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Working on the recommendations on an Amazon list, I bought this to take along on a trip to Andalucia last week. It's a weighty tome that, following some basic travel information about the area, is divided into four sections dealing with geographical regions centred on Malaga, Seville, Cordoba and Granada. There's also some helpful background, including a comprehensive history of Spain, a description of flamenco, and a survey of books about several aspects of the country which looks complete (at least, I couldn't think of anything that had been missed) and is healthily opinionated.

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.
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on 19 August 2006
First, I have a confession to make. I live in the region and have co-written a walking guidebook about it. (Tony Bishop & Eva Bratek: "Walking in the Ronda Mountains"). When it comes to the thorny question of "Andalusia" (anglicized spelling) or "Andalucía" (Spanish spelling), it is very tricky in this age of the internet. Basically it boils down to which you think Googles best because both spellings are correct. Both I and the publisher of this guidebook have settled on the Spanish spelling.

Unfortunately when a reader reads through the Amazon reviews section, they can never know which edition they are reading about if there is more than one. That is unless the author points it out. That is particularly relevant to such a guidebook as this one. Some of the other reviews clearly refer to much earlier editions because of the date they were written. Maybe Amazon needs to re-examine this aspect.

And yet guidebooks change, sometimes drastically, especially if they are good guidebooks. The Rough Guide to Andalucía is a very good guidebook.

On the spine of the print edition there is the note "New Design". Indeed the design is a great improvement on previous editions. There are more and better photos, and an excellent use of colour coding along the edges of the pages for each of the eight provinces, even though six of those provinces are in fact paired together. Only Málaga and Cádiz provinces merit their own chapters. I can see why relatively small Almería was paired with Granada province. However, I would have thought that there was plenty to be visited in Seville, Córdoba, Huelva and Jaén provinces for them to deserve a chapter to themselves apart from their wonderful provincial capitals. Perhaps economics was brought to bear.

If there is one guidebook that I would recommend to anyone visiting only the "Big Three", namely Seville, Granada and Córdoba, it would be this one. All of those cities get very good coverage and the hotel and restaurant recommendations are so numerous that there is little chance of you finding yourselves surrounded by other people clutching the same guidebook. This is important for those who want to escape the hordes of tourists that inevitably gather in these cities and enjoy a more "authentic" experience. Other guidebook publishers take note.

Once you are outside those three fine cities, the Rough Guide to Andalucía really comes to life. For anyone contemplating a road trip through a part of Andalucía (to put this into a British context, it takes around 7 hours of motorway driving from east to west, roughly the equivalent of Dover to the Scottish border), for me there is simply no other generalist guidebook to match this one. There is quite simply a truck load of information. Admittedly, a few errors have crept in but the attention to detail is staggering. The descriptions of even the smallest of villages contain information about architecture, tapas bars, restaurants and places to sleep.

Preceding the factual stuff about the cities, towns, villages and countryside, there are invaluable chapters devoted to where and when to go, food and drink, travelling with children, and many other areas of interest.

At the end of the book, there are very useful chapters on history; flamenco; a very full bibliography (including, among others, history, art, architecture, hiking and cycling); the Spanish language. As you might expect, there are omissions but, broadly speaking, there is something for most people. (Should anyone wonder, no, my own book is not included.)

In short, this book is a labour of love, written by people who either live in Andalucía, or have come to adore its many attractions. An unreserved recommendation.
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on 11 July 2013
Enjoyed this guide, and it was much better than other guides we looked at however...

- 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 ...
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on 20 December 2000
I used this guide during a recent trip to Andalucia and chose it for the same reason as Sam (see other review). I found it an extremely useful guide for planning an itinerary, and I did not happen upon any major inaccuracies. I guess if you're the kind of person who gets worked up about having to 'waste' an afternoon in Granada (sounds like heaven), or taking a wrong turning on a walk, then you're probably going to be quite hard to please. I took numerous wrong turns and wasted time in some fabulous places, I recommend you buy this book and do the same.
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on 7 January 2013
This book provided all the information I needed to spend two fantastic weeks travelling around Andalucia for two weeks over the Christmas school holidays. Hotels, bus routes and all the interesting places worth a visit were covered in lots of detail and up to date prices.
A terrific purchase that was in constant use throughout the 14 days there.
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on 4 June 2009
I used the new 6th edition (May 2009) and more in particular the sections on Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba and Vejer de la Frontera during 2-3 day visits to these cities/towns.

This 6th edition of the Rough Guide to Andalucia displays the usual high quality that I have come to appreciate and expect from the Rough Guide series. Comprehensive, nice to read and relevant content. Well structured, nicely laid-out. And very reliable - except for the occasional errors in the listings of restaurants.

Only minor thing that sometimes slightly disappointed me: the level of detail in the city maps for Granada, Sevilla and Cordoba. The map with tapas bars and restaurants in Sevilla is definitely sweet. However in general the magnification level didn't always allow easily navigating or finding back e.g. the recommended bars in the - admittedly - little, narrow and twisting streets of the historical city centres. On that note: the little 'Old Town' map for Sevilla only shows half of what it's really supposed to show...
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on 15 March 2014
Did no-one at Rough Guide check out whether the maps were legible on an ipad before release? They're just not.
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on 13 September 2012
I tried really hard to use this while away on hols, I found it difficult to do my research and then easily find the page again, it was very frustrating to use a guide book on the kindle.
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on 8 January 2013
I was really hesitant about having a guide book electronically because I prefer to be able to flip through the pages & see what catches my attention. I also like scribbling notes in the margins to refer to next time. However, we combined the Rough Guide to Andalucia (e-book) with a Lonely Planet Spain (hard copy) so having both & cross referencing them was great. The Andalucia Rough Guide is packed full of information & having the regional specific guidebook is great when it comes to quantity of information. For example, instead of having just 3 or 4 options of places to stay or eat in the smaller towns (which is all you get in a country wide guidebook) you get maybe 8 or 12, depending on how touristy the town is (the more popular with visitors, the more options there will be).
Overall though I feel that guide books hype things up overall, & just because the author visited a place on a particular day at a particular time of year definitely does not mean you will have the experience that they are describing.
So my advice is to try and do as much 'on-the-ground' research as possible. Speak to your hotel, local tourist offices, the guy serving you coffee in the morning, and that is when you'll discover the real, genuine, local experiences.
Oh, and with the ability to bookmark & highlight headings in your Kindle, I didn't get too frustrated having an electronic guidebook. I think I would do it again.
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on 15 September 2012
Such a guide is essential with its information on significant places to visit, maps and hotel/restaurant guides.

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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