Marco Polo’s Top 5 End of Summer Destinations + GIVEAWAY

The summer holidays may be almost over but there is no reason not to book a quick getaway and return to work or to your studies feeling just that little bit more relaxed. We at Marco Polo have compiled our top 5 end of summer destinations, and to sweeten it up even more, one lucky commenter is going to receive five copies of our Marco Polo Spiral Guides of their choice and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera! 

Photo credit: SarahFunky

 CROATIA

Croatia is an immensely popular destination these days, and for good reason! Full of history and beautiful nature (just look at that picture taken at the Krak National Park!) it is definitely worth visiting at least once in your life – though once you have been there, you may find yourself wanting to go back. If you’re thinking of a city trip, your best bet would be either Zagreb or Dubrovnik.

Zagreb, with around a million inhabitants, one in four of the country’s population, is easily Croatia’s biggest city. This is the political, economic and cultural heart of the nation, which makes it easy to forget that it has only been a state capital since 1991. For most of its history, Zagreb has lived in the shadow of Vienna, as a provincial outpost of the Austro-Hungarian empire, or of the former Yugoslav capital Belgrade. Only in the past few years has it rediscovered its confidence as a youthful, vibrant, forward-looking city.

Dubrovnik on the other hand is the jewel in Croatia’s crown – a beautifully restored town, full of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, crowded onto a rocky headland and surrounded by its 15th-century walls. The English poet Lord Byron (1788–1824) quite rightly described the town as the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’.

 Marco Polo Portugal Guide

ALGARVE, PORTUGAL

The Algarve in Portugal has been one of our favourites for a while. Perfect for catching some sunshine and lounging on the beach, or hiking in the  fragrant pine forests of the Ria Formosa National Park in central Algarve.

Central Algarve is a melting pot of contrasting natural landscapes. It’s where the Atlantic meets the hilly hinterland and where long, sandy beaches encounter the labyrinth of canals and islands in the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. In the centre of the region lies Faro, the capital of the Algarve and the point of arrival for countless holidaymakers. With its crystal-clear light, glittering nightlife, fantastic beaches and fabulous markets, the central Algarve has a wealth of diverse experiences to offer. 

At first glance, Faro can seem pretty confusing to visitors. After all, it’s the largest city in the Algarve and home to 50,000 people (65,000 including the surrounding area). If you come armed with a plan, however, the city will start to grow on you and you’ll quickly find your feet.

Photo credit: Flikr.com Zaprin Geguskov – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 BULGARIA

 We love Bulgaria, and so do countless other travellers! Fine beaches and austere mountains, unspoilt hilltop villages and lively major towns, effervescent temperament and Mediterranean laissez-faire – all this makes Bulgaria a country of contrasts, a delightful mix of east and west. The travel catalogues are full of sea and beach, in other words the Black Sea coast – a beautiful and important part of the country. But if you stick to the tourists trails, you’ll miss out on what’s really worth seeing.

Mother nature has been very kind to Bulgaria. With its surface area of a little under 43,000 square miles, it’s not a particularly large country (England measures just over 50,000 square miles), but it has to a great extent been richly endowed with diversity and beautiful scenery, with mountains and a coast measuring 378km / 235 miles, and it’s densely wooded with many lakes. In other words, Bulgaria has something for everyone: for beach lovers a holiday by the Black Sea; for skiers the ski runs around Bansko, for hikers and bikers the green peaks of the Rila and Pirin Mountains; and if you’re looking for solitude, you’ll find it by hidden mountain lakes. To all of this add any amount of culture in the world-famous monasteries and the picturesque, beautifully restored villages.

 

Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

It seems to us that almost all of our lists include Amsterdam, but the Dutch capital has a truly special place in our hearts, and the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the city each year would definitely agree.

The old heart of Amsterdam feels like two distinct cities. The more obvious of the pair comprises the sort of brash tourist trappings that you find in any major European city, in this particular case augmented by the unabashed indulgence of the main red-light district, De Wallen. Yet alongside such excess you can find oases of calm and solitude, plus some charming little places to eat, drink and shop.

