7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good choice in print form
I have not always been too enthusiastic about more recent LP guides, but this looks to be a return to form.
Though not an expert on Germany, I know Berlin pretty well and have stayed in Dresden for a few days and visited some of the Rhine towns: the recommendations for sites, culture etc seem to be pretty good, given that any country guide is going to have to...
Published on 27 April 2013 by S. J. Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodging Around Deutschland
"Few countries have had as much impact on the world as Germany..."
Perhaps not the most tactful words with which to start a travel guide given 20th Century European history, and that sums up part of the problem with this guide. Suffering the same issues as any book which tries to tell you as much as possible about an entire country's holiday destinations, the...
Published on 15 May 2013 by L. A. Hardy
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good choice in print form,
I have not always been too enthusiastic about more recent LP guides, but this looks to be a return to form.
Though not an expert on Germany, I know Berlin pretty well and have stayed in Dresden for a few days and visited some of the Rhine towns: the recommendations for sites, culture etc seem to be pretty good, given that any country guide is going to have to make major compromises due to space. I could quibble with one or two points about Berlin where I might write with a more urgent recommendation: for example, specific Berlin walking tours, a visit to Haus Wansee where Heydrich, Eichmann and others planned the policy and logistics of the 'Final Solution'; or detail like the availability of an excellent English language audio guide voiced by Andrew Sachs, which can be had for free (in temporary exchange for one's passport) at the incredibly interesting Topography of Terror; the northern renaissance paintings by artists like van der Weyden and van Eyck are amongst the chief gems of Berlin's magnificent Gemaldegalerie. But this guide does more than give a heads up for most of the things anyone would choose and provide useful contact details and transport info for them.
The mapping is an improvement on the house style of some years ago and the addition of more colour photos makes for an (unnecessary, in my opinion) brighter read, though I must say the choice seems somewhat arbitrary given the number of options available. The historical background is informative and there seem to be a reasonably wide-ranging number of recommendations for accommodation, eating and drinking, though I do wonder how useful print media hotel etc listings are given that most travellers probably use the internet to arrange things before travelling - dumping them could free up space for other things, though it would take a brave series editor to actually take that step and LP and similar series did originate as guides to the back-packing culture.
LP guides are increasingly including a removable map which is tear-offable from inside the back cover. For some reason, rather than making this a larger all-Germany map as the book is for the whole of the country, here they give a Berlin map, which is OK if you go to Berlin, though tourist information gives away excellent versions.
IN PRINT FORM the book is easy to navigate, though why the contents page, which I imagine most guide users consult pretty often, is located several pages in and therefore rather harder to locate in a hurry, is beyond me. (I have tried a couple of RG and LP guides in ebook format and they are SO cumbersome to navigate that they become almost unusable.) This is something I would definitely use on a tour of parts of Germany: of course, for visits with a narrower scope, regional or city guides are much more preferable. Finally, unlike recent Rough Guides, which I tend to prefer, the print size is fairly user friendly for those of us of a certain age.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well balanced, all round book, best used with other resources and an internet connection though!,
This slightly floppy, Chinese printed, soft back book is eight hundred and sixteen pages long with a folded map at the back. Too big for a pocket its probably something use to plan your day then to leave in the hotel. If you do carry it around though its should survive: it's been in my works bag for a few days now and is near pristine.
The first few pages are aimed at inspiration with a selection of pages giving an idea at the breadth of experience available in Germany so if you're not sure, begin at the beginning and it will point you towards the right region and page number for whatever cathedral, town, museum or railway excursion caught your eye. There are some example itineraries and a month-by-month planner that, unhelpfully, doesn't reliably list when in a month an event may fall, but it should be enough to guide your thinking. From there the book moves on to chapters about cities and regions, which takes up the bulk of the book, with the usual lists of things to do and places to stay interspersed with neat little insights, potted histories and explanations which make this better book more useful than randomly trawling the web for similar lists.
The end of the book is concerned with `Understanding Germany,' the `Survival Guide' (important things like what sort of electricity they use and tips on driving,) some German words and phrases and a brilliant index.
