Not to be outdone by our new Spiral Guide series… Marco Polo Pocket Guides have also been tried and tested by bloggers all around the world. Here’s what they thought about our handy little series of Pocket Guides (RRP £6.99):
Gretta Schifano – Mums Do Travel
Photo credit: mumsdotravel.com
Athens Pocket Guide: “The book is a good size, just right to fit into a handbag. The cover is plasticised so that it’s waterproof and hard-wearing. There’s a handy pull-out map of the city in a plastic wallet inside the back cover as well as a street atlas within the guide.
I found the book easy to navigate. I like the fact that the photos in the guide aren’t just of the tourist sites but also of different aspects of the city such as the flea markets and kids skateboarding. The book is divided into clear sections such as Sightseeing, Food & Drink and Where to Stay. The Travel with Kids section covers the attitude to kids in Athens (apparently they’re given a lot of freedom and are allowed to go out with their parents in the evening) and suggests some attractions which kids will particularly enjoy such as the planetarium and the zoo.
There’s a helpful section called Great Places for Free which gives tips such as which museum is free on Thursdays and where to catch the free buses which serve the harbour area. If you’re in a rush then head to The Perfect Day section which shows you how to see the city’s highlights in just 24 hours. I like the list of Do’s & Don’ts which is placed prominently inside the back cover next to the pull-out map. ” You can find Gretta’s blog at mumsdotravel.com
Jamie Alex Carter – Trav Gear
Tenerife Pocket Guide: “Insightful insider tips and a handy pull-out road atlas make this pocket-sized guidebook perfect for a short break. Maps a-plenty: you’ll find not only a fold-out map of Tenerife, with all major roads clearly marked, but maps of both major cities (Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz) and a separate pull-out road atlas in a plastic pouch. There are several maps in the back of the book, too, in case you lose the fold-out map.
While some guidebooks recommend only the finest places to stay, this guide includes plenty of budget options, free activities and low-cost places to visit, recognising, perhaps, that Tenerife is a common destination for families. The ‘useful phrases’ section is handy, too; it’s accompanied by a short pronunciation boxout.
Perhaps best of all this guide is peppered with really useful and unexpected Insider Tips. Secret picnic sites, adults-only hotels, restaurants that serve local cuisine (hard to find inTenerife), which rooms to ask for in specific hotels and other practically useful advice is given, and highlighted in yellow. The very best are collected in the front of the book, too, so you get some pre-warning. A handy section in the back lists some apps, websites, blogs and forums where you can pick the brains of locals and frequent visitors. It’s a nice recognition that a guidebook needn’t be an all-in-one resource, just a starting point for a journey.
A good value and compact guidebook packed with enough information and top tips to be of genuine use on any trip to Tenerife, Marco Polo’s decision to include plenty of good quality maps and a separate, foldout road atlas map is crucial to its success. Well researched, well designed and easy to use, Marco Polo guides are colourful alternative to books by Bradt and Lonely Planet.” travgear.com
The Foody Traveller
Image credit: thefoodytraveller.com
Switzerland Pocket Guide: “As ever with the wonderful Marco Polo Guide Books, the Marco Polo guide to Switzerland gives an excellent overview of this beautiful and fascinating country and comes complete with road atlas and pull out map; plus the oh-so-useful Insider Tips.
The Travel Tips for Switzerland are particularly helpful: reminding us that the Swiss currency is Swiss francs (not euros) – along with an approximate currency converter; explaining the workings of the very useful Swiss Card and Swiss Pass; and, bearing in mind that French, German and Italian are all spoken in Switzerland , useful phrases in each language.
