Literature Places You Should Visit

One of the richest and most precious creations that human kind has continually added throughout time is the wide and varied history of literature that we have. Dating as far back as before the Middle Ages, we can see how the power of literature can both bring communities together and controversially tear them apart. So rich is the world’s literary history that a recent trend, titled literary tourism, has become a popular activity amongst curious travelers.

A common thread among many different iconic writers is that they tend to have a particular bar or pub associated with their patronage, and in turn, these particular bars and pubs become something of a pilgrimage which fans decide to take to pay homage to their favorite authors. Allow us to take you on an international journey featuring some of the most famous literary bars and pubs in the world.

There are a lot of place to visit
Literature has a lot of places to visit. Chek them

The White Horse Tavern – New York City

Our tour begins in New York City’s White Horse Tavern, an old fashioned drinking spot in the heart of Manhattan that provided comfort and solace for the legendary poet (and legendary drinker) Dylan Thomas. The iconic author of Under Milk Wood was a regular patron of the tavern, and folklore states that it was the pub in which he beat his own personal drinking record, and the pub in which he drank his very last beverage. The White Horse Tavern has also been a favored establishment over the years to other literary figures including Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson.

Place where famous writers created their masterpieces
Place where famous writers created their masterpieces

Old Town Bar – New York City

We’re staying in New York City, and taking a cab to East 18th St where you will find the Old Town Bar, opened in 1892 and boasting some of the best marble and mahogany interior décor that the borough has to offer. This little gem of a bar has been the favored drinking hole of many different literary icons across the years including Seamus Heaney, Nick Hornby, Billy Collins and Frank McCourt. Known as a place where you can have a drink but still hold a conversation, the bar must have been perfect for authors to relax but still discuss their works.

El Floridita – Havana

Now we head to Cuba for something a little more tropical – the El Floridita bar which is famous for its delicious cocktails and wide array of exotic spirits. The establishment in the heart of Havana has seen many famous patrons come and go, but perhaps none more famous, in a literary sense, than the late great Ernest Hemingway. To this day, several photos of the man grace the walls of the bar, and we can be sure that he spent some time there; he was as talented a drinker as he was a writer!

One of the most favoutite places of Hemingway
One of the most favoutite places of Hemingway

The Eagle And Child – Oxford, England

As we cross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, our first spot of literary tourism is to be done at the Eagle And Child pub in Oxford, England. Known as a city of intellectuals, the pub was a regular hang out for renowned writers such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Colin Dexter and Hugo Dyson. With a history stretching back all the way to the 17th century, you can literally feel the weight of history as you sip on a pint of delicious ale.

Tolkien and CS Lewis used to meet with their famous literary circle
Tolkien and CS Lewis used to meet with their famous literary circle

Les Deux Magots – Paris, France

No literary tour would be complete without a visit to Paris, and Les Deux Magots is a local symbol of literary history, known to be the favored bar and café of many of the writers who resided in France at the time including James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Simone Beauvoir. Opened in 1812, Les Deux Magots fast became an intellectual hub for the Parisian elite.

Cerveceria Alemana – Madrid, Spain

If you are seeking a little more Latin flare, then the Cerveceria Alemana in the heart of Madrid is certainly worth a visit. Once again, Ernest Hemingway regarded the bar as one of his personal favorites, stating that it was a “good place to drink beer and coffee”. Offering a relaxed atmosphere good wine and beer, the Cerveceria was also visited by Victor de la Serna and Ramon del Valle-Inclan among others.

Literary Café – Saint Petersburg, Russia

Our adventure of literary tourism ends thousands of miles away from New York where we began, in the fittingly named Literary Café in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It may sometimes feel like a completely different world, but Russia too has a history of literary figures gracing their favorite establishments, with one of the most renowned being this café located on the Nevksy Prospekt. The Literary Café is written into folklore as supposedly being the place that Pushkin drank before he took part in his fatal final duel, and alongside the famous writer, other literary patrons have included Dostoevsky, Saltykov, Chernychevsky and Shchedrin.

It is the place where world literature masterpiece was created
It is the place where world literature masterpiece was created

So there you have it, a round the world tour that allows you to take in some of the most wonderful countries and cities in earth, learn about some of the greatest writers the world has ever known, and have the chance to sample delicious beverages from some of the most renowned and infamous bars and pubs in the literary world. With so many different locations and continents to choose from, all that is left is to book your flights.

The source of the infographic and pictures is AssignmentMasters.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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35 Comments

  1. Booking flights…

  2. washo

    How neat! Will have to check a few of these out someday!

  3. Elahe Almasi

    splendid! as I read your article, I’ve imagined myself siting in the places and drinking coffee with my favorite writers. I really enjoy it.

  4. Wishing there were something like this in my town.

  5. YsabelGo

    I didn’t know these places exist! Thanks for the knowledge!

  6. Laura Bowman

    I am particularly keen the visit The Eagle and the Child, and Les Deux Magots! I am definitely one of those people who gets excited by visiting the homes of my idols. This is a great list. Might I mention though, under Les Deux Magots, her proper last name is Simone de Beauvoir (not just Beauvoir).

  7. Tatijana

    So my take away from this article is that if I want to be a great author, I must start frequenting pubs. Hahaha, worth a shot!

