The Best Books of Hawaii: What to Read for an Excellent Trip to the Islands

The Best Books of Hawaii: What to Read for an Excellent Trip to the Islands

Are you traveling to the Aloha State and looking for the best books of Hawaii?  Discover what to read to ensure an excellent trip to the islands. You will find the top travel guides to plan an amazing vacation. Curl up with some of the best fiction– either at home or relaxing on the beach while you are there. Discover more about Hawaii’s rich history so that you can appreciate its complexity while you are there. Then enjoy some classics with your keiki, we have choices for preschoolers through teens.

Our family lived in Hawaii and I have some favorite books I always recommend to friends and family when they visit. I have also asked other travel writers to share their top picks. Whatever your interests, if you take the time to learn more about the islands before you arrive, you are guaranteed to have a better trip!

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

Travel Books on Hawaii

Maui Revealed

The Big Island Revealed

Oahu Revealed

The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed

The books in this series are my top picks for books about Hawaii travel. When we lived there, we eventually wore ours out with almost weekly use, planning our adventures and learning more about the islands. In fact, we often give friends a copy for the island they plan to visit because we know it will improve their trip considerably. These highly informative books are by Hawaiian local, Andrew Doughty, who writes in a very personal style with an entertaining, easy going humor.  

Because there is a book for each of the four most visited islands, you have comprehensive information about any of the sites you want to visit. You will find highly detailed maps, inspiring photos, countless tips, multiple insets with factual information about Hawaii, and lots of honest reviews that have all been done anonymously. 

The books have grown in popularity, which means many of the hidden gems are no longer hidden and have become popular sites. There is also an app available (free with in-app purchases) that offers up-to-date weather, surf and snorkel conditions, and much more. These books make a great choice for first time visitors and kamaaina alike.

Lonely Planet's Best of Hawaii by Adam Karlin, Kevin Raub & Luci Yamamoto

Lonely Planet Best Of Hawaii is a guidebook that gives a great overview of the whole state and would make an ideal first book to read in the early stages of your travel planning. It will continue to be helpful through the trip itself, with included tips that save you both time and money. 

You will find out the best  time of the year to visit Hawaii, the weather, packing list ideas, the top places to visit, accommodation choices, transportation, and a lot more– all in one book. You also have the times of operation and contact information, all updated since the Covid crisis began. 

Another reason why this book can make your travel experience exceptional is by educating you about your destination. You can read it beforehand to learn more about Hawaii’s rich history and traditions. It is a great tool to help you navigate the state like a local and avoid getting into difficult situations based on misunderstanding cultural cues by being knowledgeable about them. 

Contributed by Ossama Alnuwaiser at Awesome Traveler Blog

Fiction Books About Hawaii

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport

Written by a Native Hawaiian author, Shark Dialogues is an epic and sweeping story that spans multiple generations and touches on many aspects of Hawaii’s complex history, from the exploitative sugar industry to whaling, leper colonies, and the annexation by the United States. The book is largely set on the Big Island, but also offers vignettes from Maui, Oahu, and Molokai.

At the heart of the novel is Pono, a Native Hawaiian matriarch and prophet with magical powers (she can turn into a sea creature!)  and her four estranged granddaughters, who married non-Hawaiians and are seeking to come to terms with their heritage and with Pono herself.

The story is interwoven with flashbacks, ancient myths, and the Hawaiian language, providing educational touchpoints along with the immersive and luscious narrative. Additionally, the book highlights tourism’s negative impact on the islands and its incredible culture- while it may be a tough pill to swallow, understanding this perspective will hopefully make you a more respectful and responsible visitor.

Contributed by Jessica Schmit of Uprooted Traveler

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Honolulu is a historical fiction novel that follows Jin, a young “picture bride” who is brought to Hawaii from Korea to be a wife to a pineapple plantation worker. Set in 1914, Honolulu is in many ways a classic coming to America story told by a lesser-heard voice. 

