walk there!” even if it’s miles away. I love exploring places by foot and one of my favorite things to do in a new place is take walking/biking tours. It’s a great introduction to a place and you get to see so much.
By now, you’ll know I love books so, naturally, I wanted to share some literary walking tours I’ve stumbled across lately. Let me know which ones you’d love to go on or if you’ve heard of others! Until you can get to these destinations, take a virtual walk (and read the books that inspired them) by reading about these literary walking tours below!
Stockholm’s Millennium Tour for Fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series
Stieg Larson’s trilogy had a hard time getting published, but once they got in the hands of readers their fame skyrocketed. After the movie adaptations, it’s safe to say these books are internationally popular and Stockholm frequently draws tourists who want to visit sites from the books.
This two-hour walking tour takes you in the footsteps of the main character at many of the key locations in the books. You’ll traipse through the suburbs where Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander lived, visit their local cafe, Salander’s favorite tattoo shop, her luxury apartment, and so much more. You’ll end the tour at the Stockholm City Museum where you can experience even more of the books in the Millennium exhibition.
Dublin’s Literary Pub Crawl for Fans of Famous Authors
Dublin is a fantastic place for anyone who loves to read. This tour began operating in 1988 and is still popular 3 decades later. Ranked as one of the top walking tours in the world, this isn’t your average tour at all. Think of it as a full immersion into all things literature with a splash of spirits to kickstart your imagination.
A pub crawl hosted by actors playing famous authors!? You’ll jaunt around Dublin to four pubs, get a private visit to Trinity College, and learn all about the pub/poets/authors/pints from the actors along the way. It’ll be like you’re drinking with some of the greatest literary minds of history. You’ll also learn about how the writing culture got its start and how much of an impact writing had on the area.
Boston by Foot Tour for Fans of Some of America’s Great Authors
Boston has a walking tour for almost anything that could possibly bring you to the city. It’s more well-known for its historical connections, but many of the literary greats made huge impressions in Boston. Why not explore famous and lesser-known landmarks on a pleasant walk?
This tour visits places where writers such as Alcott, Emerson, and Thoreau gathered, discusses how famous authors like Dickens were lured to the city, and even dives into why Poe rejected Boston as his home. You’ll visit a variety of landmarks including the Old Corner Bookstore, Alcott’s home, and the Athenaeum private library.
London’s Spies of Mayfair Walking Tour for Fans of James Bond
Bond, James Bond. The books, not the movies. Yes, there are plenty of James Bond tours you can take for fans of the movie (I love them too), but this for the overlooked books that inspired the movies! The Spies of Mayfair is the only tour I could find that specifically caters to the books instead of the movies, so it’s absolutely a unique option for your next trip to London.
You explore where Ian Fleming lived, gambled, drank, and discovered the inspiration for the Bond series. You’ll even learn about a real-life Russian spy found murdered in the area and spy craft in general. Plus, it’s always a great experience to explore London on foot, so why not do so with a tour that’s not like the others.
Paris’s Literary Tour for Fans of French and Famous Visiting Authors
Paris is considered a cultural capital of the world, especially where literary greats are concerned. Walking around Paris is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the vast artistic history of the city as almost every place you look has a connection to literature, art, history, and more.
The Paris Literature Walking Tour takes visitors on an adventure in the footsteps of Hemingway who loved to walk around the city. Along the way you’ll learn about famous artists, including Picasso and Matisse, visiting and resident authors, and even visit some famous bookstores. The tour lasts about 3 hours and you’ll cover so much of Paris in that time you won’t believe it.
Literary Shanghai Walking Tour for Fans of Chinese and Visiting Authors
Whenever literary walking tours are brought up, most people think of Western authors, but we can’t overlook authors from other regions who are just as talented. Shanghai underwent its literary heyday in the 19th and early 20th centuries and produced a massive amount of impressive literature.
This guided tour begins at a local teahouse in the north end of the city associated with famous authors including Lu Xun. You will also visit the neighborhood where poet Xu Zhimo lived and hosted authors from other countries. Even if you haven’t read anything by these authors, it’s absolutely worth a trip since you’ll get exposure to new books/authors you should add to your shelves.
Bath’s Jane Austen Walking Tour for Fans of All Things Jane Austen
Bath is a gorgeous town to visit, especially for lovers of Jane Austen as it was used as the setting in several of her novels. The architecture alone takes you back in time so it feels more like a literary adventure instead of a stuffy tour. The tour is even led by the Jane Austen Centre, so you know you’re getting an expert on all things Austen not just the books.
Your tour guides will be dressed in period clothing, are experts in their field, and you’ll get to explore so much of Bath along the way. This tour is also really interactive. You can try on clothes from the period, write with a quill pen, and even taste food from the period.
New Zealand’s Multi-Day Hiking Tour for Fans of Lord of the Rings
Visiting all of the Lord of the Rings filming locations and locations from the books just isn’t possible on foot unless you have a year to spare. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a hybrid DIY tour where you drive to the location and take a hike near it. After all, New Zealand has epic views to go with the epic literature/movies set there. Why not do both?
The following are trails you can hike to see sites from the film and get an incredible walking experience along the way as well.
- Mordor/Mt. Doom — Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- Paths of the Dead — Hike the Putangirua Pinnacles
- Dwarves in Barrels — Hike the Pelorus River
- Chetwood Forest — Hike Takaka Hill
- Edoras — Hike Hakatere Potts Road
- The Two Towers — Hike Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park
- Fangorn Forest — Hike Milford Track