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Top 5 Travel Guides

Ok, so you’re looking for the inside angle on what to see and do in Andalusia. It’s a no-brainer, right? Generally speaking, we wouldn’t recommend you even think about looking any further than the fresh, constantly updated travel guides you’ll find on these pages.


By:  Paul Collins
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Top 5 Guías de viaje - Top 5 Travel Guides


Travel guides have copped a bit of flak of late. Whether it’s Lonely Planet writer Thomas Kohnstamm revealing he cobbled together his Colombia research and copy from New York, in his book, Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, or the charge that they’re out of date as soon as they hit the shelves, they’re not the unquestionable authority they once were.

More than anything else, in the last few years they’ve been comprehensively outmanoeuvred by that unruly upstart, the internet. And to be honest, that’s no bad thing. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation; it should be about being equipped with all the best information at your disposal.

As long as you don’t treat the word of a travel guide as final and definitive (or what you find on the internet, for that matter!) the one complements the other rather nicely. After all, the web’s all very well, but there are plenty of sleepy bars in Andalusia where asking for the nearest WiFi connection will be met with an uncomprehending shrug.

Travel guides to Andalusia: the good, the bad and the ugly

As is the case with pretty much everything else, travel guides to Andalusia can be a mixed bag. Some are very bad, with portraying Andalusia as some sort of 19th century Romantic’s idyll, a pretty common pitfall. But they can also be very good, as laid out in this roundup of the best five travel guides to Andalusia.


Rough Guide Andalucia 1. The Rough Guide to Andalucía by Geoff Garvey and Mark Ellingham

Unlike the Lonely Planet (the other undisputed heavyweight – see below), The Rough Guide to Andalucia stands out for its cultural information rather than its tips and travel information. Whether you’re on a long bus journey or in a café over a steaming cortado, so engagingly written is The Rough Guide to Andalucia that you can practically read it like a novel. And as a result, you don’t resent – even for a hot, sweaty second – lugging it around everywhere with you.


Lonely Planet Andalucia 2. Andalucía by Susan Forsyth, John Noble and Vesna Maric (Lonely Planet)

What is it that makes Lonely Planet the travel guide you see peeking out of every backpack from Andalusia to Zanzibar? A good, unfussy layout for one, easy to understand maps for two, and then listings – lots and lots of great listings. Not so hot on the heavy cultural stuff, they’re nevertheless a great source of no-nonsense information.


Timeout Seville and Andalucia 3. Timeout: Seville & Andalucia
If all the travel guides to Andalusia got together for a class reunion, Timeout would be the one standing aloofly away from the rest, smoking with an air of studied nonchalance. Because (in the absence of a Wallpaper, at least) Timeout are indisputably the ‘cool guide’. And if you want to get the lowdown on chic digs and top spots for cocktail-quaffing, then the Timeout Guide to Seville & Andalucia is the book to have stashed away in your suitcase.


Eyewitness guide to Seville and Andalusia 4. The DK Eyewitness Guide to Seville & Andalusia by Jane Ewart

It’s the best-selling travel guide to the region in the UK. And you only have to look at their stunning, hand drawn illustrations and patented ‘cut-away’ views of buildings to see why. How much use are they ‘on the road’, though? Only so-so, in all honesty. But for planning a trip before you set off, getting up to scratch on historical/cultural info, and as a colourful, visual accompaniment to another travel guide, they just can’t be bettered.


Walking in Andalucia Hunter Watts 5. Walking in Andalucia by Guy Hunter-Watts

Our final travel guide is a bit of a dark horse… Oh, and it’s also a complete cheat, because it’s, erm, actually two books. (But they’re by the same author, so that’s sort of OK, isn’t it?). Anyway, the books are Guy Hunter-Watts’ Walking in Andalucia: The Best Walks in Southern Spain’s Natural Parks and, as a companion piece, his Small Hotels & Inns of Andalucia: Charming Places to Stay in Southern Spain. While the other four Andalusia guides we’ve picked focus more on the towns and cities, these two little gems set their sights firmly on the off-the-beaten-track. And whether it’s finding the best trails through the Sierra or a boutique bed for the night, both are absolutely essential reading.



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