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The Best Travel Books to Keep Your Wanderlust Alive

Our experts recommend their favorite reads from around the globe.

6 min
The Best Travel Books to Keep Your Wanderlust Alive
Author: Lucia Novara

With travel restrictions in place across the globe, we’re missing that singular feeling you get when you experience a completely new destination. Our team at Enchanting Travels is a well-read group from around the world, so we asked them to share their favorite books that spark that feeling of excitement and exploration. Take a look at our recommendations for fantastic fiction and non-fiction reads that may just inspire your next adventure!

Publisher Credit (left to right): Mariner Books, Anchor, Modern Library, St. Martin’s Griffin

Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux

“I love this adventure down the spine of Africa with Paul Theroux. He takes about every form of transport possible, and talks to a wide range of people to create a multi-faceted portrait of the continent. His dry wit is wonderful as well.” -Lucia

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith

“Written by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, this 1998 book is the first in a series about Precious Ramotswe, a lady detective in Botswana. Light-hearted and full of wisdom and lessons from the protagonist’s adventures and life, it also offers readers a glimpse of life in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone.” – Mouli

Out of Africa, Karen Blixen

“This classic recounts the Danish author Karen Blixen’s experiences in British-era Kenya, painting an authentic picture of life on her coffee estate. The Oscar-winning film adaptation stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and was filmed in Enchanting Travels’ Co-founder, Florian Keller’s current Nairobi home!” – Mouli

The Elephant Whisperer, Lawrence Anthony

“When conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to take in a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants he had no idea what they would end up teaching him about loyalty and freedom. The game reserve setting transports you to South Africa and the characters (elephant and human) are unforgettable.” – Lucia

Books on Central America
Publisher Credit (left to right): Grand Central Publishing, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, Vintage, Vintage

The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston

“A thrilling, true account of an expedition into Honduras in search of unknown ancient civilizations!” – Alison

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“A perfect Latin America read. This lyrical book tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendi√° family. It’s a classic for a reason.” – Lucia

The General in his Labyrinth, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“A glimpse into the final part of the life of Simon Bolivar where one can see the tragedy of failing to align grand ideas with reality and the beginnings of political and territorial fragmentation coupled with military rule that would haunt much of South America later. Written in a unique style where one sentence can stretch across an entire page perfectly capturing the personal intricacies of a great mind and liberation hero, and with him of an entire continent.” – Sebastian

The Lost City of Z, David Grann

“The true account of Percy Fawcett’s Amazon exploration on behalf of the Royal Geographic Society and a modern-era man who tried to trace his steps.” -Alison

Great books about India
Publisher Credit (left to right): Picador, Free Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, Harper Perennial Modern Classics

The Wonder that was India, Arthur Llewellyn Basham

“An extensive overview of Indian history, specifically the amazing integration of more than 500 princely states into the Republic of India after independence, from an Indian perspective.” – Sebastian

The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga

“Written with finest Indian dark humor, this book captures the voice of the men you meet travelling through India. Bihar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, while never mentioned by name, feature prominently.” – Sebastian

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

“Get to know the (fictional) underbelly of India in depth through the eyes of an illegal Australian immigrant.” – Alison

A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

“A historical novel about an Indian family’s efforts to find a ‘suitable’ groom for the daughter in post-Independence, post-Partition era India.” – Mouli

Great books about Europe
Publisher Credit (left to right): Crown, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Europa Editions, Harper Thorsons

La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind, Beppe Severgnini

“A funny and light read that covers what makes Italian culture so unique and different from the rest of the world!” – Rebecca

Chasing a Croatian Girl: A Survivor’s Tale, Cody McClain Brown

“A light read: an American marries a Croatian and details the differences while highlighting the beauty of the country.” – Rebecca

My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante

“The first book in a four-volume series, we get to know fiery Lila and our narrator, Elena in 1950’s Naples. They grow from girls to mothers through the series, with their complicated friendship following them through the years. A intimate look at the vibrant city of Naples” – Lucia

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

“The ultimate wanderluster, Santiago, travels from the Andalusian hills around the world, discovering wisdom and the rewards of following his dreams along the way.” – Lucia

Greta books about Asia
Publisher Credit (left to right): Simon & Schuster, Vintage, Silkworm Books, Other Press

Wild Swans, Jung Chang

“Having lived and taught in China for a year, reading this book really brought me back to the rhythms of everyday life there. The history lesson is incredibly important for anyone who wants to understand modern China, and having three female narrators helps illuminate parts of Mao’s China that you don’t often read about.” – Lucia

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

“A historical novel about the life of geisha from childhood to post-WWII relocation to the USA from Japan. It offers a glimpse into traditional Japanese society and the importance and impact of geishas in an era before the profession was ‘cleansed and modernized’. ” – Mouli

The Tragedy of Cambodian History, David P. Chandler

“From the greatness of Angkor to the horrors of the Khmer Rouge – this is Cambodian history written as a fascinating story.” – Sebastian

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, Jan-Philipp Sendker

“An intriguing mystery set in the heart of Burma. Come for the lyrical prose and exotic setting, stay for the romantic heartstring-tugging.” – Lucia

Great international travel books
Publisher Credit (left to right): Particular Books, House of Anansi Press, Atria Books, Knopf Canada

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky

“A deeply personal account of the islands that have held a place in the author’s heart throughout her lifelong love of cartography.” – Kate

The Wayfinders, Wade Davis

“A fascinating exploration of ancient cultures that are alive today in the Amazon, Australia, Polynesia and the Andes, and why preserving them matters.” – Lucia

Long Way Down: An Epic Journey by Motorcycle from Scotland to South Africa, Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman

” A fascinating motorbike trip from Scotland to all the way to Cape Town, South Africa.” – Florian

Life of Pi, Yann Martell

“Travelling from India to the South Seas, to Mexico, this is the story of the brilliant son of a zookeeper named Pi. He loses his family in a shipwreck, becoming lost at sea on a life raft with a tiger. As Pi navigates their safety and survival, he explores the high seas, charting new territory inside his soul.” – Lucia

We hope you enjoy some of these great reads! And when you’re ready to book your next journey, we’re here to help you create your own experience of a lifetime.


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Posted In:  Africa Asia Europe India South America Travel news books about travel top travel books