There are plenty of ways to find inspiration for your next trip. You could create an itinerary around food, art, well being, and more. But have you ever considered creating a vacation based on a book? Here are eight literary masterpieces you can use to help craft your next getaway. Read them first, then hit the road.
Ian Fleming's James Bond
This April will mark the release of the 25th James Bond movie and Daniel Craig's final appearance as 007. That's why there's no better time to head to Jamaica where Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, once resided. The author purchased an under-developed plot of land there and called it GoldenEye, where he lived during the winter for more than two decades and wrote a total of 14 Bond books. His beachfront bungalow is now called The Fleming Villa and is part of the 52-acre GoldenEye resort where you can stay and sit at his writing desk.
Herman Melville's Moby Dick
November 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the real-life horror that inspired Moby Dick. Nantucket and its whaling days form the backbone of Herman Melville's 1851 novel. During Melville's first visit to Nantucket, which was, surprisingly, after he wrote the book, he stayed at the Ocean House, which is now known as the Jared Coffin House. While there, you can visit The Whaling Museum and The Nantucket Historical Association to appreciate the full whaling history that inspired Melville.
Karen Blixen's Out of Africa
Blixen first published her memoir about the 17 years she spent in Kenya in 1937. Her story was later turned into a movie featuring Robert Redford and Meryl Street. You can live out both the book and the film by staying at andBeyond Bateleur Camp. It's set in Kenya's Masai Mara reserve, where the famous final scene of the movie was filmed. What's more, the luxury camp embraces the romantic ambiance of Kenyan safaris from Blixen's era in the '20s and '30s. Think leather buttoned sofas, dark woods, free-standing copper tubs, candlelit decks, and more.
Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote
Don Quixote, written in the 1600s, is the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age. That's why, in 1926, Spain declared April 23 the anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes as Book Day. It used to be that couples would exchange gifts and men would receive a book and women would receive a rose. Today, both men and women receive books and roses. And it's the perfect reason to book a trip. Ground zero for the celebrations is Barcelona's thoroughfare, Passeig de Gràcia, which is lined with dozens of stalls selling books and roses. Stay at Almanac Barcelona, which is just off the main drag, to explore all the Miguel de Cervantes' festivities.
Frances Hodgson Burnett's Secret Garden
Dromoland Castle's walled garden in Ireland is reminiscent of the eponymous novel's hidden world. Dorothea Madden, Head Gardener, can give tours of this garden as well as other private gardens in the area. Much like the abandoned garden in the beloved story, the garden at the five-star hotel was at one point infested with briars. Dorothea led the charge in hand, digging every inch of it and restoring it to its former glory, including planting the Castle's very own Dromoland Rose. Did we mention the new Secret Garden movie comes out this spring?
John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
With delicious food and stunning architecture, there are a million reasons to book a trip to Savannah, Georgia. But, you should use the famous novel-turned-movie as inspiration. The New York Times bestseller used the oak-tree-lined parks and cobblestone streets as the backdrop as well as some of the mansions that line the charming squares covered in Spanish moss. During your visit, stay at the Hamilton Turner Inn, where you'll feel as if you're stepping into the book itself. Plus, you'll be in the heart of the city to explore all of the settings found in the novel and movie.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
The famous author's novel about a quirky detective spurred several movies and TV shows since first being published in the late 1800s. Today, you can visit spots throughout London that were actual locations from the Conan Doyle books like St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Cafe Royale, and 221B Baker Street. Book a room at The Savoy in London as the perfect home base and is a spot Conan Doyle frequented.
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
Again, it's not hard to find an excuse to visit Paris. But Brown's 2003 novel can provide a little more mystery and intrigue for your trip to the City of Light. There are tours through companies like Paris Walks that will take you locations from the novel such as St. Sulpice Church and the Louvre. Of course, you should stay The Ritz Paris, as it's where lead character Robert Langdon stayed in the novel and where he begins to follow the invisible meridian line.
Sophy Roberts' The Lost Pianos of Siberia
This debut book from longtime Departures contributor Sophy Roberts (an acclaimed journalist among the best current travel writers) unearths the accounts of pianos found throughout the remote and vast landscape of Siberia. These instruments reveal a fascinating and deep history about piano music in Russia, from the time of Catherine the Great. Over the course of a three-year adventure, Roberts documents the resilience of these beautiful instruments—and the story that each reveals.