Book Review: Rick Steves’ Germany 2009

Germany’s cities are not sexy destinations like Paris or Rome, but they certainly have a lot to offer – and that’s the message that comes through in the most recent Rick Steves’ Germany 2009 guide. With some cities given a real boost, others, however, are not spoken of so highly, and most of the country areas seem to be ignored. For the typical visitor to Germany, the guide probably provides what is necessary, but it certainly wouldn’t suffice for a second visit.

big1598801120There are huge sections devoted to Munich and Salzburg – the latter, of course, is in Austria rather than Germany, but being relatively near to the border, is thrown in as an extra. Both of these cities are covered extensively, using up about 10% of the book each. There are then chapters for various cities and regions including the Black Forest, Frankfurt, Dresden and Berlin, but this is by no means an extensive coverage of the country. In fact, the guide is really just centered on a few parts of German, particularly cities and not much of what’s in between.

In addition, Steves labels the university town of Heidelberg a tourist trap full of Americans and not worth a visit – in reality, most consider Heidelberg still worthwhile and it’s easy to find Heidelberg gems off the main tourist beat. Also, the cursory history section of the guide – a very short ten pages compared to the 50 or 60 devoted to some of the cities – doesn’t really provide enough information for visitors to appreciate many of the historical sights they will come across in a proper context.
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