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travel | 10 most beautiful literary cities in Europe (one in Spain)



Similar to Hay-on-Wye, in Wales, or Redu, in Belgium, there are many book villages in Europe. Some are associated with the International Organization of Cities of Writers, others are part of regional initiatives. They are meeting places for book lovers, or simply curious travelers. The sine qua non for being considered a villa del libro is that the libraries or books are a magnet for visitors.

Civitatis has collected in this list the most beautiful writers’ villages in Europe, which are ideal to visit on Book Day and in the coming months, since their sights are as timeless as the pages of the books they treasure.

1. Hay-on-Wye in Wales

This Welsh town had the undoubted charm of a British small town, but no more. Until 1961, when Richard Booth opened his own used book store, which served as an example for many to open in the coming years and create their own identity. So much so that Booth himself declared Hay-on-Wye an independent principality, crowning himself king of the fledgling country. To this day, this municipality has established itself as an ideal destination for book lovers, receiving 500,000 tourists every year.

2. Urueña, in Spain

The first villa del libero in Spain was Urueña, located in the province of Valladolid. This charming medieval town set off to woo visitors with a series of book lover initiatives that led it to become a member of the IOB in 2007.

In Urueña there is also a space for the promotion of books and culture, the Miguel Delibes e-LEA Center, where events such as book shows or poetry recitals are held. Old, rare, outdated or discontinued books … All of this can be found in Ureña bookstores such as El Rincón del Ábrego, Páramo, El Portalón or La Boutique del Cuento.

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3. Redu in Belgium

Due to its location, next to the European Space Agency, Redu is known as the City of Space, but it is also one of the most beautiful book villages in Europe. and one of the oldest, since it was founded in 1984. Although this Walloon town has only four hundred inhabitants, it has 24 bookstores, some of which offer bookbinding, papermaking and mldr workshops; Even specialty restaurants.

In Urueña there is also a space for the promotion of books and culture, the Miguel Delibes e-LEA Center, where events such as book shows or poetry recitals are held. Old, rare, outdated or discontinued books … All of this can be found in Ureña bookstores such as El Rincón del Ábrego, Páramo, El Portalón or La Boutique del Cuento.

4. Belbrat in Barcelona

Catalonia is the undisputed leader in terms of literary cities within Spain. The community started in 2008 the network “Viles del Llibre” (Villas del Libro) in Spain located in Catalonia, and at the moment there are many cities that have joined the initiative.

Belprat (Barcelona) was the first, despite its small population (hardly a hundred inhabitants), to turn its houses and streets into a large library, and to propose such cultural activities as the exchange of books for collectors. Its activity as Villa del Libero is mainly concentrated during the month of June, in the annual book fair week.

5. Montolieu in France

One of the most beautiful writers’ villages in France is located just twenty kilometers from fabulous Carcassonne. Since 1989, Montelieu has been proud of its most literary side. In it, in addition to visiting more than fifteen bookshops (each more beautiful and interesting), it is also possible to visit the curious Museum of Book Art and Trade. All this, seasoned with the delicious gastronomy of the region.

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6. Saint-Pierre de Clages in Switzerland

The only Swiss book village is also one of the most amazing villages in the Old Continent. It has a Romanesque church from the 11th century, and a fascinating medieval historic quarter, adding to its status as a city of letters and the surrounding nature, making it one of the most popular towns in the region.

7. Wunsdorf in Germany

A priori, Wünsdorf’s four libraries seem insufficient to be considered a villa del libro. However, these add up to more than 350,000 volumes, some of which are original publishing gems. To this we must add its historical importance in terms of World War I and II, as this German city has many shelters and museums that collect these historical events.

8. Montegio in Italy

It is not one of the oldest cities in Tuscany, since it was founded in the 16th century, but it is one of the most fascinating due to its medieval urban fabric and proximity to the Apennines. In addition, for seventy years it has organized the Stall Literary Competition, which (along with other factors) made it in 2004 Villa del Libro.

9. Obidos, in Portugal

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Straddling Porto and Lisbon is Óbidos, one of the most visited cities in Portugal (courtesy of the above). Not only does it have a series of charming bookshops that have allowed it to be Villa del Libero, but it is also possible to stay in Óbidos in a hotel created by and for a book lover: the literary man. If we add to this its medieval castle, majestic churches, and interesting museums, Obidos is clearly one of the trendiest destinations in the neighboring country.

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10. Tvedestrand in Norway

If you imagine your typical Nordic crime novel, you can imagine what Tvedestrand, a picturesque fishing village in southern Norway, looks like. Despite its small size, the city is full of bookstores and literary cafés, where activities and workshops are organized with a common attraction: books.

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