When it comes to travel souvenirs, there are plenty of them you don’t need to buy at your destination. Coffee-table books are some of them. They can be a unique way to bring back memories from your trips or to ignite your wanderlust while deciding where to travel next. They’re inspiring company when you need to fly away with your imagination too! This list includes some of the best photo books that feature stunning pictures and pretty unique angles for different destinations. Greece could not miss on this list, and, as you would expect, I’ve included the best travel coffee-table books about Crete too.
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Super Gorgeous Travel-Related Coffee Table Books
Keeping a beautiful travel book on top of your coffee table is always an inspiring thing to do. It can always lift up your spirits and give you plenty of ideas to plan a trip.
I keep two on mine, one about my home country (Argentina), and one about the island where I live (Crete). The following ones are some of the nicest travel coffee table books you can find online.
Beautiful Coffee Table Travel Books by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet creates some of the most complete and thorough travel guides. I’ve got quite a few of them and I find them practical and easy to consult when traveling.
What some people still have to discover, is their amazing collection of coffee table books. All of them propose an original view and angle on unique subjects. Here are some of my favorite ones:
The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
This beautiful book takes you through every country in the world through its stunning 850 pictures. Lonely Planet’s Travel Book introduces the traveler to the world and is an essential reference book that every traveler should own.
Each of the countries listed is accurately described, featuring a bunch of useful information about the local cultures as well.
You can learn about the things you can do, but also learn about their music, food, and drink. The book includes also maps and unique pictures depicting what life is like in each nation.
It comes in a premium package, and it will certainly make a memorable gift. The book received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 in Favorite Travel Guide category.
Lonely Planet’s Wonders of the World
An extraordinary collection of unique places, from Antarctica and the Amazon to Victoria Falls and the Great Wall of China.
Wonders of the World features 101 spectacular places to discover as well as how to see them on any budget.
The book is inspiring but also quite practical, including suggestions such as when to visit, where to stay, and smart itineraries too.
Once you open this book, you’ll find both natural and human-made sights across the world such as the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, and the Great Wall of China as well as California’s giant trees, the gorgeous lakes in Croatia, the auroras, great waterfalls or the cherry blossom trees from Japan.
What I like the most about it though, is that it features also less famous sights as well as museums with impressive collections.
You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us
What a magnificent book! You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us is more than a bug bucket list of unique places to visit, it is an endless source of inspiration that encourages “readers of all ages to seize the moment, channel their inner hero, explore the world, create moments they will celebrate for years to come, and share their incredible stories.”
An eclectic gift book that’s the perfect manual for life: Do you want to sleep in a castle? Sail a ship? Make a music pilgrimage?
This book is just a starting point to reignite long-forgotten desires. It combines great pictures and interesting infographics.
Where To Go When
With this ultimate trip planner for every month of the year, you will discover unique destinations and the best moment to visit because of their climate, or because there’s a lot going on.
Where To Go When features beautiful illustrations and it’s a perfect coffee table book for any avid traveler. The suggestions feature anything from culture-rich city breaks and tropical beach holidays to adventurous road trips and wildlife-watching expeditions.
Whether you’re into beaches, trying the local specialties, or backpacking off the beaten path, suggestions include climate diagrams as well as value for money and family friendliness of each suggestion in each month.
It’s packed with useful facts, amazing photos, and stunning ideas for any adventure!
Remember that for all coffee table books, the actual physical edition is what you want to get! Digital editions won’t always include the same images.
Amazing Train Journeys
Is there anything more beautiful, romantic, or inspiring than a long train ride? With Amazing Train Journeys, you will experience 60 of the world’s unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips to little-known gems on regular commuting lines.
As the editor says, “We know the moment a train pulls out of a station bound for somewhere fantastic is when the adventure truly starts.”
Useful sections feature practical information such as ticket options, timetables, and stops. Inspiring photos and maps are included too.
Over 200 travel writers have contributed to their favorite destinations. You’ll find epic international adventures, short suburban routes, as well as stunning coastline rides. Inside the book, incredible train rides, some of them with Unesco World Heritage status.
