Read 10 travel books to start traveling with your imagination. The journey is one of the most present topos  in literature. Declined in different forms and solutions, it is a theme that has crossed eras and genres, and which continues to fascinate and above all to be productive, because after all, isn’t our life itself a journey? Don’t we all start from a zero point to reach the destination of our journey after adventures and wanderings? In this article we discover together 10 titles, between literary classics and publishing news, dedicated to the theme of travel. Here are all our suggestions. 

10 must-read travel books

“The Million” by Marco Polo

Timeless classic of world odeporic literature, “Il Milione” by Marco Polo is the forerunner of all the books on travel that we have read. A book that recounts Marco Polo’s medieval journey to the distant unknown lands of the Orient, and makes us see colors, smell smells, meet customs and traditions described so minutely as to make us part of the adventure as if we were there too. 

“A soothsayer told me“, by Tiziano Terzani

A title not to be missed for journalism enthusiasts is “A fortune teller told me”, counted among the books on travel because it tells the extraordinary experience of Tiziano Terzani, who one day decides not to use the plane anymore but to continue traveling with alternative means to continue carrying out the job of foreign correspondent.

It all began in the spring of 1976, when an old Chinese soothsayer warned Terzani: «Be careful! In 1993 you run a great risk of dying. In that year do not fly. Never fly.” After so many years, the great journalist has not forgotten the prophecy, but rather transforms it into an opportunity to look at the world with new eyes: in fact, he decides not to take planes for a year, without however giving up his job as a correspondent. 1993 thus becomes a very particular year of an already extraordinary life: moving by train, by ship, by car, and sometimes even on foot, Terzani finds himself observing countries and people of his beloved Asia from a new, and often ignored. 

“Ebony”, by Ryszard Kapuscinski 

Among the 10 books on travel we also recommend “Ebano”, which explores Africa in a completely new way. Ryszard Kapuscinski descends into the African continent and lets himself be submerged by it, shunning obligatory stages, stereotypes and cliches. He goes to live in the houses of the poorest suburbs, teeming with cockroaches and crushed by the heat, he falls ill with cerebral malaria; he risks death at the hands of a warrior. Kapuscinski never loses the lucid and penetrating gaze of the reporter and does not give up the great narrator’s story-telling.

“Sentimental Journey” by Laurence Sterne

Another classic of literature linked to the theme of travel is “Journey Sentimental” by Laurence Sterne, with which the author wanted to re-propose the story of his journey to France and Italy using a sentimental transposition that mixes the typical features of the odeporic and a subtle irony. The Italian translation edited by Ugo Foscolo is then an added value that makes the work even more interesting.  

“Legendary Road Atlas of Iceland“, by Jon R. Hjalmarsson

Among the 10 books on travel that we suggest in this article there is also “Legendary Atlas of the Roads of Iceland”, a volume published by  Iperborea  capable of transporting the reader directly to Iceland.

In no other country like Iceland is fantasy so tied to the landscape, to an unpredictable and mysterious nature that was not slow to populate with ghosts, demons, elven princesses and heroic bandits capable of living in the ice and lava deserts of the inland plateaus . Every corner of the island has its own world of stories, from which customs, traditions and countless toponyms derive. The “Legendary Road Atlas of Iceland” takes us on a journey along the famous Highway No. 1 through the legends of known places and less traveled territories. From the footprint of Odin’s horse that created the Asbyrgi canyon to the magical runes of the Westfjords, to Helgafell, the “sacred mountain”, which can grant three wishes to those who climb it.

“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

Here is another splendid classic of literature that can be counted among the 10 books on travel that we recommend today. Manifesto of the Beat Generation, “On the road” is the novel that made the American writer Jack Kerouac most famous.

Sal Paradise, a young New Yorker with literary ambitions, meets Dean Moriarty, a boy from the West. Released from the reformatory, Dean begins to wander around challenging the rules of bourgeois life, always looking for intense experiences. Dean decides to leave for the West and Sal joins him; is the first in a series of trips that give a new dimension to the life of Sal. Dean’s continuous escape has a heroic quality in it, Sal can’t help but admire it, even when feverish, in Mexico City, he is abandoned by his friend, who returns to the United States. 

“Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne

The seventh book that we suggest is “Around the world in 80 days”, a masterpiece of French literature, also available in illustrated editions suitable for bringing the little ones closer to reading, in which Verne uses a great imaginative capacity and his writer to tell a wonderful journey to discover the whole world, all in just 80 days, aboard a hot air balloon. 

“Tokyo all year round. Sentimental journey in the great metropolis” by Laura Imai Messina

Among the 10 books on travel that we recommend there is also “Tokyo all year round”, a book dedicated to the Japanese capital.

“The shape of a city changes faster than a heart” said Baudelaire. And perhaps, of all cities, Tokyo is the one that is changing the fastest if it is true, as Laura Imai Messina writes, that ancient Edo “is in a state of perennial infancy”. Laura moved to Tokyo to study: she thought it would take a few months – enough to perfect her Japanese – not that she would stay more than fifteen years, and that she would fall madly in love with one of the most fascinating, labyrinthine and seductive cities in the world ( as well as a boy who would become her husband).

Tokyo is not only one of the great global metropolises, but it is also a city full of stories, traditions, symbols, “signs”: it is the city where centuries-old customs live alongside the neighborhoods of otaku, manga and videogame enthusiasts, where cultures the most effervescent young people on the planet move in the same streets overlooked by small typical clubs. A city where the frenetic rhythms of work and commerce alternate with the cadenced rhythms of the seasons and festivities, where the ritual is of fundamental importance because it is the calendar, with its festivities and its memory, that regulates the lives of its inhabitants.

“Butterflies on the Mekong. Between Thailand and Vietnam” by Corrado Ruggeri

With the ninth book on travel we move to the lands between Thailand and Vietnam. “Butterflies on the Mekong” is a novel of reality written with the rhythm of journalistic style.

Banquets in the mountain villages of Thailand, among the tribes that cultivate opium, with a fixed menu based on dog meatballs or Vietnamese dinners with the cobra presented alive and killed live, to drink the still warm blood. A journey between Thailand and Vietnam where the tourist luxury of Bangkok contrasts with the poverty and poetry of today’s Vietnam, where the guerrilla girls, killed fighting, dressed in their traditional black costume, have put on wings and are become the multicolored butterflies of the Mekong.

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

We could not fail to include among our suggestions some 10 books on travel “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, one of the Brazilian author’s masterpieces. The protagonist of this intense spiritual journey is Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd boy who, in search of a dreamed treasure, embarks on that adventurous journey, both real and symbolic, which beyond the Strait of Gibraltar and across the North African desert will take him to to the Egypt of the pyramids.

And it will be during the journey that the young man, thanks to the meeting with the old alchemist, will climb all the steps of the ladder of wisdom: in his progression on the sand of the desert and, together, in self-knowledge, he will discover the soul of the world, love and the universal language, he will learn to speak to the sun and the wind and finally he will fulfill his personal legend. The mirage, here, is no longer just the mythical philosopher’s stone of alchemy, but the achievement of total agreement with the world, thanks to the understanding of those “signs”, of those secrets that it is possible to capture only by rediscovering a universal language made of courage and confidence and wisdom that men have long since forgotten.