  8. It is true that authors in the past favored a drink at pub with their writing than the coffeeshop latte we seem to prefer today. When I first started reading this article, I thought you were going to write about libraries and museums as such, but I’m glad to see that you boldly noted all the pubs where many classics were written. I kind of love this idea of a drink in hand and pen in another, I feel that it makes for more interesting reads than plain coffee. I’d have to try it sometime!

  9. Venus Echos

    Very creative- can’t wait to get to Havana!

  10. I love how the writing community is also a drinking community, coffee, alcohol, etc! I feel I fit right in, there is a reason I feel at home writing in a coffee shop, it apparently is the place to be.

  11. Hemingway was also a frequenter of Les Deux Magots 🙂

  12. Great article! Another bar that will hopefully be listed among these one day is The Elephant and Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s where J.K. Rowling first started scribbling out Harry Potter!

  13. I liked that this article centered around pubs and bars where people can visit the likes of their favorite writers. But I think it sheds a bigger light on the commercialism that is emerging around the idea of taking a pilgrimage to visit a spot of a beloved author because they could have been writing our favorite book in that very spot. People are definitely capitalizing on this desire. For example, The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland offers patrons the chance to spend the night in the exact same suite where JK Rowling finished writing the beloved Harry Potter Series. She even autographed a bust in the hotel upon finishing the book in 2007. The Hotel capitalized on this fame and for just 1000 UK pounds a night, you can sleep in the same bed that JK Rowling did.

  14. My English majors will love these places!

  15. The Eagle & Child is a great pub. Oxford has a lot to offer in terms of pubs, check out the ‘Turf Tavern’, where Bill Clinton smoked some marijuana but “Did not inhale”.

  16. Christina Legler

    Really good list! I’ve always wanted to visit the Eagle and Child.

  17. These places are now on my “to go” list! Ugh! So many places!

  18. Very interesting selection of locations. I would also add Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City to this list. It’s a great little shop located in downtown Iowa City, it has authors and other notable people speaking all the time. Iowa City is also a UNESCO city of literature, and home to the Iowa Writers Workshop. Its a great place to check out if you’re ever in Iowa City.

    http://www.prairielights.com

  19. Paul Osgerby

    Reading literature, whether its fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, seems to offer us a lens into the author, but literary tourism in this regard allows to imagine ourselves in the same room, breathing the same air as these classic writers in the long, storied history of literature. If only these spaces could last permanently like their bound counterparts… (What if digitization of these places is next? Such as how Google Earth allows you to view the interior of some businesses.)

  20. Thanks for the list:)

  21. This is a great idea! I never thought about visiting places from my favorite literary works, but I agree it is kind of mind blowing. I just went on a school trip to England last month and when we explored Bath, all I could think about was Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey.” It was really exciting. I definitely plan on exploring like this again, perhaps to a few of the places on this list!

  22. I’ve wanted to take a literature road trip like Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley and this is a nice place to start

  23. The El Floridita bar in Havana seems interesting. A bar where many celebrities came to get a famous cocktail. It is specifically interesting that Ernest Hemingway came here often. Maybe this place had influence on The Sun Also Rises. His traveling and his days as an expatriate.

  24. Anyone want to backpack around the world with me and hit all these stops?

  25. I love visiting places with a rich literary history, so this article gave me some great ideas! Now I want to research some slightly closer to me haha!

  26. Michael Richardson

    This list just added a few new places to my Bucket List itinerary. “Les Deux Magots,” is an absolute must, as Jean Paul Sartre and I, by all my subjective accounts, are 100% within the same karass. Thank you for this, I know whereto at least some of my future pilgrimages will be.

  27. For Harry Potter fans, I might also add The Elephant House in Edinburgh. It is definitely on my list of places to visit abroad.

  28. Thanks for sharing. I have heard of three of these pubs and plan to visit each of them at some point. Nice job.

  29. This was an interesting take on the effect writers have on their audience, the pilgrimage is such a beautiful action. I can’t wait to see how the future generations approach this concept. As writers move more to online gathering places I wonder if websites will become places of pilgrimages.

  30. The tone in this piece is very appropriate. It reads like the narration from the Travel Channel.

    However, a travel article really ought to include images for all of the locations it mentions. The author did a good job of keeping the paragraph length consistent, but the sporadic images make the page appear uneven.

    There are also a couple sentences that need some tweaking. For instance, “Magots is a local symbol of literary history, known to be the favored bar and café of many of the writers who resided in France at the time.” Be specific about which time period is in discussion, or simply say “of many French writers.”

  31. Duke Trott

    Another great place to visit is the Spaniards Inn in London. It’s a fantastic pub near Hampstead Heath, which was frequented by Byron and Keats!

  32. EmilyEMeadows10

    From the title, I was under the impression this was going to be about places where classic literature was based. I think this idea of visiting the paces where great works were written is a fantastic idea and can be an amazing way to pay tribute to favorite authors!

  33. MichelleAjodah

    I’ve always wanted to visit Les Deux Magots, but now I have plenty of other places to put on my list. I’ve definitely got a greater itch to travel now. Thanks!

  34. Library at Trinity, Dublin. Worth a visit. I was last there in ’87. Book of Kells still on display. Rows of books written by the greats of literature, I hope it hasn’t changed. I heard that present display of Book of Kells is digital, original moved. Such is the world we live in. Much is lost without pen to paper!

  35. Caffe Greco in Rome as well as the Elephant Cafe in Edinburgh are also must visits for any literary lover!!! Keats, Hemingway, and of course J.K Rowling

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