10 Best Travel Books to Get Inspired 

Best Travel Books

Updated On: November 09, 2023 by   Rahma AliRahma Ali

Ever wanted to explore more travel books to learn some interesting facts about travelling? Travel books will make you book a flight right away, pack your bags, and travel to explore the world. However, a great book to read is hard to find. That’s why we love rounding up our favourite list of books, including the best travel books, before the end of each year.

After reading loads of books, gathering reviews from different websites and social groups many times, and asking bookworms, we’ve written this list of the best travel books to help you find the right one. From classics to comic travelogues and travel guides, we will take you on an unmatched journey around the globe without leaving your bed. Are you ready to embark on a literary adventure? Let’s dive deep into the best travel books ever written.

What is the Importance of Reading Travel Books?

Travel Books

Before we provide our list, let’s discuss the importance of reading travel books in the first place. You read travel books because the more you learn about any country, the better your trip will be. What makes these books exciting is the miles you can take in your mind while moving from page to page. And yes! We measure the success of any travel book by focusing on the adventures you feel—not the awards it received. Excited to explore the best travel books around the world? Let’s go! 

10 Best Travel Books of All Time 

After being grounded for a while, there is no better time to recharge your spirit and start a new adventure than now. After savouring these inspiring travel books, let’s dream again about a new trip around the world. So, take a quiet corner and be ready for a terrific literary journey around the globe.

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rate: 3.9

Originally published: 1988

The Alchemist should be on your to-read travel books. It is one of the most popular and read travel books in history, emotionally impacting countless book lovers across generations. This book is a dazzling debut novel with a trailblazing polemic, combining a touch of magic and wonder with a human tale. You will keep it in your memory for good and read it over time, as it will be one of your best travel books.

The Alchemist comes as a journey of self-discovery, integrating mysticism and wisdom. It is a modern classic that shows how travelling can reset our life and make us enjoy a refreshing start. Unsurprisingly, this travel book has become a worldwide sensation, selling millions of copies and being translated into numerous languages.

Its story is about Santiago, a boy working as a shepherd, who decided to explore the world on his own by venturing into Europe and then landing in Egypt. He does nothing but follows his heart, letting himself get into the flow and understand the core meaning of life. Santiago learns how to love and how to live. As he journeys across the world, he touches the hearts of countless readers and motivates them to pursue their dreams.

2. The Valleys of the Assassins by Freya Stark

Rate: 4.2

Originally published: 1934

Nothing ignites your travel passion more than reading about the amazing places others have explored and loved. So, whether you want to hit a specific destination or are open to new ideas, you can find inspiration from a travel book like The Valleys of the Assassins.

The Valleys of the Assassins was the first production of many volumes written by one of the greatest travel authors in the world, Freya Stark. She was an inspiring British woman who decided to live in Baghdad, Iraq, to explore this part of the world. Stark wanted to chronicle plenty of excursions she experienced during the early 1930s, especially in Luristan and Persia (Iran now). She said that these spots were cheek-by-jowl and anecdotal, encouraging everyone to lose themselves in there and explore their allure.

If you want to visit Iraq so soon, read The Valleys of the Assassins. It will transport you to this surprising destination, giving you back-of-the-hand information about this country more than you would imagine. Stark set out for these cities, producing a masterpiece of what this place you know nothing about looks like.

The British author claimed she chose this place by coincidence for fun. After a long venture into this single-minded area to boost her adrenaline with this immersive civilisation, Stark gathered valuable insights about these largely uncharted locations, and this is the thing that matters about this book. She doesn’t tell you how wonderful travelling is; her book is an encyclopedia that can be as transformative as the journey itself.  

3. The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa By Neil Peart

Rate: 4

Originally published: 1996

If you want to add the best travel books to your shelves, you will be all set to choose the brilliant book of all time: The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa. It includes many surprises that will blow your mind.

Many people know Neil Peart was one of the most talented drummers in the history of music and a rock band’s greatest lyricist from Canada. What you probably don’t know about him is that he was an adventurous cyclist. Peart wrote a travel memoir about his experiences in taking a bike tour through West Africa. It’s an excellent book to be part of your stuff while exploring the world or relaxing at a beach, or even before flying anywhere

You can see Peart’s thoughts and observations through the pages. They have qualified him to hone his skills and shape his subtle and powerful writing style. His travel book reveals so much about his journey, which started from Cameroon’s Atlantic Coast and lasted for more than a month till he reached Chad unscathed.  

You may not know that Peart travelled at the worst possible moment in West Africa’s history. However, this avid cyclist was obsessed with seeing real Africa from within! He describes the tiniest details about his journey, translating his feelings, experiences, and pains into an extraordinary story.

This travel book is also a guide for everyone with a burning desire to complete such a tour. It’s a legendary travelogue book that will have you hooked on the book until you reach the last page. You will enjoy reading it over and over!

4. Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

Rate: 4.6

Originally published: 2018

Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys is a book we want to recommend to everyone in this world—not just those looking for the best travel books. Yes, many travel books are out there, but Simon Reeve’s style has its charm. When anyone asks about a book about travelling or a book to read while travelling, our answer is always Simon’s book. It’s a best friend to bring during dead time spent on bus rides, train journeys, or flights!

This travel book is not only recommended because it was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Award in 2019. It’s also written by a TV documentary producer and presenter who travelled around the world to explore the similarities and differences between people. He discovered that individual similarities were far more prevalent and meaningful than differences.