De Dam, the main square, is not the most beautiful plaza in Europe, but it serves as a good hub
for exploring the rest of the area. Everything in medieval Amsterdam is a short walk from here. Almost all visitors to Amsterdam find themselves passing through De Dam, as the square at the centre of the city is concisely known. This was where the Amstel River was first dammed in the 13th century (today the river flows via underground pipes into the IJ). The square is central to the city and the country, containing both the Royal Palace and the National Monument. Initially, the unruly architecture may disappoint, as well as the fact that the whole place is decked in overhead power cables for trams. Although De Dam can largely appear as a tourist thoroughfare, it remains at the historical heart of the city.

The most romantic photographs of Amsterdam are taken in the western part of the city – which is also where the real soul of Amsterdam resides. Beautiful waterways and quiet courtyards, the trendiest and most liberal locals and authentic bruin cafés can all be found here. Almost any street you walk along is likely to reveal at least one of the following: a lovely old house embellished with a beautiful tablet or gable; an intriguing shop or café; or a charming canal view.

NICE, FRANCE

Ah, the French Riviera. The jetsetter dream and the azure waves of the Mediterranean, who can resist it? After all, the largest resort of the French Riviera, Nice is France’s main tourist centre and the most visited city after Paris. Friendly and informal, Nice radiates a unique atmosphere that is hard to define, although many have tried, labelling it the “Queen of the Riviera”, “Capital of the Côte d’Azur”, “Nizza la Bella”, “The Big Olive” and “Mediterranean Chicago”. “Nice” just doesn’t seem to cover it.

Over the centuries the city has enjoyed a colourful history. Founded by Greeks and settled by
Romans, it thrived in the Middle Ages under
the Counts of Provence who were followed by
the Italian Dukes of Savoy. United with France only as recently as 1860, it still retains a strong
Italianate character and is a seductive mix of the best
of France and Italy, with its own dialect (lenga nissarda) and delicious cuisine. Nice is also blessed with more museums and galleries than any French town outside Paris. Its Mediterranean charm has long provided inspiration to artists, with its pastel-painted buildings and terracotta roofs, cradled by the vine-clad foothills of the Maritime Alps and fringed by a vivid blue sea bathed in magical, incandescent sun- light. Even the palatial hotels, designer boutiques and crowded terrace cafés exude a carefree joie de vivre. No wonder Nice has been voted the city where the French would most like to live. As Sandy Wilson remarked in his musical comedy The Boy Friend (1954): “Other places may be fun, but when all is said and done, it’s so much nicer in Nice.” 

GIVEAWAY

To wave the summer goodbye, Marco Polo is organising a giveaway! We are giving away a set of 5 Marco Polo Spiral Guides and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera to one lucky winner, chosen at random.

How to enter?

Simply share the story of your most memorable summer holiday moment in the comments below. You can earn more win-chances by liking our Facebook page and by following our Twitter and Instagram and by letting us know in your comment that you have done so.

The competition is open from Thursday 24 August 2017 until Friday 1 September 2017 at 12.00 GMT. We will contact the winner personally via email using the email address used to leave the comment so make sure to check that it is spelled correctly!

Good luck! 

Terms and Conditions:

