The Pillars of Hercules : A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean, Paperback Book

The Pillars of Hercules : A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean Paperback

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


At the gateway to the Mediterranean lie the two Pillars of Hercules: Gibraltar and Ceuta, in Morocco.

Paul Theroux decided to travel from one to the other - but taking the long way round.

His grand tour of the Mediterranean begins in Gibraltar and takes him through Spain, the French Riviera, Italy, Greece, Istanbul and beyond.

He travels by any means necessary - including dilapidated taxi, smoke-filled bus, bicycle and even a cruise-liner. And he encounters bullfights, bazaars and British tourists, discovers pockets of humanity in war-torn Slovenia and Croatia, is astounded by the urban developments on the Costa del Sol and marvels at the ancient wonders of Delphi.

Told with Theroux's inimitable wit and style, this lively and eventful tour evokes the essence of Mediterranean life.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780140245332

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A decent work but slightly disappointing in that Theroux was unable to stick to a simple circular (clockwise) route around the Mediterranean, and thus fails to achieve the challenge which makes the book exciting: journeying from Gibraltar to Tangier by going 'the long way round' rather than directly across the water. While his frustration at impeded travel is interesting at points - particularly when in Albania - the effect of adapting a journey to an area's geographical and cultural shape is muted. <i>The Old Patagonian Express</i> did this more effectively, and was more enjoyable as a result.

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