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Rick Steves' London 2009 Paperback – December 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


Steves preaches a low-cost, low-to-the-ground style that not only saves money, but gets you closer to the real Europe, the way Europeans experience it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598801171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598801170
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Steves advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. As host and writer of the popular public television series Rick Steves' Europe, and best-selling author of 40 European travel books, he encourages Americans to travel as "temporary locals." He helps American travelers connect much more intimately and authentically with Europe -- and Europeans -- for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay.

Over the past 20 years, Rick has hosted over 100 travel shows for public television, and numerous pledge specials (raising millions of dollars for local stations). His Rick Steves' Europe TV series is carried by over 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of U.S. markets. Rick has also created two award-winning specials for public television: Rick Steves' European Christmas and the ground-breaking Rick Steves' Iran. Rick writes and co-produces his television programs through his company, Back Door Productions.

Rick Steves also hosts a weekly public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. With a broader approach to travel everywhere, in each hour-long program Rick interviews guest travel expert, followed by listener call-ins. Travel with Rick Steves airs across the country and has spawned a popular podcast. Rick has also created a series of audio walking tour podcasts for museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice (with more tours, including London, coming in 2010).

Rick self-published the first edition of his travel skills book, Europe Through the Back Door (now updated annually), in 1980. He has also written more than 40 other country, city and regional guidebooks, phrase books, and "snapshot" guides. For several years, Rick Steves' Italy has been the bestselling international guidebook sold in the U.S. In 2009, Rick tackled a new genre of travel writing with Travel as a Political Act, reflecting on how a life of travel has broadened his own perspectives, and travel can be a significant force for peace and understanding in the world. Rick's books are published by Avalon Travel, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

In addition to his guidebooks, TV and radio work, Rick is a syndicated newspaper columnist with the Tribune Media Services. He appears frequently on television, radio, and online as the leading authority on European travel.

Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Rick jokes, "I realized I didn't need my parents to travel!" He began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started Europe Through the Back Door (ETBD), a business which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a well-traveled staff of 70 full-time employees. ETBD offers free travel information through its travel center, website (, European Railpass Guide, and free travel newsletters. ETBD also runs a successful European tour program with more than 300 departures -- attracting around 10,000 travelers -- annually.

Rick is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet by broadening their perspectives through travel. He is also committed to his own neighborhood. He's an active member of the Lutheran church (and has hosted the ELCA's national video productions). He's a board member of NORML (working to reform marijuana laws in the USA). And Rick has provided his local YWCA with a 24-unit apartment building with which to house homeless mothers.

Rick Steves spends about a third of every year in Europe, researching guidebooks, filming TV shows, and making new discoveries for travelers. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington, where his office window overlooks his old junior high school.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Mary on August 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
London, London, London... I just came back from a wonderful (and hot) trip to Europe. My best advice? Do your homework before traveling. Buy Rick Steves' books, research in advance what you want to visit and how to get there. I love the walking tours included in Steves books. In London the tube (subway) takes you pretty much everywhere. Organize your calendar by blocks (2 or 3 hours) flexible enough that you can change them around in your schedule. Group activities by geographical areas (that is how the book is organized). You will save precious time and lots of "surprises". I was tempted to give the book 4 stars because some of Steves comments are silly but I skipped them and concentrated on the great tips and well organized walks described in this book. Some of my tour friends had other travel guides and Rick Steves was the best by far. At the British museum and the Westminster Abbey I found Steves' followers, everyone agreed that this book made their travel much easier.
I recommend the specific city guide instead of the Best of Europe because the later was not detailed enough and it did not include the useful "walking tours". The only thing I did not use on this book for was the hotel recommendation (because my tour company arranged the hotels). Still, this book was worth every penny I spent on it.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Marcy G. on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
I lived in London for 3 ½ years and have visited Europe several times in the past decade and Rick Steves' books are always the first travel guides that I turn to in my travel planning. If cost and time are a factor to you in your travels then Rick Steves' guides will prove indispensable.

I took his books with me on my travels to Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Great Britain as well as on my return trips to these countries. His tips on what to see and what to skip have proved invaluable. Thanks to him, I discovered this lovely little day trip outfit called "Mad Max Tours" which my husband and I joined during a recent trip to Bath, England. His tips on what is worth seeing in the British Museum and National Gallery saved us from `museum overload' on our subsequent trips to these fabulous and immense museums. I used to walk mindlessly along the numerous rooms and exhibits in these museums, until, 3 hours later, I walk out like a zombie overwhelmed with what I saw.

I highly recommend Rick's city guide to London. This guide is budget-minded, time-conscious and makes a point of touching on every major sight in these cities. It also includes walking tours, museum guides, shopping, accommodations, maps, recommended day trips and even kid-friendly attractions/activities. All of his guides include costs, location, subway/train stops, hours and descriptions (and his straightforward opinions) on each place.

Shortcomings? Well, trust me, no travel guide is perfect. Eyewitness, for instance, has wonderful colored pictures and loads of visuals but little practical information. Fodors and Frommers have too much text and almost no pictures. As for Rick, I used to gripe about his sparse selection of hotels in certain cities but he has now improved on these.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Margaux Paschke VINE VOICE on March 2, 2006
Verified Purchase
This book is packed with useful and extemely up-to-date information (I found this series to be one of the most accurate and up-to-date of the travel books). He really gives you the inside scoop on how to see London on a budget. I found some tips to be a little too cheap but that's my personal taste so no points were deducted - it's always great to have the option. Concise and clear cut directions were given on how to get to attractions (Legoland) and how to optimize each experience. The top attractions (Tate Gallery, British Musum, Westminster Abbey, etc.) were given a in-depth commentay and very detailed review that provided valuable advise. I especially appreciated the various sample "walks" for each neighborhood in London that gave easy directions and notes for what to look for along the way. This book is ESSENTIAL for traveling and I found the corresponding website ( provided helpful information as well. Sections of the book gave good reviews and tips on where to eat, shop & sightsee and even more importantly, which ones to avoid! This book even provides some bargains to readers only. I highly recommend this book to anyone traveling to London.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Austin T. Bechtold on March 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Rick Steves'suggestions helped us to get the most out our week in London. From how to get and use a weekly transit pass to pubs and restaurants, we found his examples to be excellent. His philosophy of enjoying anyplace through interaction with local folk is shared by us and made our visit one that continues to enrich us. I just received email from a Londoner we met in Churchill's Pub and we're looking forward to "tipping a few" in the future. Buy this book, read it, plan your trip to your needs, and get the most out of this great city...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like all other Rick Steves books I've ever used, this book is a good investment if you're interested in a solid, readable, down-to-earth tourist's look at a place. This book provides excellent practical orientation and general how-to-get-by instructions (transit, tipping, etc), and I value Rick Steves for giving his opinion on what things are worth seeing and what things aren't -- if you're on a short vacation, this kind of editorializing is, to my mind, invaluable.
Rick Steves' London is great for planning the sightseeing part of a London vacation, and if you're not interested in much else, then you're all set. However, if you're interested in food and nightlife, or need more extensive lodging listings, I strongly recommend picking up one or more additional books (Let's Go, Lonely Planet, etc) as references on restaurants and the like.
Also bear in mind that about half of the book consists of detailed walking tours of London sights. Sometimes you'll want to follow his tours, but often you'll just want to read them for the background info and to get an idea of whether that attraction will interest you. The bulk of the basic sightseeing listings and orientation info can be found in his Great Britain book, so if you're traveling outside of London, that may be a better value.
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