  1. The promotion is open to UK and EU residents aged 18 or over, excluding employees and their immediate families of Marco Polo, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.
  2. To enter, simply comment on the blog post. Additional win-chances may be acquired by liking the Marco Polo Facebook page and by following the Marco Polo Twitter and Instagram accounts. If the entrant has done any of the mentioned actions, it should be stated in the comment.
  3. This competition will commence on 24 August 2017 and all entries must be received by 12.00 GMT on 1 September 2017. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, posted late, misdirected, and incorrect, garbled or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid.
  4. No purchase necessary, however internet access is required.
  5. The Prizes: 1 x prize winner will receive 5 x Marco Polo Spiral Guides: (£9.99 each) and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera.
  6. The prize must be taken as stated and no compensation will be payable if a winner is unable to use the prize as stated. The winner will be liable for all costs and expenses not stated relating to claiming or partaking of the prize.
  7. The promoter may substitute the prize for a prize of an equal or greater value if, for any reason the original item is unavailable.
  8. By entering, winners agree that if they win they will participate in any reasonable publicity arranged by The Promoter or its agencies.
  9. By entering the promotion entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms & conditions and by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into.
  10. The Promoter or its agencies accept no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered through acceptance of the prize.
  11. The Promoter or its agencies will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries as a result of technical failures or otherwise, including any such failure which is within the control of The Promoter or its agencies. Proof of submission of entry is not proof of receipt of entry.
  12. The Promoter reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any person it finds to be tampering or to have tampered with the operation of the promotion or the Marco Polo website, or to be acting in violation of these terms and conditions.
  13. To the full extent permitted by law the Promoter will not accept liability for any loss, damage, injury or death arising from this promotion beyond its reasonable control.

The Promoter is Marco Polo Travel Publishing, Pinewood, Chineham Business Park, Crockford Lane, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8AL

 

What bloggers are saying about Marco Polo Guides

Our travel guides are often found in the hands of travel bloggers and who better to put them to the test! Here is what a few of them had to say about Marco Polo Guides:

Heels in My Backpack

Photo credit: heelsinmybackpack.com

Rome Spiral Guide: “It’s difficult when you’re visiting somewhere for the first time and only have a short amount of time to experience it. How are you meant to prioritise what to do? Should you just hit the big time high profile sights? Try to go off the beaten path?

Well this is the predicament I was in when I visited Rome last month. My Anchored cruise was departing on the Sunday and I decided to fly in on the Friday night so I could enjoy a full Saturday of Rome goodness. So essentially I needed to experience Rome in a day… I mean I know Rome wasn’t built in a day so presumably it would be difficult to see it all in a day, right?

Enter my brand new and shiny Marco Polo Spiral Guide to Rome.

To maximise my time, I thought I’d try out one of their ‘Perfect Day’ itineraries to make sure I was making the most of this glorious day.

And it really was glorious, it was 33 degrees celsius on this particular day. Not the ideal temp for walking around in the boiling sun all day, but hey, I went with it.
There are several day itineraries in the guide but I decided to go for the ‘Ancient City’ variation. Mainly because it included the Colosseum and I’m basic like that. But also because it looked like it had a good mix of the big sights I had heard of and under the radar gems.” See the full post here: heelsinmybackpack.com.

The Sunny Side of This

Photo credit: thesunnysideofthis.com

Brussels Pocket Guide: “My favorite parts of their guide were the Do’s and Dont’s of Belgium (particularly the driving laws of the city), the useful phrases section both in French and Dutch, and their Discovery Tours suggestions. For this review we did a little bit of a mix and match of their Discovery Tours section, given that we had the baby with us and we wanted to go around by public transportation.

We were also very relieved that the restaurant suggestions all come with the place’s schedules. Restaurants in Brussels are usually not open on Sundays, and only open during lunch time or dinner (ex. 12-2, and 6-9pm). Luckily, the park we visited had a festival that particular weekend and it was filled with food trucks!” Read more on thesunnysideofthis.com.

Sophie’s Suitcase

Photo credit: sophiessuitcase.com

London Spiral Guide: “I had a lovely 48 wandering London and used my trusty guide to keep me heading in the right direction and I came across so many lesser known shops, cafes and restaurants because of this. Marco Polo Travel Guide books trump other equivalent maps because each time the book mentions a place, whether it’s a cafe, bar or landmark, it also makes sure it references the map co-ordinates too so that you can find the place super easy. BINGO!” See the full post on sophiessuitcase.com.

Photo credit: sophiessuitcase.com

Paris Spiral Guide: “We also sat down with a cup of tea and planned the next 48 hours of our lives, in beautiful Paris! I don’t know why but I hadn’t really asked for tips and tricks from the internet and instead was relying solely on my new Marco Polo Travel Guide to get us from one spot to another.

