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Last updated February 07, 2016. 

Western Europe Guide Books
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Lonely Planet Western Europe (also available for Kindle users)
Product description:

  • BE IN THE KNOW - incisive history, arts and culture coverage takes you from ancient Greece and Rome to London's Tate Modern
  • FIND YOUR WAY - inspiring highlights and itineraries, practical directories and grid-referenced maps help you plan your own Grand Tour
  • DINE OUT - whether you crave fish & chips, perfect pasta or award-winning haute cuisine, our extended listings take you to the very best places to eat
  • REST YOUR HEAD - handpicked sleeping options for every budget, including comfy cottage guesthouses, stylish modern hostels and elegant Georgian hotels

Countries included:  Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.

Of all the comprehensive European guide books I looked at (and I spent hours in the bookstore) I liked this one the best.   It is well made, easy to read and navigate, includes plenty of maps, and addressed almost all of my questions (and many things that I hadn't even thought about yet). Excellent book if you plan on doing the "grand tour" of Western Europe. 1156 pages. 200 detailed maps. Brief language guides in the back to French, Dutch, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese.


 

Lonely Planet Europe On A Shoestring (also available for Kindle users)

Coverage: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St Petersburg, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro).

Covers 40 countries and over 200 maps. 1284 pages


 

Let's Go Europe 2014

This books and its many predecessors, is the most popular guide for young American backpackers.  It is written by students, for students and is updated every year.  It lacks the in-depth information and precise maps that are a hallmark of Lonely Planet guides.  However, if you are looking for a basic guide that focuses on the party scene and the major touristy highlights of Europe, then this is probably the book for you.  1104 pages. 

Let's Go books do provide lots of good information, but do not have as much in depth coverage as Lonely Planet guides . I was happy to see this year that they added more maps than ever before. At the front and back of this book there are color maps of the major European cities & subway/metro systems. Good edition, but still not as good as Lonely Planet.


Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2014 (also available for Kindle users)

Like all of Rick Steves' books, his Europe Through the Back Door is straight forward and informative.  Rick Steves' budget , however, tends to be slightly higher than the typical student or true budget traveler can afford.  He tends to focus more on the bed & breakfast crowd, rather than average hostellers.  Despite his higher budget, his travel recommendations and pointers are generally above average.  Reading his book before you go and taking some of his great advice should certainly enhance your European experience.  A limited number of crudely drawn maps.

 

The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget (available for Kindle users)

Thirty-two (32) countries are profiled while bringing readers up to speed on Europe's cultural, political, and contemporary life. The book includes suggested itineraries, adventure travel options, maps, hostel listings, transportation information, festivals, arts and culture, top attractions, climate charts and daily budget estimates. 1264 pages.

This guide lacks the in-depth information and precise maps that are a hallmark of Lonely Planet guides, but is still a good choice.

 

  Europe by Eurail (also available for Kindle users)

One of train travelerís one-stop resource for visiting the Continent by rail for more than thirty years. This time-tested and reader-friendly guide, newly revised and updated, is packed with all the information you need on more than ninety rail trips starting from your choice of twenty-four base cities located in seventeen countries. With your rail pass in hand, you can explore each countryís special attractions and learn about European life and culture. Including step-by-step directions and advice on where to go and what to see and do, this book helps take the puzzle out of rail travel on the Continent.

Helpful guide for making the most out of your Rail Pass while in Europe. I wouldn't recommend this as your primary guide, but it is good to read before you go.


  Western Europe Itineraries

So you're heading to Europe - that's a lot of continent to cover. We've combined the Itineraries chapters from 13 different guidebooks and put them into one handy volume. Each chapter provides suggested trips to suit your tastes and time frames, so if you're wondering how best to spend two days in Ireland, a week in Germany or a month on the Continent, this is the CUSTOM guide for you.

This book includes:
- Mapped itineraries for major Western European hotspots
- Multiple itineraries for each destination, including classic routes, trips tailored to your interests and journeys off the beaten track
- Pre-trip planning information
- A guide to the local languages you'll encounter
- Thorough transport details - where and how to go

 

Lonely Planet Central Europe (also available for Kindle users)

This Lonely Planet guide offers practical advice on independent travel in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Included is a language section with useful phrases in German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, and Slovene of color photos. 130 detailed maps.

While this book covers fewer countries, each country is covered in great detail.  If you are primarily traveling in  the central/eastern region of Europe, then this is just the book for you. In fact I used the previous edition of this guide on my recent trip to central/eastern Europe. Very helpful.


  Lonely Planet Mediterranean Europe (also available for Kindle users)

Covering Albania, Andorra, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and countries of former Yugoslavia, plus Tunisia and Morocco, this book includes 205 accurate and up-to-date maps of countries, cities and towns, a full-color map of the region, and the accurate, practical information travelers have come to expect from Lonely Planet.

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