20 Of The Best Travel Guide Books

Heading on an African safari or a Himalayan ski trip might not be realistic right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan and dream. Whether you’re looking for a bit of escapism or some actual inspiration, here are 20 of the best travel guide books to know – which also make great Christmas presents, too…

Best For: A World Trip

100 Trips Around the World, The New York Times Explorer £21.99

If you’re looking to plan a world trip when travel restrictions begin to ease up again, this guidebook is a must. Featuring 100 trips to some of the most beautiful places in the world – including Oman, the Maldives, Namibia and Stockholm – tales are told through travel writers and photographers from The New York Times. Each journey also features practical information and a selection of beautiful images taken during the trip. 

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Best For: Solo Travel & Backpackers

The Solo Travel Handbook By Lonely Planet, £9.79

Lonely Planet has some of the best destination travel guides, but if you’re looking for something a little different, their solo handbook contains everything you need to plan a trip on your own. With practical advice on how to organise your finances and befriend fellow travellers, this handbook will help you before, during and after your trip. As well as handy tips, it also ranks the best destinations for road trips, food, nightlife and culture.

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Best For: Adventures Off The Beaten Track

Hidden Places By Sarah Baxter, £11.66

Hidden Places features some of the world’s most magical locations off the beaten track. From a hidden bay in New Zealand, to an Indian reservation in Arizona, Sarah Baxter’s guide will transport you to 25 of the hidden places you didn’t know existed. With detailed info and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, this book makes a great gift for a travel enthusiast.  

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Best For: Cultural Recommendations

Cereal City Guides, From £13.17

Cereal publish some of the most stylish travel guide books out there. With volumes on a range of city break destinations, such as Copenhagen, Milan, Antwerp and New York City, each book is a favourite holiday hotspot from of publishers Rich Stapleton and Rosa Park. Every guide contains recommendations on where to stay and what to do, plus essays and interviews from architects, designers and writers. 

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Best For: An African Adventure

Great Escapes Africa By Angelika Taschen, £30

If you’re looking to explore the rich culture and stunning landscapes in some of the most beautiful African countries, Great Escapes Africa is a visual journey to the best hotels on the continent. From ultra-modern hotels in South Africa and Ethiopia, to safari camps in the Serengeti, each destination has detailed information regarding when to go and how to get there. Be sure to check out Bisate Lodge in Rwanda for some serious travel inspo. 

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Best For: Foodies 

Copenhagen Food: Stories, Traditions And Recipes By Trine Hahnemann, £17.49

With Copenhagen set to be one of the trendiest city break destinations of 2021, there’s never been a better time to read Trine Hahnemann’s food guide. Featuring stories, traditions, and recipes of the city’s most recognises dishes (such as smorrebrod, Danish ice-cream and coffee), this collection is equal parts travel guide and cookbook. The chapters are split by district, so you can easily find restaurant, café and bar recommendations in Nyhavn, Nørrebro, and central Copenhagen.

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Best For: Surfing

I Love The Seaside: The Surf And Travel Guide To Great Britain & Ireland By Alexandra Gossink, £29.95

This surfing guide is the fourth book in the I Love The Seaside series from surfing enthusiast Alexandra Gossink. With a comprehensive list of the best beaches and coastal areas in the British Isles, expect travel notes from Devon and Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides in Ireland. Whether you’re ready to hit the waves or you simply want to explore beautiful beaches a little closer to home, it’s bound to get you excited for your next adventure. 

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Best For: Exploring The Great Outdoors

Unforgettable Things To Do Before You Die By Clare Jones & Steve Watkins, £14.99

Lovers of the outdoors will relish this bucket-list guide by travel writers Clare Jones and Steve Watkins. With a list of experiences to complete before you die – including dog-sledding in Sweden, river-running in Zambia, wine tasting in France and surfing in California – each challenge is built around a two-week trip to a different destination. For a unique experience in the wilderness, don’t miss the chapter on Mongolia.

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Best For: Bucket List Trips

National Geographic, Destinations Of A Lifetime, £17.89

Head on a photographic tour of the world with National Geographic’s wanderlust travel guide. Featuring 225 of the world’s ‘most amazing places’, from historic landmarks and mountain ranges to castles and markets, the guide is a great option if you’re planning a bucket list holiday. With detailed info on where to eat and stay in each place, you’ll discover some hidden gems along the way. The book also has some of the most beautiful pictures on this list, so it makes a great coffee table book, too. 