Simon describes how he dodged bullets and had incomparable diving with seals and sharks. Most importantly, he explains how these unexpected events recharged his internal batteries. Yes, writing about hunting with the Bushmen of the Kalahari is exciting and makes you experience the 10-hour blank stare. The raw and genuine insights seeping through your body and mind after each adventure makes this book a game-changer.

5. Venice by Jan Morris

Rate: 4

Originally published: 1960

Want a warm book about travelling? Then, Venice is your best choice. Curious as to why this stunning destination of Venice should be on your must-visit list? Let Jan Morris provide you with irrefutable proof of Venice’s magnificence. She mastered all possible writing skills to create this beautiful work for Italy‘s lovers. 

Venice can easily capture your heart with a special touch of fantasy! This travel book draws a stunning portrait of the city’s history, beauty, and atmosphere. As you journey from one page to the next, rest assured that ennui will never encroach upon you. However, it will make you cherish every minute you’d have in Venice. After reading this unrivalled production, you’d say something like, “I enjoyed this book!” 

6. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Rate: 4.5

Originally published: 1989

How do you pick the best travel books? Well, there’s no easy answer! It depends on what ignites you to read! Some people like reading books that help them learn more about the destinations they are about to fly to. Other readers are curious and fascinated by exotic facts about faraway countries. Others may count the days until they have enough budget to prepare for a new adventure. Anyway, A Year in Provence is the perfect choice for you, regardless of your reading taste.

When you move to rural France, you can easily get inspired to write a novel. This was not the case with Peter Mayle, who intended to pour his emotions into an unforgettable, witty, warm-hearted book. After years of planning and exploring the best area to move to in the rural side of France, he found a 200-year-old stone building (a typical farmhouse) in a remote spot in Southern France. The city was rich in piquant things, combining everything you need to unwind and leave your worries and struggles behind. So, he started a new life with his wife and two lovely dogs.

After a few months, Mayle’s memoir becomes best-selling across the UK. It makes you laugh and cry and inspires you to travel to the French provinces right now. In his travel book, Mayle tells us why everyone should pursue their dream and what it looks like when you realise your long-cherished dream becomes true.

7. Along the Ganges by Ilija Trojanow

Rate: 3.3

Originally published: 2003

Finding a great book to read in recent days is challenging. But rest assured, Along the Ganges is determined to give you its all, especially if you already have added Asia to your bucket list. It’s an assortment of all you need to know about this exotic spot. It reviews a life of an emigrant fleeing from Bulgaria’s Cold War.

Trojanow lived in Germany and then moved to Kenya and South Africa. The author was immersed in Hindu traditions and lived with devotees, transmitting his extraordinary experience with the sacred rivers. This travel book is bits and pieces of his adventures in Asia. It’s a story packed with fascination, respect, and dedication. 

8. The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald

Rate: 4.4

Originally published: 1995

A list of the best travel books would only be complete with The Rings of Saturn. Sebald’s smart travel writing is displayed in this travel book, where he will take you on a long-waiting meditation on the past. His book is better known for its themes and unique style of reviewing topics related to loss of memory, poetry, and criticism.

Rafting on a special trip along the English coast, this travel book is one of the favourites of literary critics, avid readers, and historians. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on the best travel book ever written. However, you’d love The Rings of Saturn, too. It’s a must-have for a mental journey unlike any before.

9. The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Rate: 3.8

Originally published: 2002

The best travel book in the world and of all time is The Art of Travel. Yes, it is! Confiding and self-deprecating, Alain de Botton has a style of always managing to be your best friend all the time. His travel book is slightly different from any travel literature. It’s the best way to remind you of the purpose behind travelling. He doesn’t tell you where to go; he tells you why you should have a road trip.   

10. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris

Rate: 3.9

Originally published: 2018

The drive to seek out adventures, meet new people, and discover the unknown are all efficient reasons for many people to fly to distant places. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road will carry you up into a priceless state of excitement, peace, and silence you might not have felt for years. You may find yourself itching to travel after reading this book, as you will definitely want to live the same adventure the author shares.

What Are Other Best Books About Travelling the World?

If you’re a connoisseur of sophisticated writing, here are other travel books that will convey you to another world. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
  • Eric Newby’s A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
  • Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram
  • Steven Newman’s World Walk

Who Is the Best Travel Writer in the World?

It’s hard to name only one travel writer. However, our list of travel books might help you pick the best author writing about travelling, cultures, and intimate experiences. Reading these travel books, you can enhance your knowledge about the different customs and guides of various countries and explore more about the globe. You can also bring together an unprecedented collection of multiple places to tell the story of why travelling is a must for everyone.  

What Should I Read on a Road Trip?

Pick one of the best travel books reviewed in this article to read on a road trip. What you will see within every book are:

  • the sheer distance they urge you to explore,
  • the countries they write stories about,
  • the cultures they tell you about, and
  • the miles they encourage you to hike.

Who Is the Biggest Travel Influencer?

After we share some of the best travel books, we’d love to let you know the most prominent travel influencers in the world. They include:

  • Jack Morris
  • Chris Burkard
  • The Blonde Abroad
  • Lexie Limitless
10 Best Travel Books to Get Inspired 

In this article, ConnollyCove has listed ten of the best travel books around the world. If you are a curious reader, you will enjoy all these enchanting titles and beautiful stories. So, bookmark this list because you will need it soon. Enjoy reading!

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