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Rick Steves' Snapshot Madrid & Toledo Paperback – November 3, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rick Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. Rick produces a public television series (Rick Steves' Europe), a public radio show (Travel with Rick Steves), and a podcast (Rick Steves' Audio Europe); writes a bestselling series of guidebooks and a nationally syndicated newspaper column; organizes guided tours that take thousands of travelers to Europe annually; and offers an information-packed website (ricksteves.com). With the help of his hardworking staff of 70 at Europe Through the Back Door—in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle—Rick's mission is to make European travel fun, affordable, and culturally broadening for Americans.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves Snapshot
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598804901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598804904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,705,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alexander Albrecht on April 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am writing this review in Madrid. I just finished Ricks' self-guided walk; it was absolutely the best tour of Madrid we have had. It was way better the the guided walk tours and the bus tours we took earlier. Although I am not what you would call a "budget traveler" the book also saved be a bunch of money. What I like is there is just the right amount of information. Enough so you can find the right places to sleep, eat and see, but not so much that you get bored with excess facts. If you are going to bring one guidebook to Madrid, this is the one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
GET THIS E-BOOK!!! I debated whether it would be worth the money before I took a big month-long trip to Spain this past October/November 2009. Rick Steves just does not disappoint! The most useful feature (there are tons) in the Snapshot city guide e-books are the self-guided tours. There are crowd-beating tips, updated cost, hours, locations, phone numbers, maps, self-guided walking tours in the city...For so little money, you can save yourself a world full of headaches. He also points out cool things to see in the Madrid that aren't in other tour books (like rowing a boat in the lake in Parque de Retiro), and he gives invaluable tips of the good places to go for everything (food, entertainment, museums, neighborhoods, etc). Also, the local free tourist maps they give you are usually anemic by way of detailed, accurate information. Having this little tool as a backup is critical when you may not have time to hunt down bigger books and maps. It also gives you info about surrounding cities you may like to visit, as well as tips on language, money, phoning...Plus, it fits in your pocket (I used it on my iPhone with the Kindle reader). You don't look like a tourist dork reading your iPhone, like you do lugging around maps and books. You look way cooler...
I loved this e-book bc it also included Toledo. There is a tourist info office in the main square area in Toledo (Zocodover Square), but it won't boil down the city for a day trip like Rick Steves does. No one makes a city come alive like Rick Steves!!!
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Overall an OK guide for a first visit to Madrid. However, a little to touristic for my taste in some of its choices to highlight. The El Escorial + Valle de los Caidos recommendation is quite sad. If you really like history, you would expend more time in el Escorial and not use the cheesy Bus-Tour combination of two sites that have absolutely no relation to each other historically or otherwise. Take the train in downtown Madrid and in 1 hour you will be in the Escorial train station. Take the local bus and in 5 minutes you will be in the town of El Escorial...and then you can decide how much time you should spend in the Escorial. From the austerity of the private lodgings of Felipe II to the stunning library that deserves some time to just look at the books that they have and if you are able to read a bit in latin (or in spanish) they have several books open that you can try to read something.

Some comments about certain historical places and museums, making some easy jokes and calling propaganda to some historical inscriptions are out of place in this guide and that is why I put to this guide a 3 star even though in some aspects may be closer to a 4 star.
The recommendation to visit the Sta Cruz Museum in Toledo is great, it is a fantastic place to visit and it is still for free. The sarcastic comments about how it is run...not so great....this is a fantastically preserved place in a very historic city. If you have to decide between visiting Sta Cruz or El Alcazar in Toledo. Please visit the Sta Cruz Museum, so much better choice!

About Segovia...this is such an important historical place with over 2000 years of history!!...and this guide really does not take this wonderful little city seriously.
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This was a good, light guidebook for Madrid and Toledo. It's a bit light on background, and I found the recommendations for dining a bit thin; but otherwise is a very good guidebook for quick visits where you're just hitting the highlights. I used this guidebook on an iPad and an iPhone 4. Even in the small format of the iPhone 4, I found the guide very readable.

Some criticisms I would have is that for some reason this version of the eBook doesn't have full maps. In another eGuidebook I purchased, the Seville Snapshot guide by Rick Steves, you would get a full map and then on subsequent pages, you would get sections of the map (in quarters). I suppose this was to allow you to view the full map, and then to be able to zoom in to quarter sections for more detail. However, in this version of the ebook, I only got the quarter sections, which was very inconvenient and made it very difficult to read the maps.

Also, the book could use a better table of contents or index. It would make it much easier to flip to specific sites, museums, monuments, etc. The table of content headings are too broad.

Lastly, for those who would use this guidebook on their phones, I discovered a disadvantage of this format when I was trying to follow Rick's self-guided walk through the Palacio Real. You're not allowed to use cell phones in the Palacio! They don't care that you're using it to read a guidebook - they won't let you use cell phones for any reason. I suppose they're trying to keep people from using their phone cameras, but I was very rudely told to put my cell phone away.

I didn't have any troubles in any of the art museums or cathedrals I went to, but it can be an issue.
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