Born a girl named “Regret” in Korea, the novel accompanies Jin as she navigates her new life and new relationships in early 1900s Honolulu with unrelenting determination.

Honolulu weaves together reality and fiction as you follow Jin through many of the formative events of the 20th century, including both World Wars and the Spanish Flu outbreak. 

Anyone traveling to the Aloha State should read Honolulu to get a unique perspective from the immigrants that built modern Hawaii. Another book by by the same author that readers will likely enjoy is Moloka’i.

Contributed by Katie from 

Books About Hawaii History

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson

Polynesia is one of the most intriguing destinations in the world. The vast triangle that stretches from Hawaii to Easter Island to New Zealand is home to epic voyagers. Until European explorers arrived in the 1500s these explorers were the only people to have ever lived there. That leaves the question – where did these people come from? How did they get there? And why? All of these questions are explored in depth in this book.

While the book is non-fiction, it doesn’t read like a traditional historical book. The author reveals bit by bit what has been discovered about Polynesia in chronological order. Over time, as scientific knowledge progresses and our sociological studies improve, we learn more and more about the people of Polynesia. It’s a captivating journey through time.

Not only do we learn the history of Polynesia, but about the traditions and cultures of the “sea people.”  It was interesting to learn about the different types of canoes used on different islands for different purposes. If you’re unaware of the history of Hawaii, and Polynesia overall, then this book is perfect to read before your trip to Hawaii! 

Contributed by Pamela at The Directionally ChallengedTraveler 

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, Queen Liliuokalani

One of the best books about Hawaiian history was written by Queen Liliuokalani. It’s a first-hand account of what happened during Hawaii’s illegal overthrow and annexation from Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. 

Most people on the mainland never learned about this in school, but it’s an enormously important part of Hawaii’s history. Visitors to Hawaii benefit from reading books about this complicated time in American history. You may see protests and signage around the islands talking about this issue. You’ll also get a deeper understanding of some of the conversations about tourism in Hawaii. 

After reading this book, you will be inspired to visit Iolani Palace in Honolulu. This is the only royal palace in the United States, and you can take a tour to see exactly where Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned.

Contributed by Marcie Cheung of Hawaii Travel with Kids

Kids Books About Hawaii

Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii, 1889 by Ellen Emerson White

Written diary-style, Kaiulani: The People’s Princess, is an installation of the very popular Royal Diaries children’s literature series. 

Following the life of young Princess Kaiulani, the last heir to the Hawaiian Kingdom, 13-year-old Kaiulani navigates the recent annexation of Hawaii by the United States of America. 

A fantastic historical-fiction read, this book is perfect for anyone with children or young teens planning to visit Hawaii because it shows an important part of Hawaii’s history from a first-person perspective, which is easier and more enjoyable for young readers than learning from a history book. 

Kaiulani’s Diary also covers what it was like to be a Hawaiin royal during that time. Even though it is a Children’s book, Kaiulani’s Diary is an enriching read for anyone who wants to learn more about the annexation of Hawaii and the Hawaiian royal family. 

Contributed by Katie from 

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale

Ho’onani is a children’s book that has been widely regarded as a celebration of identity and gender equality. It follows the story of a young girl, Ho’onani, who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe in a performance at her school. Ho’onani doesn’t define herself by gender, she sees herself as mahu, neither kane (boy) nor wahine (girl). 

What makes Ho’onani special is that it’s based on a true story of one young person’s journey of self-discovery and empowerment, who earns the respect of the people around them.

Hawaiians are very proud of their culture and heritage and it is important to read stories that speak of their culture before visiting. The author has done a great job of highlighting some key elements of Hawaii’s culture in the story in a way that is approachable for children. It also includes some words in Hawaiian, so kids can learn a few words while still at home.