We were somewhat concerned on seeing an orange footnote containing the word ‘cholera’ on one of the pages – until we realised that it refers to a predominately vegetable, pie. Evidently this dish was created during a cholera epidemic when people did not dare leave their homes so cooked whatever they had in their larders!” Read more at thefoodytraveller.com
Hannah Walter – Suitcase & Sandals
Photo credit: twitter.com/suitcasesandals
Zakynthos (Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkas) Pocket Guide: “Although my holiday to Kefalonia was mainly a relaxing one, I wanted to see a little more of the local area around Skala too. Luckily, we had our Marco Polo guide with us, which we found a lot better than the Berlitz one we had bought previously. There was more detail!
The first thing we did, that we found in the guide book, was to learn a little more about the history of the area. I liked that the guide gave us some background information.
I think the Marco Polo guide books are fantastic. I’ll definitely be using them again. They are so good because they go beyond just the history of the city and the details of the places. There is a map at the end of the guide which would have been so helpful if we had been in a city without any accessible wifi to use to help us to navigate!” You can read more on Hannah’s blog at suitcaseandsandals.blogspot.co.uk
Heels in My Backpack
Photo credit: heelsinmybackpack.com
Berlin Pocket Guide: “….trying out a new guide series is always tricky. I mean, is this guide going to know what I like? Is it going to show me maps of the locations and give me good restaurant recommendations? Well, Marco Polo did a pretty good job. I used their Berlin guide on my recent trip to Germany and it definitely exceeded my expectations.
For a start, it has those ‘summary’ type pages at the start of the guide that I always miss from the guides tailored more towards backpackers. I like to see in a snapshot what the place I’m visiting has to offer. But don’t worry, backpackers are most definitely catered for by Marco Polo, with hostel recommendations as well as budget restaurant advice. The Berlin guide in particular will advise on the best place to get that €2.50 currywurst hit. Furthermore it even has a page dedicated to things you can do in the city for free! Always a winner.
Another plus is that much like the DK guide series, the book is in colour with pretty photos. Which I realise is not the most essential quality you’re looking for in a travel guide, but I just think it helps you get a vibe for the different areas and narrow down what you want to do. Also, the Top Tips are also super handy as they seem more like tips you would read on a blog or hear from a fellow traveller rather than be published in a travel guide.
My favourite part of the Marco Polo guide however is the street atlas in the back of the book. I’ve realised from years of travelling that I am in fact a map geek. I just love them. I like getting my bearings in a new city and knowing my way around. And although my trusty Lonely Planet has mini maps of each destination, it pales in comparison to this in-depth colour street atlas. And the fact that this guide comes with a pull out map as well, just so I don’t have to lug around a book, is the cherry on top really.
Photo credit: heelsinmybackpack.com
Although a drawback for backpackers travelling Europe is that obviously a guide for just one city isn’t very efficient. I think I would go for a travel guide covering more areas for a big trip. However, for a city break or a trip stopping at 2 or 3 locations, I think Marco Polo have given Lonely Planet and Rough Guide a run for their money…” heelsinmybackpack.com
Munich Pocket Guide: “A lightweight which fits into every handbag. The categories: Sightseeing, Eating & Drinking, Shopping, Nightlife and Hotels cover everything a tourist has to know to get around town.
The writing is brief, entertaining and concise. The information on every location is complete – directions to the location, phone number, email address etc. are especially useful. It comes with a foldout plan of the entire city area so you won’t miss the proposed places. Also informative are the brief chapters of certain topics such as “Fine dining in Munich” or “Eating out on a low budget”. These overviews include short assessments of the listed locations. The assessments are to the point and describe shops and locations which actually are frequented by Munich inhabitants.
Last but not least, there are some funny texts on the town and its atmosphere, mentality, culture and clichés. Most of them hit the mark and tune you in on your visit! The photos illustrate the words very adequately and have good recognition value. Of course, most of them were taken when the weather was really nice, but looking at them will whet your appetite for a trip to Munich.
Conclusion: Lightweight and easy to carry around, this travel guide gives all necessary information and up-to-date tips for first time and experienced visitors alike.” munichgreeter.de
See our full range of Marco Polo Pocket Guides covering over 100 destinations!
Have you used our Pocket Guides? What did you think?