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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Spain is a large country and it is to Lonely Planet's credit that they have not attempted to skimp and just provide a basic coverage. In fact this is a fairly weighty tome which runs to a little over 900 pages. The first 60 or so pages cover the basics including the almost obligatory and somewhat subjective 25 top experiences. We also have basic information and suggested itineraries depending how long you are planning to travel in Spain.

Most of the rest of the book is a detailed consideration of the dozen regions of Spain including extensive sections on the major cities of Madrid and Barcelona. In each region there is a broad overview including when to go (temperature and rainfall charts), why go and highlights. Then there is detailed coverage of where to eat, where to stay and the main sights which you will want to see whilst you are there. Unlike some guides, the restaurant summaries actually sound like someone has eaten there as opposed to summarising information available elsewhere. I was a bit less convinced about the accommodation guides as I would presume that most people consult Tripadvisor or similar these days.

Towards the end there are about thirty pages devoted to the history of the country and various specialised aspects such as flamenco and bullfighting. Finally there is a very useful survival guide covering the practicalities of visiting the country including transport links. Overall this is a very comprehensive and well thought out country guide and contains a huge amount of information for the visitor to Spain. Normally I would suggest that if you are visiting a major city such as Barcelona or Madrid you would be better off with a City Guide rather than relying on a country guide. However, with about 70 pages devoted to each I would think that this book would be perfectly adequate for a short visit to either of these two cities.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I normally use the Rough Guide series of books, but gave Lonely Planet a try.

I guess one gets used to the structure of a preferred guide, so I was pleasantly surprised at how immediately readable I found this book. Clearly a lot of thought has been given to the likely needs of a typical reader and the layout designed to suit.

I liked: the 25 Top Experiences section - which was not a list of museums and cathedrals, but included Pintxos in San Sebastian & Flamenco in Andalucia (bth of which are personal highlights of my trips); and the What' New section with updates since the previous edition.

The Eat Like a Local 8 page section was very good, and practical. As an example it explained that you should ask for vino de Manzanilla, not just Manzanilla. I can personally confirm that if you ask for the latter you will get chamomile tea! I thought it was my pronunciation.

I also liked the Tips Boxes presented throughout. So typical tips would be: Don't visit the Alambra and Seville Cathedral on the same day - too much to take in; and how you can reserve (cathedral) tickets online to avoid queues.

The Understand Spain section was excellent, and included sections on Spain Today, History, Bull Fighting etc.

I found the maps very clear, including a fold out Barcelona map, and there is a reasonable number of photographs throughout. It is not a photo guide type book, and I was happy with the balance of mostly text.

In summary I was very impressed with this book. It is excellent for both pre-visit reading, and as a traveling companion. Recommended. Looking through the section covering the regions I have visited, the guide gives the feel and details that mirror my experiences.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've looked at a few Lonely Planet Travel Guides recently and I've been underwhelmed with most of them. This is another example of a book that misses the mark for me. A thick book that's over 1000 pages long, it attempts to cover the whole country of Spain, but does so in a manner that does not entice me to visit the country. The book covers all the different areas of the country (even the Balearics), but there is only a smattering of photographs, and page after page of identical looking paragraphs on the sights, sleeping and eating. The drab layout and lack of images means that it's just too much information to take in and nothing to catch your eye or show you why you should visit a particular area. If you don't already know where you want to go, this book won't be a great deal of help.

The information that is provided is written in a fairly pleasant and engaging manner, but the choices of what to include are odd - there are masses of pages worth of information on hotels, for example, yet I know very few people who don't find and read reviews for their accommodation online. The section on Barcelona (around 80 pages) is fairly useful, with a lot of handy maps, yet I would have imagined anyone visiting the city would want a smaller, dedicated city guide to take around with them instead - this book is far too heavy and cumbersome to take around the city centre with you.

There are good points to this book - there are quite a few maps, and the suggestions for sights and activities are useful, but it's just not my favourite type of guidebook. I can't help but compare it to the Frommer's Spain Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Full Size) which manages to cover the whole of Spain in a much more engaging style, packed full of inspiring photos. I would definitely recommend the Frommers guide over this one, though if you prefer a very text-heavy book then the Lonely Planet may suit you more.
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on 28 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm amazed by the amount of information packed into this book, not a square inch of paper has been wasted. Spain is a big country to cover, and so this is a substantial book - about 730grams, but it's well worth finding room in your luggage allowance for it . They have obviously worked hard to get the maximum amount of info into it without making it impractical to lug around. As it covers the whole country, you won't find the level of detail necessary to really appreciate a long stay in the big cities, but there is enough info for a short stop. There are many maps throughout the guide, and it includes a useful large detachable map of Barcelona. They've done a good job of updating the guide, and although, some details will change soon after publication, I still think a paper book is the simplest and safest guide to rely on. As ever, you can find out about travel, entertainment, eating, places to stay, trips and local customs. It's really like having a mate with you who has lived in Spain for a few years. It doesn't just tell you that a particular bar or restaurant is good for example, but also gives a brief description of the style and atmosphere of each place and when are the good days/times to go. It's detail like that that makes the difference between and OK trip and a great trip. It's really worth while to read and absorb some of the helpful hints on cultural differences so that you can avoid offending or being offended on your holiday. Sit down with this book for half an hour and you will want to set off for Spain right now.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is another high quality product from the team at Lonely Planet. It has everything the visitor would want in a guide - history, culture, food, geography and transport. All very comprehensive - I could not fault the information included.

