Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in southeastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Greece may be one of the most written-about countries, so while creating this list should be relatively easy, it was agonizing trying to narrow things down!
Greece has the longest coastline and is the southernmost country in Europe. The mainland has rugged mountains, forests, and lakes, but the country is well known for the thousands of islands dotting the blue Aegean Sea to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Ionian Sea to the west. On your travels, you can expect ancient sun-bleached ruins, piercing blue skies, the balmy Aegean lapping an endless coastline, and a culture alive with passionate music, wonderful cuisine, and thrill-seeking activities.
Greece is a beautiful country that offers everything from beaches and islands to culture and history and delicious food, and friendly locals that keep visitors coming back. So if you’ve never visited or simply long to go back, these books set in Greece will transport you there and inspire a future adventure!
The Iliad by Homer (760–710 BC)
Sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium, The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states. It tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.
The Odyssey by Homer (760–710 BC)
The King Must Die by Mary Renault (1958)
Renault starts with Theseus’ early years, showing how the mystery of his father’s identity and his small stature breed the insecurities that spur his youthful hijinx. As he moves on to Eleusis, Athens, and Crete, his playfulness and fondness for pranks matures into the courage to attempt singular heroic feats, the gallantry and leadership he was known for on the battlefield, and the bold-hearted ingenuity he shows in navigating the labyrinth and slaying the Minotaur.
Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (1994)
Little Infamies: Stories by Panos Karnezis (2004 )
In a nameless Greek village, the lives of its citizens–the priest, the whore, the doctor, the seamstress, the mayor–and even its animals–a centaur, a parrot that recites Homer, a horse called History–are entwined. As their lives intersect, their hidden crimes, their little infamies, are revealed, in a place full of passion, cruelty, and deep reserves of black humor.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (1956)
The Names by Don DeLillo (1982)
Greece: A Traveler's Literary Companion by Artemis Leontis (1997)
It's All Greek to Me! by John Mole (2004)
Greek to Me by Mary Norris (2019)
The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault (1956)
The Magus by John Fowles (1965)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis (1946)
Afternoons In Ithaka by Spiri Tsintziras (2014)
From the first heady taste of tomatoes on home-baked bread in her mother’s village in Petalidi, to sitting at a taverna some 30 years later in Ithaka with her young family, Spiri tsintziras goes on a culinary, creative and spiritual journey that propels her back and forth between Europe and Australia. these evocative, funny and poignant stories explore how food and culture, language and music, and people and their stories help to create a sense of meaning and identity.
The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (1941)
A Separation by Katie Kitamura (2017)
The Thread by Victoria Hislop (2011)
The Two Faces of January by Patricia Highsmith (1964)
The Girl Under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming (2012)
Sixty years after the invasion of Crete, Lois West and her young son, Alex, invite feisty Great Aunt Pen to a special eighty-fifth birthday celebration on the island, knowing she has not been back there since the war.
The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir by Tom Stone (2002)
The Summer of My Greek Tavérna is as much a love story as it is the grand, humorous, and sometimes bittersweet adventures of an American pursuing his dreams in a foreign land, a modern-day innocent abroad.