There are incredible train rides for every traveler in every continent including the Perurail’s Lake Titicaca Railway, the Darjeeling Toy Train in India, The Glacier Express in Switzerland, and the unique California Zephyr in the US, among many others.
Great Escapes: Experience the World at Your Leisure
Inside Great Escapes, you’ll be able to find fantastic beach paradises that will blow your mind, unique luxury hideaways, unforgettable cultural thrills, and every possible source of inspiration to plan your next perfect getaway… or just to daydream about it!
This book showcases some of the world’s most enjoyable escapes and it utterly celebrates the sheer pleasure of travel.
There are sections including practical information as well as the most inspiring photos you could imagine.
Through the pages of this book, you can indulge in romantic getaways, discover perfect culinary adventures, and even experience the best family holidays.
>> You can check every book in this Lonely Planet series here <<
Fantastic Travel Coffee Table Books by National Geographic
National Geographic has a well-earned reputation when it comes to quality travel writing and unique travel photography.
Their fantastic magazine is a favorite publication among travelers thanks to a unique angle about famous destinations and off-the-beaten-path corners of the world.
When it comes to coffee table travel books you can be certain to find those marvelous images that have made National Geographic one of the most prestigious publications in the world of travel.
Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips
Journeys of a Lifetime is an inspiring book featuring 500 celebrated and lesser-known destinations around the globe, from ocean cruises in Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes.
The 10th-anniversary edition highlights the best of the world’s most celebrated and lesser-known sojourns.
Check every corner of the world and every possible form of transport, as well as the magnificent pictures that have always distinguished National Geographic.
One of the most perfect resources for travelers who crave adventurous trips. Ideal for those after quaint experiences, such as the world’s top small cruises or bizarre museums.
The book also includes full-color maps, practical tips, and how to make the most of your journey.
Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips
If you’re a sucker for road trips just like me, then this book cannot miss from your coffee table travel book collection!
With Drives of a Lifetime, National Geographic presents the world’s best car trips, for nature lovers, hikers, and adventurers. This collection of road trip ideas prompts you to pack your suitcase, load up the car, and head for the open road!
A magical travel planner and gift book that provides all the info you need to navigate 400 amazing driving routes in some of the world’s most fascinating places on the planet.
Be ready to encounter in-depth descriptions of each drive as well as clear, detailed, easy-to-read maps of each route.
Insider tips help you get the most out of every fabulous trip and to decide when to travel.
Drives of a Lifetime is a handy planner, but it also doubles as a unique gift book with over 200 dazzling photos. The book includes routes such as the road to ancient ruins in Cambodia or an off-road dune drive in Dubai.
National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks
How about a trip to the impressive America’s park system from coast to coast?
The stunning Atlas of the National Parks is an inspiring collection of pictures, maps, and informative graphics.
The author takes the reader on a journey to the scenic reserves in the United States, distinguishing magnificent landmarks, thriving ecosystems, representative wildlife, fascinating histories, and more.
From the white sand beaches of Dry Tortugas to the snowy peaks of Denali, this book tells the stories of America’s sixty-one beloved national parks.
National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary
Do you also go crazy about spectacular quality travel pictures? If the answer is yes, then this book is a must-buy!
National Geographic’s Rarely Seen Photographs of the Extraordinary is one of the most dazzling photography books on the market!
Featuring some of the world’s finest photographers, this volume reveals a world very few will have the chance to see for themselves.
A New York Times bestseller includes images of places, events, natural phenomena, and manmade heirlooms rarely seen by human eyes.
From 30,000-year-old cave art to animals that are among the last of their species on Earth… Volcanic lightning; giant crystals and so much more. Rarely Seen Photographs of the Extraordinary captures natural wonders and little-seen objects from the far reaches of the globe.
Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe
Few experiences are as satisfying as exploring the world’s great culinary traditions and landmarks. This National Geographic illustrated travel gift book includes a fabulous itinerary of foods, dishes, markets, and restaurants worth traveling far and wide to enjoy.
Food Journeys of a Lifetime showcases the sophisticated dishes by famous chefs as well as the simpler pleasures of the side-street food joints that cater to local people and give each region a distinctive taste.
An amazing present for those who love to combine travel and food. You’ll discover Tokyo’s freshest sushi, spicy Creole dishes from New Orleans; the finest vintages of French wineries, and so much more.
