15 Best Books To Read Before Traveling To Europe In 2023

Books To Read Before Traveling To Europe

Whether they are the most funny travel books, the best travel travel books for Europe, or even a guidebook to Europe, travel books are amazing. There are numerous books to read before traveling to Europe in 2023.

So, you only need the basics. The books that will have you drinking beer at Oktoberfest and clinking glasses while eating baguettes in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Therefore, the top travel books about Europe are listed below for you to read before your trip. But before knowing the best books to read before traveling to Europe, you must learn the benefits of reading books while traveling.

Benefits of Reading While Traveling

Here are some of the benefits of traveling that you will get by reading books.

Reading As Productive Entertainment

Have a few hours before your Croatian connection flight? Switzerland to Italy train trip taking a while? One of the brave few who can read while being a passenger on a car trip, are you? 

Your neighborhood bookshop or library are your best bets for entertainment while you’re on the run. 

Everyone has a favorite genre, whether it be science fiction or romance, and having a book you can’t wait to get started on can make all the difference in how well you handle the anxious drive to your next location. 

With a fantastic book in your bag, you’ll be at your next adventure before you know it. When you fall in love with a book, you tend to lose track of time (at least I do!).

Reading Improves Focus and Observation Skills

Everyone is aware that one of the simplest and most efficient ways to stimulate the brain is through reading. Our prefrontal cortex, which affects attention and concentration, is stimulated by reading. 

Imagine it as exercising a muscle! Spending some time with a good book while traveling, whether it be after a long day of sightseeing or while traveling from one place to another, prepares your brain to observe, concentrate, and take in the world around you on a deeper level. 

Reading also improves concentration, focus, and imaginative capacity. You don’t want to miss anything when visiting a new place, perhaps one that has been on your vacation wish list for a while.

Reading gives our brains workout, which will help to keep your mind completely alert and prepared wherever you are.

Reading For A Better Bedtime Routine

Even though reading for enjoyment is enjoyable at any time of the day, incorporating your current book into your night routine has additional advantages. 

I frequently struggle when traveling to fall asleep instantly when my head strikes the pillow. My thoughts are usually occupied with the plans for the following day, the joy of being somewhere new, and my travel objectives for the trip. 

There is a catch to this anticipatory wakefulness: the place I’ve been dreaming about visiting is the last place I want to lose sleep.

Reading a chapter or two before bed is a terrific way to unwind, clear your head, and prepare for a reviving and restful night’s sleep. 

In fact, this study from 2021 discovered that reading before bed enhances sleep quality, encouraging a rested morning the next day. 

To make the most of your trip, incorporate reading into your evening routine to help ward against exhaustion and drowsiness.

Reading As A Stress Reliever

We are all aware of the difficult aspects of travel; sometimes, adventures need a lot of labor. For good reason, the discussion of mental health and the lengths we go to to protect and nourish our brains has only intensified over the past few years. 

Traveling is a great method to improve and maintain our mental health, but what about any stressors that may arise? 

The value of a good book lies not only in its capacity to take the reader to imaginative worlds, but also in its potential to serve as a simple kind of stress relief.

Reading encourages your mind to take a break from the current stresses of the outside world by engaging both the mind and imagination. 

In addition, a 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can lower heart rate and muscle tension brought on by stress. 

Don’t allow nervousness ruin your experience wherever it may appear while you’re traveling, and don’t forget to pack that book.

Reading Can Shape Your Perspective

I like to think that some of the fantastic books I’ve read have had an impact on how I see the world. The truth is that reading helps us develop both our cognitive and emotional intelligence. 

There are some stories that stay with you long after you’ve closed the back cover and put the book down. The majority of stories give us a distinct viewpoint, whether it’s in the first person, third person, or omniscient and all-pervasive, and this enhances our potential for empathy, self awareness, and connection. 

Reading broadens not only our analytical awareness of the world, but also our emotional comprehension, which we may not otherwise pause to consider.

Our travel experiences become more intense and deep when we adopt a worldview that places a high value on compassion and empathy. 

We are also better able to fully immerse ourselves in our upcoming destinations. By reading, you can broaden both your internal and external perspectives on your upcoming travels.

Books To Read Before Traveling To Europe

Here are some of the best books you can read while traveling to the Europe:

EUROPE: A HISTORY — NORMAN DAVIES

This is the 1st book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

With this book, I’m going into history.