There are a few colour sections in the book, mostly in the first fifty pages, but for the most part the book (maps included) is dominated by black and grey text with blue highlighting. Print quality is good though the text is small and the paper nearly see-through so those with poor eyesight may struggle, especially in poor light. There are only about a dozen pages with
photographs on (and those are excellent, well chosen images) so this is a book to read rather than one to flick through and look for inspiring pictures. Read it with a web browser to hand and you can easily find the images the book is missing; reading it without this is liable to leave you wondering what on earth sections are talking about. On a similar note maps are indicative rather than comprehensive so be prepared to buy detailed maps if you plan to wander or download maps to your phone before leaving; even the tear-out Berlin map at the back isn't great, though you can unfold it without removing it from the book, which is unwieldy but could be useful.
If you treat this book as a starting point and a means to know what detail to go searching online for then it will work very well to give you a good understanding of Germany and where you might want to visit. It is not quite enough by itself as while it is very detailed in parts you are likely to want to know more as you plan your trip and the book acknowledges this as it suggests websites you may also want to look at. It is a very good place to begin planning your holiday in Germany and I'll be using this for mine when I go in the summer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with Lonely Planet,
I've long been a fan of LP. Granted they're not what they used to be before the BBC bought and sold them but they still produce what in my opinion, are the best printed travel guides.
As usual, these guides don't cover everything and they never will. Some areas are covered better than others. But do your own research from a range of different sources eg this book, google searches, friends who have been before and even local tourist offices once at your destination and you won't go wrong.
My wife and I intend to go on a road trip through Germany early next year so this will serve a useful guide to help us plan our trip before we go as well as having in the car with other bits we print of the Internet.
Now I've been to Berlin, Osnabrück, Munich and Bremen and the country side along the border with Austria so I think I have a fairly decent understanding of Germany. This guide provides all the information I think most people would know about cities like Munich and Berlin etc but also more than you might expect. As I mentioned earlier, these guides also miss a trick or two when it comes to covering destinations but if you have more than one point of reference you'll soon get a wider feel for a city or area.
There are more colour photos than there used to be along with the now standard pull out maps that have been around since 2006 or so. It makes for a more interesting book to flick through and the maps are useful for obvious reasons.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough,
Thorough and accessible guide, useful in my case for a first visit (of less than a week).
I'm not sure how much it would help someone who knew the country better, though, as much of the information about hotels can date quickly.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely guide to a fascinating country,
Germany is one of my favourite countries to visit, and I have travelled fairly widely there in the past. I was therefore really excited to read this new Lonely Planet guide to the country, and overall I was pleased with it and I think I will find it a very useful and informative companion on my next trip there.
As is usual with these comprehensive guides, there is a structured layout; firstly, information on how to plan your trip, then the main section with details of places of interest and sights in each region of Germany, followed by a section about history, culture, food, people, architecture, wildlife, and so on, and finally there's some practical information with regards to transport and language.
I think these guides tell you plenty of information about all the main sites that you would expect to find details of, but also tell you about some of the more hidden things that you might not have known about or might not have thought of visiting.
There are several pages of colour photography, and the maps are all in colour, plus colour (blue) has been used in the text to highlight things. I'm someone who likes to read about a place more than see the photos, but I am happy that more colour and images have been incorporated here because I think it broadens the appeal of the guide.
There is plenty of information, as always, regarding places to stay and to eat and drink, as well as attractions and entertainment. There are suggested itineraries if you have say one or two days in Berlin for example.
The guide also contains a colour pull-out map of Berlin at the back, which could be detached along the perforated join so if you were visiting the city you could take the map alone without the book if you wanted to, and this has top sights, an a-z street index and an underground map as well as the city map. Having said that, it would in a way have been nice to include instead a larger map of the whole of Germany, being as that is the subject of the book, and anyone buying this guide may well be visiting more of the country than just Berlin after all.
What I do like with these guides is that there are some interesting pieces of background information about places, stories, and history, integrated into the travel chapters so that as you visit or read about a place, you find out a bit more too.
