Travel guide books

Filed under: History
StumbleUponGoogle+DiggEmailBookmark/FavoritesPrintFriendlyShare

It’s difficult to find the perfect travel guide book for a city trip to Amsterdam. They all promise to find you the ‘best restaurants, bars, museums and tours’, but how can you be sure they know what they are talking about? Especially if the travel writer is not from Amsterdam, you can end up with a guide book full of the basics, which you had already read about while preparing for your trip online.

You might end up with restaurants that are over or under your budget a large list of hip and trendy bars and nightclubs, when you enjoy turning in early on your holiday and day trips that are mostly fun for kids.

A good travel guide book

The basic travel guide book for a city trip revolves around a basic introduction or history of the city, followed by different sections such as hotels (but you probably already have one), restaurants, night life, walking and biking tours, public transport followed by a handy take out map of hardened carton that withstands Amsterdam showers.

For up to date info on the Amsterdam night life you can always pick up a copy of some free or paid magazines in shops and bars.

Authentic Dutch, that’s what you want. A piece of Amsterdam culture, doing the things the locals do and maybe even understanding why they do it.

Reviews of travel guide books Amsterdam

 

Travel guide book Amsterdam

Frommer’s Amsterdam

Frommer’s Amsterdam used to be called Frommer’s Irreverent Guide to Amsterdam, which was a better suited name.  It’s no doubt the guys at Frommer’s know what they are talking about. Without getting stuck in clichés, this book explains everything you need to know about the city for a small or longer vacation to the Netherlands. It puts things like its hard won reputation of a tolerant city into perspective. Frommer’s does an excellent listing of hotels and shops  and handles evenly well the red light district, the gayness of Amsterdam and safety.

Besides that, Frommer’s is a really good read. Witty and to the point, the book makes a for great insiders view on Amsterdam.

At Amazon: Frommer’s Amsterdam (Frommer’s Complete Guides)

 

……………………………………………………………………………………

Lonely Planet Amsterdam (City Travel Guide) by Karla Zimmerman

When going on a city trip, it’s likely you are advised to go to a certain neighbourhood, which is ‘typical’ or specifically hip and trendy, but once you get there, you don’t see anything out of the ordinary and you don’t really know where to go.

Sound familiar?

This Lonely Planet guide takes that problem away, as it is organised by Amsterdam neighbourhoods. Even the architecturally very interesting Eastern Islands and Eastern Docklands, usually omitted in guide books about Amsterdam, are added.

This is a good book if you are interested in more than just the old centre and are likely to take a tram or bike ride to other parts  of the city. Other interesting features are a clothes size table, fun day trips around Amsterdam and a basic language section. Although you’ll get around just fine with your English, it can be useful when you take a trip outside the city.  There is a small list of things to do with kids, but in general it’s not a kids book.

At Amazon: Lonely Planet Amsterdam (City Travel Guide)

……………………………………………………………………………………

 

Amsterdam travel guide book

Amsterdam encounter (Lonely Planet) by Zora O’neill

Pocket sized, with some form of lay out that uses coloured symbols that has to be studied in dept before packing your bags. Once you got it figured out, you’ll find Amsterdam encounter looks really nice and modern and colourful, but it’s basically just a large list of things you can spend money on: bars, shops, eat, drink, play, see.

The ‘highlights’ section concerns all the basics: Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank, 9 streets, Vondelpark and Van Gogh museum. Some minimal background info on food, kids, and architecture. No history, no context. Well, it’s pocket sized. Good for a weekend trip for people who have their wallet in a nearby pocket.

At Amazon: Lonely Planet Amsterdam Encounter

……………………………………………………………………………………

 

Amsterdam Berlitz Pocket Guide by Lindsey Bennet

Berlitz is a old style veteran in pocket guide making. Good large font, but Berlitz doesn’t really bother avoiding travel clichés. I think you could introduce just about any large European city with the sentence: “A major attraction of the city is its historic buildings”. After which they mention the obligatory statistics. (total number of bridges in Amsterdam!).

Really, I care.

Also the sections on neighbourhoods is obviously not created by any Amsterdammer, dividing up the city in parts called ‘Southeast’ and ‘Northwest’. No idea where that is. Listings of excursions are what I would call either basic or boring. Especially the hotels listing is a fascinating index of the most unattractive, impersonal and expensive hotels of the city. I bet they paid to be in there.

……………………………………………………………………………………

Thomas Cook Amsterdam 2011

Easy read this book. And that is important when you want to have quick look on the corner of the street to find your way. It looks like that’s exactly what this book was intended for. The book is divided into ‘walks’ in the city with numbered museums and churches along the way.

Thomas Cook is one of the only travel guide books Amsterdam that has a section on Dutch food and Dutch restaurants.

Also dedicates a large part of its pages to ‘environs’ by which they mean day trips outside the city. Includes a brief history.

No night life, but very good for the mainstream tourist with a pair of good walking shoes and some real interest in the city and its surroundings.

At Amazon: Traveller Guides Amsterdam, 4th (Travellers – Thomas Cook)

……………………………………………………………………………………

 

The Rough Guide to Amsterdam

Filled with entertaining anecdotes and details about the city, this book is an asset not just for tourists, but for me as well, as some facts are new for me as well. (Jazz trumpeter Chet Baker fell to his death on the Zeedijk!)

What’s really good about this book is that it introduces not only a building that is worth visiting, it also says something about specific details inside the building, so it’s not just another old church from whatever century, but you read about the context, what was happening in that year and some historical background about the country at large. A lot of text though and less photos (mostly black and white). Heavy readers will appreciate this book.

At Amazon:The Rough Guide to Amsterdam (Rough Guide Amsterdam)

……………………………………………………………………………………

Eyewitness Travel by Robin Pascoe

Interesting lay out with pictures and arrows pointing to details of the pictures. No in-depth information though. Also focussing a lot on the old Amsterdam. The info about Central Station for example is good, but they forgot to mention the construction of the new metro line, the reason the station has been hardly visible from the outside. Nice is the picture of the VOC ship for the Dutch Golden Age.

At Amazon:Amsterdam (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE)

……………………………………………………………………………………

 

Get Lost!: The Cool Guide to Amsterdam

The must-have guide for youngsters going to Amsterdam for the sex museum, coffee shops, smart shops, the hemp museum and affordable places to eat and sleep. Be sure to get the most recent version (in 2011, this is the 2009 version).


 

 

StumbleUponGoogle+DiggEmailBookmark/FavoritesPrintFriendlyShare

2 Responses to Travel guide books

  1. Tim Broyles February 3, 2013 at 20:58

    I`ve also found http://bookboon.com/ to have some pretty accurate travel guides, especially considering they`re a free. They`re downloadable in pdf, so I don`t need internet access to use them, or I can just print the section I need if I wanted to.

    • Tanja February 4, 2013 at 08:07

      Thank you for that handy tip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Translator

Stay Tuned

Archives

Subscribe

  • Facebook
  • RSS Feed
  • Twitter
  • YouTube