The book includes hundreds of mouthwatering illustrations evoking tastes and cooking techniques. Besides, there’s a wide selection of recipes, entertaining information, and the cultural importance of the featured dish.
Secret Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems
Another gem in the Journeys of a Lifetime series Secret Journeys of a Lifetime features fun, themed top ten lists, locator maps, and oversized, beautiful images that bring to life 500 novel destinations that have managed to fly under the radar.
Divided into themed chapters, the book also presents numerous Secret Journeys by National Geographic contributors also providing insight on bonus excursions near the featured destinations.
Each chapter contains lists of “Top Tens,” shorter features describing experiences, from quirky museums and quiet city gardens to atmospheric ghost towns and amazing ocean views.
Other Stunning Travel Coffee Table Books Worth Having
There are countless travel coffee table books you can check and get for yourself or as a gift.
They can portray regions, countries, or themes, such as food, adventure, or the ocean.
Some of them include informative details, others are just beautiful collections of images without any text attached. Take a look!
Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe
Published by Moon Travel Guides, Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe features a great journey around the world.
A fabulous compilation of mythic locations, epic trails, and ancient cities packed with full-color photos, charming illustrations, and fascinating overviews of each destination.
A great gift idea for dreamers and adventurers, this volume walks you along the Great Wall of China…
It climbs the Atlas Mountains with you and even takes you on a trek through Patagonia.
You will be eating your way through the best street food cities in the world. Then, you will follow unique wine trails and shop in super-famous markets. This book is one of my top picks for the curious and the adventurous.
The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small
The Bucket List features 1000 adventures for all ages, it’s an invaluable guide to fun, fantastic, and life-affirming activities.
From glassblowing in the Czech Republic to swimming with dolphins in New Zealand… do anything you want to do!
This is a perfect gift for the passionate traveler with unique around-the-world lists of beaches, museums, monuments, islands, inns, restaurants, mountains, and more.
The book contains also advice on how to achieve some popular goals of a lifetime.
Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting
Off the Beaten Path highlights more than a thousand overlooked must-see destinations in the US.
It is a great companion when planning an unforgettable vacation offering easy reference about where to go, how to get there, and what you need to know before your trip.
The best-selling Reader’s Digest features full-color pictures and updated maps.
Check more than 1000 well-kept secret destinations no matter whether you’re interested in nature, science, art, or culture.
Useful sidebars across the book contain seasonal events for each state as well as innovative ideas for fun day trips.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World as You’ve Never Seen It Before
The New York Times named this as the Best Gift Book & Best Travel Book of 2019!
Published by the well-known Patricia Schultz 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is a breathtaking new kind of travel book as well as a new way of thinking about our experiences.
Spanning from captivating words to stunning pictures, take a visual journey of the best the world has to offer.
A travel book that inspires joy, curiosity, awe, passion, nostalgia, and tons of wanderlust.
This is simply “a perfect gift for every traveler, every fan of the original, every dreamer whose Instagram feed is filled with pictures of places near and far.”
Streets of New York
Streets of New York is a New York photo book celebrating the city’s diversity. It brings together over 40 contemporary photographers and their multiple perspectives on New York City.
Each photographer offers a personal take on New York’s vibrancy, impact, and allure.
New York fans will love this rich visual catalog full of ideas and travel inspiration.
It includes pictures of the best-known landmarks and attractions in town, as well as unique hidden gems, tucked-away charms, and lesser-known New York City districts.
Familiar and yet surprising, Paris offers that unparalleled stage that turns every picture into a film set
Paris is a fantastic photography book portraying the best side of the City of Lights.
Magnificent views of its architectural splendor: Churches, palaces, parks, and grand boulevards.
From the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, the author pays tribute to this unique legacy of art and culture, capturing the city’s poetic atmosphere.
Discover this kaleidoscope along the Seine that will delight all those who dream of visiting Paris.
Rome, Portrait of a City
Rome, Portrait of a City brings together hundreds of photographs from the 1840s through today to explore the extraordinary history, beauty, and art of the city.
