Where wonderful words and perfect places meet

My summer holiday this year was spent in Norway, exploring fjords and glaciers, kayaking, axe-throwing, sampling Scandinavian beers and pretending to be a mermaid. Then we stumbled on a funny little place called Fjaerland and I fell in love.

Why? I’m from Wales and a pilgrim to Hay-on-Wye, every book-lover’s dream. A whole town full of books! Founded in 1961 by Richard Booth, this Welsh border town specialises in literature. Second-hand novels, antiquarian specialities, new releases and everything in between, plus a festival with author events and reader discussions, it’s one of my favourite places in the world.


Fjaerland, like every other town on the fjord, it was pretty and charming. It even had a public sauna. Five of us got hot and sweaty, then leapt into freezing water. Then a local guide explained that Fjaerland is a book town, inspired by Hay-on-Wye.

Outside the sauna

Buildings such as bus stops, empty houses, cafes, art galleries and people’s porches are used as a book exchange. People come from all over Norway and beyond to exchange books. My Norwegian home town! I looked up international book towns on my return. There are so many! My future holidays will revolve around this list.


Book towns exist all over the world. If there’s one near you, will you visit, buy a book and take a picture? Next up, I’m going to St Pierre de Clages and Wigtown. See you there! Especially if there’s a sauna.

Find your local book town here: http://www.booktown.net/

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