You can always rely upon Lonely Planet publications to show you something new. Something unexpected, challenging, or just plain quirky. And their recent title – Culture Trails – is no exception.

Lonely Planet Culture Trails
Culture Trails – a recent title from Lonely Planet

About Lonely Planet Culture Trails

Culture Trails features self-guided cultural itineraries in cities (or sometimes wider regions) around the world. Each is designed to fit into a weekend or short trip of a few days. Some of the tours are best taken on foot; others require a car or public transport.

But what is culture? This book interprets the term widely, ranging from literature, art or music to indigenous culture and local idiosyncrasies. So, beside more conventional offerings like Literary Dublin there are Steampunk in Omaru, NZ, and Sauna Culture in Finland. Or even Soviet Architecture in Bulgaria and Comic-Strips in Brussels. As the introduction says, “culture exists everywhere, and it means everything to the curious traveller”.

Lonely Planet Culture Trails - Dublin
Literary Dublin – one of 52 itineraries in Culture Trails

Some of the trails – like Oxford’s Storytellers – I might have discovered for myself (although I hadn’t realised the city’s Botanic Gardens had so many literary associations). But others – such as Myths and Legends of Old Hong Kong – are less obvious. And sometimes there is a different perspective on familiar places – Paris through the eyes of Ernest Hemingway, or Rock Star London.

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Using Culture Trails for Information and Inspiration

Each entry has an introduction and some practical information (how to get there, and how long to allow for the tour). There is a list and description of each place along the route, and suggestions for places to eat and sleep. As always with Lonely Planet books, it is all backed up with lots of full colour pictures.

Lonely Planet Culture Trails - Marrakesh
The itinerary for Artisan Marrakesh

There’s plenty to inspire you here. I’m certainly planning to follow the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail in Glasgow later this year, and I might have a go at Goya’s Madrid. And, while I’d never particularly thought of Ethiopia as a destination, the Ancient Religion trail looks fascinating.

Culture Trails is available from the Lonely Planet shop. It’s currently only in hardback: read it at home for inspiration, then copy the relevant pages to use when you’re travelling.

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