Discover the magnificent capital of Italy through the eyes of important photographers such as Carlo Bavagnoli, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and William Klein.
The book features this favorite destination through some colorful neighborhoods and urban landscapes.
Reaching back into illustrious archives, some of the book’s early images offer us a privileged Grand Tour glimpse of some of Rome’s most treasured landmarks, revealing the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Spanish Steps almost void of crowds.
Great Escapes Italy
This Great Escapes Italy features the world’s top travel and holiday destination.
Through the pages of this book, you can indulge in the most amazing landscapes and diverse regions: Tuscany, Umbria, the Amalfi Coast, and, no less magical, the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily.
Check the legendary hotels full of romantic atmospheres such as Villa d’Este on Lake Como, the Pellicano Hotel in Porto Ercole, and the Palazzo Margherita in Basilicata.
The author features as well the best corners for food lovers and those in search of unspoiled traditions.
Man-Made Wonders of the World
With Man-Made Wonders of the World, you will discover the most incredible wonders that populate the Earth, from Stonehenge to Burj Khalifa. The book is an amazing catalog of the most famous and intriguing buildings and monuments created by humans.
Marvel at a variety of impressive structures, buildings, monuments, bridges, and captivating statues.
The book takes the reader on a continent-by-continent journey, exploring the imagination employed by different cultures that created iconic buildings such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China or the defensive walls of Central American cities.
Interesting illustrations explain how the structures were built, while explanations cover the history, architecture, and unique stories behind their construction.
This blissful celebration of life, perspective, and thought-free holidays features the synergy between wanderlust and adventure, creating the ultimate visual escape.
There are beaches from more than twenty cities across six continents for you to choose from and where to go for your next summer escape!
The Rainbow Atlas: A Guide to the World’s 500 Most Colorful Places
Spanning natural phenomena, architectural wonders, art installations, and more, the book ranges from the pink salt lakes of Mexico to the eye-catching home facades of Cobh, Ireland.
The Atlas is organized by longitude, creating fun and unexpected juxtapositions. Paired with stunning photographs of each location, it also advises readers when is the best time to visit each of the spots inside the book.
Great Maps: The World’s Masterpieces Explored and Explained
Discover the world’s finest maps explored and explained.
From Ptolemy’s world map to Hereford’s Mappa Mundi, through Mercator’s map of the world to the latest maps of the Moon and Google Earth, Great Maps provides a fascinating overview of cartography through the ages.
This fascinating volume reveals stories and secrets behind 55 historical maps by analyzing graphic close-ups.
The book also profiles key cartographers and explorers to look why each map was commissioned, who it was for and how they influenced navigation, propaganda, power, art, and politics.
The Life and Love of the Sea
This great travel coffee table book showcases cutting-edge underwater photography from the world’s leading marine and nature photographers.
The Life & Love of the Sea is a breathtaking visual tour of the ocean’s great diversity. You will encounter land meeting sea as well as images of dramatic coastlines, barrier reefs, and island chains.
Check the spectacular power of the ocean through a stunning collection of wave photographs. The book also makes available bonus footage via a scannable QR code from award-winning underwater cameraman Steven Hathaway.
Above the World: Earth Through A Drone’s Eye
Change perspective with these unique flying cameras!
Above the World is an ode to the beauty of the aerial image as it can be seen and captured by anyone. Let yourself be inspired by the stunning captures inside this book!
Freed from the constraints of gravity, the pictures redefine how we perceive the world we live in and reveal previously unseen moments of beauty.
With this book, the authors shine a spotlight on some of the world’s best aerial photography.
The subjects range from a volcanic eruption to the abstract patterns of fish farms as seen from above.
The Prettiest Travel Coffee Table Books About Crete and the Rest of Greece
This is my personal selection of gorgeous photographic books about Greece. From the most iconic views of Santorini to hidden villages, and unique vistas of the country.
The Sites of Ancient Greece
The Sites of Ancient Greece presents 150 spectacular and evocative photos of the landscapes and architecture — both ancient and modern — of Greece.
The photographs were taken between 1996 and 2006, They visually explain why this country, its history, myths and landscapes, have captured the hearts and minds of so many for thousands of years
Arranged geographically by region, the images in this book take the viewer on a guided tour of Greece and her islands, from cloud-topped Mount Olympus, home of the Gods, to the island of Crete.
