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The (almost) complete list of travel books – Nonfiction Edition

The (almost) complete list of travel books – Nonfiction Edition

Have you ever looked for a book of a country you were just about to go to? I have. And I know many people have because that was one of the most frequent questions I heard while I worked at a bookstore in Berlin.

Books are actually a pretty good way to get to know a country. Movies and TV shows usually show the “pretty” version of a place. Who wouldn’t like to live in a huge apartment in New York and hang out at a coffee shop almost 24/7 while barely working like the people from Friends?! But that’s rarely the truth about a place. Books, both fiction and nonfiction, show what a place is really like.

The books in this list are all nonfiction. Meaning, that they are true stories written by people who actually did the travelling. Travel blogs of the “older days” if you will. Some of them are also pretty autobiographical or tell the story of how the author dealt with tough times or struggles in their lives. Some have also travelled along the routes of the travelers who have come before them. All, however, give you a pretty good impression of how travelling to the country of your choice is really like.

As a disclaimer I have to say that I haven’t read all of them. So I can’t vouch that they will all be fantastic. But as time goes on, I will add reviews to all the books I’ve read and, most importantly, that I got around to write a review about.

If you find a book missing, please tell me about it in the comments and you’re more than welcome to tell us how it was or why you’ve read it.


Karen Blixen – Out of Africa

Bill Bryson – African Diary

Ernest Hemindway – Green Hills of Africa

Michael Palin – Sahara

Paul Theroux – Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

Wilfred Thesiger – Arabian Sands



Robert Byron – The Road to Oxiana (Middle East)

Alex Garland – The Beach (Far East)

Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love (Italy, India, Indonesia)

Mira Kamdar – Planet India (India)

V.S. Naipaul – India: A Wounded Civilization

V.S. Naipaul – An Area of Darkness (India)

Eric Newby –  A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (Afghanistan)

Paul Theroux – The Great Railway (Russia, India)

Colin Thubron – Among the Russians

Various – Japan: A Literary Companion



Bill Bryson – Neither Here Nor There

Bill Bryson – Notes from a Small Island (Great Britain/ find the review here)

Patrick Leigh Fermor – Mani (Greece)

Tony Hawks – Round Ireland with a Fridge (Ireland)

Ernest Hemingway – The Sun also Rises (France, Spain)

Laurie Lee – As I Walked out one Midsummer Morning (Great Britain)

Peter Mayle – A Year in Provence

Jan Morris – Venice (Italy)

Jan Morris – Oxford

George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia (Spain)

Clara Bensen – No Baggage (Turkey, Balkans, Scotland)


North America

Paul Auster – True Tales of American Life

Bill Bryson – Notes from a Big Country (USA – everyday life)

Bill Bryson – Made in America (USA – language)

Bill Bryson – The Lost Continent (USA)

Bill Bryson – A Walk in the Woods (east coast, Appalachian trail)

Jonathan Franzen – Farther Away

Jack Kerouac – On the Road (USA)

John Steinbeck – Travels with Charley (USA)

John Sullivan – Pulphead: Dispatches from the other Side of America (USA)

Sara Wheeler – O My America



Joe Bennett – A Land of two Halves (New Zealand)

Bill Bryson – Down Under (Australia/ find the review here)

Peter Carey – 30 Days in Sydney

Bruce Chatwin – The Songlines (Australia)

Cpt. James Cook – Journals (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific)

Robyn Davidson – Tracks (Australia)

Polly Evans – Kiwis Might Fly: Around New Zealand on two big Wheels (New Zealand)

Peter Matthiessen – Under the Mountain Wall (Papua New Guinea)

Sally Morgan – My Place (Australia)

Nicolas Shakespeare – In Tasmania (Australia)

Paul Theroux – The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific (Pacific Islands)


South America

Oliver Balch – Viva South America (Chile, Peru, Colombia

Hiram Bingham – Lost City of the Incas (Peru)

Robert Carver – Paradise with Serpents (Paraguay)

Bruce Chatwin – In Patagonia (Argentina)

Charles Darwin – The Voyage of the Beagle & The Origin of Species

Tom Feiling – Short Walks from Bogotá (Colombia)

Che Guevara – The Motorcycle Diaries

John Gimlette – Wild Coast (Orinoco, Amazon)

Brian Kevin – The Footlose American (Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil)

Ed Stafford – Walking the Amazon

Sarah Wheeler – Travels in a Thin Country (Chile)

Explore the world one book at a time!

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About The Author


Hi, my name is Ulrike and I love to travel. I've been raised surrounded by books, travel guides, travel memoirs and TV shows about travelling. I have childhood memories of days spent by the beach, randomly learning bits of Norwegian, gutting a fish and of dancing traditional dances on Greek islands. But things don't always go as planned and the times where you ended up far from where you started or far from where you ever intended to be, usually make for the best stories. Travel teaches us to let go of plans and expectations and to just go with whatever life has in store for us. I want to share my stories with you, to give you the courage to live your own adventures. #ShareYourJourney