When they’re planning their vacations, literary tourists look for beautiful and historic bookstores, places of bookish importance and cities where the current literary scene is alive and well. If this sounds like your kind of trip, then we’ve got some recommendations on where you should start.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
If browsing through gorgeous old bookstores all day sounds like a slice of heaven to you, then Buenos Aires should be on the top of your literary travel bucket list. Buenos Aires boasts more bookshops per resident than any other city in the world (that’s 690 bookshops total, according to a report from 2016), and there are some real gems on the list: in 2015, El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a bookshop housed in an old movie theater, was voted second most beautiful bookshop in the world by the Guardian.
You can stumble into a surprising number of secondhand bookshops in the ultra-modern city of Tokyo. In fact, a stroll through Jimbocho Booktown (a neighborhood right off the Jimbocho metro station) will take you by more than 160 used bookshops! Tsutaya Books, a popular chain with branches in many cities throughout Japan, has plenty of books in English and a large selection of architecture and design titles.
Some books are just better with pictures. And The Book of Kells is no exception. This 9th-century masterwork is the world’s most famous illuminated manuscript, and for good reason—just check out some photos of it. You can visit this national treasure at Trinity College in Dublin. Are you more into modern literature? Visit the James Joyce Centre for a walking tour of the city that gave the author of Dubliners and the famously inscrutable Ulysses his start.