Greece, a land of ancient history, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, has captivated the hearts and minds of travellers for centuries. For bibliophiles, this Mediterranean paradise offers a unique opportunity to delve into its literary tapestry that weaves together myth, philosophy, and modern storytelling. From the birthplace of Western literature to contemporary works inspired by the country's mystique, Greece has much to offer to those with a penchant for the written word.
Places For Bibliophiles In Greece
Cephalonia is an island located on the Ionian Sea, to the west of mainland Greece. It is known for its sandy coves and dry, rugged landscapes. The novel "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" by Louis de Bernières tells the beautiful love story between an Italian officer and a local girl during WWII while the Ionian island of Cephalonia was under occupation. The subsequent film adaptation of the novel helped to put the island on the tourist map as a popular Greek destination. Cephalonia boasts immaculate natural beauty, pristine beaches and untouched countryside. Travellers can enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures, such as sea kayaking.
Corfu is located in the northwest of Greece and boasts rugged mountains and a coastline dotted with resorts. The island's landscape bears the imprint of its past, having been under the rule of Venice, France and Britain before being united with Greece in 1864. "The Corfu Trilogy," written by Gerald Durrell, is a delightful tribute to the island's natural beauty. The first book, "My Family and Other Animals," is a witty and autobiographical account of the author's childhood in the 1930s, when he and his family moved to Corfu after his father's death. Corfu has been a popular Greek tourist destination for many years and its unique blend of historical influences is reflected in the charming Venetian architecture and delicious Italian-inspired cuisine of Corfu Town.
Located just 160 km south of the Greek mainland and about 100 km southwest of Anatolia, Crete is the most populous island in Greece. It is famous for being the setting of Nikos Kazantzakis' philosophical masterpiece, “Zorba the Greek,” which is the most translated Greek novel ever. “The Island,” a novel by Victoria Hislop, takes place on Spinalonga Island, the site of a leper colony in the first half of the 20th century. Patricia Highsmith's psychological thriller “The Two Faces of January” also features scenes on the island. As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete boasts an impressive array of ancient Minoan ruins, delicious local wines, and a diverse landscape that includes numerous sandy beaches, quiet mountain villages, and Europe's longest gorge.
Spetses is an island in Greece that belongs to the Saronic Islands. The novel, “The Magus,” by John Fowles, takes place on a fictional Greek island called Phraxos, but many of the locations in the book actually exist on Spetses. The author spent a few years on Spetses as an English teacher, just like the protagonist in his novel. This beautiful island has a rich history and is a popular destination for Athenians looking for a short break. Travellers can enjoy various activities such as swimming, trekking, sailing, and horse riding.
Ithaca is a small island in the Ionian Sea, off the northeast coast of Cephalonia and to the west of continental Greece. It is famous for being one of the cornerstones of Western literature, as it was the setting of Homer's “Odyssey.” The epic journey concludes on Ithaki, where Penelope patiently awaits the return of her husband, King Odysseus, amid aggressive suitors. Today, Ithaca is the ultimate Mediterranean vacation destination, offering visitors a tranquil holiday experience with scenic mountain roads, windswept cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Travellers can also indulge in scuba diving, sea kayaking, and hiking.
Located just a couple of hours' drive from Athens, Delphi is a modern town next to the ancient precinct where the most important Greek temple and oracle of Apollo was once situated. “My Brother Michael,” a forgotten classic by Mary Stewart, is a charming tale of mystery and romance that vividly portrays the Greek mainland scenery surrounding the ancient oracle of Delphi. Delphi's magical site, known as the "Navel of the Earth," is surrounded by endless olive groves and ancient ruins. The town is picturesque and lies in the shadow of Mt Parnassos.
The Mani Peninsula, also known as Maina or Maïna in mediaeval times, is a region in Southern Greece that is both geographically and culturally significant. The Maniots, believed to descend from the ancient Spartans, call it their home. In "Mani," one of the most renowned travel writers of the 20th century, Patrick Leigh Fermor, shares his experiences of exploring the deep south of the Peloponnese region, where he eventually settled down in his later years. The book is a travelogue that provides a detailed and insightful look into the unique, rocky, and isolated terrain of the Mani. It is a region that boasts of walking trails, olive groves, and abandoned stone towers, and is perfect for those looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure.