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100 Best Travel Books Ever Written

by Staff Writers

Travel books have some excellent qualities, including adventure, history, and even some romance. Whether you’re reading them for school or just for fun, you’ll find some great stories in these books. Read on to find the 100 best travel books ever written.

General

Study cities and modern travel in these books.

  1. Journeys: These articles highlight cities, journeys, historic sites, and more.
     
  2. Tourist Season: Study the tourism culture of southern Florida in Carl Hiaasen’s novel.
     
  3. Baghdad Without a Map: Tony Horwitz follows his journalist wife across the world, and this time it took him to Baghdad just before the 1991 Gulf War.
     
  4. Mardi Gras in the Moment: This novel tells the story of Conrad Greyman’s first visit to the Mardi Gras festival.
     
  5. Dave Barry’s Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need: Have fun with this book on modern travel.
     

The Journey

Read these travel books that are all about the journey.

  1. North of South: Shiva Naipaul shares his journey to Africa.
     
  2. The Worst Journey in the World: Learn about the doomed 1911 South Pole expedition in The Worst Journey in the World.
     
  3. The Size of the World: Jeff Freenwald writes about his mission to circle the world without leaving its surface.
     
  4. Behind the Wall: Take a journey through China with Behind the Wall.
     
  5. Blue Highways: Blue Highways will take you on a journey through American backspaces.
     
  6. The Innocents Abroad: The Innocents Abroad tells the story of 19th century touring.
     
  7. The Snow Leopard: Peter Matthiessen shares this journey into remote Nepal.
     

Road Trips

Everyone enjoys a good road trip, and you can live vicariously in these books.

  1. Among the Russians: Colin Thubron tells the story of a 10,000 mile car journey from St. Petersburg to Georgia and Armenia.
     
  2. Great Plains: Embrace middle-America wanderlust in Great Plains.
     
  3. Through Painted Deserts: Enjoy the open road in Through Painted Deserts.
     
  4. Road Fever: Road Fever will take you on a high speed road race from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska.
     
  5. Travels with Charley: Steinbeck takes his poodle Charley on the road from coast to coast in America.
     
  6. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Explore Europe through this book.
     
  7. The Lost Continent: Bill Bryson takes a journey across America for the quintessential small town.
     
  8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney set out on a road trip with a trunk full of drugs.
     
  9. On the Road: Jack Kerouac’s novel tells the story of freedom and the beat generation.
     

Destinations

Learn about travel destinations from these books.

  1. Naples ’44: As an intelligence officer in Italy, Norman Lewis kept a diary that is full of observations and incidents.
     
  2. Facing the Congo: Read Facing the Congo to take a modern journey into the heart of darkness.
     
  3. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning: Laurie Lee’s novel discusses life in Spain before the Civil War.
     
  4. Hotel Pastis: You’ll read about the creation of a boutique hotel in Paris in Hotel Pastis.
     
  5. Venice: This travelogue by Jan Morris offers a fine look at the city of Venice.
     
  6. Our Man in Havana: Read this novel that captures the events of Havana in 1957, as well as the aura of the city.
     
  7. The Lost Continent: The Lost Continent follows Bill Bryson’s trip across America at common attractions and back roads.
     
  8. In Patagonia: Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia chapters read like photographs capturing a moment.
     
  9. Holy Cow: Holy Cow tells the story of an Indian adventure.
     
  10. The Road to Oxiana: Robert Byron writes about ten months in Persia and Afghanistan in The Road to Oxiana.
     
  11. Desert Solitaire: Desert Solitaire gives a view on life in the Southwest.
     
  12. A Turn in the South: Take V.S. Naipaul’s book to explore the Southern United States.
     
  13. Under the Tuscan Sun: Read about an abandoned villa in Tuscany in this book.
     
  14. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: Annie Dillard shares this meditation on the area in Virginia where she lived.
     
  15. Europe, Europe: Take an insider’s tour of Europe in this book.
     
  16. The Peaks of Shala: The Peaks of Shala has an account of travel among the Albanians.
     
  17. The Serpent and the Rainbow: Wade Davis goes to Haiti to discover the truth about zombies.
     
  18. Down Under: Down under describes Bill Bryson’s excursions through Australia.
     
  19. ikipedia.org/wiki/Homage_to_Catalonia”>Homage to Catalonia: In Homage to Catalonia, you’ll read about George Orwell’s account of the Spanish Civil War.
     

  20. In a Sunburned Country: Bill Bryson’s love of Australia shows through in this book.
     
  21. The God of Small Things: Read about a family living in Kerala in this book.
     
  22. Notes from a Small Island: Follow Bill Bryson on his final tour of Britain.
     

Slow Travel

Walking, horseback, and bicycles are the preferred method of travel in these books.

  1. A Time for Gifts: You’ll find Patrick Leigh Fermor’s story of a walk from London to Istanbul in this book.
     
  2. Riding to the Tigris: Freya Stark’s book shares a horseback traveler’s trek across the Turkish plateau and Tigris River.
     
  3. Miles from Nowhere: Miles from Nowhere will take you on a bicycle adventure around the world.
     
  4. The Beach: Young author Alex Garland writes about his backpacking adventure in Asia.
     
  5. The Great Railway Bazaar: Train enthusiasts and seasoned travelers will love this novel from Paul Theroux.
     
  6. Tracks: In this book, a young Australian trained two camels and headed for the Indian Ocean.
     
  7. Rucksack Man: Sebastian Snow walked from Tierra del Fuego to Panama.
     
  8. The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Man Who Walked Through Time offers a natural history of the Grand Canyon and an epic backpacking trip.
     
  9. A Time of Gifts: Patrick Leigh Fermor takes you on a walk across Europe in 1933.
     
  10. Roughing It: Mark Twain’s Roughing It shares tales of adventure in the gold fields of the American West.
     
  11. A Walk Across America: Peter Jenkins discusses his 1973-1975 walk from New York to New Orleans.
     
  12. Arabian Sands: These travelers choose camels while vehicles and airplanes became commonplace.
     

Adventure

Read these books to renew your sense of adventure.

  1. Into the Heart of Borneo: In this book, Redmond O’Hanlon and poet James Fenton take a journey into the jungles of Borneo.
     
  2. Coming Into the Country: Read John McPhee’s book about exploration in the wild.
     
  3. Cities of Gold: Douglas Preston retraces the route of Coronado through the Seven Cities of Gold.
     
  4. Married Adventure: Osa Johnson follows her photographer and filmmaker husband along the South Seas, Africa, and Borneo.
     
  5. Around the World in 80 Days: Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days is one of the most loved adventure novels of all time.
     
  6. Four Against Everest: These friends decided to climb Mt. Everest unprepared.
     
  7. The Lost City of Z: The Lost City of Z discusses exploration into the Amazon.
     
  8. Book of Marvels: Find stories of exotic places and cultures in the Book of Marvels.
     
  9. Winterdance: Gary Paulsen survived his training and finished the Iditarod race in Alaska.
     
  10. Dark Star Safari: Paul Theroux shares his journeys on cattle truck, bus, canoe, and more in Africa.
     
  11. Into the Wild: You’ll read about self-reliance in Into the Wild.
     
  12. Venture to the Interior: Laurens van der Post visited Nyasaland to map two mountains that were unknown to cartographers.
     
  13. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: TE Lawrence becomes a participant in the world of Arabia.
     
  14. The Snow Leopard: The Snow Leopard tells the story of a trip to the Crystal Mountain in the Himalayas.
     
  15. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush: In this book, you’ll read about the author and his friend Hugh on a mountain climb they’re not really prepared for.
     
  16. No Mercy: Redmond O’Hanlon’s No Mercy is on the hunt for a dinosaur-like creature in the Congo.
     

Flight

Enjoy the wonder of flight in these books.

  1. Wind, Sand and Stars: In this book, you’ll see how lonely and beautiful the early postal routes were.
     
  2. Sky Roads of the World: Sky Roads of the World shares predictions about the future of aviation.
     
  3. West with the Night: Read about flying east to west across the Atlantic in West with the Night.
     
  4. Missing, Believed Killed: Missing, Believed Killed discusses theories about the fate of Amelia Earhart and other flight pioneers.
     
  5. The Wild Blue Yonder: Read about a daredevil Atlantic crossing in The Wild Blue Yonder.
     

Water Voyage

Follow these books on their journeys on the water.

  1. The Cruelest Journey: Kira Salak kayaked the Niger River for 600 miles and discusses her story in The Cruelest Journey.
     
  2. Hunting Mr. Heartbreak: Jonathan Raban’s book is a love letter and social history of the United States.
     
  3. Lobster Chronicles: Lobster Chronicles writes about becoming a lobsterman on a tiny island.
     
  4. Old Glory: Read about Jonathan Raban’s journey on a small boat down the Mississippi.
     
  5. Captain Cook’s Endeavor Journal: Read about Captain James Cook’s voyage of discovery.
     
  6. Coasting: Jonathan Raban sails around the 2,000 mile coast of England.
     

Ex-Pats

Experience life in another country through these expatriate books.

  1. The Sun Also Rises: Follow a group of ex-pats living in Paris in The Sun Also Rises.
     
  2. Iron & Silk: Take an interesting look at teaching English abroad in Iron & Silk.
     
  3. A World Elsewhere: John Manchip White is an Englishman who settled down in the American Southwest.
     
  4. Out of Africa: This author ran a coffee farm in Africa, and discusses relationships with the natives in this novel.
     
  5. High Albania: Edith Durham’s book shares insight into the Balkans.
     
  6. Coming Home Crazy: Bill Holm spent a year living and teaching in China.
     
  7. A Moveable Feast: Check out A Moveable Feast to find Ernest Hemingway’s observations on living in 1920s Paris.
     
  8. River Town: You’ll read about Peter Hessler’s Peace Corps experience in the rural town of Fuling.
     
  9. Dreamed of Africa: Kuku Gallman is an Italian writer who writes about her exploits in Kenya.
     
  10. Two Towns in Provence: After divorcing, Fisher fled to Provence. In this book, she discusses her new life.
     
  11. Oracle Bones: When his Peace Corps stint was over, Peter Hessler stuck around and wrote about it.
     
  12. The Soccer War: The Soccer War covers conflicts from a reporter who has seen them all around the world.
     
  13. All the Wrong Places: Read the stories of Southeast Asia in this book for a background on the region.
     
  14. City of Djinns: This year of life in Delhi is rich with historical material.
     

Culture

These books examine the culture of travel destinations.

  1. The Sheltering Sky: Read this book to learn about the incomprehension of alien cultures leading to the destruction of the cultures.
     
  2. Wild Swams: Jung Chang’s book offers insight into Chinese culture.
     
  3. The Songlines: Read The Songlines to see Bruce Chatwin’s investigations into Aboriginal culture in Australia.
     
  4. Video Night in Kathmandu: Read these essays about Asian trips that reveals the culture of China, India, Tibet, and more.