10 of my Favorite Books Set in Foreign Countries

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

Paul Auster

As I’m planning my vacations this year, it got me thinking about the books I adore that are set in foreign countries. A lot of my travels are inspired by those books that open my eyes to new places, new experiences, and just get my creative travel vibes going. Some of the books below take you back in time, others are set in the present. All of them, however, take you to another place entirely.

All of the travel-heavy books below are some of my favorites, not just because of the travel but because they are all fantastic stories. The authors wove an incredible plot in each of these with memorable characters and events that hook you from the first few pages. Whether it’s a thriller or a book that will make you laugh so hard you cry, these are just a few of my favorites that I hope you’ll end up reading! If you’ve read any of these let me know in the comments so we can talk about it!

Meet Me in Paradise

Where Are We Going: Saba

Genre: Fiction, Romance

Why You’ll Love It:

  • It’s not just romance. It’s a powerful story about the bond between sisters
  • You’ll have an intense urge to immediately travel to a beach paradise
  • You will fall absolutely head over heels in love with the characters
  • It’s a finding yourself type of book
  • You’ll cry and you’ll laugh. A lot.

One Italian Summer

Where Are We Going: Positano, Italy

Genre: Fiction

Why You’ll Love It:

  • The twist!
  • The descriptions of Positano will have you looking up flight prices immediately
  • Mother/daughter relationship themes
  • Well-developed characters
  • Easily lovable characters
  • Character-driven plot
  • If you’re looking for a sentimental book that has the typical Serle spin on plot, you need this.

Anatomy: A Love Story

Where Are We Going: 19th century Scotland

Genre: Romance with a dash of historical fiction

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Young adult romance that is so mature and healthy
  • Female characters breaking free of gender and period stereotypes and constraints
  • A dash of fantasy in every chapter
  • Intelligent characters and an original plot that won’t let you put it down
  • It’s not just romance, there’s also mystery merged seamlessly in there

The Fountains of Silence

Where Are We Going: Spain

Genre: Historical Fiction

Why You’ll Love It:

  • The period of time in Cuba is almost never talked about or taught in schools, so it’s even more fascinating
  • This topic absolutely needs more attention
  • The characters are so real they jump off the page at you
  • Themes and messages that span history and relate to today’s world
  • Love against all odds
  • The writing and multiple viewpoints are masterpieces

Killers of a Certain Age

Where Are We Going: Multiple countries

Genre: Mystery

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Senior citizens breaking age stereotypes
  • Female assassins
  • You’ll get to read about multiple countries and missions
  • Strong female characters that will make you feel like you’re also a badass by association
  • It’s a fun murder mystery to curl up with
  • Plot driven story
  • When humor gets mixed into your murder plots, I’m a fan


Where Are We Going: Nepal

Genre: Thriller

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Climb Manaslu the 8th highest peak in the world
  • You’ll feel like you’re right there with the characters
  • You like that hair-raising suspense sensation
  • Female protagonist who is absolutely not helpless
  • If you like books about being stranded in dangerous situations this is the book for you
  • Plot twists are your favorite
  • Story about the will to survive, battling the elements, and searching for a killer

The Diamond Eye

Where Are We Going: Russia

Genre: Historical Fiction

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Women wit the power to change history
  • Stories based on actual people and events
  • Characters doing what needs to be done to survive
  • Story about finding your place in the world
  • Flawed characters you can’t help but love despite those same flaws

Just Haven’t Met You Yet

Where Are We Going: Channel Islands

Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Not your typical plot destination
  • Hilarious character interactions
  • The spirit on exploration is STRONG in this book
  • Finding yourself and mistaken identity themes
  • It’s a book that is fully aware of its rom-com tropes and embraces them making it a refreshing take on romance
  • Laugh out funny moments
  • You love your romantic comedies sentimental, cute, and funny with some coming of age themes

People We Meet On Vacation

Where Are We Going: Multiple Countries: USA, British Columbia, Croatia, and Italy

Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Friends to enemies to lovers
  • Friend vacations all over the world fueled by insatiable wanderlust
  • Slow burn romance with more funny moments than you can count
  • This book will automatically glue itself to your hands when you pick it up
  • Seconds chances and opposites attract romance
  • The destinations and activities are so inspiring for those of you planning travel

Tokyo Ever After

Where Are We Going: Japan

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Why You’ll Love It:

  • Coming of age story
  • Teenagers learning how to not only come to terms with life-altering news but cultural divides and how to find a way to fit in in a way that represents who they truly are
  • It’s an adorable but meaningful story of realizing you’re royalty. A better Princess Diaries.
  • Characters jumping outside of their comfort zones
  • Character growth is a major theme
  • Hints of a fairy tale with modern day themes and issues.
  • The story captures you on the first page and doesn’t let go.

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