As we were only going to be in Paris for 48 hours we circled the places we really wanted to visit, and then crossed a few others off the list that we would save for another trip. We mapped out our route for the days and used the book to find out opening times, entry prices and how we would get there.” Read more on sophiessuitcase.com.

Tara Povey – Where is Tara

Photo credit: whereistara.com

Dublin Spiral Guide: “If it’s your first time in Dublin, especially if you’re just visiting for a weekend, you might feel a bit overwhelmed about where to begin and how to really make the most of your time to experience the best that the city has in store. Never fear. Marco Polo and I are here to help you out. Marco Polo, you ask? The famous explorer? Well, kind of – The Marco Polo Dublin guide, stuffed to the gills with useful information. It’s a real gem when it comes to maximizing your time and planning your trip. Each part of the city is handily dealt with in separate sections. It’s easy to see at a glance which attractions are close to each other, how to get to them, and where to find great food without going out of your way. Navigating and finding your way around has never been easier.” Find out more on whereistara.com.

Alice – Teacake Travels

Photo credit: teacaketravels.com

London Spiral Guide: “There’s just so much to see and do around London! You could spend months and months here without barely scratching the surface. Yet, when time is so short, we need to get to the point!

What if you want to do something different, like that time I set out to discover the street art scene in Shoreditch? What if you want to see a different side of London, hangout in places that you won’t find in most guidebooks, see the city’s charmingly British eccentricity and hit up some of the most weird London attractions?

You could spend hours searching for tidbits online or alternatively arm yourself with my advice and a copy of the Marco Polo London spiral guide.

Divided into sections for different parts of the city, each chapter has a handy map and suggestions on how to maximize your time, leaving you able to discover the different parts of London with ease. There’s also terrific digestible recommendations for places to eat and drink in here, to stop you feeling overwhelmed from all the wonderful dining options in London!” See the full post on teacaketravels.com.

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Find our full range of guide books and maps here on Amazon.

What is your favourite Marco Polo travel guide?

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Which guide book is right for you?

Create your perfect trip with Marco Polo Pocket Guides, Spiral Guides  and Travel Handbooks.

What kind of traveller are you? 

Every traveller is different. Different wants, different needs, different interests, different budgets… the list is endless!

Whether you are a planner who enjoys researching in advance, or a time-poor traveller who wants to make the most of every minute, we aim to provide the perfect travel companion for your trip. To help you pick which guide book is right for you, here’s our run down for each of our three guide book series:

 

Marco Polo Pocket Guides

Marco Polo Pocket Guides

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Ideal for travellers who only have a few days to explore
  • Pocket-sized (190 x 110mm)
  • Paperback
  • 120 to 192 pages
  • Includes a street atlas AND pull-out map
  • 110 titles available
  • RRP £6.99

ADDITIONAL INFO:

  • Compact, full-colour guides packed with Insider Tips.
  • Now with NEW Discovery Tours chapter – each guide has 4 to 5 specially tailored tours helping readers to discover hidden gems and get off the beaten track.
  • Insider Tips – from locals who have the inside track on what’s hot and what’s not, including great sights to see for free, what to do if it rains, and places to relax and chill out.
  • Hidden gems – offering a real insight, with personal recommendations for all occasions and moods.
  • A street atlas and pull-out map – taking you straight to the highlights of each destination.

