The DK Eyewitness travel guide is firstly what it says it is - A Guide. It is there to help you with advice to resource you with useful information for your forth-coming travels. These travelling guides I found offer visitors a detailed guide for today.
This guide I would suggest are for the following - if you are combining a holiday with a spot of sightseeing, require a history element, maybe taking off and having your own little adventure, wish to par take in travelling in your own style by rented car, train or by bus this is the guide for you. Although this guidebook would work for backpackers travelling in just Budapest for it's history and information this does not work for people travelling off the beaten track. Backpackers may require a bit more in-depth information for example hostels are not listed.
Second quick checkpoint when purchasing an edition of this book, please check that you have the most recent and up to date version. A necessary factor of any travel guide is to require the latest information most editions of these books are usually updated yearly. Unfortunately the DK Edition for Budapest was last updated 2004 the next edition update will not be till 2007. After my own investigation I found that most all book editions on Budapest were only updated every three years. I also studied this book against two other books on Budapest, The Rough Guide and The Lonely Planet but still found this guide to be the more interesting and informative guide for Budapest alone. I feel I should also mention The Top 10 Budapest guide by DK Eyewitness travel guide was released in the UK February 2006 but this 2004 guide still gave you what you need to know already. Therefore I am deducting one star simply because there are a few errors in this book due to a few name changes that have taken place in recent years and it could also do with a fresh map update. Overall these changes were very slight and to most tourists it would not be that noticeable therefore this will leave most people unaffected. Although I have stated these points I still very much feel this book is more than sufficient for all travelling to Budapest.
RECAP BRIEF HISTORY:
Following World War I, the Monarchy fell and Hungary lost two thirds of it territory; During WWII they made an attempt to regain it back by showing their support for Germany. However Budapest was taken by Russian troops in 1945. Under the Subsequent Communist rule, the popular uprising of 1956 was ruthlessly suppressed by Soviet tanks but it was enough to initiate a crisis that shook the regime. Free elections took place in 1990 resulting in a victory for the Hungarian Democratic Forum, Communist rule was over.
This book is extremely well planned and laid out, even showing you how to use this book guide. The City of Budapest is divided into two Buda and Pest. This intersection is provided cleanly by the Danube River. Buda would be the old Section of the town. Areas of Buda and Pest are all identified and nicely colour coded, It covers in each section History, Art Galleries, Architecture, Spas, Churches and Synagogues, Restaurants, Cafes, Monuments, Palaces, Music, Culture, Markets and great days out. It starts with an introduction to Budapest through the year, followed by an understanding of Buda and Pest area by area. It comes with a survival guide of practical information for each area shown, supplied with a map and street finder.
Each section of this book has then been broken down; sections and chapters with surrounding areas for the following, Castle District, Gellert Hill and Taban, North of the Castle District, Around Parliament, Central Pest, Around Varosliget, Further Afield including excursions. An area of Budapest has being mapped out and numbered for the items of tourist interest, where to go, location, places to see or an object being described with a picture. It also shows interior and exterior of buildings with photographs and illustrated design. It's not just reading its showing you. As in all these DK travel books it has a visitors checklist which I think is a great idea giving you information such as opening and closing times of shops.
Clear Information on Chemists/pharmacy/hospitals can be found in the Survival Guide section an importance in any country, also many tips on being safe. Information on all places range, more pages are written depending on history, sights and things to do. For the not so in-depth sections I always reverted back to my bigger source when travelling around word of mouth, Finding out information from Hotels, fellow holiday makers, the locals. Road maps, motorways are all shown and guided with direction. Once again driving in any city can be tricky and Budapest is no different to any other, the authorities are very hot on wheel clamping so always check where you park, traffic can be mostly grid locked during rush hours.
A Travel section will help you with best places to pick up car rental, train, buses also airport locations. Guidebooks in general do not list prices because they frequently change; some will only estimate how much, but many handy websites can be found from key words so you yourself can go direct to information.
The Travellers needs section, hotels, restaurants, where to locate food and wine; the expensive and inexpensive. Shopping comes with a directory also where the markets are and what time of year you can pick up a bargain. It tells you how to book and obtain tickets for day/nightly entertainment. As always in any city be vigilant keep those wallets/purses in a safe place.
Lastly the phase page please give it a go, Anywhere I travel I always give the language a whirl it's always appreciated unfortunately for myself it was not smooth sailing mainly due to my mispronunciations but maybe you might fair better.
Read this book in advance before travelling; use this book with the internet. A web site that I found most useful before travelling was the Official website of the tourism office of Budapest, type these words into the web and it will come up. This site gives general information on sights you wish to see and dates of special programmes events on entertainment for Theatre, Opera, Ballet, Plays, Musical Festivals indoors and out depending on which month, go to the Calendar of Events, Open Air Summer Festival a range of all events will be listed just click into the event you wish to see and information will be given. Not to be missed the Hungarian National Art Gallery Collection that date from medieval times to the 20th Century shown in the Royal Palace.
For Hotels or other lodgings this book supplies you with information but just go one step further, look up the trip advisor website, it gives you a personal review from people who have stayed at certain hotels listed from this book, management of these establishments sometimes respond on the site if a complaint is made. It gives real insight. For backpackers, hostels are not given a mention in this book but the Marco Polo is the most well known for its location (Type Marco Polo Budpest a website is shown).
Budapest possesses a rich and fascinating history as well as a vibrant cultural heritage. Recognizing the unique value of its traditions it has managed to maintain its magic and charm and is rightly known as the queen of the Danube. It's also been called the city of Spas as there are a dozen thermal baths complexes severed by over a hundred natural thermal springs.
This book I found to be a wonderful source of information, the history element is my keen interest. These books come highly recommend from myself. Good Luck, stay sharp in any city, have a fantastic time.