It's not the lightest travel book to physically carry around; for me it is best used as a comprehensive read before your trip, and/or take it with you but plan what you are doing that day and then leave the book in your room perhaps, and as this guide covers the whole of the country, if you want to visit just one city or area, you might want to get hold of another book too that goes into even greater detail on that place. Having said that I do like having a guide that covers the whole country and I love being able to dip in and out of the different regions and read a little here and a little there. I'll certainly use this book, probably in conjunction with online searching, to plan our next trip.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wunderbar!,
This comprehensive guide to Germany meets the standards I have come to expect from Lonely Planet. I'll focus on the two areas of the country I know best, Berlin, and Munich and its surroundings, to adopt a case study approach to this review, given that it is impossible to cover every section of this lengthy guidebook. For Berlin, this guide passes with flying colours - perhaps unsurprisingly, given that there is a map of Berlin included at the back and the writers have clearly focused upon it as a top destination. I used the Lonely Planet Pocket Berlin guide last time I was in Berlin, and the writers seem to have successfully condensed it into this shorter section - reassuringly, for example, all the bars and restaurants I'd thought were especially top picks in the Pocket guide are here as well. The guide also covers all the major sights, and although there is only room for a short paragraph on each one, there's enough to whet your appetite for finding out further details when you get there.
The section on Munich itself is equally good - although I was a little disappointed with some of the tips for its surroundings. For example, I spent a splendid day in July visiting some of the sights near the Austrian border in the southeast of Bavaria, including Konigsee and the Salzbergwerk salt mines - but I popped over the border from Salzburg to do it. This guide doesn't suggest doing the same move in reverse, which seemed to me to be a significant omission as it's a shortish bus journey and Salzburg's compact historical centre is perfect for a day trip. Given the number of countries that Germany borders, it would be a shame if this is the case throughout the text! Obviously, this is intended to focus upon Germany, but there would be no harm in including one- or two-line suggestions for excursions; my Berlitz guide to Salzburg was excellent for this. (Although LP don't do a separate guide to Salzburg - you have to get the Austria guide - so maybe they just don't like it much?)
A final bonus in this guide were the sections at the beginning that sum up why I find LP the most useful guidebooks; for example, 'Itineraries' and 'Regions at a Glance', which is especially helpful if your geography is a little shaky. It also answered the two complaints I had about Pocket Berlin - there is a list of German numbers to 100 and information about stamps and postage! Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lonely Planet Uber Alles,
I've only really "dipped" into Germany - a couple of day trips while holidaying in the Alsace region of Eastern France and a drive down through a small portion of south east Germany from Munich into Austria - so clearly no expert on the country!!
However, I'm going for an extensive holiday in the Black Forest/south west area of Germany next year and so thought this Lonely Planet book would be a good addition to my collection for that trip (I already have the Dorling Kindersley book on Germany - don't you just love the pics in them!?)
So, how does the LP one compare and how comprehensive is it if you are trying to maximise your holiday while over there? Firstly I must say that I am impressed with the level of detail you get in this book. OK so it's not small (at over 800 pages) but even then it packs an enormous amount of information in.
The book starts with around 50 pages of introductory stuff - you know the usual info - maps of the whole country, why go, 18 top must-see places to visit, what you need to know, special events throughout the year, outdoor activities, eating and drinking in Germany, travelling in Germany and the regions at a glance.
Then most of the rest of the book is region by region - anywhere between 40 and 80 pages each. Once the general info is out of the way (why come to this region and when is the best time to visit etc) the region is further divided into sub-areas of big towns/cities and areas. Each section is has a wealth of information per sub-region: general info, history, maps, sights, tours, festivals and events, where to eat, where to sleep, prices, entertainment, drinking, shopping, getting around etc. There really is a huge amount of info.At the back there's also a useful city map of Berlin if that's one of your destinations.
With this book, my DK book and a comprehensive road atlas of Germany I now feel fully equipped to visit Germany next year without any trepidation! The lonely Planet book for Germany is a big hit with me!
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive (maybe) Inspirational (definitely),
I love flicking through this book. We've recently returned from a family holiday in Berlin (where we used the excellent LP Berlin Pocket guide), and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Next we'd like to explore more of Germany, in particular Bavaria.
Unfortunately, I haven't road tested the guide yet. The new rules for Vine reviews mean I have to review it within a month. Since we're not returning to Germany for a while, you'll just have to make do with an untried and untested review.
The book is well laid out. Probably the best I have seen of any incarnation of LP guides. This is using their new format and it really works. Lots of information up front about the best things to see, broken down by region, suggestions of time of year to visit, and ideas for the type of experience you're going to get (active, cultural, scenic, family friendly, that sort of thing). There are a number of suggested itineraries. All this gives lots of inspiration for picking areas to visit.
