updated 12/15/2008 11:47:07 AM ET 2008-12-15T16:47:07

Berlin
Why: Artists aren't the only creative types flocking to Berlin, Europe's new cultural capital. The city has been attracting both fledgling and established writers from around the globe, including Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides. And don't forget the stars of Berlin's lettered past: critic and writer E.T.A. Hoffmann; playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht; Alfred Döblin, author of the classic "Berlin Alexanderplatz"; and Herwarth Walden, editor of the avant-garde magazine Der Sturm.

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Room: Thomas Mann called the Hotel Savoy "extremely friendly and comfortable" — still true today (49-30-311030; hotel-savoy.com; doubles, $207–$393). The Ostel is a retro-kitsch budget hotel in the happening Friedrichshain neighborhood — rooms are East Berlin circa 1950 (49-30-25768660; ostel.eu; doubles, $86).

Lunch and dinner: The menu is hearty at the Wintergarden café at Berlin's Literaturhaus, a foundation dedicated to the promotion of German literature (23 Fasanenstrasse; 49-30-8825414; entrées, $21–$28). The excellent menu at E.T.A. Hoffmann, a restaurant in Kreuzberg, ranges from lamb to scallops (83 Yorckstrasse; 49-30-78098809; three-course menu, $50).

Tip: Time your next trip for September and Berlin's International Literature Festival. Check out Bordercrossing Berlin, the city's two-year-old English literary magazine. Its Web site lists readings and literary events that take place throughout the year.

The splurge: To see how Berlin’s culturati live, take Berlinagenten’s Urban Living tour, a voyeuristic excursion that opens the doors to their homes (49-30-43720701; berlinagenten.com; $212).

Boston, Mass.
Why: Many of the country's most enduring writers lived and worked in Beacon Hill during the nineteenth century. Downtown's Old Corner Bookstore, once the offices of the publisher Tick-nor and Fields, was the unofficial meeting place of writers such as Emerson and Hawthorne. The Boston Public Library, overlooking Copley Square, is the nation's first (and still largest) municipal public library. Boston by Foot's informative Literary Landmarks tour hits all the highlights (bostonbyfoot.com; $12).

Room: Charles Dickens' base during his American tour (and the site of his first stateside reading of A Christmas Carol), the 1855 Omni Parker House was also the home of the Saturday Club, a literary society with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Atlantic Monthly editor James Russell Lowell among its members (617-227-8600; omnihotels.com; doubles, $259–$289).

Lunch and dinner: Students and Newbury Street shoppers love the Trident Booksellers Café, with its diverse book inventory and eclectic menu ranging from BLTs to Tibetan dumplings (338 Newbury St.; 617-267-8688; entrées, $9–$13). Many a book deal has been celebrated at Hamersley’s Bistro, a South End institution (553 Tremont St.; 617-423-2700; entrées, $26–$35).

Tip: Just 20 miles from downtown, Walden Pond is where Henry David Thoreau decamped to in 1845, chronicling his experience in Walden. The 400-acre area is a year-round retreat, with cross-country skiing in winter and swimming and kayaking in summer (978-369-3254; mass.gov).

The splurge: Become a member of the Boston Athenaeum private library and you’ll be able to access rare books on the upper four floors (617-227-0270; bostonathenaeum.org; $115).

Dublin, Ireland
Why: Dublin abounds with literary landmarks, from George Bernard Shaw’s birthplace, now a museum (33 Synge St.; 353-1-475-0854), to bronze statues of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Brendan Behan on North Earl Street, Merrion Square and the Royal Canal, respectively. McDaids was the drinking haunt of Behan, Joyce, and Sean O’Casey (3 Harry St.). Among the exhibits at the Dublin Writer’s Museum are a first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Samuel Beckett’s telephone (353-1-872-2077).

Room: Next door to Trinity College and within walking distance of Grafton Street’s shopping and the Gaiety Theatre, Trinity Lodge is a fine Georgian building with a chic interior, friendly staff and a smart wine bar and bistro. Rooms are comfortable and spacious (353-1-617-0900; trinitylodge.com; doubles, $160–$218).

Lunch and dinner: Fallon & Byrne, a brasserie-style restaurant, serves modern Irish dishes, plus hearty soups and salads (11-17 Exchequer St.; 353-1-472-1010; entrées, $23–$47). 101 Talbot is a local favorite for its hearty food with an Irish-Mediterranean flavor — think Clare Island salmon and roasted monkfish (101 Talbot St.; 353-1-874-5011; entrées, $21–$37).

Tip: The five-day Dublin Writers Festival, in June, attracts international authors. Celebrate Ulysses with readings, food and wanderings on Bloomsday, June 16. Actors lead the evening Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (353-1-670-5602; dublinpubcrawl.com; $18).

The splurge: Cathach Books has rare volumes of Irish literature and history and signed copies. A first edition of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is $2,570 (10 Duke St.; 353-1-671-8676).

© 2013 Condé Nast Traveler

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