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This master list of travel books is intended for all book & travel lovers.
Travel books are great because they allow us to explore exciting destinations without ever leaving our houses. Of course, at the same time you also get to learn about historical events & important figures and understand the culture, the stories and the way people from all around the world live. Reading in general is one of my favourite ways of “escaping” (in the most positive way possible) and is the easiest way for me to have a quick mini adventure.
Narrowing down “the best travel books” is of course an impossible and highly subjective task. I have listed some of my favourite travel books that I also happen to consider “the best travel books” to start with, that you can have a look at. The list also includes suggestions for the best “solo travel books”, or the “best books about travel and Self Discovery”. You will also find a lot of country specific suggestions like the “Best Travel Books For Greece”, “Best Travel Books For New Zealand” etc.
Do you have something to recommend? Leave a comment below and I will try to read it and add it to the list! And if you are a Goodreads fanatic like myself, you can find me here.
After years of resisting, I recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite and could not have been happier. As a long term traveller and wanna be minimalist, not having to carry books with me is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I love having easily accessible reading material and a curse because the romantic in me just wants to smell the pages!
For this reason, most of the links in the lists below lead straight to Amazon Kindle for purchase, however, those that prefer paperback or hardcovers, can also order them from the same page!
Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still download and read your e-book on a tablet or through the Kindle app on your phone.
The book order is random and is not a reflection of how much I enjoyed them or how highly I rank them.
As an affiliate of Amazon.com, purchases via Amazon may earn a commission which helps run this website at NO extra charge to you. All credits for book covers go to the original artists.
Travel Book Definition
A travel book is any book that has a strong sense of place and allows you to explore a setting or culture. This list includes short stories, historical fiction, autobiographies and survival guides. It would be impolite to remove a book because it doesn’t fit within my scope of “travel” while someone else may find it moving and even life changing.
Travel Books Index
- Best Fiction Travel Books
- Best Travel Memoir Books
- Solo Travel Books
- Books About Travel and Self Discovery
- Travel Coffee Table Books
- Best Travel Books For Italy
- Best Travel Books For Greece
- Books About Crete
- Books About Greece History
- Travel Colouring Pages
- Travel Cookbooks
Best Fiction Travel Books
When it comes to historical travel fiction I like to focus on books where the place and setting is as memorable or sometimes more than the protagonist or main characters. These are books that while fictional are deeply rooted within a culture or place and inform the way we view a certain area of the world.
A haunting literary debut set in the forbidding remote tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Traditions that have lasted for centuries, both brutal and beautiful, create a rigid structure for life in the wild, astonishing place where Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan meet—the Federally Administered Tribal Lands (FATA). It is a formidable world and the people who live there are constantly subjected to extremes—both of geography and of culture.
A sweeping novel set in war-torn 1928 China, with a star-crossed love story at its center.
In a city full of thieves and Communists, danger and death, spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life. Always looking over her shoulder, the sixteen-year-old must steal to feed herself and her mother, Valentina, who numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks murdered most of them, including her husband. As exiles, Lydia and Valentina have learned to survive in a foreign land.
Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man’s Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love, Birdsong is a novel that will be read and marveled at for years to come.
For the list of non fiction travel books, I have included short essays, self-help books, city guides and real life stories that are however not strictly autobiographical in nature. You may find a few books also work well for the Travel Memoir Books page.
Discover the Swedish ethos of balanced living with this little book of Lagom.
The Swedish concept of Lagom (pronounced “lah-gom”) roughly translates to “not too little, not too much, just right.” This charming book introduces readers to a new way of balanced living that promises happiness and sustainability in work and in life
How to Be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark – Patrick Kingsley
What links Sarah Lund and Lars von Trier? Or Carlsberg and Kierkegaard? Or even Shakespeare and Metallica? The answer lies in Denmark, the country that has gripped the British imagination more than any other in recent memory. But though we watch their TV series, wear their jumpers, and play with their toys, how much do we really know about the Danes themselves?
The incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger.
The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Travel memoirs are all about the real-life journeys and stories of people as they lived them. If you ask me they are some of the most powerful books on this list, that can move you, motivate you, inspire you or gasp in amazement.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage written by Alfred Lansing
The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age.
In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day’s sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice.
A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il’s reign
Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year…
The extraordinary memoir of a peasant boy raised in rural Maoist China who was plucked from his village to study ballet and went on to become one of the greatest dancers of his generation.
From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman.
If you don’t feel like reading but still want to escape to another city or country there is also the option of grabbing your crayons. Colouring books have become intensely popular in later years with adults as means of relaxation and unwinding after a busy day. What do you think of these popular travel colouring books?
This is great starting out adult colouring book with architectural 2-page scenes from famous cities and some imaginary additions!
People love that it includes both simple and intricate designs but be careful to only coloured pencils as the ink can bleed through to the next page.
A colouring book for those in love with classic Parisian architecture. Get ready to put colour into different architecture, fashion designs and pretty pictures from around the City of Light.
Buyers love the paper quality and the item pages, that focus on shoes, food or everyday items with extra details!
Lonely Planet has done it again with this collection of the Ultimate Travel Coloring Book Destinations.
What I love about this book is that it can be used as a Bucket List or Wish List colouring book.
With 100 places to colour in, from Machu Picchu to the Sydney Opera house you will be colouring in familiar landscapes and planning for your next trip in no time!