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VINE VOICEon September 10, 2011
In anticipation of our recent trip to Madrid and Seville, I purchased several travel guides and maps. While there isn't a great deal of difference between most travel guides, I found this one to be exceptional. The book is well-organized and includes several maps, both local and regional. There are also ample (and well done) photos of historical buildings, museums, and art. For those unfamiliar with Spanish cuisine, there are several photos of tapas and other dishes, so you can see what it looks like before ordering. There is information on the airport, train routes, currency, language (including a brief language guide), and shopping districts.

We went to almost every major museum in Madrid and this book was quite helpful in this regard. The book has information on over 35 (!!!) museums. There are maps, photos, and interior guides to most of the major museums, to include samples of what art/antiquities you can see on your visit. While Prado was worth seeing, we would have missed a lot by not visiting other museums.

We took the train to Toledo and this book was helpful in this regard. There is a great, two page map of the city of Toledo, which was needed, as the streets of Toledo wind around, up and down various hills. There are also great descriptors of sites in Toledo other than the Alcazar (we went to El Greco's house/museum, and this guidebook had a good description of what to expect).

Like most other Eyewitness Travel Guides, this one fits well into a backpack or purse. We took three travel guides with us, but this is the one we used the most, and the one we took with us on our daily treks. While you will want to read other books and websites before taking your trip, taking this book alone should be sufficient.

I don't have any major complaints about the book, but I wish these guides didn't include so much information on restaurants. If you want to know where to eat and what to expect---wherever you go---look it up at TripAdvisor.com. Also, while there is a small language guide in the book, do yourself a favor and learn more of the language than what you'll find in these kind of travel guides.

If you go to Madrid, have fun!
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on December 27, 2001
I am an experienced traveler (30+ countries) who is nearing retirement and plan to travel extensively, who has recently become obsessed about finding "good" guidebooks. So this review is a comparison of the books I looked at for Madrid.
I started with the Insight Guide. I was seeking to get background, history, etc. The Insight Guides seem to vary enormously from one to the next in both quality and orientation. I think they are good for an entire country if you are trying to decide where in the country or what parts you want to see. I thought the guide for Madrid was useless. It provided very little information about the city or the culture. It seemed to be best if you were planning on moving to Madrid and wanted to find out the differences between the various suburban areas. I suggest you forget this one.
I looked at the Mini-Rough Guide. I didn't like the format and it was too terse for my taste. In my opinion, Rough Guide still needs to produce a guide for Madrid that is a regular, not a mini Rough Guide. The LP Guide to Madrid seemed pretty mediocre. The stiff covers also made it awkward to use or hold open to a particular page. The information and descriptions were inadequate compared to some other guides. The Eyewitness Guide to Madrid is, I think, the best overall guide to Madrid. (Generally I prefer Eyewitness guides for City's much more than as a guide for an entire country.) The maps are good, the pictures of the food and other items are very helpful. The hotels and restaurant sections were pretty good, but not great. If you are looking for hostels, you will need the LP guide. Eyewitness does not give great historical depth, but it gives you some, probably enough for most tourists. Guide Books are not the best source for detailed historical and cultural information anyway. The Time Out guide was almost like a tourist's yellow pages, primarily a listing of hotels, restaurants, sites, services, etc. It had the best listing of restaurants and hotels and covered all price ranges. It wasn't as good as Eyewitness is describing the things to see and do.
I ended up getting the Eyewitness Guide to use while sightseeing, supplemented by the Time Out Guide for picking hotels, restaurants and being able to look up things. Another reviewer recommended this same combination in order to visit Tapas bars. I'm not that much into Tapas, but I still think these two are the best combo. Eyewitness is not perfect, but it's the best one that I saw.
Incidentally, the Spain Rough and LP guides Madrid sections do not cover Madrid as well as the Madrid-only guides. You are looking at a 60-page section, compared to the Madrid-only guides of around 300 pages length.
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on August 31, 2011
These books are not for the student seeking in-depth knowledge of a foreign locale. They are intended, in my opinion, for the traveler who has a typically American week or two of vacation. The books get you quickly to what interests you, with excellent photos and just enough historical background to whet your appetite for further study/learning.
This Madrid book follows in that path, and is excellent. The Eyewitness books are also sturdy and fit well in your travel bag. I know it's geeky & touristy, but I am constantly reading mine even when I'm within the walls of the castle/museum/battleground, etc, I'm reading about. Plus, after the trip, I've used the guide to help me identify photos I've taken.
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on December 22, 2013
My wife and I do a fair bit of travel, and have been fans of the DK guides for many years. We have previously used DK country guides, as well as city and regional guides and they have always enhanced our experience in each location. The Madrid guide was no exception: it is well laid out and illustrated, up to date, and with good recommendations to get the most from your stay in one of the most liveable, fascinating and culturally rich cities in the world.

