on 11 August 2001
I have previously found the DK eyewitness range of books to be most the most detailed city guides on the market. However the Barcelona edition proved to be a big disapointment. To start with I arrived in the city at the main railway station only to find it wasn't even in the map section. On further visiting attractions within the city there was minimal or even omitted detail on some of the leading tourist destinations. During my visit I eventually dispensed with the book and relied more on tourist information handouts.
on 11 July 2001
There was not much more to offer after buying the Eyewitness guide to Spain, in fact they more or less just took the chunk about Catalunya and put a cover on it and said "that will be X amount please". This guide is fantastic for maps and pictorial guides, but the information about on trains, restaurants, parks, opening times etc... needs a lot more further exploration as I found much to my frustration, I would recommend this book (if you havn't got the guide to Spain), for its pictorial info, but I would also buy the 'Rough Guide to Barcelona' (which saved my holiday!) for information purposes.
on 12 August 2005
Yet again our holiday was made more enjoyable by the fantastic DK guide
on 9 June 2007
We used this for a day visit to Barcelona and didnt find it to be amazing. It was definitely not the most user friendly of travel guides, lacking in cross-referencing and as with some other guides I have used (namely Michelin), it suffered from insufficiently detailed maps. Another main issue is that while the title ("Barcelona & Catalonia"), indicates coverage of the Catalonia area. It does this to some extent, but not sufficiently which means you either need a separate guide for the wider area or make do with a limited view.
On the upside it covered most of the main attractions, and its attempts to give the reader an informed view of what to see from more than the average tourist perspective are commendable. Its also not too big, and has some good history and useful contextual information.
Overall I think its on the right lines, but could be improved significantly. I would guess that there are better alternatives out there.
on 10 November 2009
Unfortunately, this guide did not arrive in time for our recent trip to Barcelona, so we were forced to make do with other guides. We bought a (French) Michelin guide (Guide Vert), and were supplied 3 other current guides through our accommodation: Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and another (forgettable) one. During our stay, we dearly missed our DK guide! Once home, we were able to compare and contrast the different guides. The DK guide has far and away the best maps -- the rest were hopeless. Plus, the pictures give you a better idea of what to see and do first -- what most appeals to you jumps off the page. The other guides were tedious -- their narratives did not help you decide how to rank sites or plan your day, and did not give you a feel for the city or culture.
I would like to counter the complaints of some reviewers that there was not a map of the drive from the airport to the city. If you are renting a car, get that information from the rental agency. But more importantly, if you are planning to drive anywhere in Europe, use a GPS. No map inside a guidebook will save you from getting hopelessly confused on the roads -- they are not intended to serve as road maps.
I would add that we never take the accommodation recommendations in guidebooks -- we use tripadvisor for hotels, and usually find apartments to rent on our own.
The restaurant recommendations were actually good, but we also peruse internet sites, newspaper articles and such for restaurant and café recommendations. We also like the restaurant recommendations in the Guide Routard (the French know food!), and so sometimes purchase it as well.
The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Barcelona and Catalonia though, is the single best guide there is -- don't leave home without it.
on 28 January 2001
We bought this guide before going on a short break at the end of December 2000. It is clear and well laid-out, with easily readable colour maps of the centre of Barcelona showing the main places of interest. There are also colour photographs of the main attractions. It probably isn't necessary to buy local guides in addition - we didn't. We made some use of the restaurant information which we found to accurate.
In comparison with other city guides, the clarity of the maps and attractive photographs are particular strong points. The only drawback was the absence of price information for the entry to museums and other tourist attractions. Overall a good buy which served us well.
on 21 August 2012
This is a beautifully produced book with fantastic information about some things and pretty pictures, but we (mum dad and kids aged 5 and 1) just spent 17 days in Barcelona with it.
Leave it at home to enjoy on your return and buy a book with better info for travellers (the real hub of the Book doesn't even start till p.50 "Introducing Barcelona").
The book doesn't take away that slightly lost feeling you have when travelling - enjoyable when you are alone / in a couple, but not really as a family.
The information we needed (I will assume most people new to a place do too) didn't seem to be in this book e.g. useful insights to help you out - I will give you one as an e.g.
