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Top 10 most written about European cities in literature, data reveals

Updated: Feb 14

From the seductive charms of Paris to the vivacious streets of Rome, bustling cities make the perfect backdrop for novels. And for many, books can act as literary passports, whisking readers across the globe from the comfort of their own living space.

But which cities in Europe are the most written about in literature?

Our partner Aura Print helped us with this question and combed through the vast expanse of the Google Books corpus (a repository boasting 25 million books) to identify the cumulative mentions of 31 prominent European cities across books spanning from 1920 to 2019.

So scroll down and be inspired for your next romatic trip!

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20 most popular European cities in books revealed:


List of European Cities which are most mentioned in Literature

For the complete data of all 31 European cities analysed, please click here.

Beating all its European counterparts by a landslide, London snags top spot on the list to be crowned Europe’s most popular city in literature.

Being featured an astonishing 286,675,501 times is nearly three times more than all other cities analysed. Dubbed by Charles Dickens as the ‘magic lantern’ that fired his creativity, the British capital has played host to a multitude of novels over the last century.

London book recommendation: The Story of Our Life by Shari Low

Trailing behind is Britain’s age-old cross-Channel rival, the beguiling French capital, Paris. Clocking in a mindblowing 95,290,475 literary mentions, the romantic and intriguing City of Lights has charmed and inspired a plethora of romance and fiction authors.

Paris book recommendation: Paris Is Always A Good Idea, The Little Paris Bookshop, The Paris Wife

The Eternal City, Rome claims third spot (48,840,949 mentions), triumphing over its fellow Italian cities with an impressive 74% greater share of literary attention than Florence (6th), Venice (12th) and Milan (17th), on average. From its glorious imperial past to the vibrant present, the Italian capital makes a captivating backdrop for books of all genres.

Rome book recommendation: Heart of the Gladiator by Lydia Pax

Whipping up fourth place with a significant 37,079,709 mentions in books is Berlin. Steeped in history with a turbulent past, the partially destroyed German capital offers a striking cityscape, serving as a wellspring of inspiration for historical fiction and thriller writers. And there are some really romantic places to discover too!

Berlin book recommendation: The Innocent by Ian McEwan

Rounding off the top five most written about cities is Moscow. A city of enigmatic paradoxes and captivating cultural histories, the Russian capital has entranced novelists for decades, accumulating a significant 31,405,361 literary references.

Moscow book recommendation: A Gentlemen in Moscow, Gorky Park, In the First Circle

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