Guidebooks for Europe

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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:33 AM
  #1
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Guidebooks for Europe

What is your favorite guidebook or series for travel in Europe? For sightseeing not hotels or restaurants.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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The Michelin green guidebooks are hard to beat for suggesting what to see.
 
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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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I have used several books including the Let's Go books, and Germany on $xx a Day, etc. I found that Frommer's was the best by far. better maps, more info.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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I think guidebooks are a personal thing. The same book is perfect to one person, worthless to another.

Your best bet is to go to a bookstore or library and try a few to see which one feels right to you.

I find Rick Steves good for the areas he covers. Rough Guide was good for more obscure areas in Austria.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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I agree with elberko, it'a totally personal. We buy a few books on a region we are visiting. A couple with lots of pictures so we can get some ideas on things we want to see/do but we never pack these! Too heavy. We always pack the Fodors as I like all the maps and the paper is good for writing notes in.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Depends on if you want to just visit the major attractions in the heavily touristed cities or if you want to get off the beaten path and do more exploring of little known places. While I like Michelin I think they have overload sometimes and you don't really need all that info. If you want the best stuff to see in the most frequently visited places, try Rick Steves. My favorite that I usually rely on is Lonely Planet because it includes everything and has very detailed maps of each city that you want to visit. These maps have saved us innumerable times. Cadogan guides are great if you are looking to do more than just the usual stuff. We're leaving for Spain in a few weeks and I just got a Footprint guide for Andalucia that seems really good. If your travel is limited to a certain area of France try the Hachette guides. Now, I guess you can see why my answer is it depends on what your destination is.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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For sightseeing I love the Eyewitness Guides. Lots of great detailed diagrams, drawings and photos of the sites, room by room diagrams of cathedrals, house by house diagrams of streets. I think other guidebooks might give a more thorough historical description of each site, but I use those for before-and-after-trip in depth research; I think Eyewitness is great for carrying around when you're there.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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I have had good experiences with Michelin, Dorling Kindersley and Lonely Planet. The first two were better for "routes" for sightseeing and historical details often including very nice illustrations. The Lonely planets are perhaps better for general info, hotels, restaurants etc.

Aside: It was mildly amusing when in Florence since we kept running into people with the same D&K book (cover and illustrations) but written in all sorts of different languages!
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Feb 14th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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interesting comment above. Other people feel that Eyewitness books are gorgeous to look at and have great info for pre-trip info, but are too heavy to carry with you.

As others have said, this is like asking
a group of people which novels they like or which movies they like. It varies. Rarely is only one book the perfect book, I usually consult several. The only ones I consistently avoid are Rick Steves's, but he doesn't need my money anyway.

The only solution is to go to a bookstore and spend some time browsing. Look up one topic in several books and see which type and style of information you like.

The Michelin Green books have essentially no "practical" information like hours of admission or prices, but they are unbeatable imo if you want LOTS of information on art and history.
However, for good basic sightseeing, I'll put a plug in here for Fodors.
Their books for Paris, London, and the other major destinations have excellent general information, a fair mix of being concise and informative.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 01:26 PM
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I think that Eyewitness and DK are the same book (?).

LOL, nkh, I always get a kick out of seeing what cities my fellow tourists are experiencing. For example, while in Milan, the guy next to me was trying to find his way around by looking at a map of Mailand : )
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Feb 14th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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I like Fodor's for their walks and restaurant recommendations. I use Lonely Planet for more options in lesser expensive lodgings and where to find laundromats.
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Feb 15th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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Depending on where you are going, there is also a line of Footprint guidebooks (I think they are published in the UK). We loved their guidebook for Scotland - gave lots of info about major sites, and also gave you information on short and long walking trails. We thought their info on hotels was accurrate as well, and they also told you where to find email access in every town.
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Feb 15th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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There are heaps on threads on this already.

I think it's down to taste. I personally really dislike Eyewitness. i always feel it's sort of "join the dots" tourism.

I always start with Rough Guide. I often add Lonely Planet and the Blue Guide for erudtion Fodors are great if someone else is paying or one is trying to please Americans I always feels they are dealing with a parallel universe
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Feb 15th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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I usually start with Fodors and then fill in the gaps with Michelin Green Guides. I disagree with Elaine -- they do contain a great deal of practical information, like museum hours, etc. which tends to be accurate. they also provide accurate estimates of time needed to really see the sites you choose. They are also helpful to take with you when visitng sites that you want to "self tour", rather than take a guided tour, because they do provide a great deal of information.
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Feb 15th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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There is a series that no one has mentioned. It is called Must See (Thomas Cook publication) and is specific to each country. I always get one from the library for the country I am interested in, and then use that as a starting point.
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Feb 15th, 2003, 11:10 AM
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Whichever you choose, I've found it helpful to photocopy the relevant pages from multiple guidebooks and then leave the actual book at home (maybe take one of your favorites). That way you can toss the pages after your visit to a particular area and lighten your load for the rest of your trip.
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