There are 4 pages dedicated to the Sagrada Familia in the book. A tiny panel is all the info about getting there. When we arrived there was a huge queue - but none at the "Tickets Online" counter.
With 2 children we couldn't stand in the queue - and on a different day we booked our entry tickets from a computer and walked straight in.
This guide book could have provided us this as a tip and saved a half a day carrying the kids up and down stairs etc on the underground (metro).
Tips like these should abound in a good guide book.
Incidentally, another top tip - if you get the train from the airport to Barcelona I think a station is actually signed "Barcelona Sants" on the platform and "Sants Estacio" on the Metro map.
I might be wrong about this but I missed our stop because it didn't have the station name I was expecting and this is how I think I did it, and hope you don't make the same mistake.
Lots of other problems with the book - e.g. our child's favourite day there was actually going to the water park Illa Fantasia - not mentioned (I don't think) in the book (nor the details of the harbour cable car on p53 map) - nor his second favourite day trip to a shallow pool recommended on a mums travel web site. Hence - the book is poor for families but beautiful to look at - and with an excellent laminated map included.
Incidentally this is called "Free pull-out map" on the cover but as it is glued in I think it is integral to the book - which means it isn't. Hence, the integrity of the publishers is questionable. Plus they have maps with scales on different pages, refer to the location of one area as "behind Barcelona" - whatever that means. Hmm. It could be so much better.
on 14 February 2012
Being a big fan of DK Eyewitness Travel Guides for a long time, as I love seeing pictures of places before I go (internet does the rest for me) I wanted to have a more detailed guide of Catalonia and Barcelona before my next holiday. As I currently have their Spain Guide I was expecting this to be something more comprehensive and detailed with more info and more photos then what they have on this region in the other guide. I mean, only then that I understand the purpose of issuing a new book, if it is different then the other one. This guide is by far the biggest disappointment from DK Eyewitness and is going back today as it is just a chapter taken out of the bigger Spain Guide, dot by dot, with two more photos (yes, I did count them), nothing more... and it costs more then Spain Guide, which I do recommend in this instance as a better buy than the Catalonia and Barcelona only.
I will be shopping for something more detailed on Catalonia and other regions as neither Spain nor Catalonia guides are comprehensive enough for my needs. Some of the National Parks are not covered by the guide.
All in all the guide is OK, a typical DK Eyewitness stuff, but I will only rate it 1 star as I feel tricked by them. They tricked me into buying another guide which is dot by dot the same as the other one.
I guess it will do for people only going to Catalonia who only want to have a small guide instead of a thick Spain guide. But it is the same stuff and the other one is much cheaper.
on 26 April 2012
The map was brilliant: laminated and waterproof, it covered most of Barcelona, with a large scale map of the Old Town on the reverse, plus Metro map and important bus routes. For 7 days that map was in and out of my bag, folded and refolded, and it was still in great condition at the end.
The way the sections are arranged is logical and guides you through, so you can select what is appropriate easily, and it's a good size to go in a shoulder bag. The flaps help to keep your place for reference.
We would have missed lots if we hadn't had the photos, drawing, maps and diagrams.
Of course, it's the diagrams of places like Sagrada Familia that bring things to life, and are so helpful in planning visits.
I always do lots of research with a variety of travel guides, using the local library, but I think the DK guides beat the lot, and they are the ones I purchase.
Ideal for a short or longer trip, and the section on Catalonia covers the basics.
I have been a fan of Dorling Kindersley (DK) books for many years and, generally, seeing "DK" on the cover is enough for me. The Eyewitness Travel Guides are full of information, photographs, maps and almost everythning one looks for in a guide book. (I rarely expect guidebooks to have current information on public transport and always obtain current version from the city itself but I share the other reviewers' comments on the need for some more basic information, e.g. opening times.)
However, it is crammed with a wealth of information on this fascinating city, much of it illustrated by excellent photographs; there are numerous maps too, in addition tot eh usual selection at the back. No book will have all the information everyone requires but this certainly will compete favourably, except in specifics of transport timetables, although it does cover a large area and there are others dealing just with Barcelona, a city with enough interest for a book of its own.