Not everyone can spend all of their time traveling to beautiful destinations. Luckily, travel books serve as a great alternative. You get to experience new places and cultures through the eyes of someone else, broadening your worldview. If you don’t have the chance to travel this winter, make it a point to pick up one of these books instead and enjoy the next best thing.


The Rhine: Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps by Ben Coates
The Rhine flows through Germany, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. As a significant part of so many countries, the river has been a major part of history, used as the edge of the Roman Empire, and fought over by Napoleon and other prominent figures. Frankenstein was written after Mary Shelley visited Rhine Castle. In this book, Ben Coates follows the river through its entire course and explores the impact it has on European culture and history.


A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Jeni Mitchell and Stéphane Henaut

This book explores the facts and legends surrounding some of the most popular French foods and wines. The social history also explores the impact that war and imperialism have had on the country. The book also examines the social and political trends behind some of the country’s most iconic foods, like cognac and croissants.


Speakeasy: Secret Bars Around the World by Maurizio Maestrelli

This guide introduces readers to hidden bars around the world. Forty-four bars are featured in the book, from New York to Hong Kong to San Diego. At each bar, Maurizio Maestrelli highlights the signature cocktail of each bar. While speakeasies rose to popularity during the prohibition era of the 1920s, the majority of the bars featured in the book were started in the past ten years.


Figures in a Landscape: People and Places by Paul Theroux

In this collection of travel essays, literary criticisms and celebrity encounters, Paul Theroux brings life to a variety of locations. He shares stories from his travels to Africa, Asia, Hawaii and Morocco. He profiles Robin Williams, Elizabeth Taylor, and Oliver Sacks, among others. The essays are pulled from various publications and book introductions over a 15-year period.