Contributed by Louisa Smith of Epic Book Society 

Too Many Mangos by Tammy Paikai

Too Many Mangos is a sweet story of two Hawaiian children who help their grandfather harvest the mangoes off his very full mango tree. The result is way too many mangos for the small family to use on their own, so the children set off on an adventure to share the mangoes with their neighbors. Each neighbor shares something in return leaving them with a wonderful variety of treats to enjoy when they return home.

This hardcover book is perfect for young children and its colorful illustrations are engaging and thoughtful. Teaching lessons in sharing, thankfulness and generosity, this picture book also gives children a peek into Hawaiian culture as the author shares real-life experiences from his childhood.

Reading this book before a trip to Hawaii will leave children inspired to soak up the beautiful Hawaiian culture as they vacation. It will also leave them with a curiosity for tasting tropical fruits and other foods on the island such as banana macadamia nut muffins, papayas, and mangoes sprinkled with li hing powder. Too Many Mangoes is sure to be a favorite on your child’s bookshelf long after you return from your Hawaiian adventure.

Contributed by Sierra Schmidt at Free to Travel Mama 

Geckos Make a Rainbow by Jane Gillespie

Geckos Make a Rainbow is an adorable board book perfect for the youngest travelers to Hawaii. With simple rhyming lyrics and colorful illustrations, this book tells the story of geckos stuck in the house while the rain pours down. They decide to make a rainbow to hang in the sky to help the sun come out. They build each color with items such as blue surf shirts and red lehua flowers. The final color of the rainbow is green for the geckos themselves.

The sweet book for toddlers and young children will teach colors, introduce Hawaiian words and nature, as well as entertain all ages. The silly illustrations and geckos’ facial expressions are illustrated by Hawaiian cartoonist, Jon J. Murakami and are quite comical. Part of a series, fans of this book can continue their collection with Geckos Surf and Geckos Up Geckos Down.

Reading this book before a trip to Hawaii, will leave children prepared for the fruits to try at the Farmers Market, the flowers to discover in the beautiful gardens, the geckos sure to be spotted on the walls of buildings, and the beautiful rainbows that frequently fill the Hawaiian sky after a refreshing rain. 

Contributed by Sierra Schmidt at Free to Travel Mama

Best Books of Hawaii

I hope you have found a few books here that you can enjoy, both before and during your trip to Hawaii. Let me know what you favorite it in the comments or tell me what book you recomend to others before they visit. I’d love to hear!

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The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

Be inspired by this engaging collection of books about Greece! Enhance both your trip to Greece and your time at home by extending your discovery and excitement for weeks, months, or years beyond your time in the country! Get started today and dramatically enrich your understanding of Greek history and culture, which will amplify your experience of the country. I have asked seasoned travel writers to share the books they most recommend to other travelers and hope you find a few books on Greece that are perfect for you!

Table of Contents

Books About Greek History

The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes

The Hemlock Cup transports readers to Socrates’ Athens—the fifth century B.C.E. in the heart of ancient Greece’s Golden Age. The 528-page book is packed with historical information while remaining very entertaining and readable, which makes it one of the best books about Greek history.

Essentially a biography of the philosopher who left no writings yet is credited as the founder of Western philosophy, The Hemlock Cup recreates Athens as Socrates knew it during his 70-year lifetime.

The celebrated British historian and television presenter Bettany Hughes creates a vivid portrait of the ancient city devastated by war yet simultaneously giving birth to democracy.

First-time visitors to Athens will be struck by how many ancient structures still exist among the modern-day buildings. As Hughes muses, “Walking through the bleached bones of ancient sites, it is easy to forget how hectic they once were.”

But in The Hemlock Cup, she’s able to bring these remnants of ancient Greece back to life, enhancing your visit to Athens and encouraging you to seek out the streets that Socrates walked so many centuries ago.

