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Travelling in Europe - Essential Travel Guides / Books (European Vacation)

Updated on December 9, 2012

The Mediterranean Coast of Northern Spain - Costa Brava

Near Playa D'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain, 2007 - Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
Near Playa D'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain, 2007 - Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)

Vacation in Europe / Summer Hols in Europe - Essential Travel Guides Online

European Travel

If you are travelling abroad, then travel guides ~ and language guides, if applicable ~ are essential. I like to take a number of different guides, according to where we are going and what we shall be doing.

Like so many other English families, we travel abroad ~ to Europe ~ every year, for our summer holiday . (Seeking out reliable warm weather and sunshine.)

We usually take the car-ferry over to one of the French ports; then we drive through France and, usually, into Spain, Switzerland, Belgium or Italy. Most recently it has been Spain ~ but France always features.

While we were still just a couple, we would fly, but, since our children arrived, holidays have been 'drive and stay'. People used to marvel at how we could drive hundreds of miles, over 2-4 weeks, with young children ~ but it was rarely a problem. Our 'childen' are getting older now, and don't always want to come along, but, so far, two of the three have usually decided to join us.

I shall, here, look at two of our favourite publishers and two of our most-visited countries: 'Rough Guide' and 'Berlitz'; France and Spain.

Is Our Travel Experience Useful?

As well as warm weather, like many other travellers, we also seek out beautiful scenery, castles and churches, golden beaches fringing blue seas, and enjoyable food.

And we like to try out our languages. It is almost always a good idea to attempt the local language. It shows interest in the area and respect for the people.

We are able to take lots of books with us, to help us enjoy our time away. These include books on the history of the areas; books on the flora and fauna; local & regional guide books; phrase books & dictionaries.

We also take maps ~ usually a big road atlas of the country / countries we are visiting, plus a number of Michelin local maps. We can do this, because we have a people-carrier, with a fair amount of space.

But, if you are flying in from elsewhere, it may not be practical for you to bring so many books, in order for you to find the beautiful scenery, castles and churches, golden beaches fringing blue seas, and enjoyable food

Travel Guides

In this day and age, with SAT NAVs being so plentiful (and I understand that travel info can even be downloaded onto them), one might wonder about the need for maps. However, only when the SATNAV can provide details of the most attractive routes, and point out exceptional views, and indicate places of (pre)historic interest, and guarantee never to go wrong, might I agree to do away with the paper alternatives.

But what if space were limited ~ if, for example, I were an American, flying to Europe, with weight and / or size restrictions re luggage?
The one book I would not go without is 'The Rough Guide'. These guides cover both countries and regions ~ and even music of the regions!
Compared to some other guide books, they are a bit bulky, but, when travelling around countries where we need to find the best places to see, to stay, to eat & drink ~ or to avoid! ~ we have found them to be absolutely invaluable.

Small Guide Books - Eg. Berlitz

Smaller guide books, which I found helpful when we used to fly to a resort and then stay relatively close to base, were the Berlitz guides. They can be popped into pocket or handbag and they contain plenty of useful information. This may include the weather, what to wear, ideas for excursions, places to eat, public holidays, etc ~ and all in a tiny book with lots of facts and photos. I still carry them around with me, whenever we go exploring!

As well as their 'Travel Guides', Berlitz also do phrase books. These can be very useful if one doesn't know the language. I always take a little dictionary, too ~ either a 'Collins Gem' or an 'Oxford Mini'.

'AA' Guide Books

Another company, which publishes smallish guide books, is 'The AA'. We have a few of theirs, and we made sure that we had their 'Essential Disneyland Paris' when we visited that resort, with our children, a few years ago.'

Some guide books are particularly good if one is travelling all around a country or region. Others may be more suitable, if one is flying to a specific resort and then staying put. While others, again, may be preferable, if one is staying in one particular place, but would like to explore the surrounding area.

It is always worth visiting books shops, or the library, or Amazon pages, in order to see which guides, etc, might be most suitable for you.

Have a good trip!



Rough Guides contain a lot of information and are are relatively large in size.

Berlitz guides tend to be pocket sized.

Photos of Northern Spain: Tossa de Mar and The Mediterranean Sea!

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain, 2007. Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain, 2007. Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
The Mediterranean near to where France meets Spain. 2007. Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
The Mediterranean near to where France meets Spain. 2007. Copyright: Trish_M (Tricia Mason)

Driving Through France

Driving Through France - Copyright Tricia Mason
Driving Through France - Copyright Tricia Mason
Driving Through France. Copyright Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
Driving Through France. Copyright Trish_M (Tricia Mason)

Dramatic French Scenery

Dramatic French Scenery Copyright Trish_M (Tricia Mason)
Dramatic French Scenery Copyright Trish_M (Tricia Mason)

Which Continent?

Which continent will you visit, for your next major holiday?

See results

A 'Rough Guide' Video about Majorca, Spain

History and Spanish Travel

If you enjoy travelling in Spain, then you may be interested in Spain's history. Consequently, you may wish to look at a series of hubs that I have written on saintly apparitions ~ an aspect of popular religion in Medieval / Early Modern Spain.


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    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hello Sweetie :)

      Yes, you could be right ~ though lots of people do travel independently, all over the world.

      We can drive over to Europe, so it's relatively easy for us.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 6 years ago from India

      Hi trish M i havent travelled out of india.. but i think if you are going to a totally unknown country which has a language you are not used to it is better to take those guided tours from tour opertors like Thomas Cook so they take care of everything.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      Thank you Peggy! That's really too kind! :)

      I do enjoy photography ~ and Spain is very photogenic!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I had never heard of the Rough Guide but will look for it. Have used Berlitz and others... You are a wonderful photographer!


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