Top 10 Travel Books

travel booksTraveling the world and experiencing all that it has to offer is quite an adventure. There is so much rich history and intriguing things to see in various cultures and people around the globe. The intrigue that captures the imagination can be experienced in person or through books. Books that capture the reader's spirit and draw them in can whisk them away to wonderful places without ever leaving the living couch. There are numerous books that tell of places and people that are delightful and interesting, but there are a select few that imbibe themselves into the reader's imaginative spirits. The top 10 travel books that capture a reader's attention are full of adventure, romance, suspense and fun.

Discovering Faraway Places with Books

There's a lot to behold on an exciting adventure that travels around the world and experiences different people and cultures. Traveling can be entertaining, educational and enlightening. It is like exploring the world and discovering things for the first time. Many parts of the world are very engaging. There can be so much rich history to learn in older, ancient cities while experiencing romance in others. However, traveling the world for these experiences may not be a feasible effort for some. It can be achieved, though with the help of good, resourceful travel books. Here is a list of the top 10 travel books whose pages will fill your mind with excitement and adventure. The essence of the books' plots and themes will make you feel as if you're in that city or country and experiencing the highlights of that destination.

The list of top 10 travel books include:

The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux was a great American novelist who wrote The Great Railway Bazaar in 1975. In his travel book of memoirs (called a travelogue), he recounts his amazing personal journey. He travels for four months across Asia, through Europe and the Middle East, stopping in various places to observe, experience and write. He experienced his traveling journey mainly by train and occasionally by car. He vividly talks about his exciting adventures that he encounters on his trip that lasts for four months. Because of his detailed accounts of his travels and the way he draws the reader into the stories told, The Great Railway Bazaar has become a favorite among avid travel book readers. Although the published work is over 25 years old, it still has the ability to intrigue the reader and makes it one of the most popular top 10 travel books of all time.

Wild Swans

Jung Chang

This travel book was written by a very famous Chinese writer named Jung Chang. It is famous as an autobiographical family history account of three female generations that were in Chang's family. Chang's account of the family's tree is told from the perspective of her grandmother, her mother and her own autobiography. In the Chinese culture, women are not given the spotlight very often, which is what makes this book an incredibly interesting source of information. There is an abundance of rich history and cultural experiences that make the book a great reading resource and a good travel read.

No Mercy

Redmond O'Hanlon

The author Redmond O'Hanlon is best known for his exciting journeys into some of the world's most remote jungles. His experiences have been published in several books which outline his adventures and discoveries. His book, No Mercy, is one such amazing travel read and is very popular for sharing some of those accounts. Redmond O'Hanlon was born in 1947 and was educated at many of the finest literature schools, including Marlborough and Oxford University. His literary works on travel, including No Mercy, have been frequently found on top 10 travel books lists that are enjoyed by readers worldwide.

The Beach

Alex Garland

The theme of The Beach by Alex Garland is an intriguing story that talks about backpackers and their journey in Thailand. It was written in 1996 and relays the travel journeys of a young, well-educated Englishmen who ventures on a search of a mystical and legendary beach that is completely untouched by tourism. The travel story weaves the life of Garland along with other players who venture out to find evidence of a hidden beach that is supposedly located in the Gulf of Thailand. The area is inaccessible to tourists and this group of land pirates make it an exciting journey to find and conquer this hidden place.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances Mayes

This travel book is a 1996 memoir written by Frances Mayes, a famous American author. The memoir is an account of how Frances purchased and restored a villa in Tuscan. The villa was in the country and had been abandoned by its previous owners. Frances takes the reader on a detailed account of what she found, what she did, the places she went and the people she met while on her restorative journey. The story goes beyond being a "how-to" book and delves into the life and thoughts of Frances as she experiences her journey in Tuscan. The memoir stayed on New York Times bestseller least for two and a half years. It was also voted as a New York Times Notable Book of 1997, making it another popular top ten travel books of the century.

Down Under

Bill Bryson

This is another popular travelogue book that was written in 2000 and quickly joined the list of the top ten travel books written. The best-selling travel author Bill Bryson wrote this book about Australia and excursions around the countryside. He vividly describes his travels that he experienced by train and car and his meeting accounts with various people in all walks of life. It is a very interesting book and gives a detailed glimpse into the lives of Australians and their rich culture.

Travel Book

Into the Wild

Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is a non-fiction book that was written in 1996 and is still a great travel book still read by many. In this novel, author Jon Krakauer paints a very detailed story of the adventures of a fictional character named Christopher McCandless. Although the book is a fiction travel novel, it does an excellent job of intriguing the reader's imagination, all while Krakauer craftily relays a story of discoveries and findings by Christopher McCanless.

The DaVinci Code

Dan Brown

Dan Brown became a popular household name for travel and adventure readers when he wrote The Da Vinci Code. The book was written in 2003 and is still a popular read today. Many would say that the book's focus is mostly spiritual or religious, but the author very craftily takes the reader on a journey to various places and cultures to tell his story. It's cleverly written and is not dull. Its mystery-detective flavor in this fiction novel makes it incredibly interesting and one of the permanent top 10 travel books enjoyed by most all mystery readers. As of 2009, The DaVinci code had sold over 80 million copies and stays on the list of top 10 travel books as one of the best written.

I Dreamed of Africa

Kuku Gallman

I Dreamed of Africa is based on the autobiography of author Kuki Gallmann. She was an Italian writer became interested and involved in doing conservation work and moved to Kenya to pursue that work. Her journey about her exploits are well-written in her accounts in I Dreamed of Africa. The book was later made into a film in 2000 and featured very prominent actors as Kim Basinger, Vincent Perez and Eve Marie Saint. Although the film version was not as successful as the book, it is still a best-seller and enjoyable travel read for many.

In Patagonia

Bruce Chatwin

Patagonia was a place that author Bruce Chatwin fell in love with as he heard the accounts of a story told by Eileen Gray. Eileen was being interviewed by Bruce and her story was to appear in a newspaper that he wrote for full-time. Her accounts intrigued him so much that he decided to visit the place himself and gain his own experiences. He was so impressed by Patagonia that he put his journey in a travelogue and made it into a very exciting travel book read. Patagonia was full of adventure and discoveries and Mr. Chatwin quit his job with the newspaper so that he could concentrate on detailing every account, every event and every emotion that he had concerning Patagonia. It is quite an adventuresome book told by a skilled writer.


Whether or not you're going "into the wild," hopefully this list of the Top 10 Travel Books has inspired your own adventure. When you're ready to get away, make sure to book a rental for your stay (or better yet, journey).