Contributed by Carrie Ann at Should Be Cruising

The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone

The Greek Treasure is a historical novel about the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann and is another of the best books on Greek history. Schliemann is still regarded as one of the most important and controversial archaeologists of all time, despite his lack of formal education in the field. Schliemann excavated the presumed site of Homeric Troy and the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His profound love for Greek antiquity led him to live the second part of his life in Athens with his Greek wife, Sophia.

The book follows each step of his improbable marriage with a very young Greek girl and their journeys to unearthing ancient treasures. It also tells the story of their life at home in Athens from the 1870s-to 1890. Those pages will take you back in time. You will hear the horseshoes on Athens’ streets, the voice of the yogurt seller in the morning, and you will smell the fresh coffee in the Plaka neighborhood. 

When you look for the non-touristy Athens, you can make your way to their mansion, now a numismatic museum, and learn more about the couple that dedicated a lot of their lives to Athens and Greek treasures. It will also enhance your visits to the archeological sites and to the National Archeological Museum where many think that the famous “Mask of Agamemnon” was altered to look like Heinrich Schliemann himself!

Contributed by Anda Bartos at Travel for a While

Books About Greek Mythology

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is the retelling of the life of the book’s namesake, Circe. Most of us only know her as the witch on the island that Odysseus visited who turned sailors into pigs. But Miller gives her a much larger role in Greek mythology than just that. As the daughter of Helios, the mightiest of the Titans, Circe is destined to live an extraordinary but difficult life. After Zeus banishes her to a remote island, Circe hones her skill in witchcraft and crosses paths with some of the most famous figures in Greek mythology – the Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, and, of course, Odysseus.

As a lone woman who stands against the wrath of the gods and refuses to conform to their will, Circe constantly finds herself having to make difficult choices to protect what she cares about. Madeline Miller’s story is beautiful, moving, and unlike any other retelling done before.

Circe is an excellent introduction to some of the most famous characters in Greek mythology, which makes it one of the best books to read before a trip to Greece!

Contributed by Maggie at Pink Caddy Travelogue

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold and Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures, Stephen Fry

Mythos and Heroes are modern retellings of classical Greek myths.  Accomplished actor and comedian Stephen Fry has performed extensive research in the field of mythology.  In these two books, he brings these stories to life with a modern, witty, and sometimes irreverent flair.

Mythos focuses on tales of the Greek gods and their ancestors, the Titans.  You’ll find stories ranging from Zeus overthrowing his father to become the king of the Olympians to Prometheus’ creation of mankind.

Heroes spins tales of mythological mortal heroes and their quests.  Some are well known, like Heracles and his labors, or Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece.  Others may be lesser known, such as the tales of Atalanta or Bellepheron, but are no less entertaining.

Mythos and Heroes will paint vivid pictures in your mind of locations throughout Greece –from Crete, the island of Zeus’ birth, to the Minotaur’s labyrinth in Knossos.

If you’re a fan of audiobooks, these are self-narrated so you can enjoy Fry’s delightful British accent along with the myths!

Contributed by Lisa at Waves and Cobblestones

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

One of the most fascinating books about Greek mythology is this classic by Edith Hamilton. Interwoven into the best Greek vacations is an awareness of Greek mythology and how it permeates both ancient history and modern culture.

Taking a deep dive before your trip will reward you with a much more profound understanding of many Greek destinations ranging from archaeological sites, museums, and live performances to the constellations you’ll admire in the night sky (both in Greece and at home). Your study will enhance your understanding far beyond your Greek trip, giving you a greater appreciation of both historical and modern art, plays, operas, plays, movies and more.

Edith Hamilton’s interpretations of the myths brings them to life and make them memorable. She also includes Roman and Norse myths in this collection. They are all digestible and relatable to the modern reader, which connects us more intimately to the ancient Greeks.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel Books About Greece

Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese

A good travel guide is an inspiring early choice in planning many trips and Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese is one of the top books on Greece travel. Like all the guidebooks in the extensive series it is overflowing with tips, educational snippets, and helpful suggestions for what to see and how best to plan your trip. Even if you don’t like to have an itinerary, it is useful to know what sites are closed or have reduced rates on particular days and how to save money and time as you explore.