People who are much more knowledgeable about history than I am regard Europe: A History as one of the best books on the continent.

This is the book to read if you want to learn about Europe and how it came to be, covering the Ice Age, multiple empires, World Wars, and more.

Reviews praise the author for writing about all of Europe, not only the Western part, and for this.

But heed the warning. The book is large and has about 1,400 pages. Then you can kill two birds with one stone if you also require a self-defense weapon.

Get ready to wow Europeans with your knowledge of European history. This is for you.

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NEITHER HERE NOR THERE — BILL BRYSON

This is the 2nd book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

One of the first travel books by Bryson and books with a European setting that I read was this one. And I was quickly attracted by his writing style.

Bryson had taken a lengthy European vacation when he was a student twenty years prior. He had returned and was tracing his ways.

He travels from Hammerfest, the northernmost tip of Europe, to Istanbul by way of the entire continent.

He passes through both large and small cities on his journey, including the City of Light (Paris), Florence, Hamburg, and Copenhagen.

But he consistently displays his amazing wit and comedy.

A humorous book of the “laugh-out-loud” variety. To avoid appearing insane to other riders, avoid reading Neither Here Nor There on the metro.

WALKING THE WOODS AND THE WATER — NICK HUNT

This is the 3rd book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

A young man by the name of Nick Hunt took a ferry to the Hook of Holland in 2011. He was focused on a single idea.

In a similar manner to Patrick Leigh Fermor, who traveled across Europe on foot and with a backpack nearly 80 years earlier,

He traveled by foot across Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey using Fermor’s book as his road map.

I wish I had gotten to see his Fitbit.

He gains knowledge of past cultures and their continued goodwill along the route. Finally, he gains some insight about himself.

For those who enjoy some adventurous travel in Europe, Walking the Woods and the Water is excellent.

HOMAGE TO CATALONIA — GEORGE ORWELL

This is the 4th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Do you want one of the most significant occasions in Spanish history to be based on a genuine person’s life? That book is called Homage to Catalonia.

Orwell recounts a dark tale of hope and treachery while describing his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

The book gives readers a great understanding of the lives of the typical Spanish men and women who fought alongside Orwell.

This actual story is fantastic from beginning to end, covering everything from his close call with a bullet to being deceived by his buddies.

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UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN — FRANCES MAYES

This is the 5th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Would you like to travel to Tuscany? With his examination of the customs, cuisine, and way of life in the area, Frances Mayes will take you there.

The narrative starts when Frances Mayes chooses to renovate a deserted property in the Tuscan countryside. But this home has a lot more to offer.

A vineyard that is overrun in her backyard, old and deteriorating murals in her dining room, and the charming people of Tuscany.

Under the Tuscan Sun is a great book to read before traveling to Italy since it provides a distinctive perspective on the area through a firsthand description.

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS — ERNEST HEMINGWAY

This is the 6th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Have you mentioned wanting a second Spanish Civil War? Only Ernest Hemingway could have authored this work of historical fiction.

Hemingway’s experiences as a foreign correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War served as the inspiration for the tale of a young Robert Jordan.

He is a volunteer American who is defending the Spanish Republic with the International Brigades.

Jordan witnesses every facet of the conflict, following him through the combat and eventually witnessing his love affair with a Spanish girl.

This is one of many excellent pieces by Hemingway.

TRAVELS WITH EPICURUS — DANIEL KLEIN

This is the 7th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Daniel Klein departs for Hydra, a tiny Greek island. By paying attention to his friends’ advice, that of classical thinkers, and other teachings, he intends to learn the mysteries of old age here.

Along the journey, he gains more knowledge about the value of life, how to enjoy growing older, and the basic pleasures in life.

This book, which is both a travelog and a guide, is great to read before any journeys to Europe, especially if you like reading literature set in Greece.

Additionally, it makes a wonderful holiday present! So, bear this in mind when it’s time to buy gifts.

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AN IRREVERENT CURIOSITY — DAVID FARLEY

This is the 8th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

What do you do when the most valuable item in your community disappears? Or, even better, what happens when the most valuable artifact in your community is…the foreskin of Jesus?

To find the solution, travel journalist David Farley relocated to Calcata, Italy.

Farley discovers more about the history and customs of this small village by following a foreskin trail that implicated Satanists, priests, and even the Vatican in the foreskin’s abduction.

And about one of the most bizarre tales in the annals of Christianity.

A fantastic book to read when flying to Europe for a nice laugh.

