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
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  • 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

Journey Without Maps

Journey Without Maps

By Graham Greene

London, England

A Journey Through Tudor England

A Journey Through Tudor England

By Suzannah Lipscomb

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

travel literature

Carnival Under Fire

By Ruy Castro

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee 

3000 Miles in the Great Smokies

3000 Miles in the Great Smokies

By William A. Hart Jr.

Andalusia, Spain

A Rose for Winter

A Rose for Winter

By Laurie Lee

Naples, Italy

travel literature

The Volcano Lover

By Susan Sontag

Havana, Cuba

Ay, Cuba!

Ay, Cuba!

By Andrei Codrescu

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

Fire & Blood

Fire & Blood

By T. R. Fehrenbach

Paris, France

travel literature

The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris

By Edmund White

Nairobi, Kenya

The Zanzibar Chest

The Zanzibar Chest

By Aidan Hartley

Antarctica

Empire Antarctica

Empire Antarctica

By Gavin Francis

Hong Kong and China

China to Me

China to Me

By Emily Hahn