As one of the best Greece books, it provides plenty of ideas to kindle your excitement in the early stages of dreaming up your trip, as well as practical tips as you narrow in on your favorites. Just like most of the RS books, it is meant to be taken apart so you can bring smaller sections with you instead of lugging the whole book on each day’s adventures. The included walking tours are a highlight, although you might prefer his audio guides of the tours, which you can download for free before you leave. The downside to this guide is that the coverage of some of the Greek islands and the northern part of the country isn’t as extensive, and in many cases is lacking altogether. There are some color maps and photos, but most are black and white. If you are a visual learner and looking for eye-catching inspiration, consider watching his episodes on travel to Greece as a supplement.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars


Greek Philosophy Books

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

The Enchiridion by Epictetus is a book for those seeking to turn their chaotic life into a peaceful one. Enchiridion means “handbook” and is a compilation of the master’s teachings. Epictetus, a Greek born into slavery, is one of the most important teachers of Stoic philosophy.

This book is a simple guide for a great life. It is divided into short chapters, sometimes just a few sentences long. Each chapter focuses on a common human problem and provides simple yet effective and timeless advice to each. The first sentence of The Enchiridion encompasses Stoicism beautifully: “There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power.” In an oversimplified nutshell, Stoicism seeks to teach us how to distinguish between those two and what to do with that distinction. It is really that simple and yet so difficult for us humans. No wonder this philosophy became a go-to personal operating system to many people during the pandemic.

Greece is where Stoicism began around 300 BC in Athens. To pay tribute to this practical philosophy visit the ruins of the Stoa Poikile in Athens. But if you wish to see where Epictetus himself taught, go to Preveza and look for the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis where this Greek thinker founded his school of Stoicism.

Contributed by Bea Cińska from PackYourBags

Novels Set in Greece

Zorba the Greek

The masterpiece, Zorba the Greek is an excellent book about Greece to read before your trip. Nikos Kazantzakisis is thought by many to be the greatest Greek author of the modern age. Although he is most well-known for Zorba, he was a prolific and controversial writer. His book, The Last Temptation of Christ was banned but he was also nominated nine times for a Nobel Prize in literature.

It is one of the best Greece books in large part because of the memorable character Zorba himself. Zorba’s great zest for life and ability to laugh and dance despite, and alongside, his deep suffering is something most of us can reflect on at a very personal level. Zorba is sharply contrasted against the bookish and intellectual narrator. This difference invites exploration of the philosophical dichotomies of God and man, mind and body, and freedom and responsibility.

It is an excellent Greek book to read before a trip because it will provide a window into life in a small village in post WWII Crete (where the author grew up). It will also acquaint you with Kazantzakisis and his impact on Greece’s intellectual and literary history. If you visit Crete, you can stop to pay your respects at his tomb in Heraklion.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Read more about the film, Zorba the Greek and the biopic, Kazantzakis in our article Best Movies to Watch in Greece Before Your Trip.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Kefalonia in Greece became widely known after the moving novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. This beautiful Ionian island provides the perfect setting for battle and romance. When WWII struck, Kefalonia was under Italian rule. But when the Italians switched alliances and joined the Allies against the Axis, the Italian troops stationed on the islands refused to obey German orders to leave. As a result, the Germans slaughtered 5,000 Italian soldiers in retribution, an event that inspired this wonderful novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

While the love story within the book is fiction, the novel itself is based on true events. The peaceful and remote island of Kefalonia, famed for its incredible beauty and light, is shaken to its core when World War II rolls on to its shores.

This book completely brings out the atmosphere of the era, the Greek idiosyncrasies, and will evoke the smells of pine trees and the ease of island life. It is a story about love and survival, an intimate love story set within massive conflict. It captures the soul of Kefalonia and easily transports you to colourful fishing villages on the edge of turquoise waters like Assos Kefalonia. It is definitely a must read before your next Greek holiday.

