With every passing European trip (I've now had the pleasure of touring London, Paris, the Dordogne valley, Switzerland and Sicily), I'm realizing that my travel skills are becoming sharper as is my ability to judge the merits of the dizzying array of choices of travel guides available for the travelling public.
My first choice continues to be the Eyewitness series in their TOP 10 format ... in this case, "Top 10 Budapest". I would suggest that it be complemented by the somewhat more comprehensive "Budapest".
The Top 10 format is entirely self-explanatory, a list of Top 10 sights that are must-sees for any first time tourist in a given city or country. Depending on the destination, the Top 10 lists become increasingly more detailed and may include, for example, top 10 churches, museums, children's attractions, festivals, events, restaurants, cafés, pubs, parks and so on. In the second half of each book, the information is effectively repeated but organized by neighbourhood, so the prospective tourist might make the most effective use of limited time touring a given area in a city or country without missing anything of interest.
The information is all linked to beautiful photographs and allows a potential traveler to make sensible choices in advance according to his or her personal tastes. Most telling is the fact that each Top 10 title makes no attempt to be comprehensive. It is absolutely, positively aimed at the first time tourist attempting to do a one shot overview of a city or country. If that is your objective, there is little question that the DK Eyewitness Top 10 series is the hands down winner against all the competition - Blue Guide, Green Guide, Rough Guide, National Geographic, Frommer or Michelin.Read more ›
I bought this book and Rick Steve's Budapest for my trip since they were the top rated books on Amazon for Budapest(This to carry around and Rick Steve's to read at the hotel). This book basically tells you the touristy places and lacks any insight into Budapest besides the superficial ones you can gain in less than a week. For instance, it says Vaci Utca is the heart and souls of the city. After visiting it, I was surprised it was so shallow and uninteresting. Rick Steve's, however, correctly says this is a waste of time Tourist trap that the locals never go to. Locals actually hang out in other areas (Liszt Frenc Square, Opera, etc.) which are much more visit worthy. Same was true about other advice in the book (There is no shuttle between the airport terminals, etc. etc.). Basically the "Top 10" places are not really the top 10 places if the guide had spent more than a week in Budapest. Budapest is a great city I need to visit again but I wish I knew this book was useless for its advice so I could have utilized my time more efficiently by just following Rick Steve's (even though it is harder to carry around).