These 12 Coffee Table Books Are Almost as Good as Traveling Abroad (Almost)

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Welcome to the Hunker Holiday Gift Guide. From joyful decor picks to gifts that give back, these items are sure to delight everyone on your list.

With long-distance travel and vacations all but canceled this year, once-frequent jet setters are itching to explore more than ever. While we can't do anything about the travel restrictions, we have the next best thing: Big, beautiful coffee table books that display images of faraway places are bound to help fulfill that nagging wanderlust (and make for great decor).

It's easy to get lost in the pages full of stunning photographs and compelling stories. For the person you'd ordinarily gift a plane ticket, look to these 12 stunning coffee table books that are sure to satisfy the travel bug.

1. Accidentally Wes Anderson​ by Wally Koval, $28.49

Whimsical and transportive, this recent release uncovers real-life spots around the world that appear to be pulled out of a Wes Anderson film. The distinctive, quirky aesthetic is found in idiosyncratic locales, from a grand hotel in Taiwan to a golden cable car in Wales.

2. Amalfi Coast​ by Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto, $95

Almost as good as a trip to Italy, this breathtaking collection from fashion industry couple Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto explores the dreamy Mediterranean coast. It highlights seaside vistas with sparkling, turquoise water and dramatic cliffs, colorful homes built into mountains, and romantic sidewalk cafes.

3. America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs ​by ​National Geographic

If road trips and camping are #1 on your list once we can travel, this giant book is full of magnificently diverse destinations around America. Expect to see majestic auroras in Alaska, birdlife on Connecticut's shoreline, and the rocky peaks of Colorado.

4. The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small​ by Kath Stathers, $35

Start planning future trips with this inspiring list of must-do activities around the world. You can read about and imagine yourself glassblowing in the Czech Republic, swimming with dolphins in New Zealand, and riding down a Himalayan highway.

5. Escape​ by Gray Malin, $31.27

Renowned photographer Gray Malin is known for his sweeping, overhead images taken from a helicopter. This compendium of his vibrant work includes 22 heavenly locations across 11 countries, with journal entries and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to accompany the captivating visuals.

6. Forever Wandering: Hello Emilie's Guide to Reconnecting with Our Natural World​ by Emilie Ristevski, $19.99

Ethereal, mystical landscapes are the specialty of Australian photographer Emilie Ristevski. Her debut publication is a celebration of nature's wonders like the Namib Desert in southern Africa and the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.

7. Humans​ by Brandon Stanton, $21

Travel by way of portraits is on offer in this third book from ​Humans of New York​ creator Brandon Stanton, who traversed the Earth to gather poignant photographs and tales of people of all origins. With accounts from Amsterdam, Manila, and Moscow, it's clear how much we all have in common.

8. The Monocle Book of Japan​ by Tyler Brûlé, Andrew Tuck, Fiona Wilson, and Joe Pickard, $34.49

British global affairs magazine ​Monocle​ is behind this detailed tome dedicated to the delights of Japan. Using an engaging combination of photography, essays, and infographics, the book covers the country's rich design, architecture, culture, food, fashion, and more.

9. The New York Times Explorer 100 Trips Around the World​ by Barbara Ireland, $36

Each of the 100 journeys within this new anthology features a first-person narrative from a ​New York Times​ journalist and postcard-worthy snapshots. It's organized by region with color-coded tabs so you can quickly flip from Bermuda with Andrew McCarthy to the English countryside with Francine Prose.

10. Paris Chic ​by Alexandra Senes and Oliver Pilcher, $95

There is no city as stylish as Paris and this gorgeous book proves it with photos from Oliver Pilcher and words from Alexandra Senes. The duo provides an intimate look at the City of Love by focusing on quaint bistros, tight alleyways, artists' studios, and sophisticated family homes.

11. Remote Places to Stay​ by Debbie Pappyn and David De Vleeschauwer, $39.49

Ideal for those who fantasize about tranquil, isolated retreats, this catalog reveals secluded havens to disconnect and get away from it all. The covetable accommodations range from a luxurious safari lodge in Botswana to an icy inn on Newfoundland.

12. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World As You've Never Seen It Before​ by Patricia Schultz, $33

The original version of this beloved bestseller redefined the travel guide. This deluxe edition upgrades Patricia Schultz's moving words with mesmerizing pictures to match. From Athens to Patagonia to Kauai, it's a true overview of the globe's greatest sights.


Morgan Goldberg is a writer based in Los Angeles. She likes pasta, hiking, and crossword puzzles.

View Work