This post is part of my Books That Feel Like This… series, showcasing books that feel like whatever you want more of in life.
Whether it’s spending a summer in Italy, staying in a cabin in the woods, or feeling like you’re in a Studio Ghibli movie, I hope you can find your next best book recommendation.
One of the best parts of being a reader? You can travel the world anytime you want.
You don’t need vacation days, you don’t need savings, and time isn’t a barrier; you can travel into the past or the future. You can even travel to entirely different worlds and galaxies than our own.
I’ve spent a lot of the last decade travelling and living abroad (in Spain, Switzerland, and Denmark), but none of my real-world travels compare to the breadth of places I’ve visited through fiction.
With a good book in my hands, I’ve escaped to the Arctic and Antarctic, Asia and Africa, and throughout Europe and North and South America.
If you’re in need of a break from the world, here are some of the best books that feel like a vacation in a book – and books about vacations – to escape into. Where will you visit next?
The best books that feel like a vacation in a book
The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Read The Hotel Nantucket for a vacation to… a just-opened luxury hotel on the sunny island of Nantucket.
Elin Hilderbrand is such a good ambassador for Nantucket she should be paid by the tourism board. Two of my favourite Nantucket-based books of hers are the sun-kissed novels The Hotel Nantucket and The Five-Star Weekend.
The Hotel Nantucket is the perfect vacation-in-a-book to pick up first. Escape into this fun and breezy summer read for a story of the newly-refurbished Hotel Nantucket and the long-buried secrets of its staff, guests, and past (including a ghost who really wants attention).
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Read The Summer Book for a vacation to… an unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland for summer with the creator of the Moomins.
The Summer Book is one of the best books that feel like summer, distilling the essence of the season’s sunlight, storms, and long hazy days.
This small gem of a novel shares the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl discovering her place in the world at the start of her life, alongside her grandmother, who is nearing the end of hers.
The pair travel to a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland for a summer of simple pleasures and slow living, based on Tove Jansson’s own annual summer-long trips with her life partner, Tuulikki Pietilä (Tooti).
(For a wonderful combination of Tove’s prose and Tooti’s graceful art, you can also read the memoir Notes from an Island for a gorgeous portrait of these summers.)
These Tangled Vines by Julianne MacLean
Read These Tangled Vines for a vacation to… a winery in Tuscany where an American mother and daughter are entranced by the region’s magic over two summers, two generations apart.
These Tangled Vines is one of the most easygoing and engaging light reads I’ve enjoyed over the last few years, offering exactly the vacation in a book I needed on a lazy February weekend in Denmark.
Amidst the lush vineyards and sun-kissed hills of Italy, romance author Julianne MacLean weaves a tale of love, loss, an unexpected inheritance, and the power of family ties.
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Read Call Me By Your Name for a vacation to… Italy during the heat of summer, with nothing to do but relax, unwind, and cool off in the water.
Just like the popular movie of the same name, everything about Call Me By Your Name oozes warm summer days and feels like a vacation to Italy in a book (for more like this, here are my favourite books that feel like Italy in summer).
This gorgeous book is a love story infused with the heat of Italy in summer, intellectual curiosity and connection, and the memories of first love that last a lifetime.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
Read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin for a vacation to… the Greek island of Kefalonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin has long been one of my favourite books, especially to read in summer. This book club classic always makes me think of the stifling midday heat of Mediterranean summer, blooming bougainvillea, and fresh herbs in shaded corners.
Fall into the immersive bestseller as Louis de Bernières weaves the story of a beautiful young woman and her two very different suitors as her native Greece undergoes unimaginable changes. As the tide of World War II approaches, the novel isn’t exactly lighthearted, but it’s one of the most unforgettable stories you can read.
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Read The Shell Seekers for a vacation to… Cornwall on England’s South West Coast for a cozy, laid-back summer holiday.
The Shell Seekers is one of my all-time favourite vacations in a book (and it’s also a fantastic choice to end a reading slump). In a quiet corner of England, we meet artist’s daughter Penelope Keeling as she looks back on her life, contends with her three children, and refuses to settle into pensioned-off old age.
As you dive into the world of this cozy book, immerse yourself in the story of one English family’s bonds, divisions, and long-hidden pieces of art that have the power to change their futures.
For more vacations in a book, you might also like my other Books That Feel Like This… collections, especially these books that feel like leisurely summer days in Italy and these books that feel like summer.