Contributed by Nicola at All About RosaLilla

The Island, Victoria Hislop

One of the most poignant fiction books about Greece is The Island, based on the history of a leper settlement in eastern Crete. The book follows the lives of several generations of one family – jumping from the present to the past. The story focuses mostly on the village of Plaka and the nearby island of Spinalonga which was home to a community of lepers during the 20th century.

The Island paints a vivid picture of life in the leper colony as well as life on mainland Crete, covering major events over the last hundred years including the Second World War and the development of medicines to treat leprosy.

This is an excellent book for visitors to eastern Crete – the story depicts Cretan village life, the landscapes and seascapes of Greece in beautiful detail. It is possibly to visit the island of Spinalonga today – easily accessible from resort towns such as Agios Nikolaos and Elounda.

Contributed by Annabel Kirk at Smudged Postcard

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

If you’re taking a trip to Greece, you might hear a lot about Theseus on your travels. He was the mystical king and founder of Athens, as well as a hero in Greek mythology. Mary Renault released the historic fiction novel The King Must Die in 1958 and it was hailed as one of the best historical novels of its time by New York Times critic, Orville Prescott.

It tells the story of Theseus and his adventures, but without the mystical elements – no monsters, paranormal creatures or gods. It’s written in a fictional style, which makes it really easy to digest, but she uses real life events to tell her story. As well as learning about Theseus, you’ll take a literary journey through Athens, Crete and Naxos, as well as other Greek Islands. As you learn more about Theseus, you’ll also learn more about Greek culture and traditions from these tales set in Greece. 

If you find historic non-fiction really dry and hard to read, but you want to learn about one of the most important kings in Greek history, you’ll want to give one of the best books about ancient Greece a try.

Contributed by Louisa Smith of Epic Book Society

Nonfiction Books on Greece

My Ikaria by Spiri Tsintiziras

Did you know one of the many reasons to visit Greece is because it’s home to one of only five “Blue Zones” in the world? These zones have the highest concentration of centenarians and supercentenarians globally – people who are live to be over 100 and even 110, respectively. But what is the secret to their long and happy lives?

Melbourne-based Spiri, fed up with her lack of energy and her daily wife-and-mum routine, realised there had to be a solution for her feeling poorly. Intrigued by the people of Ikaria, a small Greek island considered one of the five Blue Zones, she takes it upon herself to start changing small daily habits and live more like the Ikarians.

Eventually, the chance arises for Spiri to actually head to Greece and visit the Ikarians for herself. She experiences first hand how much more connected people are to each other, their local cuisine and nature compared to her fast-paced lifestyle in Australia.

This is one of the best Greek travel books to help readers appreciate a different way of living, and to gain a better understanding of Greek culture and a new perspective on life. It also shares some delicious Yia-Yia (Greek grandmother) approved recipes and alternatives to modern nutrient-poor snacks!

Contributed by Alyse at The Invisible Tourist

Greek to Me by Marry Norris

Part travel memoir and part reference book, Greek To Me  describes Mary Norris’ love affair with Greece.  This book dives into all things Greek, its origins, words, gods, romances and more. It interestingly captures the beauty and complexity of Greece and its language.

Greek To Me is a brilliant book about the growing interest of the author in Ancient Greek, her travels, experiences with the Greek language and her reflections all described with great insight and humor.  The author also spends time discussing the history and mythology of Greece.

You should read this book before going to Greece if you want to learn interesting facts about the Greek language and how much our culture owes to the Ancient Greeks.  The more you known about Greece before you go, the more you’ll understand it when you’re there.

If you’re a fan of travel memoirs or a language geek, you’ll love this book. After reading Greek To Me, you’ll definitely want to book your flight ticket to Greece!

