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Fodor's Barcelona, 3rd Edition [Paperback]

Fodor Travel Publications
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 July 2010 Fodor's Barcelona
Explore the Sagrada Família, the Boqueria market, Park Güell, and beyond Discerning Fodor's Choice picks for hotels, restaurants, sights, and more "Word of Mouth" tips from fellow Fodor's travelers Illustrated features on the Gaudí's sites, Spanish wines, and Spain's food revolution Best tapas touring, museum hopping, and beachcombing Tips for making the most of your euros.

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fodor; 3rd Edition edition (15 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400004233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400004232
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.3 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 754,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"In terms of comprehensiveness of coverage, the very accessible format, and the enthusiastic tone, this series remains one of the best on the market." -Booklist "Fodor's super-informative guidebooks are known for accuracy and attention to detail..." -The Sacramento Bee "The Fodor's guides are notable for their ratings of sights, restaurants, shops, accommodations and attractions." -Chicago Tribune "The great detail, infectious spirit, and attractive format are distinguishing traits of these guides, which are entries in one of the top series in the business." -Booklist "Fodor's can help you plan the perfect adventure" -The Arizona Republic "Always thoughtfully written and easily readable, Fodor's travel guides have become a must-have when traveling to unfamiliar destinations" -Mid South Magazine "Widely recognized as the gold standard of mainstream travel" -Honolulu Advertiser

Book Description

Fully updated edition of this comprehensive guide

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback
While living in Spain for the second time in 2005, I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Barcelona. Given, I was too rushed for time to see everything, but I'd decided beforehand to focus on Modernisme (the Catalan word for Art Nouveau) architecture by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Gaudí's vibrant murals (his mosaics for Parc Güell are on the cover here) and breathtakingly dramatic buildings are organic in style and remain contemporary a century after their construction, and Fodor's Barcelona pays appropriate tribute to these visionaries (Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró were also from Catalunya and both have museums in Barcelona that are worth a visit). But Barcelona has many ancient treasures that are just as fascinating, from the Roman foundations of the city (visible at Museu d'Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona) to numerous Gothic cathedrals (La Seu, Santa Eulalia, Santa Maria del Mar). The famous Rambla is also covered in depth. Fodor's includes compact sections revolving around the various districts of Barcelona (Barri Gotic, Rava, Eixample, La Ciutadella and Barceloneta, and beyond), including must-see attractions, top experiences, restaurant suggestions, shops, and transportation info.

Roughly half of the book is dedicated to Barcelona, while the remainder focuses on other Catalan destinations such as Montserrat (famous for its mountaintop Benedictine monastery, but the monastery museum includes some art treasures as well; be sure to attend Mass for the polyphony and Gregorian chant), the Costa Brava (beaches, beaches, and more beaches), and Girona.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable intro, but too introductory and hard to parse listings 5 Nov 2010
By Omar Siddique - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read through this guide with an eye to returning to Barcelona, which I last visited in 2002. I found it a good survey, but absent an angle on how to get into the city's vibrant culture (the nightlife and culinary scenes get short shrift), with too many dense detailed listings of hotels and restaurants.

Travel-guides are have become less relevant in the Internet age, and in my mind now need to fill a roll that's not obsoleted by online sources.

For an experienced traveler like me, those roles include analyzing complex information (eg, "How do I experience Spain?"), or providing an insider's view that I might not have without being a resident or spending inordinate amounts of time reading forums (eg, "Where do the young people party, where can I eat as a solo traveler during the day before tapas places are open?", "What's the etiquette on toplessness on the Catalan beaches?"). Also providing travel inspiration, providing starting points for online research, and finally, providing a resource I can take with, since I may not have time to look things up online during travel (or may not have smartphone data coverage). I found this guide did an inadequate job with these categories.

Too many pages are spent on hotel listings; this isn't a backpacker's guide, so you probably did your hotel research at home. Conversely, the restaurant and bar listings are often used during travel, but they need web-style formatting and typefaces, to make them skimmable (the dense paragraphs in this volume make it hard). European cities are complex by American standards, so having small maps in each section placing the various listings would be very helpful. ("Is that near me?")

There's a short translation section that's near useless (too short, too basic, and in too unwieldy a volume if you really do need to look up that "no, gracias" is "no thank you").

On the positive, there is a (too-short) summary of what Barcelona is about. There's a detachable "on the go map" which is a nice touch, most travel companies charge half the price of the book for a decent map. The listings do provide contact information which may be helpful when lost.

I find the Lonely Planet Discover series does most of what I want in a travel guide. While LP doesn't have a Discover Barcelona guide, it may be worth seeking out their Discover Spain Guide instead. That is the one travel series I've found that is still completely relevant in the online age.

Fodor's Barcelona is an adequate introductory guide to Barcelona, but has little meat for those looking to get off the beaten path, follow the current scene, or dig into the heart of the culture. This volume is best suited as a jumping off point for for googling for first-timers to Barcelona. The weak layout makes it not-useful as an on-the-go reference.

Barcelona is a wonderful city, by all means go! But you will want some additional resources beyond this book. Recommended for 1st-time travelers, with reservations.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice pre-trip information; not so useful in details 25 July 2010
By Mainiac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
[Since Amazon sometimes confounds these things with travel books, let me confirm that this is the 3rd edition of Fodor's Barcelona with Highlights of Catalonia and Bilbao.]