The town maps are clear and well labelled and the colour photographs are a treat to drool over and dream of visiting (or revisiting!). The pull-out city map of Barcelona is a bit flimsy but adequate for planning purposes.

I know some people think the days of the guide book are over and that the internet is the way forward - but there is nothing quite like having something in your hand to flick through and pore over!

Highly recommended.
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on 21 December 2013
Oh god....what have they done. Its completely unusable. The paperback book I'm sure is great....but Jesus the kindle edition is absolutely awful. There's no table of content so you cant read it logically or find a specific section without using the search button, which is also useless.

There are no header or footers so you don't know where in the book you are

Ok, i want to read about Bilbao so i select 'table of content - oh its taken me to the front cover mmmm, that's not the table of content. OK I'll go forward a few pages and surely I'll eventually come to it as its always in the front of the book right, flick page, flick another page..oh found it...oh hang on this is a funny table of content:

- Spain Cover
- How to use this guide (lol shows me an old photo of black and white kindle with arrows pointing to what the buttons do - And this was published in march 13?)
- Spain Map
- Plan your trip
- On the road
- Understand Spain
- Survival guide
- Behind the scenes
- Map legend
- Our writers

Does it have chapters for each region? NO

Ok....so i want to read about Bilbao...ok so ill use the search button to locate info on Bilbao...WHHHHHHAAAAAAT 100 matches for 'Bilbao, ok so the main section for Bilbao must be highlighted in some way to direct me...errrrr NO

OK...I'LL TRY LOCATION 3318....Is that Bilbao...errrr don't know there's no chapter details

Ok i'll try search location 353...oh looks promising...mmm I'll turn the pags backwards and surely it will take me to a chapter about Bilbao or that region....turn page, no...turn page, no...AAAAAAARRRRHHH its whats new chapter' WHICH ISNT EVEN IN THE TABLE OF CONTENTS ABOVE


Ok...deep breaths...lets be systematic...lets select 'Plan your trip' Ok....oohhhh lets try 'regions'

Madrid - NO

Castilla Y Leon - NO

Castilla La Mancha - NO

Barcelona - NO

Aragon - NO

Getting board now


Villages 'click here' oohhhhhh yes yes yes


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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In my view this is the best full country tourist guide to Spain in print at the moment. I'm a person who tends to be reluctant to abandon old 'well-loved' guides for new ones. However, I have had not a moment's problem ditching my Michelin and Rough Guides for this. I am taking it on it's baptismal outing to Barcelona next month. I feel that it can assist me get around on what is primarily a business trip, but that I and my wife will be able to grab and effectively use our limited spare time with ease.

The design is entirely modern Lonely Planet, which in my view means less perverse and over-trendy choices than rough Guides, less francophile sneering than Michelin. Maps are good, photos enticing. I have checked against my recent direct experiences of Spain (Minorca, Malaga, Majorca, Benaldamena, touring, Tenerife. The only defect is in a slight lack of historical depth, and corrsponding ancient sites. You will need to add something for that if inclined in that direction!
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on 14 October 2014
Truth is this looks like a comprehensive guide - but it isn't. To illustrate the point, a glance at the index will show you no entry for anywhere being with a Y - at a stroke missing out numerous town and villages. In fact the guide book sticks to much the same key tourist places covered by other guides but, to be fair, covers them in an interesting style. Go as an independent traveller and you will fail to find mention of many of the small towns and villages you see, eagerly turning the pages to find out the history of a castle of other structure as we passed by, only to be disappointed. For us this frustration was worst in western Spain - Extremadura, southern Castilla.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is visually better to use and easier to navigate than previous editions. The typeface stands out better and the use of colour to subdivide areas works well - blue headings, a narrow bar of brown to separate sections within a chapter, useful beige boxes of facts and things of interest, and reasonable maps as long as your eyesight is OK. Interestingly the pull-out map at the back is Barcelona not Madrid, obviously more frequented by tourists.
I always test these books by checking what they say about areas I have been to: in that respect, with space obviously being at a premium in a book of such a big country, it does a good job of the Balearics, Valencia, Seville, Granada, Barcelona and Santiago de Compostella. It is therefore reasonable to suppose it carries that same quality for areas I do not know. Clearly if you are to base yourself in just one deliniated area you'd be wise to get onto the internet to get further more in-depth information, but as a one-off book for the country this is good. The suggestions for accommodation and eateries are still there (always useful if you just rack-up somewhere knowing nothing) and the writing style throughout is engaging. I like the general section at the back, termed a "Survival Guide"; there's useful information there.
At the front there's also some useful suggested itineraries and further general information on activities etc..
The binding, pages, and cover look as if they'll stand up to hard use on several trips, by which time the next edition will no doubt be coming out! This edition is dated March 2013. 903 pages, it weighs 750 grams, so if travelling handbaggage on a low-cost flight, wear a coat with a big pocket. Steve Riches, Northampton, UK.
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on 28 July 2014
Lonely Planet's are my favourite travel guides. This is well up to standard. Old-timers might miss the coverage of real budget accommodation which used to dominate the listings. But with the Internet the need for this has diminished and probably quite rightly the editors have kept this to a minimum. In combination with Trivago and the like, this is probably all you need for your trip.
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