This blog post was updated on May 15, 2020.
For globetrotting bibliophiles, there’s nothing better than traveling to a place that has inspired classic books. From volcanoes to vistas, here are five historic spots that planted creative seeds in some of the world’s most famous literary minds. The best part? You can still visit them today!
Whitby Abbey, UK
One of literature’s most famous characters, Dracula, was “born” in Whitby Abbey, an abandoned 16th-century monastery in England. Bram Stoker drew his inspiration from these haunting environs, as well as the local library (where he first read about Vlad Dracul), while writing his 1897 classic. You can still visit the harbor town of Whitby today by flying into Newcastle airport. Be sure to grab some fish and chips, and visit Dracula tourist attractions.
RELATED: Planning a visit to the UK? Here’s what travelers need to know after Britain’s exit from the EU. Read more here.
Snæfellsjökull Volcano, Iceland
French author Jules Verne’s 1864 masterpiece Journey to the Center of the Earth was inspired by a 700,000-year-old Icelandic volcano. Indeed, his protagonists make their way into the center of the earth through Snæfellsjökull volcano, which is so large that it can be seen almost 75 miles away from Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik. You can take a tour to the volcano, which is located at the western end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Big Sur, California
Jack Kerouac’s 1962 novel Big Sur is set in a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, that was owned by Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. While the content of the novel is dark (fueled by Kerouac’s extreme alcoholism and numerous mental breakdowns), the natural beauty of Big Sur permeates the narrative as he travels between Bixby Canyon and San Francisco. You too can experience the breathtaking views of this stunning area of California while staying at one of the many cabins, campgrounds, or luxury resorts that populate the area.
Green Gables Farm, Cavendish, Canada
As a child, Lucy Maud Montgomery visited Green Gables farm in Canada (which was owned by her cousins at the time) and fell in love with the farmhouse and surrounding property that included “Haunted Woods,” “Lovers Lane,” and “Balsam Hollow.” Published in the early 1900s, the Anne of Green Gables series of novels grew so popular that Green Gables became a national park in the 1930s. However, don’t expect to see sprawling farmland if you visit today. Much of the property has been turned into a high-end golf course.
Hathersage, Derbyshire, UK
British writer Charlotte Brontë was deeply inspired by Hathersage. She first visited this Derbyshire village in 1845 and stayed with a friend for about a month. It’s widely believed that her novel Jane Eyre (1847) was set in this locale. North Lees Hall, located near Hathersage, is rumored to have been her inspiration for Thornfield Hall. However, there’s ongoing competition with another property (Norton Conyers – located just outside of Ripon) that many believe to be the actual Thornfield Hall. There are plenty of things to see for Brontë fans in Hathersage and in Charlotte’s childhood home of Haworth.
Have you visited any places that inspired famous books? What are they? What impressed you most about them? Let us know in the comments section.