Four books for travel fantasists

Read at home, journey round the world

The jet-set allure of the Athens Riviera in Assouline’s new book
The jet-set allure of the Athens Riviera in Assouline’s new book

Athens Riviera (Assouline, £70)

About 16km from the centre of Athens, out past the suburbs and along the coast, there lies a string of pretty coastal neighbourhoods. In the 1960s, the area became an iconic jet-setter destination, later nicknamed the “Athens Riviera”. In this new title from publishing house Assouline, the Riviera is presented in all its glory: more than 200 archive and contemporary photographs luxuriate in the supremely glamorous beaches, restaurants and hotels, including the ultimate icon, the Four Seasons Astir Palace hotel, which has hosted everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Nelson Mandela. It makes for a glorious visual feast of one of the chicest holiday destinations on earth. assouline.com

Spain’s ingenious urban holiday-makers, captured by Txema Salvans
Spain’s ingenious urban holiday-makers, captured by Txema Salvans
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Perfect Day by Txema Salvans (Mack, £35)

The lengths that Spanish holiday-makers will go to for a spot of sun or a quick dip will strike a chord given the current mood – a kind of “well, why the hell not?” spirit that’s hard not to applaud. In this new photo book from Mack, photographer Txema Salvans captures curious moments of holiday-making in Spain’s urban spots – by turns desperate and ingenious. Think sunbathers in car parks and swimming pools nestled between high rises. mackbooks.co.uk

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts (Doubleday, £18.99)

In this unique travel adventure, How To Spend It contributor Sophy Roberts traces the history of the piano in Siberia, taking readers to the region’s hidden corners through tales of the instrument. It’s an unusual musical prism through which to travel the land and its history, beginning in the 18th century with Catherine the Great and journeying through the piano’s proliferation during the 19th century – when it became a pillar of Siberian culture – to today, when they can be found dotted across all corners of the country, from remote village homes to grand palaces. Moving from recital halls through to tiger territory, this is a cultural history explored like few others. waterstones.com

The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an intriguing account of the region’s history
The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an intriguing account of the region’s history | Image: Sophy Roberts
The Monocle Book of Japan: “an illustrated grand tour”
The Monocle Book of Japan: “an illustrated grand tour” | Image: Ben Richards

The Monocle Book of Japan (Thames & Hudson, £45)

From snowy Hokkaido in the north to the tropical southern islands of Okinawa, The Monocle Book of Japan takes readers on an illustrated journey through the many landscapes and cultures of the country. This tome features the best in writing and photography from Monocle’s coverage of Japan over the years. Expect a photographic study of weird and wonderful Japanese vehicles, musings on sumo wrestling and an illustrated grand tour of the whole country, for any house-bound would-be travellers. monocle.com

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