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Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2009 Paperback – September 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 344 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The more money you spend, the bigger the wall you build between yourself and the culture you traveled so far to visit. Stay in the small inns, eat in family-style restaurants, visit out-of-the-way places, rub elbows with the locals. You'll spend less money and have a great time in the process."

This is Rick Steves's "back door" travel philosophy. For more than 25 years, he has traveled and led tours around Europe, finding and sharing the joy of simplicity and openness.

Along with tried-and-true tips on packing, transport, sleeping and eating well on a budget, and meeting the locals, Steves reveals more than 30 "back doors" found throughout Europe, from a tiny lake town in Austria to the narrowest gorge in the world, which winds through Crete. If Europe is your destination, this book is more important than your luggage. --Kathryn True --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves
  • Paperback: 756 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 2009 Edition edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598801082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598801088
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,830,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I like this philosophy for traveling, not all, but a great part. If you want to have fun on your Europe trip, read this book, understand the points it makes, then go. No tour, no guide, all alone or with your "traveling partner". This is the way to travel, and to experience the people and the culture of where you are. Rick does a great job letting you in on some great ideas. He'll also open your eyes as to what to get from your travels, or lose from your travels.
If you go to Europe and say once "It's not the way I have it at home", then don't read this book unless you're ready to change your attitude. If you raise your voice louder and continue to speak English, then stay home and don't read this book. If you want the adventure of traveling to Europe and immersing yourself in the culture and people, way of life, and past, then read this book, buy your plane tickets, and get going. All the tools you'll want are in this book. You just add the adventure. Be brave.
This is the best story telling instruction book I've read in a long time. Rick gives you all you'll need to get off anywhere in Europe and be able to survive and enjoy. He'll encourage you to free your mind, talk in bad local language with a smile, change money, ride the train, order dinner at the local eatery, and how to just enjoy the life you're experiencing. Remember you go there because it's different from where you live.
There is so much information for the traveler here that it's hard to grab 1 or 2 ideas and discuss them. The one thing that stands out is that you'll approach your trip to Europe from a totally different angle after reading this book.
Rick, we go in 10 days, and thanks for the help.....
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By A Customer on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read Rick Steves' books for years, and like the others, this one contains helpful information. His conversational style and middle income budget make this book perfect for average American, especially the first time traveler. The down side to this book and other Rick Steves books is as follows: 1) the maps are very poor- hand drawn and definitely low tech. Frommer does a better job in this area 2) costs are listed only in the foreign currency instead of following with the approximate cost in dollars in parenthesis. You must constantly dig out the calculator. 3) a lot of the material (whole pages at a time) is a direct copy from the previous edition, making for a repetitive read. That said, I would not take a trip to Europe without this book. I have never met anyone who went to Europe and used his tips and was sorry. However, I have met a lot of people who have used Lonely Planet and Let's Go who were disillusioned. I'm taking this book and Frommer's when I go this summer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a well-seasoned traveler with international experience but will be visiting Paris for the first time this spring...as always I extensively "review" the ins n' outs of visiting any new place and have been reading several travelguides and other literature on the City of Lights. I stumbled across Rick Steve's book and, always hating not to be 'in the know', ordered the book and have just completed it over the holiday. Excellent!! Spot on and filled with valuable information and insights - especially useful for the unseasoned traveler although even for a well-honed visiter to far afields I found some great nuggets of valuable info. One difference is that although I love a bargain I prefer a bit more 'up scale' accomodations and ease than the target audience for Rick but am, like the individuals he is writing for, someone who prefers to go off the travel group grid and plunge into other cultures and places and peoples. The book is especially useful to shed off the Ugly American Tourist practices that all too many traveling folks from the USA bring along on board with their checked baggage (I've seen the UATs myself and it ain't purdy). I would make this mandatory reading for those delving into travel abroad if I could!
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Format: Paperback
First of all, congratulations: this book will fundamentally change how you travel. If you're new to the world of Rick Steves AND planning your first trip to Europe, a special congratulations to you: you will not regret picking up this book. In many ways, Europe Through the Back Door (ETBD) is the bible of traveling the Rick Steves way. It's more than just travel tips and advice--although there is much of that--it is an entire travel philosophy based on experiencing a culture like a local, resulting in more fun, greater understanding, and less money spent. Steves' philosophy focuses on thinking of travel in terms of experiences and not destinations, being a participant instead of an observer. Steves' blend of detail-oriented pragmatism and big-picture philosophy comes from decades of his own travel experiences as well as leading other travelers through Europe. The result is a travel philosophy--and wealth of guidebooks--that allow the independent traveler to maximize his or her time in Europe ... and keep him or her awake at night thinking of ways to go back!

ETBD starts with 400+ pages full of practical travel advice centering around planning, packing, sleeping, eating, getting around, etc. that is absolutely essential for beginning travelers, and is surprisingly useful even for more experienced travelers. Getting the details right is often the difference between a disappointing and a great vacation, and in many cases "less is more" when it comes to travel success. Steves packs a lot of information into this section, but his writing style is clear and conversational, making it a joy to read (especially if you're used to the usual dry presentation of "practical information" found at the start of most guide books).
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