Rick's Guide to his Guidebooks
|Watch a video clip of Rick researching his Italy book in Europe. (Windows Media, runs 4:03)|
Annually-revised Editions Covering Travel Skills and the Best "Back Door" European Sightseeing....
Since the appearance of his first edition of Europe Through the Back Door in 1980, Rick Steves has never stopped looking for new travel information gaps to fill. His library is up to 30 books now, each designed to make your travels easier, cheaper, more enjoyable, and more memorable. Every edition is researched personally by Rick, then tried and tested by Rick's Back Door Team, his tour groups, and readers who send him thousands of suggestions every year. All of Rick's books are published by Avalon Travel Publishing. To learn more about Rick's early days in publishing, please read How it All Began: The Story Behind Rick's Guidebooks.
A Comprehensive System of Guidebooks
Instead of packing lots of generic data into one overweight book, Rick divides his travel knowledge into a system of lean and focused guidebooks, so you won't waste your time and energy reading and lugging around more information than you'll need.
- Before you leave for Europe, we recommend you read Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. This book teaches all the skills you need to travel like a seasoned pro plus individual chapters on Rick's 37 favorite discoveries...his "Back Doors."
- Europe 101 covers history and art for travelers. Designed for smart people who were sleeping in their history and art classes before they knew they were going to Europe, this guidebook gives meaning to your sightseeing.
- Once you're there, Rick's country and city guidebooks will help you sort through your options to plan your days, visit the best sites, find cozy Back Door style accommodations, and more.
- To leap over the language barriers and connect with local Europeans, remember to pack Rick's foreign language phrase books for the countries you'll be visiting.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rick's Books
How do "Rick Steves' "Best of Europe" and "Europe Through the Back Door" differ?
They're completely different books. "Back Door" travelers need both. Read "Europe Through the Back Door" before you go to learn from Rick's mistakes and share his discoveries. Travel with Rick's "Best of Europe" (or his country or city guides) for hotels, cafes, and sightseeing specifics to give you maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute, and dollar.
Should I buy the "Best of Europe" book or a combination of country and city guides?
Each country guide covers about a dozen select destinations within the country or region featured. The 33 most important chapters from these 100+ destinations are excerpted to make up "Rick Steves' Best of Europe." While the country guides allot triple the coverage for each country, the chapters that make up the "Best of Europe" book are virtually the same as those in the country guides. For example, the Rome and Cinque Terre chapters in the Europe book are just as thorough as the ones in the Italy book. But Naples and the Dolomites are found only in the Italy book. The "Best of Europe" book includes a healthy mix of exciting cities and cozy villages. It's great if you're looking for the highlights in several countries. If you plan a slower trip through a specific region or country, you'll want the country guides.
If I buy "Rick Steves' Paris," will I need the country guidebook or "Best European City Walks and Museums" for that city too?
No. "Rick Steves' Paris" contains all the information for Paris found in "Best European City Walks and Museums" and "Rick Steves' France" — plus extra information on neighborhood walks, hotels, shopping tips, and advice for sightseeing with kids. The same holds true for all his city guides (London, Rome, Venice, Florence, Prague, and Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels).
Rick talks about his guidebooks:
Less is More.
Most travel guidebooks collect data. My philosophy is different — I sift through mountains of time-sapping alternatives and then present you with the best choices. My readers like a lean book that fits their needs, fat-free.
About the Guidebooks
Europe Through the Back Door
America's best-selling budget travel handbook tells you all you need to know before you leave for Europe. This practical book includes:
- Information on packing, designing an itinerary, avoiding crowds, using Europe's transportation, eating and sleeping cheap, changing money, hurdling the language barrier, staying healthy, traveling solo (for women), taking great photographs, avoiding theft, and much more.
- Rick's "Back Door" discoveries: places that for quirky reasons have fallen through the cracks and don't have the tourist crowds they deserve...places with no promotional budgets...places where it's easy for the explorer to feel the traditional pulse of Europe.
Europe 101: History & Art for the Traveler
This easy-reading book is designed for people who slept through their history class before they knew they were going to Europe. "Europe 101" tears the story of Europe down to its basics and paints it in a lively (sometimes irreverent) manner, illustrated by the sights you'll encounter on your trip.
Rick's twelve Country Guides cover all of Europe. Travelers today are more sophisticated and have less time. Rick covers the best dozen or so destinations in each region or country. Choose your favorite destinations and build your own trip, smartly. Rick's books are selective just the best castles, hill towns, and gelato shops. Rick defends your time as well as your pocketbook. Updated carefully and annually, these handy books are the most accurate guides on the market.
For years, travelers have relied on Rick's country guidebooks to help them navigate Europe with ease. Now, Rick dives deeper than ever into nine of Europe's most visited cities and regions: Paris; London; Rome; Florence & Tuscany; Venice; Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels; Prague & Czech Republic; and Provence & the French Riviera. His city and regional guidebooks contain all the hotel and restaurant listings from his country guides, plus self-guided tours of top museums and entertaining walks through typical neighborhoods. Great day trips, excursions with kids, entertainment, and shopping tips are also included.
Easy Access Europe
With a team of committed experts in accessibilty for travelers, Rick has retooled the love of Europe (London, Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam and Germany's Rhineland) into a guidebook devoted to the needs of slow walkers and people in wheelchairs. The guidebook is simply his regular guidebook material revisited with an eye for accessibilty and a god-send for travelers who need the specialized information. Given the tough market for this book and the high cost of researching it, Rick opted to provide fewer destinations rather than compromise on the quality of the information provided.
Mr. Berlitz knew his language but never stayed in a hotel where you need to ask, "When is the water hot?" These books, spiked with humor, are full of practical phrases for budget travelers who like to connect with locals. You'll find survival phrases, a menu decoder, a reverse dictionary, and a template telephone conversation for making hotel reservations. Pages of conversational phrases, mix-and-match words, and maps will help you communicate and make friends as you explore Europe.
Postcards from Europe
Rick's anecdotal book reveals the adventures he has uncovered in 25 years of travel. He introduces readers to his European friends, recapping his richest travel experiences — from his first "Europe through the gutter" trips and his rocky start as a tour guide, to writing guidebooks and filming his public television series. "Postcards from Europe " captures the spirit of Back Door Europe, bringing to life the continent's culture and history through personal anecdotes and stories told by Rick's typical and not-so-typical European friends. (This title is currently out of print.)
To learn more about Rick's early days in publishing, please read How it All Began: The Story Behind Rick's Guidebooks. You will find detailed book descriptions and ordering information, in our European Guidebook Library.