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Best For: Train Journeys

Ticket To Ride By Tom Chesshyre, £9.99

Explore the wonder of train travel with Tom Chesshyre’s guide to some of the most unusual routes in the world. Featuring 49 trips aboard every type of train (including inter-city trains, steam locomotives, and bullet trains), his journeys will make you want to explore beautiful scenery in a different way. Highlights from the book include Sri Lanka, Iran and Australia. 

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Best For: Winter Sports

Powder: The Greatest Ski Runs On The Planet By Patrick Thorne, £30

Ski resorts might be closed for the foreseeable, but when they do reopen, it’s a good idea to know where you’d like to go. Travel writer Patrick Thorne has created a stunning guide to the best ski slopes and winter resorts in the world. Alongside classic runs in Chamonix, Whistler and Jackson Hole, Powder will also transport you to far-flung places such as the Himalayas, the Atlas Mountains and an Olympian Russian resort. A quick flick through the stunning pictures is enough to inspire anyone to hit the slopes.

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Best For: Holiday Dreaming

Assouline Travel Books, From £38

For a stylish guide that’ll look great on a coffee table, Assouline’s travel books are it. With editions from some of the chicest destinations in the world, including St Moritz, Capri and Tulum, every copy includes beautiful pictures from award-winning photographers. The Ibiza edition, one of our favourites from the series, has dreamy pictures of the Old Town, showcasing the island’s signature bohemian style. 

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Best For: UK Day Trips 

Wild Swimming Walks: 28 River, Lake and Seaside Days Out by Train From London By Margaret Dickinson, £14.99

From the famous swimming ladies of London’s Hampstead ponds, this guide book recommends 28 days out and countryside walks – all accessible by train. From wild swimming in Oxford to coastal walks in Margate, this book is ideal for families looking for future summer activities. Plus, the retro-style design and beautiful illustrations make it a lovely gift, too. 

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Best For: Hiking 

Wanderlust Europe: The Great European Hike By Alex Roddie, £26.25

For some of Europe’s most awe-inspiring walks, look no further than this stunning guide by Alex Roddie. Hikers of all levels can discover the best routes to take in each country, including the UK, while looking at a selection of beautiful images taken along the way. With notes on flora and fauna, details on the origin of each trail, and anecdotes from Alex, this comprehensive guide is a must for seasoned climbers. 

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Best For: Yogis

Great Escapes Yoga By Angelika Taschen, £40

If you’re after a relaxing holiday, this book has an extensive list of the most beautiful and inspiring yoga retreats in the world. From exotic hotels in south east Asia to detoxing retreats in Austria, each destination combines stunning scenery with expert-led yoga classes. Look out for the chic eco resort in Mexico if you’re in the mood for some serious wanderlust…

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Best For: Staycations

The Good Hotel Guide 2021, £16

This handy volume, which was released earlier this year, lists over 750 of the best hotels, inns and B&Bs across the UK and Ireland. With recommendations from experts and travel writers, there are awards for seaside inns, dog-friendly hotels, sustainable properties, and hotels with Christmas and New Year packages. Filter through the list by category or location to choose your next staycation spot for 2021. 

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Best For: Cycling 

Epic Bike Rides of Europe By Lonely Planet, £18.74

Lonely Planet’s latest travel guide is all the inspiration you need for your next cycling adventure. Featuring 50 of the best bike ride routes around Europe, the guide includes everything from leisurely paths to take with the family, to exciting mountainous trails off the beaten track. Cycling beginners and experts, alike, will appreciate top tips from guest contributors, including Tour de France competitors.

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Best For: Where To Drink

The Good Pub Guide 2021, £13.77

Now in its 39th edition, The Good Pub Guide lists the best city inns and countryside havens around the UK, with comprehensive information on opening times, drinks and the best pub dogs. Whether you’re looking for a new G&T to try in London, or cosy taprooms to visit on a staycation, this guide has the info and fun facts on all the places you should know about. 

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Best For: City Breaks

Phaidon Wallpaper City Guides, £9.95

Phaidon’s wallpaper guides will help you navigate around the city, wherever you are in the world. The small pocket-sized editions are ideal for carrying in your handbag, with expert tips on the coolest shopping destinations, hotels and art galleries. There are over 50 to choose from, including Edinburgh, Dubai, Istanbul and Lisbon, and each one has a stylish Pantone-coloured cover. 

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Best For: Luxury Jetsetters

Luxe City Guides, From $14.99

Luxe produce a range of stylish city guides for those looking for a luxury getaway. The ‘Asia’ series is particularly good – expect top recommendations on the best restaurants, historical exhibits and luxury hotels. All of their print guides include a free six-month digital guide subscription, too, so you can get on with start planning your next escape. 

Visit LuxeCityGuides.com

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