10 novels that will inspire European travels

10 novels that will inspire European travels

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

I threw back the curtains to find rain-spattered windows for what felt like the five-hundredth morning in a row. Responding with a heavy sigh, I picked up a book to evade the first symptoms of cabin fever that were slowly creeping in.

When tourist season comes to a close, and the gloomy weather derails your travel plans weekend after weekend in the fall and winter months, don’t get yourself down. It’s possible to take a trip to a new destination from the warmth and comfort of your very own couch.

You can visit …

Channel Islands

“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Fall in love with idyllic Guernsey, and get to know many of the island’s charming inhabitants as they correspond with a warm and witty British author, Juliet Ashton, by letter.

Czech Republic

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

by Milan Kundera

Walk the streets of 1968 Prague, and ponder the meaning of life with Tomas as he works to keep complicated relationships with his wife, Tereza, and his mistress, Sabrina, in balance.


“All the Light We Cannot See”

by Anthony Doerr

Visit St. Malo, the beautiful walled port city in northwestern France where a German boy and a blind French girl develop an unlikely friendship thanks to an underground World War II radio broadcast.


“The Hangman’s Daughter”

Oliver Pötzsch

Experience medieval Bavaria in all of its gore and glory as village executioner Jacob Kuisl investigates the mystery behind a boy that was discovered in a river with a strange symbol tattooed on his shoulder.


“Zorba The Greek”

by Nikos Kazantzakis

Explore the beauty of life and friendship on the dreamy, sun-soaked Greek island of Crete with 60-year-old Alexis Zorba.


“Under the Tuscan Sun”

By Frances Mayes

Warm yourself from the inside out by heading to Tuscany with Frances Mayes, a travel writer, poet and gourmet cook who works to restore a dilapidated villa she purchased on a whim.


“The Hiding Place”

by Corrie ten Boom

Get a glimpse of Haarlem, Holland in the midst of its Nazi occupation, and be welcomed into the home of the Dutch ten Boom family, where Christians worked to hide Jewish refugees in World War II.


“Night Train to Lisbon”

by Pascal Mercier

Travel from the mountains of Switzerland to the beaches of Lisbon, Portugal with Latin professor Raimund Gregorius as he chases after an enigmatic Portugeuse woman, leaving his old life behind.



by Diana Gabaldon

Go back in time with former WWII combat nurse Claire Randall to find danger, adventure and romance in the rugged Scottish Highlands … in the year 1743.


“Beneath Wandering Stars”

by Ashlee Cowles

Journey the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail alongside Gabriella as she follows through on a vow she made to her brother, a soldier who is seriously wounded in Afghanistan. Written by Army brat Ashlee Cowles, this story shines a light on the unique experiences of military kids.

When you’ve had the chance to visit these European destinations through the pages of a good book, plan a trip to travel there in a warmer season. Tour the places you read about in person, make your own impressions of the sights, sounds, food, people and culture, and create a new story — one that belongs to you.

Looking to enjoy a few good chapter books set in Europe with your kids? Check out:

“Heidi” by Johanna Spyri (Switzerland)

“The Door in the Wall” by Marugerite de Angeli (England)

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick (France)

“Detectives in Togas” by Henry Winterfeld (Italy)

“Shadow of a Bull” by Maia Wojciechowska (Spain)

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