Depending on time available, and for a broad range of budgets, this guide makes appropriate recommendations for sightseeing, visits to culturally significant places, accommodation, local transport systems, and food. My wife and I are long past the various "backpackers" guides; the DK guides cost a little more, but are better laid out, sturdy and durable, and contain all the information that make a visit to a new destination more enjoyable, safer, and culturally rewarding.

The DK Madrid guide met and exceeded our expectations for guiding us throughout this beautiful city, including its art galleries, markets, plazas, shopping, countless tapas bars and, yes, bull-fights. Highly recommended for new and repeat visitors to Madrid.
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on September 30, 2009
We recently traveled to Spain spending most of our time in Madrid and Andalusia. We really liked the Eyewitness Travel book on Madrid. Our hotel had already been booked and we generally like to "find" restaurants after a day of wandering, so we cannot comment on the hotel/restaurant section. The book was very useful for providing information on sites, routes, history etc. A minor issue is that one of the walking routes was very hard to follow, the map in the book showed us taking the "next" right, while there were actually several streets until we should have turned right. A real strength of the book was the "day trip" section. We relied heavily on this book while visiting Toledo and Segovia. This book worked very well for our stay in Madrid.
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on January 18, 2008
This was a nice guide for a 2 day trip to madrid -- the monument descriptions & photos were enjoyable & the walking tours were fun. It was very nice to have pictures of each key sight next to it's description so we could be sure were were looking at the right place.
However, we also used this book to navigate to our hotel. Big, big mistake. In this guide, hotels are not marked on the map, they are located by quadrant (e.g. Map5 D-3). But our hotel was very far from where the book said it was; it was 3-4 map-quadrants away, which we found only by using the address & after a 30 minute walk with our luggage. FYI: unlike in the US, addresses do not go up by 100 per block. Going from 85 Gran Via in the old quarter to 15 Gran Via is about a 2 mile walk.
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on January 31, 2011
We recently purchased a copy of the Madrid and Lisbon versions of this guide. We were very pleased with the detail and photos of these guides... Our goal was to get a broad overview of the major sites to see and try to plan an itinerary. I don't know about you, but I like to see a photo... I helps me to visualize what to expect. Most guides are all words and put me to sleep, this one has great photos... We bought the PBS guys books also... Lesson learned is don't expect the details of museum hours or anything else to be too accurate especially around the holidays! These guides are only for a high level overview...
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on January 2, 2012
I'm always happy with Eyewitness guides. The best photos, illustrations and maps, hands-down. Love the glossy paper. Rick Steves' guides, however, are better organized with recommmendations, suggested itineraries and other useful tips. I usually buy one of each because they complement each other well.
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on April 20, 2008
I enjoy Rick Steves' guides, but often I want to know more, both in-depth and in-breadth about a destination. This is a typical Eyewitness Travel Guide, almost a small encyclopedia about one place, its history, and its many attractions. I enjoy buying such books months in advance of a trip, reading & re-reading it, hoping that when I arrive at the destination it will seem familiar. I would heartily recommend any Eyewitness Guide to anyone who similarly want to know more. This little volume on Madrid packs a lot of information into one book.
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on October 3, 2000
This guidebook is invaluable in terms of detail but is also beautifully organized. The photos and maps are wonderful. Top notch guide.
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