A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages

A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages

The World Through Medieval Eyes


A delightfully captivating journey across the medieval world, seen through the eyes of those who travelled across it. History readers will love this gift!

'Rich and wonderful . . . This is the world as you've never seen it before' Ian Mortimer

'A joyful, erudite book . . . A global Middle Ages for our times' Jerry Brotton


A delightfully captivating journey across the medieval world, seen through the eyes of those who travelled across it

From the bustling bazaars of Tabriz, to the mysterious island of Caldihe, where sheep were said to grow on trees, Anthony Bale brings history alive in A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages, inviting the reader to travel across a medieval world punctuated with miraculous wonders and long-lost landmarks. Journeying alongside scholars, spies and saints, from western Europe to the Far East, the Antipodes, and the ends of the world, this is no ordinary travel guide, containing everything from profane pilgrim badges, Venetian laxatives and flying coffins to encounters with bandits and trysts with princesses.

Using previously untranslated contemporary accounts from as far and wide as Turkey, Iceland, Armenia, north Africa, and Russia, A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages is a living atlas that blurs the distinction between real and imagined places, offering the reader a vivid and unforgettable insight into how medieval people understood their world.

‘Masterful, panoramic, beautifully written and vividly imagined . . . a book to be savoured’ Dr Helen Castor, author of Blood and Roses

'An enthralling journey into the past and across the world . . . this book takes us to barely imaginable places – but the most remarkable thing we find may be ourselves’ Seb Falk, author of The Light Ages


  • A stunning book . . . weird and wonderful and quietly hilarious, but the enormous fun of this book would not be possible without solid graft — Bale’s dogged research and his diligent crafting of perfect prose
    Gerard deGroot, The Times

About the author

Anthony Bale

Anthony Bale is Professor of Medieval Studies at Birkbeck, University of London and a former President of the New Chaucer Society. His previous books include Margery Kempe: A Mixed Life (Reaktion Books). He has edited and translated several medieval texts, including The Book of Marvels & Travels by John Mandeville, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology, all with Oxford University Press. He was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2011) and holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2023-26). He has held fellowships at institutions including Harvard University, The Huntington Library and the University of Melbourne.
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