10 bookish cemeteries worth visiting during your travels

There's a lot to explore on vacation when you're traveling abroad or within your own state. While art museums, top restaurants, and unique shopping are at the top of your travel to-do list, I bet cemeteries are barely on the list. You may be thinking – well, yes, why would they do that? I get it, cemeteries are creepy and you don't want to spend your limited time among the dead, but I have a feeling that idea might change.

On the one hand, the cemetery is quiet and historic. You can tell a lot about a town's history from its main cemetery. As a nerd and writer, I'm a bit obsessed with them. Sure, they can be creepy, but they're also full of neat facts, gorgeous gardens, and famous dead authors. If you enjoy books more than the average person, you might be a little excited about that last bit too.

Wherever you travel next, be sure to look for the best places to eat and see, but don’t forget to check out the cemeteries, too. You might find that you're within walking distance of Oscar Wilde's kissed tombstone or Shakespeare's unique gravesite.

1. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland

If you're lucky enough to visit the beautiful town of Edinburgh, I'm guessing you'll probably visit a few of the major Harry Potter attractions there. Rowling wrote some of her HP books in The Elephant House cafe, and its many castles and landscapes will remind you of Hogwarts, but have you heard of Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery? Rowling once took a stroll through this cemetery, where she picked out some interesting character names that you're sure to recognize. While you won’t see any graves of famous late authors here, you will feel some magical connection to Harry Potter, and what could be better than that?

2. New Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic

This is the cemetery I visited myself, where I saw the grave of Franz Kafka. As a creative writing student and book lover, I admire Kafka's work, even though it's a bit strange. The cemetery is beautiful and completely covered in ivy and weeds. It seems like nature has taken over and it's no longer just a place of death. It has a long history - and a not-so-pleasant history - but this cemetery is a place you certainly won't forget.

3. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts

With a name like Sleepy Hollow, you know you're about to enter an iconic destination. The cemetery is the resting place of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott. Just steps away from many other Concord attractions, this is a worthy destination for any major reader.

4. Père Lachaise, Paris, France

When you find yourself in Paris, your list of things to do probably doesn’t include visiting a cemetery, and I totally get that. However, if you happen to have some time in your schedule, consider checking out Pere Lachaise. It is home to one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and many famous names are buried here, including Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Richard Wright, Emile Zola, Victor ·Hugo and Marcel Proust.

5. Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York

This historic, traditional cemetery is the resting place of many famous people, including Mark Twain. A popular attraction, this cemetery is a great place for a walk. If you happen to be nearby around Halloween, the cemetery also offers nighttime spooky haunted tours. But if you can’t stand a nocturnal cemetery adventure, skip the night tour and enjoy the changing colors of the leaves during a daytime visit to Woodlawn.

6. Holy Trinity Church, Warwickshire, UK

Holy Trinity Church happens to be where the infamous William Shakespeare is laid to rest, but you won’t find his and other gravestones outside the cemetery. By purchasing a tithe deed during his lifetime, Shakespeare was allowed to be buried in the church. The church is open to the public, so you are welcome to walk up to visit his tomb, rain or shine. The church is also worth noting as it is a beautiful and historic place to check out your travel destination.

7. Forrest Hill Cemetery, Boston, Massachusetts

For all you poetry lovers out there, be sure to add Forrest Hill Cemetery to your list of places to visit. Cummings and Anne Sexton are both buried in this huge cemetery. You'll also find some unique tombstones like stone beds, glass statues, and unique architecture scattered throughout.

8. Ketchum Cemetery, Ketchum, Idaho

Ernest Hemingway is not buried in Illinois (where he was born), Key West, Florida (where he spent most of his life), or anywhere in Europe where he lived. His grave is located at his last place of residence, Ketchum, Idaho. If you happen to be on a road trip in this direction, it might be worth checking out his gravesite, where visitors often leave pennies or a drink in memory of the man who was credited with the phrase "Written Drunk" famous person. Editor sober. "

9. Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville, Georgia

Memory Hill Cemetery won't be in the middle of your next travel adventure (unless you're driving through a small town in Georgia), but it's a place worth a detour. One of my favorite writers, my beloved Flannery O'Connor, is buried here. You can take a historical tour and explore the Old South, where many historical heroes are buried.

10. St. Thomas A. Becket’s Cemetery, Heptonstall, England

Sylvia Plath is buried in St Thomas A. Beckett's Churchyard, where the view is absolutely stunning, with a fairytale hanging above the castle-like church trees. Visiting feels like walking into a book without feeling creepy or scary at all. The small town of Heptonstall is worth exploring, so don’t miss this bookish cemetery while you’re there.

Pictures: UncleBucko , Kate , Bill Ilott , Thomas Hawk , Fr Lawrence Lew, OP , mackatz64 , Sharat Ganapati , Loren Kerns , Stanley Zimny , Pablo Sanchez /Flickr