Travelogues are books written by people based on travel journals. They portray their experience on adventures around the world and allow the reader to get a glimpse of what a place is like without ever setting foot there, or, in some cases, of what a place used to be like long before they were even born.
Below are some of the best rated travelogues on Goodreads.
1. From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East
Written by William Dalrymple, published in 1997, 4.31 rating.
Based on the travel journals of a monk travelling the Byzantine world in 587 AD with his pupil, the book recreates John Moschos and Sophronius the Sophist’s steps and stays in caves, monasteries and remote hermitages, from the shores of the Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt, before Islam took over the region.
2. Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan
Written by Erika Fatland, published in 2014, 4.29 rating.
After travelling alone to in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Erika Fatland takes the reader on a compassionate and insightful journey to explore how their Soviet heritage has influenced these countries, with governments experimenting with both democracy and dictatorships.
3. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Written by Jon Krakauer, published in 1997, 4.24 rating.
Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the bestseller Into the Wild. The story follows Krakauer’s descent after reaching the summit of Mount Everest on 10 May 1996, encountering a storm and finding out that he was one of the lucky ones in the group as 5 others died and a 6th climber was horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated.
4. Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
Original title “Chroniques de Jérusalem”, written by Guy Delisle, published in 2011, 4.21 rating.
The graphic novel recounts Delisle’s year-long trip to Jerusalem, parts of Palestine and the West Bank, as well as within Israel, with his two young children and his long-term partner, Nadège, who went there to do administrative work for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
Written by Thor Heyerdahl, published in 1947, 4.15 rating.
Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He set sail on 28 April 1947, from Peru, on a balsa log raft, covering 4,300 nautical miles (about 8,000 km) across the Pacific Ocean before arriving at the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.
6. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
Written by Robert Macfarlane, published in 2012, 4.12 rating.
Robert Macfarlane travels Britain’s ancient paths and discovers the secrets of the beautiful, underappreciated landscape of the British Isles and beyond.
7. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Written by William Dalrymple, published in 1993, 4.12 rating.
William Dalrymple explores the seven “dead” cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city-today’s Delhi, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way-from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls. Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire-formed spirits that are said to assure the city’s Phoenix-like regeneration no matter how many times it is destroyed.
8. Travels in the Land of Hunger: A backpacker’s earthbound journey from the East to the West
Written by Domenico Italo Composto-Hart, published in 2019, 4.09 rating.
In the spring of 2004 Domenico Italo Composto-Hart set off on a half-year backpacking journey through the lands of East and Southeast Asia, Siberia, Central Russia, the Baltic states, the Nordic countries, and Eastern and Western Europe. Traveling by foot, bus, train and boat, Domenico documents, researches and deciphers the developing nations he encounters as they rise through the turbulence of unregulated Western capitalism and globalization.
9. Seven Years in Tibet
Written by Heinrich Harrer, published in 1953, 4.09 rating.
The bestseller covers the escape of Austrian mountaineer and Nazi SS sergeant Heinrich Harrer and his companion, Peter Aufschnaiter, from a British internment camp in India in 1943. He spent the next seven years in Tibet, observing its social practices, religion, politics and people, eventually becoming a good friend of the 14th Dalai Lama.
10. In a Sunburned Country
Written by Bill Bryson, published in 2000, 4.07 rating.
Bill Bryson’s report on what he found in Australia, a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.