Pros:
lovely color pictures and background information to whet your appetite
relatively compact size to carry with you in Barcelona
included map

Cons:
missing some important information about newer areas of the city and tips on when to visitsites

I was psyched to see this book appear as an option a few weeks before my planned trip to Barcelona (on business), and upon receiving it was immediately disappointed that the area near the convention center (aka the Forum) was nowhere to be found in the book. (Correction: I found one hotel in the area by looking in the index.) Now that I've been, I somewhat understand... the area is new (past five years or so) and as bland as can be. But I think its absence from the book indicates that they haven't done a good job of updating the book. Certainly many visitors to Barcelona are going to conventions, so the Forum area should be included if only briefly.

So the book was no help to me in terms of picking a hotel or finding places to eat nearby. If I had it to do again, I think I'd try to stay in the Gothic Quarter and take the Metro to the convention center. (Although a lot of the pickpocketing seems to happen in the Metro, so one has to be careful with a plan like that.) If you decide to stay near the convention center, there's a mall nearby, so you won't starve, but there's nothing interesting in that area. And the fact that the Forum is on the beach is deceptive, at least in July of 2010; you can't get to the beach right there. (Maybe you'll be able to later when they're done with construction. I couldn't tell.)

I'm disappointed that the book didn't contain useful tips about getting into sites such as the Picasso Museum. We bought tickets online for 1:30 the next day, arrived at 1:00 and were told that even with the advanced tickets, we had to wait in the long line that was not really moving (I estimate it would have taken an hour or two to get in). We came back the next morning at 9:30 for the 10am museum opening and were second in line. (9:45 would have been fine.) I suspect this strategy is the best at most sights, to get there first thing in the morning. The Spanish don't seem to mind waiting, but they keep late hours, so first thing in the morning may be best for most Americans.

We also enjoyed The Bus Turistic, which is barely mentioned in the book, as a means of getting a feel of the city on our first day. This is a hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus with an open top. There are free headphones for the choose-your-language tour information, which would have been better with a lot more detail, but was still helpful. (The book says "a live narrator"; I saw no such thing... the multiple languages makes much more sense anyway.) We saved a couple of Euros by buying a packet from our hotel before getting to the bus.

I do think this book does a fine job of covering core Barcelona, and although I didn't have time to take side trips to nearby spots, I'm glad for the additional "highlights of Catalonia and Bilbao" because it helped me to consider those options.

Although we did go to The Four Cats one night, instead of using any specific dining advice of the book, we happily wandered the alleys of the Gothic Quarter till we found an appealing place and ate there. We were never disappointed.

For my quirky trip (not enough time to see everything anyway), I think the Rick Steves' Barcelona book was more helpful. I got the version for the Kindle, but mostly read it on my iPhone. The only disappointment there was
that the images are all B&W (although the Kindle is B&W, this is not true of all books). The Fodor's book by contrast is full of wonderful pictures to whet your appetite. I think that means the Fodor's book is better for advanced planning and the Steves' book is better to take with you.

(I also got the Rough Guide to Barcelona for Kindle, which included color on my iPhone. This was also a nice accompaniment to have while we were there. We found the tourist office map sufficient for our excursions, but remember that we were there mostly for business and not enough sight seeing; you might want a better map.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, informative guidebook 26 July 2010
By nekko1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have strong preferences in Travel Guides. While the "Eyewitness" series are the most beautifully illustrated and photographed, I will read it pre-trip but never take it with me as I find it very short of critical information I need to navigate a city/country.

I find the Frommers guides very dry - factual and very complete but dense. I was delighted with this Fodor's "Barcelona" title. It had some photographs and illustrations to make it visually more fun to read. But it also has enough information to make it the book you throw into your travel bag.The critical information is there- short review, street address, credit cards or not, phone number etc. but presented in a somehow more entertaining way than its peers.

The other nice touch is that there is a Pull Out "On The Go Map" included. It has a Barcelona street map with Barcelona metro map on the back.

One note - although the title says "with Highlights of Catalonia and Bilbao" the book is actually comprised 40% of Catalonia and Bilbao. Which is great if you are going to those 2 areas.....not so great if you are not going there.

Anyway, definitely a good value for a $18.95 list price.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Guidebooks are not good as ebooks 14 Jun 2012
By TravelerX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this ebook because I thought that it would help me with weight restrictions (as I was flying Ryan Air). I found the book useless in the ebook format. The reason is that when you are reading a travel guide, you are constantly flipping between the page you are reading and the maps in the guide. This allows you to plan your trip and orient yourself as to the location of various sites. Unfortunately with an ebook, this flipping just doesn't work well. Perhaps it's just me, but I will never again buy an ebook guide. Also, the price of the ebook was the same as the paperback, so might as well buy a real book for the money... usually the books come with a free foldout map which is so helpful!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Would buy something different 13 Sep 2011
By Amy Arimoto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't used Fodor's in the past and I won't buy another travel guide from them. The book is layed out pretty well but was not very useful. I didn't use it to pick out a hotel so I can't speak to that section but used it heavily to find places to eat. They list a piaya place and in the description say it has some of the best piaya in town. It was some of the worst I've ever had and was on of those super touristy restaurants. We also used the map to find a restaurant Pla (recommended by our hotel) and found that it was not on the exact street the restaurant is showed on the map. The map was missing many streets in the Bari Gothic area which made it very hard to navigate. It also listed the Picasso museum as at top 10 thing to do and we were extremely disappointed in it. That is not the fault of the book but I certainly wouldn't list it in the top 10. Overall I will go back to the Let's Go or other books in the future, they have much better food and attraction information.
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