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5 books to read before your Europe Grand Tour

These classic books are full of tales that will inspire you anew to indulge (vicariously) in the history and drama of Europe.

1. Fiesta/The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

Set in: Spain (via Paris and the Pyrenees)

Influenced by Hemingway’s own visit to Spain in 1925, the start of the author’s tempestuous love affair with the country, it details a trip to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls festival by a group of expatriate British and Americans. It is recognised as one of his best works.

2. A Room With A View, by E.M. Forster

Set in: Tuscany, Italy

Forster’s poetic tale of first love among the patinaed beauty of Florence and the Tuscan countryside (and subsequently the dappled, green countryside of England) is the stuff travel dreams are made of.

3. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières

Set in: Greece

A wildly popular novel due to its gentle wartime love story between Pelagia, a Cephalonian living under the Italian occupation of her island, and Italian captain Antonio Corelli, and the evocative description of sleepy island life.

4. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Set in: St Petersburg, Russia

The story of the obsessive, all-consuming love affair between the married Russian aristocrat Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky plays out against a backdrop of intense political, religious and social turmoil that characterised Russia towards the end of the 19th century.

5. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Set in: England

A tale of friendship and religion, love and loss, the story of the relationship between Charles Ryder and the aristocratic Sebastian Flynt starts its journey through time in 1923. Waugh’s prose has a halcyon days cast that hints at the passing of long-held English traditions.

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This article appeared in issue 26

Featuring:

  • Spain's sublimely wild Cadaqués
  • Amsterdam - the world's most cycle-friendly city
  • La Dolce Vita - Sardinia, Italy

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