Friday, September 10, 2010

Rick Steves' Portugal by Rick Steves

Rick Steves' Portugal
My wife and I love Rick Steves' travel shows. If we happen to be surfing the tube and catch him on PBS, we stop to watch his adventures. So, when I first started thinking about a European adventure, I rushed to the library and grabbed all the stuff by him that they had.

Like all of his travel books, this is packed with information, but not a monstrous tome that you'll wear out your arms carrying it on the trip. Also, like the rest of them, Rick Steves' Portugal has about twenty pages of introductory information that's just generally good advice for travel in any country, with the specific country information pasted in, and some very country-specific practical information in the appendix at the end of the book. The appendix contains a short history of Portugal, information on telephones, email and mail, transportation, holidays and festivals, and a short list of "survival phrases" in Portuguese.

The bulk of the book is broken into sections by area, with instructions about the best way to travel to the location, the main neighborhoods and attractions, great places to stay and to dine, and background information about the area and its sights and activities.

One of the things I really like is the way Steves' whittles down the information on, for example, lodgings in each city to three to a half dozen options, ranked by expense. Most of the places he lists are not going to be found on Orbitz or Travelocity's hotel searches, and he provides contact and reservation information for all of them. He also provides an itinerary for a walking tour in each city, as well as listing various motorized tour options and even private guides for hire.

For the moment, I'm giving this book an excellent rating, but I'll know for sure when I'm done jaunting around Portugal in a few weeks, and I'll update this post then.

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