Travel and writing are inseparable. No journey is complete without a good book. And many wonderful journeys have led to published works. Whether you’re traveling to a big city or a remote location, there’s something alluring about exploring a foreign land through someone else’s eyes. Travelogues are great, but nothing beats a good old travelogue.
Europe’s myriad attractions attract millions of tourists every year, and history books are filled with gorgeous books written about Europe’s many countries. These are books you should read before visiting a particular city, country, or region, and you’ll receive extra points if you can read them along with a detailed journey.
1 – Italo Calvino – Invisible Cities (Venice, Italy)
Mr. Italo Calvino invisible city is a piece of great travel literature, but it’s not your typical travelogue. This is ostensibly fiction, as Calvino imagines Marco Polo describing the various cities to Kublai Khan and introducing the leader to Kublai’s empire. Each city has its own characteristics, curiosities, and charms, but this poetic web of wanderings ultimately reveals great truths. Calvino may have depicted a wide range of locations, but he only depicts Venice. invisible city It’s a beautiful piece.
2 – Jose Saramago – Journey to Portugal (Portugal)
Most great works of travel writing seek to delve into the essence of a place, but José Saramago’s 1981 classic does much more than that. trip to portugal A journey into the very soul of this country, a meticulous and intricate portrayal of the Saramago nation down to its most intimate details. This book is both a travelogue and a guidebook, but it is neither one nor the other; it covers all aspects of Portugal’s history, culture, and beliefs. It’s an amazing piece of triumph.
3 – Lizard Kapusisinski – Empire (former USSR)
Ryszard Kapuscinski is one of the most famous and influential travel writers of the 20th century, so it’s no surprise that the iconic Polish figure has two books on this list. empire His first nonfiction work, published in 1993, detailed Kapuściński’s travels through the Soviet Union during the collapse of the state and his experiences when the Red Army entered his hometown of Pinsk in 1939. empire It represents a man at his best.
4 – Henry Miller – Colossus of Marousi (Greece)
American author Henry Miller may be best known for his intense novels, but his mesmerizing travels through Greece may be his best work. Readers shouldn’t expect to know every nook and cranny of Greece, but they are in for a thrilling dive into the human side of travel, and learn that good travel writing is as much about the writer as it is about the destination. is proven once again. Miller lived in Greece for nine months, a period that was abruptly cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Colossus of Marusi It’s an incredible legacy.
5 – Kapka Kassabova – Border (Bulgaria, Türkiye, Greece)
Borders are interesting things. From a reductionist perspective, borders are arbitrary lines drawn on a map, but they serve more than just lighthouses that stamp passports.Mr. Kapka Cassabova border The film is an achingly beautiful exploration of her native Bulgaria’s border with Turkey and Greece. It is a turbulent place where laws are both fluid and entrenched, and where survival is inextricably linked to innovation and tradition. It’s an interesting place, and Cassabois’ inimitable style highlights it in beautiful Technicolor.
6 – Jan Morris – Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere (Trieste, Italy)
Welsh writer Jean Morris is particularly special for her work on Venice, Oxford and Oman, and has written many great summaries, but Morris’s tribute to Trieste is poignant in another way. . Trieste is not a typical Italian city. Although this work has no standard history and is isolated in many ways, Morris perfectly captures its myriad characteristics in this timeless work. There’s no place like Trieste in Italy, and it’s really surprising that Trieste goes unnoticed by most visitors to the country.
7 – Jean Morris – Wales: Magnificent scenery in a small country (Wales)
Jean Morris may not have been the most creative when it came to naming her books, but the 400+ pages of this gorgeous book contain all the imagination you need. Wales: spectacular scenery in a small country This is a must-read for anyone interested in Wales and Wales. A book dripping with love, wales With Owain Glyndwr as its anchor, it explores everything from architecture to faith, industry and song, bringing the fragile yet strong character of Wales to the fore. The Welsh are unique and so is this book.
8 – Carlo Levi – Christ Stopping at Eboli (Southern Italy)
Carlo Levi’s memoir of his exile in southern Italy, which focuses on Italy, is a luxurious and weighty book. Levi’s presence in his two poor towns in southern Italy was anything but ordinary, but Levi’s brilliantly crafted writing breathed life into his ordinary life. The famous north-south divide is present throughout Levi’s journey to coming to terms with Italy, which is in the throes of Mussolini and fascism. Christ stopped at Eboli Although the focus is on authenticity over glitz, Italy remains as beautiful as ever.
9 – John McManus – Welcome to Hell?: In Search of Real Turkish Football (Turkey)
Don’t be put off by the title, because this is a great introduction to Turkish soccer and Turkey itself.in Welcome to hell?: In search of real Turkish soccer, John McManus uses soccer as a vehicle to travel the country to better understand modern-day Turkey. McManus covers quite a bit in this book, deftly approaching complex issues and providing ample laughs along the way. You don’t have to be a soccer fan to enjoy this great book.
10 – Richard Kapuściński – Nobody Leaves (Poland)
Kapuściński’s second title is focused entirely on his native Poland. The journalist gained fame for his work in Africa, Asia, and Central America, but his writings on neglected areas of his homeland are equally important. no one leaves This book is a thorough portrayal of communist Poland, caught between Stalinism and the alternative, at once disappointed and hopeful. It’s not the most cheerful book, but it’s wonderfully written and undeniably honest in every way.
11 – Adam Gopnik – From Paris to the Moon (Paris, France)
There are a million books about Paris, and new ones are published every year. The French capital continues to attract a group of travel writers with a fresh eye.Adam Gopnik’s From Paris to the Moon At the top of the list is a fascinating collection of thoughts and musings about famous cities, a set that takes you one step away from the city while living in its heart. These essays originally appeared as New York Times articles in his mid-’90s, but they still work beautifully as a cohesive piece. From Paris to the Moon is a Paris you’ve never known before, yet always pleasantly familiar.
12 – John Bills – Via the Left Bank in the 90s (Prague, Czech Republic)
A little shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone, right? The author was lucky enough to live in Prague for several years and spent much of his time traversing the city on the wonderful metro system, exploring the neighborhoods, and painting pictures of Prague along the way. Via the Left Bank in the 90s A Love Letter to Prague covers the entire history of Prague, subway station by subway station, from early mythology to the Space Race and beyond.
13 – Laurie Lee – When I Started Walking on a Midsummer Morning (England & Spain)
Laurie Lee’s seminal memoir details a vastly different Spain than the one beloved by millions of tourists in the 21st century. Lee’s Spain is rural, poor, and infinitely kind, but the shadow of the Spanish Civil War soon makes its presence felt. The first part of the book, the story of a walk from the Cotswolds to Spain, deals with Lee’s days wandering the south coast of England before crossing the Channel to the New World. This is a wonderful book that is very easy to read and full of boyish charm.
14 – George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London (Paris, France, London, England)
George Orwell, born Eric Blair, is best known for his political works such as: animal farm and 1984but Down and Out in Paris and London is equally important. Published in 1933, the book was Orwell’s first full-length work and details the poverty of his two famous capitals of the title. The book caused a huge stir when it was published, and it remains relevant in the 21st century. It’s not the easiest read, but it’s important.
15 – Rebecca West – Black Lamb and Gray Falcon (Balkans)
Although it hasn’t aged particularly well, Rebecca West’s black lamb and gray hawk He continues to be a standard-bearer for travel writing about Yugoslavia in general. Although her impression of West is less than stellar, her detailed analysis of cities, towns, and villages is as fascinating today as it was when it was first published in 1941. West’s step-by-step account of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand remains her best work. About that event that changed history.