As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be wondering if you and your beau should visit somewhere special. The question is where. Paris? Overrated. Rome? Whatever. Vienna? It’s just okay. We all know the best romantic destinations aren’t an expensive plane ride away—they’re in the pages of our favorite books.
Of course, the romance between a reader and these literary places is a bittersweet one, for we must admire them only from afar. But what if we were able to jump into our favorite books, à la Pagemaster style? Where would be your first pick?
As your literary travel agent, allow me to list a few excellent options:
Pemberley (Pride and Prejudice): Look at this place. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. It’s elegant. It’s sophisticated. Who doesn’t want to promenade around its parlor rooms, call upon the Darcys, caress the Baroque walls, lick the marble floors? (Actually, no. Don’t do that). This is the home of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, an eligible bachelor who is indeed in want of a good wife, whom he finds in Elizabeth Bennet. I’m sure the Darcys would graciously allow you and your date to take a tour of the estate and grounds, admire the art, or even try your hand at the pianoforte. Of course, there is a real-life version of Pemberley, but it’s just not the same without Darcy.
Hogsmeade (Harry Potter)
This location is especially charming in winter, when the village near the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry resembles a quaint gingerbread town. There’s so much for you and your date to do here, but consider this itinerary: a cup of tea at Madam Puddifoot’s (which I hear has splendid Valentine’s Day décor), followed by shopping at Tomes and Scrolls for your bookish needs, Zonko’s for your joking needs, and Honeyduke’s for your sweet tooth needs. Then finish the day with a warm tankard of butterbeer at the Hog’s Head. You can even take a peek at the Shrieking Shack, although take care not to get too close; there have been strange noises reported recently.
Rivendell (The Lord of the Rings)
Looking for somewhere without snow? This is the place for you. Quiet, peaceful, and full of the most attractive people you will ever meet, Rivendell has it all. Beautiful hiking and riding trails, lakes perfect for swimming in, healthy meal plans, and live music everywhere you turn. Rivendell is populated by Elves, but you may also see the occasional Hobbit, Dwarf, or—if you’re lucky—Wizard. I also hear there’s a certain rugged Ranger who frequents these halls. Just take care that neither you nor your date get caught staring too long at all these beautiful people.
The Night Circus (The Night Circus)
If you’re craving to go somewhere mysterious and surreal, The Night Circus is the best place to go. The circus travels all around the world, gaining faithful followers wherever it goes, who you can spot by their red scarves. Just ask them where the circus will be, and be there by nightfall. Inside you’ll find amazing tents that defy nature, speculation, and every single law of physics. But you and your date won’t care, because you’ll be too busy gawking and shoving popcorn into your mouths while trying not to blink and miss a single second of wonder.
Camelot (The Once and Future King; every Arthurian tale ever)
Who doesn’t want to stay in a castle? And what better castle than the one in Camelot, where King Arthur resides? Think about it as an extended stay at a Renaissance Faire. Giant turkey legs, jousting competitions, and unsanitary conditions galore! You might even get to see a glimpse of the King or Queen themselves, as well as a certain rugged Knight. And if your date is in a particularly raunchy mood, you can always use the pillory. Nothing says “I love you” more than a rotten tomato in the face.
Shangri-La (Lost Horizon)
For a peaceful retreat, Shangri-La may just be the (literally) perfect place for you. You can come here to step up your meditation game, or just get away from the world and irritating people in general. You can do whatever you want here, although keep in mind you’ll probably be asked to leave behind your phones, computers, music players, etc. in order to completely soak in the utopian vibes. You may even notice you look younger here, and suddenly have the urge to do yoga.
So there you have it, some choice places for your romantic literary getaway. Don’t like any of the above choices? Let us know where you would love to go in the comments!