FREEPHONE 0800 888 6195   Contact Us

Avanti Travel Insurance blog

25 Oct

Discover The Locations in Dan Brown’s New Book – Origin

I’ve been inspired to travel to places by many many stories, be it books, movies or true stories, visiting a setting to a story can really bring the story to life. Most recently we travelled to the Bavaria region of Germany after reading a book based there and it added a little something extra to it, another interest, another angle.

Dan Brown, with over 200 million books in print is the master of the historical religious thriller. There was a time when you could not get away from The Da Vinci Code, one of the biggest selling books of all time, a real phenomenon. Now that some of these books featuring the Harvard professor Robert Langdon have been made into movies starring Tom Hanks they have reached a new even bigger audience.

Brown provides real insights into the places his stories are set and I have loved visiting many of the places set in his previous books, especially The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons set in Rome and Florence featured in Inferno. With his latest book Origin sure to be another massive hit set entirely in Spain, here is a look at some of the incredible locations featured!

Montserrat Monastery

The story opens with a meeting between Edmond Kirsch, a rich futurist (reminds me of Elon Musk!) and a group of religious leaders in the library of Montserrat Monastery. He informs the religious leaders of a discovery he has made which will shake people’s faith to their core. Montserrat Monastery is set in a spectacular mountain range 1200 metres high around 45 kilometres northwest of Barcelona, it can easily be visited in a day trip from Barcelona and affords views all the way back to this great city.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Image of spider sculpture outside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Maman – A version of this striking spider sculpture sits outside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

We then move onto the amazing Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, a museum of modern art. The star of the Dan Brown novels Robert Langdon makes his appearance here having been invited by Edmond Kirsch, one of his former students and friend, to the unveiling of his incredible discovery being live streamed across the world to millions. The evening is struck by disaster though before Edmond can reveal his secret leaving Robert Langdon to try and figure out who caused the disaster and what it was that his friend and former pupil intended on unveiling to the world. Bilbao is a forward thinking, vibrant city in the Basque region of Spain which has its own very strong sense of identity. The Guggenheim Museum is one of the most striking buildings I have ever seen, a work of art in its own right, and in fact, as you approach the building a fog is produced around you and it actually becomes part of the art. Bilbao has some great events including brilliant music festivals, a visit here is a fun filled experience especially for those who are lovers of art.


Suspicion falls on the Spanish royal family and their religious advisor Bishop Valdespino based at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Are Valdespino and the King in waiting really behind the disaster which prevented the big announcement?

Image of Plaza Mayor Madrid

Plaza Mayor Madrid

There are a thousand reasons to visit the Spanish capital, spectacular museums housing priceless masterpieces, a legendary nightlife rated as the best in Europe where people party till the sun rises, football of course…and so much more. The Royal Palace can be visited for 11 Euros including the art collection and any temporary exhibitions. Concerts are also held here in the grounds from time to time. The palace is located at the Plaza de Oriente opposite the striking Catedral de la Almudena which also has its own museum.


Robert Langdon heads to Edmond Kirsch’s hometown in an attempt to track down his secret. His enquiries lead him to Gaudi’s masterpiece, the incredible cathedral Sagrada Familia. I love this city, but any visit is not complete without at least setting your eyes on the towering spires of this dream like creation. Queues can be ginormous here, you’ve got to arrive first thing before opening time to stand a chance of avoiding the queue to get inside. But once inside, you will be inside one of the most unique buildings ever dreamt up.

Origin is a great read and will definitely add another layer of interest to your next visit to Spain. Check it out, it may just be the inspiration for your next travel mission!

Happy Travels – Tom – My Travel Mission –