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I always say there isn't anything better than a good book, but if that book involves travel, it does get much, much better. Reading is my favorite pastime so I'm constantly on the hunt for the next great book and I tend to read novels that have travel as a theme. Reading travel books puts you on a literary journey that exposes you to the sights, smells and tastes of foreign cities and countries.
If you love to read and love to travel, this list is for you and I guarantee these 10 books will give you some major wanderlust!
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
I instantly fell in love with this book and built a huge desire to escape to Peru and see firsthand this ancient city. Mark Adams is an excellent writer and takes you on a visual journey as he treks to Machu Picchu. The author decides to mirror the path of the young explorer, Hiram Bingham III, when he discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Through treacherous trails, dozens of blisters and quirky characters, Mark Adams beautifully depicts the path leading to the ancient Inca city. Its a fascinating tale that will leave you eager to take the journey to Machu Picchu.
The Road to Burgundy by Ray Walker
Reading a book with a nice glass of wine is pure bliss. Reading a book about wine while drinking wine... pretty darn amazing. This memoir about Ray Walker's quest to own a vineyard in Burgundy is a story filled with pure determination and passion. Ray falls in love with Burgundy wines and begins his journey of redefining himself as a winemaker. He leaves the world of finance and his family takes a huge risk and moves to France to fully immerse himself in wine.
Ray's writing style is informative but light. You get lost in the world of winemaking and the French culture. As I read this book, I began to take a huge interest in the process of making wine and began to research Burgundy which is always a great sign to a travel reader. I never had any interest to travel to this part of France, but after reading The Road to Burgundy, I can't wait to visit and taste the wines Ray wrote so highly of.
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
If you are in search of a great summer/beach read, this is your book! A Hundred Summers is a historical fiction that is based in Seaview, Rhode Island in the 1930s and is filled with romance and twists that will keep you hooked. The author's writing make you feel as if you transported back in time and you can easily visualize the beautiful beaches of Rhode Island. It provides an interesting look at the 1930s and the enchanting lifestyles and high drama this time period and location is known for. As I read through this book, I couldn't help but wish I was sitting on a white, sandy beach sipping on a cocktail.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Nowadays, you hear more and more often of people selling everything they own to travel and find themselves, and the life of Christopher McCandless is one of those stories that is truly unforgettable. The book follows Christopher on his journey to rid himself of all material things, survive entirely on his own, and explore remote areas of the United States.
We all tend to have a desire to leave our monotonous lives and escape to the wild and feel lost in the vastness of the world. Into the Wild feeds that desire for adventure. Jon Krakauer's classic is a solid book about one man's deep desire to find himself through travel and survival. Unfortunately, Christopher's fate tragically ends with him dying in the Alaskan wilderness but his legacy lives on in Into the Wild. Reviews of this book are pretty polarized. You either love Into the Wild or you don't. Either way, it is a great book to escape modern life and follow a young man's journey to find himself.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Iceland has been on my travel radar for quite some time and Burial Rites sparked my literary interest because it is set against the land of Fire and Ice. This book is inspired by the true story of a woman on trial for murder in 1829. Hannah Kent takes you on a harrowing story of a woman's final days as she waits for her looming execution on a stranger's farm. This Nordic drama isn't a light read, but introduces you to Iceland's stark landscape and history which I found fascinating. This debut novel is a moving story that will have you lost in Iceland's history and remote countryside.
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Lessaro
I truly love this book! New York, London, Paris, Monaco... this literary journey takes you to some of the most beautiful and iconic cities in the world. The story is written in the 1920s and it is filled with glitz and glam, and a mystery that will leave you hanging after every chapter. When newlywed Grace Monroe receives an inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d'Orsey, she begins her journey to uncover the identity of this mysterious woman.
The book jumps across countries as Grace begins to uncover Eva's extraordinary life that influenced an iconic perfumer in Paris. The Perfume Collector is a book that will have you eager to to travel to New York, London, Paris, and Monaco, and will also have you reliving the iconic and roaring 1920s.
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
This is a unique read that engages its read from the get go. It follows Eliza Sommers who is orphaned by her expat parents in Chile in the 1840s. Her journey continues on to the California Gold Rush as she begins to find her own personal freedom by living wild and free. Its a powerful book that gives you a look into the history of Chile and California as well as motivates you to live true to yourself.
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
This is my second book on this list by Beatriz Williams, and for good reason. For one, she is one of my favorite authors! Every book of hers I have read has been so well written with a great storyline. And for two, her description of the Mediterranean and Paris is undeniably beautiful! Its an epic love story that transcends time as it follows two women that share similar paths and our brought together by their headstrong personalities.
The book is well-written as it pulls you in with passion, danger and the strength of its two main characters. Not only does Along the Infinite Sea give you a look into the beauty of Europe, it gives its reader a passport into the past.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin and Nicholas Shakespeare
Patagonia seems to be on everyone's travel radar nowadays. And for good reason. This faraway destination has an alluring beauty that is unknown to many outsiders. In Patagonia gives its readers an exclusive, firsthand look at this exotic and mysterious landscape. Bruce Chatwin documents 6 month long journey throughout the region as he meets locals and explores the tip of South America. What I love most about this book is how the author is truly exploring a mysterious part of the world with such a thirst for adventure. The entire book is fueled by his lust of life and this feeling is passed to its reader page after page.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
A book that highlights one of Italy's most romantic regions and for one to follow your heart is a must read. Under the Tuscan Sun is a beautiful memoir about Frances Maye's journey when she decided to purchase and restore an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. This book is a visual read as Frances takes you along her adventures and inspires her readers to find your own personal path to happiness. Her writing is written so poetically and gracefully, it pulls you in and will have you looking up flights to Italy in no time.
For more of my favorite books and travel reading, check out my Goodreads account!
Do you have any favorite travel reads?