Best Travel Guide for Europe??

Dec 27th, 2006, 04:11 PM
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Best Travel Guide for Europe??

I will be in Europe for four months starting in February and want tips on the best travel guides to get. I was thinking of DK Eyewitness or Let's Go series, but currently read a thread that said the DK wasn't that good. Any tips on the best travel guides? Fodor's, Frommer's, Let's Go, etc.???
ccarlini is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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There's no one right answer. Depends on your budget and style. Also some series are better for hotels and restaurants, others for maps and tours, etc.

I like to go to a book store or library in person and look up questions I already know the answers to, then see which guidebook seems easier to use.
suze is online now  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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i agree that it depends. even within a series, some are good and some are bad. i've seen some pitiful lonely planet guides and others are quite good.

i don't care at all for the DK guides (or their many imitators). they are far too 'factual' in nature and don't tell me enough about each neighbourhood. i don't need to have a perfectly scaled 3D diagram of every cathedral and car park in a city. i would rather know a little bit about each neighbourhood, restaurants and an honest and frank view of tourist attractions.

i was very impressed with the first DK guide that i saw way back when (probably just because it was something new). then after trying to use one, the novelty of it wore off. also, they weigh a lot...too many glossy pages and colour photos...looks good in the store but falls over in the field.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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Well, I'm going to be studying abroad, so I'm a student and traveling on a budget is a must. I'll be staying in Madrid, Spain, and want to travel to Italy, Prague, Portugal, Morocco, definitely, and if possible, London, Paris, and others.

I like the Let's Go series and I saw that MTV actually has guide books now, so I'm thinking of checking those out since it's targeted toward my age bracket.
ccarlini is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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I have to agree with the other posters here. Which guide suits you depends on your own interests and what type of travel you want to do. I would go down to a major bookshop, grab several and have a good look at them and see which one seem to answer the type of queries you have.

I do not like the DK books myself as I think they seem to be more about preety pictures rather than solid information. My own favourite is usually the Michelin Green Guides, but to a fair extent, this is because I virtually always do driving holidays and they are well set up with suggested itineries and drving plans. As you are going to be spending 4 months in Europe obviously you don't want to be carting around a heap of guide books for various countries, so you want a good general European one. Make use of your local library as well. I will borrow a number of different guides and then write notes or photocopy relevant pages so you are just carrying the minimum, rather than carting extra books with a lot of info I don't need. Once I leave an area/city I even usually throw those notes away so my booklet continues to get smaller as I travel. If you get a good general guide you can then supplement it with more specific notes that way for those cities in which you are really interested.
shandy is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:56 PM
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Where will you travel in Europe?

After I've read the travel guides from my local bookstore and library, I browse Ebay and other online resources for used books that are specific to the area I am interested in. Used books are often only a couple dollars including shipping, and what fun it is to read the different aspects.

Kansan is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Get a PDA, if you don't have one. Used Palm and iPAQs can be had for less than $50 on eBay. Load Acrobat Reader on it and then pick some e-books that cover your interests.

I have guide books (and maps and restaurants and lodging and Points of Interest) for a dozen countries in mine. The whole thing weighs a few ounces. And it's all indexed, so I can find any topic in less than a second.

Dragging dead trees around is sooo 16th Century.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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"Dragging dead trees around is sooo 16th Century"

I agree. Of late I've been using Itunes to download podcasts. For example you can download Rick Steves (if he is your thing) walking tours to listen to while you take his tour. Just google itunes, travel guide, and the city you hope to visit. Gotta love technology!
Kansan is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Oh, forgot the link for the free download:
Kansan is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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Let's Go is an ok series, and it does focus on hostels and nightlife that might interest a student, but I think Lonely Planet might be more suitable. For you, I'd steer you away from DK, which is not at all helpful in actually planning a trip and has virtually no recs for dining or lodging in your likely price range. The MTV guide is produced by Frommer's, though I'm not familiar with it. They also have a big Europe guide. We don't have an up-to-date Europe guide right now, so I can't recommend Fodor's.

