Culture Trails

Greece Travel Secrets reviews the book Culture Trails by Lonely Planet, which has a section on Artistic Athens alongside 51 other perfect weekends for culture lovers around the world.

We worked with publishers Lonely Planet to bring readers of Greece Travel Secrets an extract from their new book Culture Trails. Click over to Artistic Athens and you can see a typical spread from the book. You can also visit one of our other travel websites, Pacific Coast Highway Travel, to read a second extract: Vintage Hollywood. If you want to know about the rest of the book, read on.

We were impressed with the extracts we saw, and even more impressed when a finished copy of the book reached us. It's a big and handsome coffee table book that will make a great present for anyone you know with a bad case of wanderlust, or indeed a wonderful treat for yourself.

You can see sample spreads from the book on this page and on the two extracts from the book, so we don't need to tell you how good it looks. Just imagine them blown up to full size. Each spread picks a cultural theme that's appropriate to the destination, so for Havana it's music, for Copenhagen it's design and for Ethiopia it's ancient religions. You can see that the cultural topics are quite wide-ranging, as are the destinations, from Australia to the USA. The 52 perfect weekends are spread across 33 countries.

For European travellers there's plenty of inspirational choice ranging from Romania (Dracula, of course!) and Bulgaria's Soviet Ghosts, to Rock Star London and Catalonia's Rebels.

The spreads each have an introductory essay followed by a route linking all the main places. There are then suggestions on Where to Stay, Where to Eat and Drink, and Celebrations. This bit lists any special events related to the cultural theme so you can plan your visit to take them in, if you want to.

A few of the other topics covered around the world in Culture Trails include:
• On a Classical High in Vienna
• Literary Paris through the Eyes of Hemingway
• Traditional Music in the Wild West, Ireland
• Mackintosh & the Glasgow Style
• Aboriginal Art in the Northern Territory, Australia
• Tokyo Pop Culture
• Finnish Sauna Culture

If that doesn't get your travel bug itching, there's also Bob Marley's Jamaica, Venice's art masterpieces, comic-strip art in Brussels (great choice!), and the creative artisans of Marrakesh. We loved the eclectic collection and it's certainly fired us up to take some of these culture trails.

Don't expect the thoroughness of a guidebook, as the strength of this book is in enjoying the readable essays. The practical sections are limited to a couple of hotels and a couple of eating or drinking recommendations, though they're usually ones that link with the theme. You'll still need to do a little bit of work to turn these culture trails into perfect weekends. Other than that, you're good to go with this highly enjoyable book.

Some other Books pages

  • Greece Book Reviews

    Greece Book Reviews on the Greece Travel Secrets website with reviews of the best guidebooks to Greece, the Greek Islands, Athens, Crete and elsewhere.

  • Hydra Travel Writing Classic

    Peel Me a Lotus by Charmian Clift is a Hydra travel writing classic, describing her family’s life on this tiny Greek island near Athens in the 1950s.

  • Great Greek Poets: Cavafy, Sappho, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis

    There are many great Greek poets, with two authors winning the Nobel Prize for Literature and names include Sappho, Cavafy, George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis.

  • Mermaid Singing: Kalymnos Travel Writing

    Mermaid Singing by Charmian Clift is a fine example of 1950s travel writing about the Greek island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese.

  • A-Z Guide to Santorini

    The very thorough A-Z Guide to Santorini by Tony Oswin is now in its 15th edition, a sure sign that the guidebook is both popular and kept up-to-date.

  • A-Z Travel Guide to Kos

    The 2022 edition of the A-Z Travel Guide to Kos is the 15th edition of the best and most comprehensive guidebook to Kos in the Dodecanese islands of Greece.

  • Best Rhodes Guidebook

    The best Rhodes guidebook is undoubtedly the A-Z Travel Guide to Rhodes, including Symi, with a new revised and updated edition for 2022.

  • A Thing of Beauty

    A Thing of Beauty by Peter Fiennes describes ‘Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece’ and places the Greek Gods in the context of modern-day Greece.

  • Books About Greece

    If planning a trip to Greece, what are the best books about Greece to read before you go, or to take with you, to give you a sense of place?

  • Margarita’s Olive Press

    Margarita’s Olive Press is a modern gem of a book of Greek travel writing, in which the author falls in love with and renovates a property on Zakynthos.

  • The Summer of My Greek Taverna

    The Summer of My Greek Taverna by Tom Stone is a memoir of his time on the Greek island of Patmos in the Dodecanese, running a restaurant.

  • Wild Abandon

    Wild Abandon by Jennifer Barclay and published by Bradt Guides is A Journey to Deserted Places of the Dodecanese islands in Greece, including Rhodes and Kos.

  • Eurydice Street

    Eurydice Street, A Place in Athens by Sofka Zinovieff is an honest account of what it’s like to move to Athens and live as a foreigner, learning Greek customs.

  • Northern Greece Guide

    The Bradt Guide to Northern Greece is a detailed guide to Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Thrace, The Pelion, The Sporades and the rest of Northern Greece.

  • Monemvasia Book Review

    Greece Travel Secrets reviews the photography book Monemvasia with extracts from works by Yiannis Ritsos and Nikos Kazantzakis.

  • A Rope of Vines

    A Rope of Vines by Brenda Chamberlain is an evocative memoir of the author’s time living on the Greek island of Hydra in the early 1960s.

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