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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2008
This is yet another feather in Rough Guides' cap. Spain is one of the most rewarding countries to travel around, especially for those who like to explore off the beaten track, so a good guidebook is more than welcome.

Besides the usual hotel and restaurant reviews, which I've always found accurate and honest, there is much more besides. The town and city descriptions are refreshingly candid, ranging from "stunningly beautiful" to "large, sprawling and industrialized", a welcome departure from those guides that are unstinting of their praise for everywhere. That makes it easier for the traveller to choose an itinerary that shouldn't contain too many disappointments.

The guide is organised into chapters on geographical regions, each with a useful introduction detailing the region's highlights. All regions of Spain are covered, often in surprising detail.

The sections on the well-known destinations are entertainingly written with coloured inserts that dwell on particular themes (e.g. the cider houses of San Sebastian, Costa Brava fiestas, parish churches of Seville, Madrid café life)that will encourage people to seek out the less obvious, a welcome respite from non-stop sightseeing. However, there is plenty there for the visitor who wants to concentrate on the country's big attractions. For example, in the section on Granada's Alhambra there is a whole page on the practicalities of "Admission to the Alhambra" to accompany the five pages of erudite description of the complex and a valuable map.

There are also knowledgeable sections on the less fashionable and less visited corners of Spain, such as Las Hurdes in Extremadura and El Maestrazgo in Aragón, often quite detailed, that will reward the traveller who enjoys getting off the beaten track. There are also details of hikes for those who like to get out of their cars and walk.

As is always the case with Rough Guides, there are attractive colour plates and a comprehensive "Contexts" section covering themes such as history, architecture, art, music, cinema and reading lists. The book is well bound.

Accommodation is price-banded, sensible given the seasonal fluctuations in prices in some places, and in the tapas bars/restaurant recommendations the house specialities are provided. I would offer just one criticism: in these days of car-based tourism, it would be useful to have indicated which hotels have car parking facilities.
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This edition is packed with so much researched and useful information for do-it-yourself touring. The 13th edition, published in May 2009, is in front of me being compared with a predecessor published in 1999.
You now get 1000 pages with 34 in colour compared to ten years ago of a 911 page book with just 8 colour pages. The latest version has thankfully lost the annoying adverts at the rear where you would expect to quickly look up a place name in the index. Additionally, we have the latest trend of a travel list, along the lines of things not to miss, in this instance it is 34 colour pictures showing what we ought to view when in Spain. There is so much to enjoy in Spain to entice travellers away from the resorts . . . grand architecture, grand cities, mountain landscape, fiestas, food and art.
The details of each location are of such a practical approach from 'how to get from the airport', where the bus/train stops in the town centre and, in my view, the most comprehensive maps of any guide which contain the street names, notable places of interest and accommodation.
Each region is covered, then within each chapter it is laid out in an order which recreates a route which can feasibly be taken. The accommodation selected shows the variety of age groups and tastes catered for, not just for gap year students and back-packers! There are hostels through to 5-star hotels, each is chosen for consideration of character and the web site addresses make it easier to book yourself, in English.
Think of a bible, not just a wealth of knowledge and a trustworthy companion, but it is amazing how print can be applied to such thin pages!
In summary, it offers a practical approach to traveller's needs with an emphasis on value for money.
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on 21 August 2008
The Rough Guides rarely disappoint. They are thorough and interesting. My only complaint is that Murcia, as usual in guidebooks like this, just doesn't get the treatment it deserves. I always buy the most recent edition, but suggest you can probably skip an edition now and then!
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on 11 August 2011
The maps are unreadable and navigation is impossible, so this is useless as a guide book on the Kindle.

The maps are too small to see, and can't be zoomed in on. In particular, the text on the maps is unreadable.

When I went to Granada, I wanted to read the relevant section, but there is no way of navigating to it other than searching for the word 'Granada', which unsurprisingly gets mentioned everywhere, then trying to work out which of the references is the section on the city. In short, there is no function to replace the index in the print edition, which is essential for the use of a reference book of this kind.

Stick with the print edition until the Rough Guides pull their finger out and make usable e-books.
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on 26 June 2009
I have previously used the Rough Guide to France and found it excellent. Far more detailed and interesting than it's competitors. Am finding The Rough Guide to Spain extremly helpful as I plan a three week journey around Spain.
I have not used the accommodation component.
Having never visited Spain before I soon became very familiar with the geography, culture ,food history and art of the routes I plotted. All very illuminating , easy to use and enticing.
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on 3 February 2010
I am a great fan of the Rough Guides. I have previously used the guides for China, Japan and South-East Asia and they were all fantastically useful. I will be going to Spain and Italy this summer so bought the respective guides and I'm glad that I did. Great maps, city guides and country info means that I'll be well prepared for the summer. My only niggle is the '34 things not to miss' four of which are festivals, which are a little redundant in inclusion because of the very small time scale every year and the likelihood that the average traveller won't be able to attend them. If you're after a guide to Spain, go for this one!
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on 24 February 2014
Usually borrowed this book from the town library before going on holiday, so we are familiar with its contents. This book came in excellent condition and was posted and received in very quick time. Only paid 1p for the book so there are extremely good offers to be had . Recommend this site 100%.
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on 25 July 2010
We bought this Guide thinking that it would be the most up to date for our needs.We took it to the Costa del Sol and found the information quite skimpy.There was no mention of Benalmadena,Frigiliana or the aqueduct at Maro.We now wonder what else they left out.
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on 20 November 2009
Not much on the Balearics and the canary islands means that an excellent overview of peninsular Spain overlooks the main tourist spots of the Islands.

Really good apart from the missing Islands and North African enclaves
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on 10 August 2010
I brought this as I'm living out in Spain for a while, and even in the entirely un-touristy places it has something to offer - i have the rough guide to thank for my enjoyment of many and varied tapas and local wines, even in the deserts of Castilla-la-Mancha! The snippets of info on the food, history, activities are just enough to send me off exploring for more info. Comprehensive and well worth the tenner!
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