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Photos: The 25 Greatest Travel Books of All Time

From the bustling streets of Brooklyn to the empty expanse of the Sahara, our guide to the best travel reads of all time will inspire you to add a few new places to your to-go list. Your first stop? The local library.

  1. California's stunning Highway One, featured in Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road.

    (Courtesy .Bala/Flickr)
  2. In On the Road, Kerouac captures the complexities of our collective drive West to such revered locales as California's Big Sur.

    (Courtesy tibchris/Flickr)
  3. Paul Bowles captures the stark, alien nature of the African Sahara in The Sheltering Sky.

    (Courtesy amerune/Flickr)
  4. An American couple and their male friend embark on an ill-considered trip to the Sahara desert in Paul Bowles's The Sheltering Sky.

    (Courtesy zoomion/Flickr)
  5. Elizabeth Kostova's novel The Historian follows several generations of scholars on a search for Dracula all the way to the hills of Transylvania, Romania.

    (Courtesy Cosmin Cornea/Flickr)
  6. Elizabeth Kostova's novel The Historian follows scholars' search for Dracula; here, Bran Castle—better known as Dracula's Castle—perched atop a 197-foot peak. The castle dates back to 1382.

    (Gavin Hellier/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis)
  7. A view of Koh Phi Phi Leh, in Thailand, where they filmed the movie adaptation of Alex Garland's book The Beach.

    (Courtesy Greg Knapp/Flickr)
  8. Alex Garland's The Beach explores expat culture along the shores of Thailand, including Railey Beach.

    (Courtesy McKay Savage/Flickr)
  9. The Palace of Westminster—pictured here, at night, as seen from the south bank of the river Thames—in London, the central setting of Zadie Smith's White Teeth.

    (Courtesy Dilif/Flickr)
  10. A South Asian dance performance in the courtyard of Somerset House, in London; Zadie Smith's White Teeth follows the lives of immigrants in Britain.

    (Gideon Mendel/Corbis)
  11. The famed Taj Mahal, located in Agra, India; E. M. Forster's A Passage to India explores British and Indian relations in India.

    (Courtesy Steve Jurvestson/Flickr)
  12. Locals riding an elephant in Kanha, India; E. M. Forster's A Passage to India brings the country to life.

    (Courtesy Honza Soukup/Flickr)
  13. Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley creates a vision of the sun-bleached southern Italian shore that fills the dreams of pasty citizens of the world's cold-weather towns; here, Ischia Ponte, in Campania, Italy.

    (Courtesy Chiara Marra/Flickr)
  14. Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley celebrates the Italian landscape; here, the Castello Aragonese, off of Naples, Italy.

    (Grand Tour/Corbis)
  15. Teju Cole's Open City features iconic New York City imagery, such as the Wall Street Stock Exchange building, pictured here.

    (Courtesy Roger Schultz/Flickr)
  16. Teju Cole's Open City explores the wondrous maze of Manhattan, New York.

    (Courtesy AngMoKio/Wikimedia Commons)
  17. David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas ventures to an (imagined) apocalyptic Hawaii; here, McGregor Point on the south Maui coast.

    (Courtesy belindah/Flickr)
  18. David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas brings alive the South Pacific Ocean in the mid-1800s; here, Motu Tape, Bora Bora.

    (Courtesy Sergio Calleja/Flickr)
  19. A row of boats waits to be taken out into canals in Mexico City—the setting of D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent.

    (Courtesy Tim Bocek/Flickr)
  20. Guanajuato, Mexico—the setting of D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent.

    (Radius Images/Corbis)
  21. Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn follows a young Irish girl's struggle to acclimate to her new life in New York City; here, the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan.

    (Courtesy Suiseiseki/Wikimedia)
  22. Union Street in Brooklyn, New York—the setting of Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn.

    (Courtesy Sugar Pond/Flickr)
  23. Pamplona, Spain, where Jake Barnes—the narrator of Ernest Hemingway's classic The Sun Also Rises—marvels at the exploits of a bullfighter.

    (Courtesy Jule_Berlin/Flickr)
  24. A bullfight in Pamplona, Spain, features prominently in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises.

    (Courtesy ezioman/Flickr)
  25. Bill Bryson's travelogue In a Sunburned Country eloquently captures the curious geography of Australia; here, Uluru—or Ayer's Rock—in Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia.

    (Courtesy viajar24h.com/Flickr)
  26. Bill Bryson's travelogue In a Sunburned Country eloquently captures the curious animals of Australia, such as this dingo.

