7 Books To Read That Will Make You Fall In Love With Europe

7 Books To Read That Will Make You Fall In Love With Europe

What are books, if not the perfect travel companions? Let these page-turners accompany you on your future trips to Europe!

Here’s the wonderful thing about books. They have the power to transport you anywhere on the planet without you having to pack your things and leave home. Just one paperback can carry an entire universe, waiting right at your fingertips! Even if you’re not sure where to go next — say, on your next getaway to Europe — you can find out which country is calling you through this mix of classic and contemporary books to read below. So sit back, relax, and let these literary recommendations show you where to land.

1. England: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Who doesn’t want to study potions all year? Honestly, the temptation to purchase your own wand and owl can be overpowering in England, where filming locations for the Great Hall, Platform 9 ¾, Diagon Alley, and the Leaky Cauldron are scattered like cookie crumbs across the country. But whether you are well-acquainted with Hogwarts or you are coming into this franchise for the very first time, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is always worth a visit. If you want to fall in love with reading again, start with the book that raised a whole new generation of readers.

Also read: 14 Things to Do in London on Your Very First Visit

2. France: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Equal parts devastating and irresistibly romantic, Les Misérables is a historical work of fiction with the ambition of an epic. Certainly, it’s one of the most essential books to read if you are travelling anywhere near Paris, France. It’s quite the literary heavyweight; and by that, we mean that it has a lot of pages for readers to cover. But the compelling journey of Jean Valjean and his adopted daughter Cosette, trailed by a band of revolutionaries and the looming threat of Inspector Javert, will stay with you long after you have turned the final page. 

3. Switzerland: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Snow-capped mountains. Lakeside villages. Medieval castles resting on pretty hills. These are the scenes of pristine beauty and unspoilt bliss that come to mind at the mention of Switzerland. 

But in the summer of 1816, the country experienced thunderstorms that forced everyone to retreat indoors. Holed up inside the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva with nothing else to do, Lord Byron and his troop of writers wanted to see who could write the best ghost story. From this misty gloom emerged Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a cautionary tale about a mad scientist and his monster: “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld my man completed.” Frankenstein grapples with the consequences of creating something that you dread — what happens when mankind’s ambition goes too far. And the rest, as they say, is science fiction.

4. Hungary: The Idiot by Elif Batuman

books to read

Image credit: obviousstate

Set in 1995, Elif Batuman’s The Idiot exposes the strange rituals of university life through the eyes of Selin, a Harvard freshman student who is learning how to use email for the first time. Later, she travels from Boston to spend a summer teaching English to students in Budapest. 

“It seemed very remarkable that you could travel halfway around the world and still end up looking at some ducks,” muses Selin. Needless to say, each page of The Idiot is filled with dry humour and witty observations. This coming-of-age story offers an honest portrayal of what it means to be young again — that time of life when you feel lost and bewildered, yet all too eager to take on the world. 

Also read: Incredible Bookstores in Eastern Europe for Both Book & Design Lovers

5. Ireland: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Hearing your private thoughts repeated back to you is one of reading’s many pleasures. Normal People does exactly this, drawing you into the mind of debater-turned novelist Sally Rooney, who weaves in commentary about modern relationships with astonishing precision. Here, the author says what you are thinking deep down — but with an eloquence that makes you feel like you are encountering it for the first time. 

Arguably the most talked-about book to read this year, this contemporary bestseller follows two bright individuals, Marianne and Connell, who cannot seem to leave each other’s orbit. But where the novel really gets interesting is their exchange of dialogue: brisk and nimble. Meanwhile, their texts and online messages are effortlessly sustained across various platforms, as if it were one seamless conversation.  

6. Spain: The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Tumble down a maze of dramatic twists and narrow streets, perfect for a city that opens like a book. Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Labyrinth of the Spirits conjures a Barcelona picking itself up after the ravages of war. What follows is one of the most entertaining books to read this year, a heart-thumping tale of adventure that has all the suspense of a police procedural and the elegance of a noir film. Secret libraries, crumbling ruins, notorious prisons, and unforgettable characters are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a doorway into pure escapism, as some of the best adventures are. 

7. Italy: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

books to read

Image credit: whatsallyreadnext 

If you’re hoping for captivating books to read about this sun-soaked country, then you’re in good hands with Elena Ferrante. Beginning with My Brilliant Friend, the Neapolitan series has enthralled readers from all over the world with its complex portrayal of the relationship between longtime friends, Lila and Lenu. Now, you can also watch the HBO television series, inspired by Ferrante’s books, which continue to draw a steady crowd of bibliophiles and tourists flocking towards must-see spots in the coastal city of Naples. After wandering past lively streets and colourful markets, you can also look into exploring the lesser-known areas of Southern Italy.

Also read: 15 Underrated Cities to Visit in Europe 

We hope that this list of books to read has stirred your longing for more travel. How about you? What books have carried you across vast distances and far-flung locations? Feel free to let us know on @tripzillamag!

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary. While travelling, she finds herself going off the beaten track quite often, but it's probably because she gets lost easily.

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