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The Rough Guide to Austria Paperback – 3 Nov 2008
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Where the Lonely Planet only had a short paragraph on a small number of villages/towns in a region, the Rough Guide actually covered all the ones you were likely to visit, giving you a real flavour of an area. Given the extensive post bus services (except on Sundays!), this is valuable not just for those with their own transport. In Vienna, the Rough Guide has a lot more suggestions on what to do, the LP is very brief by comparison, although it does have a highly-publicised pull out map (image over content...). Also - as always - the general information, history, etc are all better in the Rough Guide. Rough Guide partly achieves all this by being a physically bigger book, and partly as the layout inside allows for more info, compared to the numerous columns and headings favoured by LP. Towards the end of my trip I actually lost my Rough Guide and was reliant on the LP. This made it really hard to decide what to visit, as if I planned to go say to X town for the day, there was not enough info in the LP to plan a day itinnery or find things to do en route.
Finally, I did not find it a problem that the book is a few years old. Unlike when I have visited more developing countries, things do not change that much each year - hotels are mostly family run for generations, new towns do not pop up overnight. Prices had gone up slightly everywhere, as you'd expect over time, but this was generally always predictable. I was surprised by the continued accuracy of bus and train information. Timetables do change slightly on a yearly basis and between summer/winter seasons in ski, lakes and other tourist areas, but this happens every year and you can always look this info up online (trains - [...]; post buses - [...]) and/or pick up a timetable from hotels / tourist info / buses.
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