 

MARCO POLO SPIRAL GUIDES

Marco Polo Spiral Guides

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Itinerary-based guides for travellers who have little or no time to prepare for a trip
  • Handbag / rucksack sized (205 x 120mm)
  • Spiral bound
  • 220+ pages
  • Includes a street atlas AND pull-out map
  • 30 titles available
  • RRP £9.99

ADDITIONAL INFO:

  • Unique spiral binding allows the guide to lay completely flat:

Marco Polo Spiral Guides

Ultra-practical itinerary-based guides for those who have little time to prepare for a trip, but don’t want to miss a thing. Practical and easy to use, Spiral Guides offer all the most important things in a nutshell, including:

  • The Magazine – to inform and inspire, setting the scene and getting under the skin of a destination to discover what makes it tick.
  • Finding Your Feet – practical tips to help you have a problem-free trip, from your arrival at the airport to going back home.
  • Don’t Miss the ‘Must Sees’ – Top 10, Don’t Miss and At Your Leisure are dedicated to the sights in each region, quickly letting you choose what you absolutely must (and want to!) see, and telling you what’s less important. Includes a detailed map and a suggested itinerary for a perfect day, and information on restaurants, best spots for shopping and going out in the “Where to…” sections.
  • Walks & Tours – walking, driving and cycling tours that allow you to experience your destination from a completely different perspective.
  • 10 Reasons to Come Back Again – what makes the place magical and why you should plan a return trip.

 

MARCO POLO TRAVEL HANDBOOKS

Marco Polo Travel Handbooks

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Ideal for people who want in-depth coverage and enjoy researching in advance
  • Full-size guide (190 x 125mm)
  • Tactile flexi-cover
  • 400+ pages
  • Includes a large, fully indexed pull-out map
  • 28 titles available by 2016
  • RRP £12.99

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Large, comprehensive travel guides packed with expert advice, cultural information, Insider Tips and unique infographics showing key facts in a fun and accessible way. Aimed at travellers wanting in-depth coverage of a destination. Our Travel Handbooks are the first travel guides to offer infographics – a fun and highly visual way of presenting complex information in and easy to understand way.

Key features include:

  • ‘Do You Feel Like …’ – fun suggestions to help you experience the variety of a destination, whether you are into fantastic views, impressive museums or atmospheric locations.
  • ‘Insider Tips’ – giving you the inside track on what to see and where to go.
  • In-depth information – all the things that make a trip unforgettable from eating & drinking, sightseeing, shopping, museums & galleries, festivals etc.
  • 3D cut outs of key sights on distinctive fold out pages and specially created tours to help you explore a destination on foot, by bicycle, car or public transport.

Made your decision? Go to the Marco Polo Shop

 

Top 10 things to do in Budapest

For perfect days in Budapest, here is Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Budapest’s most important sights. 

Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

1. MÁTYÁS-TEMPLOM 

The beautifully renovated Matthias Church dominates the largest square on Buda’s Castle Hill, a focal point offering great views over the whole of Budapest.

2. ORSZÁGHÁZ 

No panoramic view of Budapest would be complete without the monumental Parliament building. (Image above.) It’s also worth a visit!

3. ANDRÁSSY ÚT & ÁLLAMI OPERAHÁZ 

The boulevard and its surrounding area offer art nouveau architecture and buzzing nightlife. The highlight is the Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

4. SZENT ISTVÁN BAZILIKA

The mighty St Stephen’s Basilica is one of Europe’s top churches. It’s sacred to Hungarians thanks to the relic of King Stephen. At nearly 100m high, the dome boasts a stunning panoramic view.

5. VÁROSLIGET

The City Park was built in 1896 to celebrate Hungary’s 1,000th anniversary. You can soak your cares away next to the park at the magnificent Széchenyi Baths.

6. MARGIT-SZIGET 

Margaret Island in the Danube is a tranquil recreational oasis at the heart of the city. Only the huge Sziget Festival in August disturbs the island’s peace.

7. ZSIDÓ NEGYED

With its restaurants, a cemetery, a museum and two large Synagogues, the city’s Jewish quarter will grant you a fascinating glimpse into the rich past of this once-great Budapest community.

8. VÖRÖSMARTY TÉR & VÁCI UTCA

The city’s hottest square and chicest street for shopping and strolling around. Some of the coffee houses are also fantastic spots to see and be seen.

9. GELLÉRT-HEGY 

Climb right to the top of Gellért Hill to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view. The hill boasts the Independence Monument at its summit and the famous Gellért Baths at its feet.