    (Martin Harvey/Corbis)
  27. Writer Pico Iyer's book Video Night in Kathmandu is a collection of essays on 10 Southeast Asian countries, including Nepal; here, the Nepalese city of Kathmandu.

    (Courtesy viajar24h.com/Flickr)
  28. Pico Iyer's book Video Night in Kathmandu visits 10 Southeast Asian countries; here, the Soi Cowboy Red Light District in Bangkok, Thailand.

    (Courtesy Ryan Lackey/Flickr)
  29. Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild follows the exploits of Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who was found dead in the Alaskan wilderness; here, an Alaskan coastal brown bear wading in a pool near Hyder, Alaska.

    (Courtesy Alan Vernon/Flickr)
  30. Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild celebrates the Alaskan wilderness; here, Denali National Park, Alaska.

    (Courtesy Nic McPhee/Flickr)
  31. John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley follows a road trip the famous author took across the U.S.; here, Greenfield, California.

    (Courtesy BrendelSignature/Wikimedia Commons)
  32. In Travels With Charley, writer John Steinbeck marvels at the giant redwood trees of northern California; here, the Avenue of the Giants, along California's Highway 101.

    (Courtesy Chris Willis/Flickr)
  33. In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey chronicles his relationship with Utah's red-rock landscape, cultivated while working as a ranger in Arches National Park; here, the Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park, Utah.

    (Courtesy Fikret Onal/Flickr)
  34. Arches National Park—pictured here, after a rainstorm—is the central setting of Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey.

    (Courtesy Suzette/Flickr)
  35. The bustle of Tokyo, Japan, plays a key role in Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey.

    (Courtesy Kevin Poh/Flickr)
  36. Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey, explores the anime culture of Japan; here, an anime expo in Odaiba, Japan.

    (Courtesy Stéfan/Flickr)
  37. In Confederates in the Attic, writer Tony Horwitz indulges a childhood obsession with the Civil War with a project that begins as a tour of preserved battlefields but evolves into a funny and massively insightful exploration of the contemporary American South; here, Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Delta, Louisiana.

    (Courtesy Ken Lund/Flickr)
  38. In Confederates in the Attic, writer Tony Horwitz indulges a childhood obsession with the Civil War with a project that begins as a tour of preserved battlefields but evolves into a funny and massively insightful exploration of the contemporary American South; here, Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Delta, Louisiana.

    (Courtesy Ken Lund/Flickr )
  39. Karen Blixen (who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen) chronicles her life as a Danish farmer in present-day Kenya, in Out of Africa; here, Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

    (Courtesy Simone Roda/Flickr)
  40. A cheetah in Mara, Kenya, the setting of Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass.

    (Courtesy Frédéric Salein/Flickr)
  41. The Himalayas—the setting of The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen.

    (Courtesy Sergio Calleja/Flickr)
  42. The elusive object of The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen.

    (Courtesy Bernard Landgraf/Wikimedia Commons)
  43. The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux, celebrates the grain train systems linking Europe and Asia; here, the Orient Express railway station.

    (Courtesy Briain/Wikimedia Commons)
  44. The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux, celebrates the grain train systems linking Europe and Asia; here, a train platform in China.

    (Courtesy tanakawho/Flickr)
  45. Writer Bruce Chatwin traveled to the frozen tip of South America to report In Patagonia; here, a bird of prey in Torres del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia.

    (Courtesy Lenora Enking/Flickr)
  46. Writer Bruce Chatwin traveled to the frozen tip of South America to report In Patagonia; here, the peaks of Torres del Paine, from Lake Pehoé, in Torres del National Park, in Chilean Patagonia.

    (Courtesy Miguel.v/Wikimedia Commons)
  47. In Great Plains, writer Ian Frazier takes us to a land of tough farming and hard living, an increasingly overlooked swath of America—running roughly from Montana to Texas—that most people only see from an airplane.

    (Courtesy photogramma1/Flickr)
  48. In Great Plains, writer Ian Frazier takes us to a land of tough farming and hard living, an increasingly overlooked swath of America—running roughly from Montana to Texas—that most people only see from an airplane; here, a view of hay bales, in Allegany Township, Pennsylvania.

    (Courtesy Nicholas_T/Flickr)
  49. Valparaíso, Chile, which is where the story of Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende, begins.

    (Courtesy lo.tangelini/Flickr)
  50. In Daughter of Fortune, writer Isabel Allende's description of boomtown San Francisco—with its surging crowds of fortune-hunters from around the world—would spark the imagination of any traveler who has ventured into an unknown city for the first time; here, modern-day Powell Street at Union Square in San Francisco, California.

    (Courtesy prayitno/Flickr)

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