I am also very fond of the Rough Guides, but their Europe book is especially big and bulky. What I'd suggest you do is to pack one big book and tear out pages as you travel around, supplementing with information from online as you go along.
doug_stallings is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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Travelled around Europe and had some DK guides for some countries and Lonely Planet for others. None of the three restaurants we went to that were recommended in DK were any good, and all of the half dozen recommended in LP were brilliant. But that's just a small sample. Hated squinting at the tiny print in those pathetic grey maps in LP though. The exploded diagrams of cathedrals in DK look pretty, but you can get most or all of the same information in a brochure when you arrive.
gwm is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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I think the answer to this question is ALL OF THE ABOVE.

No one travel guide series is consistently the best for all countries. Moreover, each different publishing house produces guides which differ in what they cover.
For Paris, I have 4 different ones.
Depending on what I want to know I go to the Michelin Green Guide or one of the other 3.

The only one for which I have a distinct preference is the Rough Guide for Vienna. England in general and London in particular are the real challenges because there are so many good ones yet they do not mimic each other to any great extent.

I think it depends on what you want to know, what style you like to read, and how much you prefer color photographs to no illustrations.

My main concern is that when it comes to picking hotels and restaurants that you consult a recent edition because restaurants in particular come and go.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Agree that the DK Eyewitness books are beautifully done, but nearly useless when taken along. They pretty good for a basic primer and decision making tool before you leave home, where some of the wordier texts may be dry. After you've made some mile high decisions though - like what country/city looks like fun, then DK usefulness dries up (except for some walks).

I like Rough Guide too, but sometimes LP wins. Have seen some good Let's Go guides also.

I really dislike the alphabetical format of Michelin Green Guides a lot. It's like an index to sights, but you have to know what you're going to see in order to find it in the book. But you need a guide book to know what you want to see...
Clifton is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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OK, I'll admit it--I'm a travel book junkie--have a huge collection of them and love to broose and plan with various ones, but I would never take any of them with me--way too bulky for a light traveller (which I believe is the only way to go.)

I always have a sketchbook with lots of notes and copies of maps etc. from several books as well as info from various websites and of course, this one.

Having said that, I think this is the best travel website of all, but while I like the Fodors books I have, I find myself using Frommer's guide along with Rick Steves and DK. I like the way Frommers gives travel distance between places and the way the it's arranged for big cities and I like the way DK does the outlying areas and sights, and I think Rick Steves has some very good basic information and tips.

Go to a bookstore and look through them yourself to see what appeals to you most, but really, copy or take notes from them--don't take the entire book.
artlover is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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When I did Europe I used the Frommers and found it very exhaustive & intresting.The best part is the way Frommers categorises information.For instance..if you decide on 4 days in Rome,it has info about how much to do and what not to miss.Places to eat and places to stay low-end to high-end.A detailed background of the place etc.
I found it very comprehensive & extremely helpful.All I had to do was to follow whats suggested.I thoroughly enjoyed my trip
harsha is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:18 PM
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We haven't found any one guidebook that we like the best for trip planning. So we get several from the library--most of which have been mentioned above--and access a lot of websites. From these we put together our own package of information.

For actually visiting various sights, we like Michelin Green guides.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:22 PM
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I use mostly the Lonely Planet guides myself, but the quality is extremely variable. I do know that their France and Paris guides are well done (albeit not devoid of errors), since I live in Paris and enjoy reading travel guides for where I live, just to nitpick.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 28th, 2006, 04:53 AM
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I find DK and Fodors very US centric. There is a series of small DK eyewitness types which are great for a 3 day thrash through Paris say but for a country I reccomend Rough Guide. The humour is good and the information invaluable. If not available in US wait till you pass through Eire/UK
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 28th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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What about other languages?
Do you speak some languages?
If yes, there are a many travel guides I can suggest.
Gaspard is offline  
Dec 28th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Lonely Planet, Let's Go, and Rough Guides all fit your situation.
suze is online now  

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