Book Capitals: the best cities in the world for book lovers

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Usually, tourists, going on a trip, have similar goals. Some go to warm countries in search of the sea, the sun, and eternal summer. Some want to actively spend time skiing in the snow-capped mountains, and some love history and choose the oldest cities in the world for a vacation. But some people have a rather unusual and specific goal – they are inspired to travel many thousands of kilometers for the love of books.

In fact, books are the thing that unite people from all over the world. Many people organize large-scale international associations of fans of certain books (hello, Harry Potter fans!). Do you have a book that you can’t live without? And sometimes you just want to immerse yourself in the world where the heroes of your favourite novels lived. Haven’t you ever wanted to visit Baker Street in London, where Sherlock Holmes lived, stroll through the streets of Moscow, where the Master and Margarita first met, or visit Paris, where the tragedy of the heroes of Remark unfolded? Of course, many of us also want to visit the places where the authors of our favourite books were born.

In addition, there are cities in the world that are literally created for book lovers. There are cities with the richest libraries in the world, the best bookstores, and museums dedicated to writers. And if you’re a fan of books, you simply must go there. So scroll down and check the 7 best cities in the world for book-lovers.

1. Best cities for book lovers: Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scott Monument, Edinburgh

Edinburgh was the first place that was chosen as a literary city by UNESCO in 2004. It was home to some of Scotland’s most famous writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe. The Scott Monument, located on busy Princess Street, is one of Edinburgh’s most recognizable landmarks, second only to Edinburgh Castle. You’ve probably heard about the most famous author associated with Edinburgh: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter fans will want to make their first stop at the Elephant House, which advertises itself as “Harry Potter’s birthplace.”

2. Best cities for book lovers: London, UK

This city is probably the leader in the number of literary characters who lived here.  Here on Baker Street lived the world-famous detective Sherlock Holmes. The heroes of the Forsyte Saga lived in the vicinity of Hyde Park. Dr. Jekyll was wandering the streets of London with his alter ego. Moreover, platform 9 and ¾ is one of the most iconic places in the city. In addition, you can also follow in the footsteps of Professor Langton from the book “The Da Vinci Code”. Also, the events of such famous books as “The Adventures of Oliver Twist”, “Three Men in a Boat”, “A Tale of Two Cities”, “Neverwhere” unfold in London. So, if you want to immerse yourself in the world of your favourite books, you should definitely visit London.

Paris, France

There are no cities for book lovers with a more “literary” history than Paris. Salons, publishing houses, bookstores, and second-hand bookstores – all this you will find in the capital of France. Such outstanding personalities as F. S. Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso worked here. Be sure to visit the historical bookstore “Shakespeare and Company”, and also go for a cup of tea at La Closerie de Lilas, where creative people once met. If you are a fan of the works of Victor Hugo and Remarque, then you should definitely go to Paris, because the events of most of their works took place there.

La Closerie de Lilas, Paris

Best cities for book lovers: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Any fan of Russian literature is familiar with St. Petersburg, even if you have never been there. Here Raskolnikov struggles with morality in “Crime and Punishment”, here Vronsky and Anna Karenina fell in love with each other. St. Petersburg was home not only to some of the greatest stories in the world but also to the greatest authors, such as Nabokov and Dostoevsky. Taking into account the rich literary history of the city, there are always several available tours dedicated to writers, poets, and literary heroes.

Boston, USA

Since the founding of the USA, Boston has been the heart of the country’s literary and cultural life. It is known that classic American authors gathered in Boston bookstores to write and discuss their work. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are particularly known for their association with the Old Corner bookstore.

Old Corner bookstore, Boston

The most “bookish” city in the world: Hay-on-Wye, Great Britain

Haven’t heard of this quaint little town? Then let’s explain. In the south-east of Wales, there is a small town that has preserved the appearance of the Victorian era and with a population of two thousand people. It is called Hay-on-Wye. It is located right on the border with England and is often referred to as the “city of books”. Hay-on-Wye attracts a large number of book lovers who come here because of the 40 bookstores that sell mostly used books. About five hundred thousand tourists from all over the world visit Hay-on-Wye every year. They are attracted by the fame of this small Welsh town, the most “bookish” in the world.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now e-books are increasingly replacing paper books. However, in Buenos Aires, the tradition of reading paper books is very much still alive. The city has approximately 23 bookstores for every 100,000 inhabitants, which is the third-largest index in the world after Melbourne and Lisbon. All literary fans should definitely take a book tour of Buenos Aires and visit El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the most famous and beautiful store in the world. The 22,000-square-foot building, with frescoed ceilings, red stage curtains, and audience anterooms, originally served as a tango center when it was built in 1919 and then turned into a bookstore in 2000.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires

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