10. HŐSÖK TERE

Heroes’ Square and the Millenary Monument make up the ultimate symbol of Hungarian national pride. They’re flanked by the Palace of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

Content taken from the Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

Buy the Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

Marco Polo Guides in the Media

We get around round round we get around… 🙂

Since the launch of our two new series this year, we’ve had some great coverage in the print and online media. Here’s an article which just came out in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine September 2015 edition:

Paris guidebooks comparison (click on image to enlarge)

Marco Polo Spiral Guides in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine Sept 2015 Edition

Credit: Marco Polo Spiral Guides in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine Sept 2015 Edition

The Paris Marco Polo Spiral guide fared pretty well, with the only criticism being that the insider tips were sometimes quite well known.

They didn’t mention our extensive mapping / street atlas / pull-out map but alas you can’t win ’em every time!

If you’d like to get your hands on your own copy, you can buy the Paris Marco Polo Spiral Guidenow!

Paris Marco Polo Spiral Guide

What bloggers are saying about Marco Polo Spiral Guides

MP_Web_Banner

We have launched not one, but TWO new series this year… bringing our total to three guidebook series! Marco Polo Pocket Guides (RRP £6.99) Marco Polo Spiral Guides (RRP £9.99) and Marco Polo Travel Handbooks (RRP £12.99).

Having three different guidebook series means we can provide the perfect companion to each and every trip! Whether you are a planner who enjoys researching in advance and likes in-depth, highly visual coverage of each destination; the type who likes to live like a native and experience local haunts, or a time-poor traveller who only has a few days and doesn’t want to miss a thing, Marco Polo has the guide for you.

We have been road-testing our Spiral Guides with travel bloggers from all over the world… and here’s what they think:

Jessica McDonnell – Forever Miss Vanity

Forever Miss Vanity - Paris Guide

Photo credit: forevermissvanity.com

Paris and Amsterdam Spiral Guides: “Marco Polo Spiral Guides are a new selection of high quality, travel sized, colourful travel guides with insider tips on places all over the world. The books feature everything from where to eat, places to stay, things to visit, unusual experiences and even hidden gem recommendations from other travellers and locals. The books cost a mere £9.99 each and include a street atlas, a separate pull-out map for easy navigation and they also feature a section in the book of cultural traditions ensuring you stay out of trouble and in the know during your visit.”

Forever Miss Vanity - Amsterdam Guide

Photo credit: forevermissvanity.com

“These guides have been very useful when writing our itineraries and thinking of places to visit. We will be booking a trip to Amsterdam for October and plan on potentially going to Paris in February so we will be making use of all the street maps and hints and tips when we go. I always believe in carrying around a map and guidebook because you never know when your phone battery will die and they can be so handy in an emergency. With their compact size and small price tag, these books are definitely an item that belongs in your carry on.” Visit Jessica’s blog at forevermissvanity.com

Viktoria Urbanek – Chronic Wanderlust 

Chronic Wanderlust

Photo credit: chronic-wanderlust.com

Budapest Spiral Guide: “The spiral travel guide is perfect for the independent traveller, who loves to explore but also wants to see the basics. The spiral the guide lays flat on the table when planning your trip and makes it foldable at whatever page you want it to be folded.

Street maps are found at the end of the guide book and an additional pull-out map makes navigating the city even easier!  There is also a small plastic pocket so you can store tickets and other useful papers.

I love independent guides, which are flexible, can be used several times and don’t show how much they were used.” You can visit Viki’s blog at chronic-wanderlust.com

Alice Hassall – Life as Alice

Alice Hassall - Life As Alice

Photo credit: lifeasalice.com

London Spiral Guide: “Marco Polo pride themselves on their ‘Insider Knowledge’ and so it is the perfect guide for a London geek like me.

My personal favourite bits of the guides are the insider tips and the Do’s and Don’ts section. I am more the ‘oooo I didn’t know that?!?!’ and a ‘that’s soooo random, I love it’ type of travel book reader. The stranger the fact, the more excited I get.

