The Best Travel Memoirs and History Books to Read Before (or During) Your Next Trip

Immerse yourself in the culture–and history–of a place.

best travel memoirs
  • Photo Credit: Anthony DELANOIX / Unsplash

New York, New York

travel literature

Adventures in Old New York

By Greg Young and Tom Meyers, aka The Bowery Boys

Sierra Leone, West Africa

Buy Journey Without Maps at Amazon

Journey Without Maps

By Graham Greene

London, England

Buy A Journey Through Tudor England at Amazon

A Journey Through Tudor England

By Suzannah Lipscomb

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

travel literature

Carnival Under Fire

By Ruy Castro

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee 

Buy 3000 Miles in the Great Smokies at Amazon

3000 Miles in the Great Smokies

By William A. Hart Jr.

Andalusia, Spain

Buy A Rose for Winter at Amazon

A Rose for Winter

By Laurie Lee

Naples, Italy

travel literature

The Volcano Lover

By Susan Sontag

Havana, Cuba

Delhi, India

travel literature

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

By William Dalrymple

Prague, Czech Republic

travel literature

Prague in Black and Gold: Scenes from the Life of a European City

By Peter Demetz

Riveria Maya, Mexico

Buy Fire & Blood at Amazon

Fire & Blood

By T. R. Fehrenbach

Paris, France

travel literature

The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris

By Edmund White

Nairobi, Kenya

Buy The Zanzibar Chest at Amazon

The Zanzibar Chest

By Aidan Hartley


Buy Empire Antarctica at Amazon

Empire Antarctica

By Gavin Francis

Hong Kong and China