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Rick Steves' Portugal Paperback – March 24, 2009
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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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My only complaint about Rick in general is that he is definitely aimed toward the budget traveler. I understand that part of his philosophy is that spending money puts up a barrier between you and the actual culture, and I agree. But while on a trip, it's sometimes nice to splurge on a really nice dinner or a luxury hotel, and his options are limited. To be fair, he DOES include at least one "luxury" option in categories. But sometimes his constant leaning toward budget travel can be limiting. We paired this with another Portugal book and of course Trip Advisor to make sure we got the full picture. We used Trip Advisor almost exclusively for restaurants and hotels and used this book for background and overviews. I actually prefer Fodor's and their recommendations, but I just love Rick's philosophy and his frank approach.
Overall, this book is a great buy if you're planning a Portugal trip. I read bad reviews of his Spain book, so we relied solely on Fodor's for that one...but I do recommend this Portugal guide, just balance Rick's recommendations with Trip Advisor or something. Oh, and Salema (in the Algarve) is just as charming as he says...but it's definitely not as small-town as he made it sound! There were tons of people on the beach and lots of cars. Of course, I'm sure his raves about Salema ensured that it would become a tourist destination. :-) Still worth a stop though...Portugal is a beautiful country, wherever you go. Even touristy Lagos has its charms! The Algarve was fantastic...we're already talking about going back, and taking more time to explore the other regions of magical Portugal.
Enjoy this book, and enjoy your trip!
I had purchased this book for Portugal and a Lonely Planet book for Spain.
I ended up abandoning the Lonely Planet and buying Kindle version of Rick Steves' books for Spain(Madrid and Barcelona).
The thing that I appreciated the most about this (and his other) books is that he literally GUIDES you through the city/country.
From his awesome walking tours, what to expect from the locals, where to watch out for pick-pockets, to all the little details (the cost of a train to the beach town outside the city) make this book great.
His hand drawn maps are also worth mentioning. They focus in on the key streets, the key intersections and things to see. When we were in Lisbon, I relied solely on his maps and we ended up covering all the Lisbon neighborhood on foot.
By comparison, the Lonely Planet book was frustrating to use and felt like a reference instead of a guide.
I'm not traveling without a Rick Steves' book again!
PS. I would recommend getting this book one or two weeks in advance of your trip. Study the sections of the book, read the travel tips, get comfortable with the maps. That way when you get to your destination, the book will be an extension to your worldly experience!
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