Photos: The 25 Greatest Travel Books of All Time

Photos
California's stunning Highway One, featured in Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road.
— Courtesy .Bala/Flickr
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
Paul Bowles captures the stark, alien nature of the African Sahara in The Sheltering Sky.
— Courtesy amerune/Flickr
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
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
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
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
Alex Garland's The Beach explores expat culture along the shores of Thailand, including Railey Beach.
— Courtesy McKay Savage/Flickr
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
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
The famed Taj Mahal, located in Agra, India; E. M. Forster's A Passage to India explores British and Indian relations in India.
Locals riding an elephant in Kanha, India; E. M. Forster's A Passage to India brings the country to life.
— Courtesy Honza Soukup/Flickr
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
Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley celebrates the Italian landscape; here, the Castello Aragonese, off of Naples, Italy.
— Grand Tour/Corbis
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
Teju Cole's Open City explores the wondrous maze of Manhattan, New York.
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas ventures to an (imagined) apocalyptic Hawaii; here, McGregor Point on the south Maui coast.
— Courtesy belindah/Flickr
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas brings alive the South Pacific Ocean in the mid-1800s; here, Motu Tape, Bora Bora.
— Courtesy Sergio Calleja/Flickr
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
Guanajuato, Mexico—the setting of D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent.
— Radius Images/Corbis
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
Union Street in Brooklyn, New York—the setting of Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn.
— Courtesy Sugar Pond/Flickr
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
A bullfight in Pamplona, Spain, features prominently in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises.
— Courtesy ezioman/Flickr
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
Bill Bryson's travelogue In a Sunburned Country eloquently captures the curious animals of Australia, such as this dingo.
— Martin Harvey/Corbis
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
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
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
Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild celebrates the Alaskan wilderness; here, Denali National Park, Alaska.
— Courtesy Nic McPhee/Flickr
John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley follows a road trip the famous author took across the U.S.; here, Greenfield, California.
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
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
Arches National Park—pictured here, after a rainstorm—is the central setting of Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey.
— Courtesy Suzette/Flickr
The bustle of Tokyo, Japan, plays a key role in Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey.
— Courtesy Kevin Poh/Flickr
Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey, explores the anime culture of Japan; here, an anime expo in Odaiba, Japan.
— Courtesy Stéfan/Flickr
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
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
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
A cheetah in Mara, Kenya, the setting of Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass.
The Himalayas—the setting of The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen.
— Courtesy Sergio Calleja/Flickr
The elusive object of The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen.
The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux, celebrates the grain train systems linking Europe and Asia; here, the Orient Express railway station.
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
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
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.
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
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
Valparaíso, Chile, which is where the story of Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende, begins.
— Courtesy lo.tangelini/Flickr
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

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.

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