The guide is then broken into regions, the start of each having more specific highlights. Germany is a large country with so many things to visit. This book makes with them all seem enticing, there is enough information and inspiration to provide for several holidays. The practical information is clear and concise, but i cant vouch for its accuracy. Having said that, LP are normally reliable and the author of the Berlin guide we used is coauthor of this guide too, so there is no reason to suspect it might be deficient. I look forward to road testing it in earnest.
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive,
I'm always a bit wary of full-country guide books as they can often be quite superficial, so my hopes for this weren't too high. I'm pleased to say that my expectations have been exceeded, as this book has turned out to be more useful and interesting that I imagined.
It's a solid, weighty book, at just over 800 pages and is broken down into Berlin (including pull-out map) and about 10 other areas. In addition, there are the usual information pages regarding history, culture, cuisine, transport and the main sights. It's actually more varied and detailed than you would probably expect for such a wide subject matter.
One of the things I liked about the book was that the main text was broken up by information boxes, maps and even a few (but never enough) photographs. Also, to lessen the pain of looking at 800 pages of mostly text, the book makes liberal use of different size and colour fonts, making it a lot easier to read and decipher.
As to the quality of the information provided, I looked at a few areas I was familiar with and I'd have to say that the information is pretty accurate and therefore useful. Despite having been to many places in Germany, there are still many more I haven't seen, and this book has whetted my appetite for more.
Due to the nature of this nationwide guide, it's inevitable that some (many) areas of interest will be glossed over or even ignored completely. As this covers the main sights that those maybe less familiar with the country would probably be interested in first, it would make sense for people looking a bit more off the beaten track to buy more area-specific guides which would probably have the greater depth required.
Germany being the wonderful, interesting, scenic and historic country that it is, deserves many visits to many different areas, so if nothing else, this book allows you an overview of most areas and gives you the basic information you need to narrow your search down.
I do feel that it would have benefitted from more photographs, as Germany has many stunningly beautiful medieval towns and villages, not to mention castles. I felt that some of the photos chosen didn't best show the beauty of the sights and also that many equally beautiful sights didn't get a photo at all (Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen and Lübeck spring to mind). I also felt the book over-emphasised the wonders of walking in the Black Forest compared to the greater variety and majesty of the Bavarian Alps.
I'd use this to plan which area you want, then buy a smaller specific guide to actually take on holiday.
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and informative but old-fashioned style,
I'd have given this guide five stars for general factual information and comprehensiveness, but only three for written style, so I've split the difference and awarded four. It is indeed admirably comprehensive and, as far as I can judge, it's accurate. The book is well organised, beginning with sections on planning your visit, then offering a region-by-region guide, with detailed information on both major cities as well as smaller centres of interest. It concludes with two sections, one on German history, culture and society, the other is a "survival" guide, with practical information on accommodation, transport, and other useful tips. There are lots of large and small scale maps throughout the guide; attractive photographs of places to visit; the information is set out in a small but perfectly legible typeface, and beautifully designed in a manner which makes it very easy to use and to find one's way around.
So, what's not to like? Chiefly the written style, which seems (though I admit it's unlikely) to have been produced by a team of people brought up on those Disney wildlife films of the 1950's ("The Vanishing Prairie" perhaps, or "The Living Desert"). For example, the entry on Berlin's great zoo accommodates "furry and feathered critters...cheeky orang-utans, cuddly koalas...playful penguins" and so on. Estate agents wrote the piece on Freiburg, however, which runs thus, "Sitting plump at the foot of the Black Forest's wooded slopes and vineyards, Freiburg is a sunny, cheerful university town, its medieval Altstadt a story book tableau of gabled town houses, cobblestone lanes and cafe-rimmed plazas". I'm surprised they didn't comment on the quality of the primary schools and whether you had to put your children's names down early for a place at the local grammar school. Of course these comments of mine are quibbles, and the main issue is whether "Germany Lonely Planet Guide" is informative, accurate and comprehensive, and it is. But my advice to any travel writer is to avoid using picturesque language and just tell it straight.
To get it straight I would add to this very good Lonely Planet Guide the excellent "Germany:The Rough Guide" in Gordon McLachlan's classic 1998 edition, still available on Amazon Marketplace.
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Lonely Planet Germany (Travel Guide) by Ryan Ver Berkmoes