Camille from Everything Yoga Retreat

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

The Corfu Trilogy is a series of popular books set in Greece, the first of which is My Family and Other Animals. It is set in Corfu, one of the most beautiful island destinations in Greece.

Written in a memoir style, the book is a light-hearted account of the author’s childhood years spent on the island. Gerald Durrell, the author, beautifully weaves together the misadventures of his British family and the vivid details of the natural world. All through the humorous narration, you get a glimpse into the lives of the Durrell family and their interesting Greek friends.

The book also takes you through the spellbinding landscape of Corfu – its quaint villages, a scenery of olive trees, busy marketplaces, and dreamy beaches. Some of these you can visit with a private tour. The books were also turned into a tv show, which is quite enjoyable as well.

The story will certainly make you long for the idyllic life of Greek villages and inspire you to meet and learn the ways of the island’s locals.

– Contributed by Vidyut Rautela at triplyzer


Perspective: A Greek American Finding His Way in Greece by Peter Manouselis

This book is about a 31-year-old man named Peter who made good money as an investment banker on Wall Street and then unsuccessfully tried his luck as a screenwriter. He decides to leave America and move to his parents’ homeland, Greece, to live with his father on Crete. There he reconnects with his father and his other relatives.

On Crete he embarks on a personal journey, learning a new language and engaging with the new culture. He helps his father harvest grapes and olives, slaughters goats, and now lives a completely different life. The descriptions of the people, the food, and the stunning landscape of Greece are all really beautiful. His observations are often funny but also often emotional experiences, and there is so much adversity in his search for his identity as a Greek American.

The book reads smoothly and in a wonderful way it will show you to the island of Crete. A recommended read if you are looking to embark on a journey to Greece!

Contributed by Martina at PlacesofJuma

Bucket to Greece by V.D. Bucket

One of the best books about Greece to read before your trip is Bucket to Greece. It’s a fun way to learn more about Greek culture, language, and history through a travelogue that feels more like a comic.

Bucket to Greece is a non-fiction book about a British couple who moved to a small mountain village in Greece. They bought a house from someone who left out a few details about the house and the people around it as he sold it to the couple.

There are currently eleven books in this series. So if you liked the first one, there is plenty more to read. It’s best to read the books in chronological order. Though technically, you would also understand the story if you started with a different book.

Reading the books of Bucket to Greece before your trip will give you some firsthand experience before you’ve even arrived. You will feel like you’ve lived in Greece for months.

Contributed by Lara at The Best Travel Gifts

Greek Cookbooks

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook: Classic Mediterranean Soul Food Recipes, by Christos Sourligas, Evdokia Antginas, Angelo Tsarouchas

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook is a great book to read before setting off to Greece as it will not only whet your appetite for all of the delicious Greek dishes waiting for you when you get there, but also provide some insight into Greek food culture! This cookbook includes a variety of recipes for Greek appetizers, main courses, and plenty of desserts. As a vegetarian, my personal favorite is the walnut cake.

I highly recommend reading My Big Fat Greek Cookbook, or any authentic Greek cookbook, before your first trip to Greece – because it will enhance your appreciation for all of the yummy food you’ll get to enjoy! It will add context to which of your dishes traditional classics – engrained into the culture – and which are modernly influenced. It will also enable you to know ahead of time which meals you would like to seek out when choosing restaurants so that you don’t miss any classics! Kalí óreksi!

Contributed by Jill Mascioli at


I hope you have found a book about Greece you can enjoy today! Even if your trip is months or years away, you can enjoy the wonder of Greece right now. Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? What are your top book recommendations for others who are visiting Greece. Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

You've landed in the right place! Tripscholars is here to help you extend the joy and wonder of travel far beyond your days on the road. Find travel education tips and inspiration in our ROADMAPS BLOG. Save yourself time and money by using our TRAVEL RESOURCES LIBRARY where we have already gathered top resources for you to enjoy from home. Tripscholars is where curious travelers come for meaningful travel planning and trip research.

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