Crete and the Island of Santorini
As you could expect, we start with a beautiful travel coffee table book about Crete… and some breathtaking landscapes from Santorini.
Crete and the Island of Santorini is a pictorial and descriptive journey through the history and beauty of these two Greek paradise islands.
You’ll explore the pretty beaches, villages, and towns of these two picture perfect island of Greece.
Crete features an exquisite coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays, and peninsulas.
A multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea made Crete one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations.
Santorini is located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece’s mainland. It’s one of the most romantic spots in the world with awe-inspiring white and blue houses perched on top of the most famous volcano.
A Portrait of Greece
A wonderful collection of pictures that feature the most iconic places in Greece.
A Portrait of Greece by Terri Hardin shows you unique pictures of touristic areas, the most beautiful islands, the whitewashed landscapes of the Cyclades, and unforgettable images of the island.
The volume is a great idea as a present for fans of the traditional images of Greece we all have in our minds when we close our eyes and think about the landscapes of the Mediterranean country.
Most Beautiful Villages of Greece and the Greek Islands
From the green, terracotta, and ochre of the Ionian Islands, to the brilliant blue and white of the Aegean, the Most Beautiful Villages of Greece and the Greek Islands is a book that presents a picture of incomparable beauty.
A variety and unicity coming from a multitude of histories, influences, and foreign occupation.
The volume captures the most beautiful villages created by that indomitable of the Greek, a fabulous picture of a village culture largely lost to other countries of Europe.
Greece: Land of Light
A fantastic present for those who (just like me!) love the whitewashed landscapes of Greece.
A spectacular volume bursting with color, 150 photographs complement an eloquent tour of the sea, land, people, culture, history, and ancient monuments of Greece.
Greece: Land of Light takes you on an outstanding journey.
Travel all the way from the Peloponnesus peninsula to the fishing villages of the Aegean to the immortal Parthenon.
Mount Athos: A Land of Prayer
Holy Mount Athos is a unique place with no equal on earth. It’s surrounded by the sea and magnificent hills, immersed in the greenery and the bliss of the Mediterranean.
The book Mount Athos, a land of prayer is a fantastic photographic experience with photos from the stunning monasteries, such as Hilandar, Esphigmenou, the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi, Xeropotamou, Saint Panteleimon Monastery and many more.
At Home in Greece
At Home in Greece features an inspirational collection of homes, from the one-room cubic Cycladic houses to imposing Venetian towers and houses integrated into the surrounding rocks.
Invaded over the centuries by Romans, Venetians, and Turks―and now tourists―Greece has always managed to retain its distinctive qualities.
Julia Klimi’s stunning photographs of domestic interiors capture the quintessential Greek style, while pointing out rich regional variations.
Best-Kept Secrets of The Greek Islands
Best-Kept Secrets of the Greek Islands highlights all six of Greece’s island groups – starting in the West with the Ionian islands, moving east to the Argo-Saronic cluster, continuing to the Cyclades, Crete, and the Dodecanese.
It then circles up to the North Aegean islands and back round to the Sporades and Evia.
This book highlights some of the most beautiful landscapes, including the well known hot spots of Corfu, Rhodes, and Kos down to the smaller or lesser-known islands such as Meganisi, Poros, and Alonnisos. With this unique gift-book, you will embark on a journey through olive groves, secret coves, and white-washed villas clinging to the rocks.
Discover this beautiful coffee table photo-book featuring Greece, it’s cities and the Greek islands.
Check the breathtaking images that capture the exquisite country with its dreamy landscapes, whitewashed villages, and glorious coastline.
Ancient Greece is the best gift for those who love the country, who visit often, or who cannot wait to discover it for the first time!
Did you find the coffee table book you were looking for? I’m sure you did like a few of them!
Which of these travel books would you like to have on your coffee table?
Let me know in the comments below!
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About my blog:
I moved to Crete in 2016. During these years, I learned much about the island.
In Crete, I juggle being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours, and writing for several travel media.
I’ve written for Greek Reporter, published travel guides about Greece, co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.
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