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The Rough Guide to Andalucia Paperback – 1 May 2012
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Reliable, readable Rough Guides (Conde Nast Traveller)
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In a book like this, it can be difficult to get the amount of information right - too little, and the reader remains lost, too much, and they're overwhelmed. Besides the introductory and background material, I read the sections for the towns we were visiting (Mijas, Ronda, Seville, Cordoba and Granada) and thought that the balance the authors had struck was exactly right. There are helpful overviews that emphasise the sights and buildings that mustn't be missed, along with pointers to sections that allow the reader to drill down, providing just the right amount of extra information about the history, layout and importance of what they're looking at. I paid less attention to the sections on accomodation and restaurants, but the parts I looked at appeared to be complete and accurate. This didn't leave my side for the whole of our visit, and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone touring this region.
- Some details annoying inaccurate. Although we bought the most up to date version opening times of museums, restaurants etc were probably 60% inaccurate. This led to some pretty annoying instances where we totally missed one museum because we were only in that location for a short period. Now this may be because of the Spanish habit of changing their minds and there is a disclaimer to this effect in the book but if you really want to go somewhere, double check this information on the web before you go.
- Some of the layout choices make it difficult to cross reference. For example, the hotels map is on one page but there is another section and map for restaurants. This means there is a lot of too-ing and fro-ing and it can get a bit tedious.
- maps are either too small to be useful (pretty sure I strained my eyes trying to read the road names) or don't have all the road names on them in the city centre which can lead to quite a lot of confusion.
All that considered though this book allowed us to stray off the well trodden tourist path and have some adventures and we still felt safe. Can highly recommend trying the convents in Seville for some 'nun buns', straying south of the river in Seville for some non tourist flamenco or heading into the hill towns outside Jerez. Just remember to double check they are all open first ...
Unfortunately, this guide included very little detail for this area, focusing more heavily on the main tourist destinations such as Almeria, Granada and the Costas. Whilst Andalucia is large, you would expect more detail from a guidebook devoted to just this area, rather than an entire country.
Includes handy language translations
Good if you are going to a major tourist area
Useful history section
Colour photos and maps.
If you are venturing off the beaten track then I would buy something else, particularly if holidaying in the far east of the 'county'.
My main reason for giving this guide 3 stars is that the Kindle version is more expensive than the paper one: £10.99 compared to £9.65. If you have room, and sufficient weight allowance, I would recommend buying the book and dismembering it for the pages you need.
So, work out what you are going to do and buy accordingly, but remember you can scribble notes on a book.
However at times it does lack a touch of reality. For instance how do you get from the airport to your accommodation? Many will choose to go by taxi assuming they'll be cheap enough. But a taxi fare from Malaga to Nerja can cost more that your flight to Spain. Even a taxi to the nearest airport hotel can cost you about £20 and this is the chief cause of complaint on Trip Advisor. Yet the guide book does not even mention taxis.
It does give helpful information on buses but this is incomplete and can cause confusion to tourists. For instance, tickets for the main inter-urban routes must be purchased from the relevant bus company before boarding. You cannot just arrive and pay the driver, not can you expect to automatically get on with an open-ended ticket.
Some of the information given is simply wrong: the market in Nerja is located at a completly different part of town from that stated.
So, a very good publication but in need of more careful revision.
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