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I am planning to go to exploring in Europe this summer, and I wanted a guide to prepare me with some knowledge of the places I would like to visit. This book achieves that to a degree. The beginning of the book has some useful information about Europe in general, but it has a strange attitude that I noticed immediately.
The authors have a bizarre (and sometimes preachy) liberal bias you wouldn't expect in a travel guide. This is evidenced through their attempt to guilt the reader into buying carbon offsets because of their plane flight (intra-European flights aren't considered as a viable travel option in this book... I wish it had more information about this alternate means). Also, the constant condescending opinions towards Europe's religious sites get a bit old. I wouldn't say I found it offensive, but I would prefer a more objective stance in the writing of my next travel book. It's just distracting.
With this said, there is some really cool information about smaller towns and cities in Europe's countries that you may not find in a more traditional tourist guide. They maintain their goal of staying budget-minded throughout. I wish there was more emphasis on country-to-country travel, as that can be one of the most difficult aspects of a trip to plan. It looks I will have to buy another book to supplement this one. I recommend, but not as an all-in-one guide.
I bought this book as a guide for my recent backpacking tour. This book is HUGE! It has useful information on almost every city or town that many backpackers wish to visit. However, the sheer size of it makes it extremely difficult to carry with you. I wound up making copies of the pages that I would need because I couldn't fit the book in my pack. Other than the size I found some suggestions to be less than desirable. In particular a hostel recommended in Brussels ( 2 Go 4) that is "located in the slightly seedy part of town" was the only hostel open when I made my booking. The description of "slightly seedy" is not an understatement; while it was a relatively cheap place to stay I feel that suggestions such as this should be left out. I found cheaper hotels to stay in, which are left out of the recommendations for Sleeping in each of the cities I used this guide for. The suggestions for places to see and where to find bike rentals, etc were useful, but hit and miss as well. For the most part, the recommendations were useful and informative, especially the Eating and Drinking sections. I will be using this book again in the future, but with much more caution - in particular regarding the Sleeping recommendations.
I backpacked through Europe in 2006. I'd bought a Lonely Planet book for Western Europe and loved it so much that I bought this book for this trip.
I could look past the gigantic size, after all it has a lot to cover, but except for a few bars, I didn't find the information particularly helpful. Every chapter recommends visiting a church and while I know Europe is all about the churches, after you've seen one, you've seen the all. Surely each city must have something to see other than a church? All the recommended sites were the tourist traps. The maps were not helpful, either. The only good thing about this book is it listed the tourist office in every place so I knew where it was so I could go get a proper map and helpful information.
I didn't really use this book at all or find it helpful. Walk around, explore, figure it out. You don't need a book.
A great book overall. My only gripe is that the book doesn't offer enough sample itineraries. It offers a few in the beginning of the book that are good, but it would be nice if it offered a nice "tour" of each country in each of the chapters.