Item description for Step by Step Barcelona (Insight Guides Step By Step) by Roger Williams...
Designed for the urban explorer, the Step by Step travel series gets tourists up close and personal with themed routes and itineraries for some of the most intriguing cities in the world. Local writers give lively overviews of the destination. Eye-catching spreads and clear, modern maps combine to create the ideal companion for an invigorating journey off the beaten path.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Step by Step Barcelona (Insight Guides Step By Step)?
Daily companion in Barcelona Sep 14, 2009
Along with Rough Guide Directions Barcelona (reviewed separately), I took Insight Guides Barcelona Step By Step with me for my first-ever trip to Barcelona in April, 2009. I liked it from the moment I flipped through it in the bookstore because of the 20 easy-to-read maps and well-annotated walking tours of the city.
My wife and I followed several of the suggested itineraries, sometimes cutting over to another walk and then back again, so we could see something else that we'd heard about. We never got lost; the maps really helped -- even from the back seat of a taxi, I could follow where we were going thanks to the full-sized map that comes with the book. This larger, fold-out map reproduces all the walking tours on one city map so you can easily see them in their context.
The photos are very good; even the small ones capture the essence of a neighborhood. They tempted us to take a day trip to Montserrat, for example. Other day trips include Sitges, a Dali tour, and a wine tour. (The wine tour looked like a case of "easier said than done" so we did not attempt it.)
Other photos/captions captured our imagination, so that we made a special effort to see something: for example, the Sunday sardana dance in the Barri Gotic, or the Casa Asia. Other captions encourage you to walk through a store and visit a beautiful, quiet garden in the back (Vinçon), which affords views of the neighboring buildings' backsides (that you otherwise wouldn't see from the street).
The book's slimness makes it easy to carry with you or slip in a back pocket, camera bag, backpack, etc. The back flap shows the subway map, which we referred to all the time.
The introductory pages give a good overview of the city's history, what Modernisme is all about, and what's special about Catalan. There are also recommended tours for art buffs, rainy days, music lovers, families with kids, etc. Ultimately Insight Guides Barcelona Step By Step is a well-designed/written guidebook of walking tours of Barcelona. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes!
(I almost docked one star off my review for this but then decided that was too harsh, since the tours themselves were quite good. Reason: there are some (maybe only 2-3) photo caption errors. For example, on pp. 66-68, the captions describe some of the photos as showing La Pedrera when in fact they show Casa Batlló. Given that some people might choose to tour one of the houses based on these photos -- we certainly did -- I feel that such an obvious error could have been easily fact-checked by anyone familiar with the city's sights.)