All in all, I love these guides. The fact this is handbag sized makes it all the easier to travel with for me but the quick to read nature of the facts and tips makes it also easier to digest too. I find the conversational language in which it is written a much better on the go read, than those old school travel guides with pages of blurb about one particular attraction. I’m happier with nuggets of info to digest than an entire essay.” Visit Alice’s blog at  lifeasalice.com

Mari’s World

Mari's World

Photo credit: marisworld.co.uk

London, Rome and Venice Spiral Guides: “First thing to mention is I LOVE the fact it is spiral bound. This prevents cracking the spine and the possible loss of pages over lots of use, the cover also has large flaps on both sides which work as marvelous bookmarks. At the back of the guide is a plastic pocket, also spiral bound, which holds a perfect sized pocket map.

The guide is divided into five areas, it starts with The Magazine. This is a brilliant idea as it is a collection of articles written to inform and inspire you, perfect bedtime reading or for the train/plane.

I love the suggested ‘Perfect Day’ with times and indications of what to do and see. It’s a perfect guide to follow taking in the major monuments and places of interest of each area then giving a couple of other ideas too. I’m really pleased to see Harry’s Bar mentioned (in the Venice Guide) which was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bars and home of the Bellini, a delicious mix of peach juice and prosecco.” Read more of Mari’s blog at marisworld.co.uk

The Globe Getter

The Globe Getter - New York Guide

Photo credit: theglobegetter.com

New York Spiral Guide: “How to Be a Tourist in Your Own City! You may be thinking, why do I need a guide to explore my own city? I already know what to do. Well, maybe you do, but I bet you don’t know everything. While perusing my New York Marco Polo Travel guide, I learned so many interesting tidbits about my home of 11 years. For example, did you know the first battery-driven taxis appeared in New York in the 1890s? Today, there are more than 13,000 taxis in the city. This was fascinating news to me! Another great thing about this particular travel guide is that it shows you what you can do if you’re on a budget and, if you don’t want to carry the entire guide around, you can use the pull-out map at the back of the book.

What I love about the Marco Polo Spiral Guide is that it highlights some lesser known attractions and venues in New York City for me to explore. Regardless of where you live, it’s possible to do the same. That’s what a good guidebook is for! There is likely information on a place that you did not know existed, so take the time to check out the not-so-popular spots because you may find a new place you hadn’t expected to love but do.” Visit theglobegetter.com

Gretta Schifano – Mums Do Travel

Mums Do Travel - Amsterdam Guide

Photo credit: mumsdotravel.com

Amsterdam Spiral Guide:  “The books have plasticized covers to protect them and they’re just the right size to fit into a handbag. The important sights are organised geographically and there are detailed maps and suggested itineraries for a ‘Perfect Day’ in each area.

The magazine section of the guide has some fascinating articles. I particularly like the feature about Jewish Amsterdam which explains how the city was a place of refuge for Jewish people as far back as the sixteenth century. The ‘Finding your feet’ section is packed with useful tips some of which I already knew about – such as the excellent iamsterdam City Card which covers public transport and admission to the major museums – and some of which I was unaware – such as the free ferries from behind Central Station.

I particularly like the ‘Perfect Day’ itineraries and would definitely use them to help me to plan my time in the city. Another great feature is the ‘Insider Tip’ label which pops up throughout the book. It signals some quirky and unusual things to do such as the Kinderkookcafé where children can prepare and decorate their own food.

The guide is well-written (as you’d expect with authors such as Simon Calder on the writing team) and thorough. It’s practical, easy to navigate and interesting to read and I’ll definitely be taking it with me when I go to Amsterdam.” You can read more of Gretta’s blog at mumsdotravel.com

The following Marco Polo Spiral Guides are available now:

AmsterdamAndalucia, Barcelona, Budapest, Florence, Florida, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Ireland, London, Malta, Marrakesh, New York, Paris, Rome, Sicily, Tenerife, Thailand, Tuscany, and Venice.

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