ILLYRIAN SPRING — ANN BRIDGE

This is the 9th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Illyrian Spring takes place in the 1930s because of time travel.

The main character of the narrative is Lady Kilmichael, a well-known painter. 

She abandons her husband and daughter to travel to the Dalmatian Coast in Yugoslavia for a painting trip because she feels depressed, unwanted, and in search of something new (present-day Croatia).

While there, she meets Nicholas, a young man who loves to paint but is unable to do it because of his family.

Illyrian Spring is one of the best books to read before traveling to Europe because it is both a thoughtful travel book and an intriguing love story.

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MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS — GERALD DURRELL

This is the 10th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

Gerald Durrell comes from a peculiar household. So it was nothing unusual when they made the decision to pack up and relocate to the sunny Greek island of Corfu.

Durrell’s account of such experiences on Corfu can be found in his book My Family and Other Animals. 

The novel is a wonderful account of Durrell’s family and has a large cast of animals, including puppies, ladybugs, bats, scorpions, toads, and many more.

Greece enthusiasts rejoice! There are two novels on this list that are about Greece!

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FOR THE LOVE OF EUROPE — RICK STEVES

This is the 11th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

During your research for your European vacation, it’s very difficult to avoid running across Rick Steves.

The man is essentially an expert on all things European.

For the Love of Europe is the one of his books that must be on this list.

You can find 100 of Rick’s most treasured recollections of his time in Europe in this 416-page book.

From dancing at Turkish circumcision celebrations to exploring abandoned castles, taking pleasure in excursions along mountain peaks, and getting lost in renowned cities like Rome. Rick Steves has done it all in Europe and wants to bring you along with him.

As a bonus, you even get a map of Europe for following Rick’s travels and plan out your own.

LONELY PLANET EUROPE

This is the 12th book on the list of best books to read before traveling to Europe.

There has to be a manual somewhere in here.

Such wonderful resources, they are. This book has valuable background information, useful words, and time- and money-saving hotel and restaurant recommendations.

I never used to use manuals myself. I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I’ve switched to life in the manual, and I’m never going back.

Get this (or any other guidebook to Europe) before your trip. It will be of great use to you.

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Provence, France via Peter Mayle’s ‘A Year in Provence’

Do you envision long, balmy summer nights spent eating cheese and drinking red wine when you hear the word Provence? Do you see purple lavender fields, juicy grapes bursting from their vines, weekend summer markets, and purple lavender fields?

When you have Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” at your disposal, there is no need to use your imagination. Through his engaging, 365-day journal, we get a peek of a Provencal concept of beauty that goes beyond our wildest dreams.

This is the thirteenth book on the list of books to read before traveling to Europe.

Paris, France via Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’

Paris is a mobile feast, so if you were fortunate enough to live there as a young man, it will follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life.

This memoir, which was released posthumously after Hemingway’s passing, recounts the experiences Hemingway and his first wife Hadley had while he was a young writer living in Paris. 

Along with recollections from these times, the book lists the Parisian locations of the cafes, restaurants, and bars Hemingway frequented.

This is the fourteenth book on the list of books to read before traveling to Europe.

Portofino, Italy via  Elizabeth von Arnim’s ‘The Enchanted April’

During a month-long vacation in a rented ancient castle in Italy, four English women seek solace from their personal issues. Each of these women experiences a profound transformation as a result of the change in environment. 

They discover themselves supporting situations and causes they had previously given up on. The setting’s warmth and beauty positively reverberate in the text. Elizabeth von Arnim is said to have been inspired to compose Enchanted April after touring an Italianate castle located high on a cliff near the picturesque town of Portofino.

This is the fifteenth book on the list of books to read before traveling to Europe.

CONCLUSION

In this blog, I have discussed the 12 best books to read before traveling To Europe. I have explained why we should read books while traveling. 

There are 12 books that you can read before going on a trip to Europe. 

I hope I have cleared all your queries about books to read before traveling to Europe. Keep visiting Wee Memories for more content like this.

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FAQs

Do and don’ts in Europe?

Do talk things out. 
Don’t tell people what to do. 
Do look for reasonable flights. 
Don’t flash money around. 
Do a headcount.
Don’t leave valuables in the open.
Do dress like a local. 
Do use alternatives to cash.

Is 1 month enough for Europe?

Four weeks can fly by in this crazily diverse continent, but a month is a great amount of time to experience a variety of nations and cultures.

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