Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
Not good for independent travellers
on 31 January 2008
The strength of this guidebook is in its pictures - there are colour photographs throughout - and its guides to the most famous monuments which walk you through the main features in the order in which you're likely to find them. The weakness is in the maps and practical information.
The 'top ten' format is maintained rigidly throughout, even in the general information sections, which doesn't always seem appropriate. I was also unclear as to whether the top ten was in ranked order (i.e. with one being the best, ten the least good of the selection), or in no particular order. As the book often isn't comparing like with like (e.g. budget and luxury hotels in the same list), it is hard to tell.
The sightseeing sections are useful provided they cover what you need, however a lot gets missed out. Perhaps such a large region, so diverse in attractions, isn't suitable for a single guide of this size. The presentation is good and it's easy and undemanding to read, and the 'bitesize' chunks of information will be ideal for many travellers who want to know a little but not an enyclopaedia's worth. It's also small and light, suitable for carrying round in a small bag.
I would recommend this more to people on package tours or where they will have a significant level of guidance, rather than independent travellers. The maps are hard to follow and only cover the very centres of a few selected cities (Cordoba, for example, isn't included as a map even though it features heavily in the rest of the book). For travellers using public transport there is nowhere near enough information to enable travel and I got seriously lost in two cities because I was relying on this book. For example, the train stations aren't in the area covered on the maps, and there are no instructions or information about, for example, what bus to get or which direction to take.
The language section is reasonably comprehensive but the print is tiny! Those with poor eyesight might want to take a separate phrasebook.
On the whole, I liked this book some of the time, but wouldn't rely on it as a lone, independent, budget traveller. It would be a great accompaniment to a package or guided trip though.