Every now and then we are offered books relevant to Spain to review, the latest was the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Spain. We’ve been sat on it for a while as I wanted to test the book out.
Whenever I pick up a travel guide wherever possible, I’ll pick out some places I’m familiar with to see how close the writers are to matching my own perceptions of a place. So, I started with where we live, the small town of Vélez-Blanco in Almeria. The book mentions our stunning castle (correctly pointing out that its interior is on display at the Metropolitan Museum in NY) and the Cueva de los Leteros. In short the two must sees in the town, so a “tick” there.
Next our former home Playa Blanca in Lanzarote. The description of the town is fairly accurate and it cites the main attraction as the beaches of Papagayo, although I would disagree that a 4WD vehicle is advisable to reach them, 20 years ago maybe but certainly not since we moved there in 2006. One notable omission from the description was the Marina Rubicon, I was surprised that the publisher did not think it worthy of at least a mention.
Finally, I recently had to drive up to Madrid on business so decided to find somewhere en route that didn’t involve me straying too far of the motorway. This I did and settled for the mention of Chinchilla de Monte-Aragon as its key feature was a castle. I like castles! The description of the town again was fair, the castle as the book suggested was closed to the public but was worth the hike up the hill overlooking the town for the spectacular views, and the old part of the town was indeed well-preserved as the book stated.
I may sound picky, if I do I don’t intend to. It’s just that I may well know these places better than whoever penned the description. To be fair, covering Spain in its entirety to the total satisfaction of everyone – in this case me – in a book like this, is nigh on impossible. I also picked out very small places to examine, whereas flicking through the pages of major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, ans Seville there are excellent descriptions of museums, landmarks and far more detailed information, including maps and historical information.
I like the book, I like it a lot. But don’t expect this to be the font of ALL knowledge. Where I see it fitting, and where we will definitely use it in the future is as a rough guide and inspiration on road trips. I can honestly say that I think we’d see far more researching possible sights and stopoffs on long journeys with this book in hand to guide us. After this review is written the book itself won’t be destined for the bookshelf, it’s going in the car!
In terms of presentation, the cover claims to have 1535 photographs, 125 maps and 135 illustrations (I haven’t counted them of course, but I’m sure it does). It is sturdy and made of good quality paper, it’s well illustrated, bright, colourful and easy to follow.
In summary, I think this book would be a great addition to any bookshelf, or even better to a car or camper van if you travel a lot around the country. I would say if you are travelling more regionally or to a specific city you might be better off looking at DK’s more regional and city titles (of which there are many), which you can browse by clicking here.
As well as this book we were also sent DK Eyewitness Travel Back Roads Spain which we’ll review at a later date when we get the chance to ‘road test’ it (pun intended). One of the suggested routes isn’t that far from us so I, or we, intend on following the guided route in its entirety, probably over the summer.
This product was sent to Spain Buddy to review at no cost. Spain Buddy policy is that we provide honest reviews rather than advertorial. If we say we like something we genuinely like it. On the rare occasions we may have a negative opinion we may offer the provider of a product or service the option of us not publishing.
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Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at AlanGandy.com and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram.
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