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Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2005

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  4,142 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews

Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door 2009 is the definitive guidebook for an affordable and unforgettable trip to Europe. Covering all the essentials and morefrom packing to transportation to foreign currencyRick’s tips allow travelers to become temporary Europeans,” saving them time and money along the way. Rick also includes his personal favorites, or back doors,” t

641 pages
Published 2004 by Avalon Travel Publishing (first published January 1982)
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Can't afford to travel, so I enjoyed reading this in time for summer... and watching others' vacation pics on my FB feed. I find that Steves' books are excellently satisfying for this armchair tourist, and this one was no exception.
Leslie Rock
I chose this book for my informational text in my reading writing odyssey because this is one of my favorite travel books! Rick Steve uses an informal and friendly approach with his readers to invite them in and show them what will make their trip the best experience they can have. This book was recommended to me when I was planning my trip to Europe and I remember thinking how clever it was to write a travel book with a personality. People who read these books are adventure seekers and they nee ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Daniela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say this is by far the best book I have read when it comes to trip planning. With the decline of the American dollar, a trip to Europe can seem a little intimidating, especially to young travelers or people on a tight budget. Rick Steves provides great tips and insights on how to find affordable accomodations and transportation in this guide, as well as cheap ways to enjoy sightseeing in Europe. After reading this book, Europe seems a lot more accessible to me, even in these rough eco ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
I haven't been to Europe in over 10 years, and this was a really helpful guide to the practical things one needs to know: advice on money, accomodations, travel within Europe and trip planning, as well as some good ideas on where to go.

I wish I had read this before I had booked a flight and hotels; there is a lot of information here on how to save money on accomodations and flights. I'm glad I read the book before I packed - I've scaled down my luggage for a two week trip to a single carryon ba
Jan 05, 2008 Dioscita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit unfair of me to be rating this edition when it's not the one I read and counted on while traveling abroad, yet Steves was so helpful for me who is phobic about being an Ugly American that I had to add him to my list. Read him before you go.
Jan 06, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great reference with anything you need to know!
Terri Lynn
Mar 04, 2014 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
This is a book mostly telling you in a rather pompous way at times how you should act while traveling in Europe. He goes into detail about why staying in a cheap dump where you may be sleeping on an air mattress on the floor after climbing 6 flights of stairs and having no air conditioning no matter how hot it is is so superior (to him) than sleeping in luxury and comfort. He even takes up for those loud German schoolkids who regularly make people miserable in hostels and other cheap dumps (sayi ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Traveling the Rick Steves way is not for everyone. If you enjoy (and insist upon) room service, concierges, and other amenities of American-style hotels, you won't like traveling this way.

This is about traveling like a European... staying in small locally-owned and run inns, guesthouses, and even private homes. It is much less expensive and much more authentic than staying at the Best Western.

This book introduces Rick Steves style of traveling like a temporary European. He also has separate guid
Aug 14, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great travel resource, especially if you're a European travel novice. Rick covers all the topics you have questions about and topics you didn't know you had questions about. After reading Europe Through the Back Door we felt prepared to travel smart. Rick's advice really did make our trip go smoother. Thanks to Rick Steves for providing such a thorough, practical, up-to-date guide.
Dec 22, 2011 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the 2010 version. For anyone going to Europe for the first time or looking to book a trip on their own but may have taken smaller trips with one home base city or guided tours in the past, this book provides a good overview and a lot of background information. I thought it was a helpful read before going more in depth with my planning.
Jan 24, 2017 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm counting this as a book read, even though I skimmed some chunks of it and hence wouldn't usually count it as read. I'm moving to Germany soon and have been trying to read some guidebooks on Europe and/or Germany. This one caught my eye because it was the only 2017 edition of a Europe guidebook in my library's very small Europe travel section.

I've heard good things about Rick Steves recently; this is my first book of his (I've already checked out his Germany guidebook and plan to read that ne
John Hubbard
I read the 1999 edition and went to many places. I found his Best of Europe to be better.
Jan 17, 2017 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Good general guide to independent travel in Europe.
Trinia Guttuso
Mar 15, 2017 Trinia Guttuso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great resource for traveling through Europe. Unfortunately I was on a guided tour, so I couldn't take advantage of some of the "backdoor" suggestions but it was interesting anyway.
Most helpful was the chapter on safety. Mr. Steve's mentioned thieves and scams. Specifically he talked about a scam where the cashier pretends to talk on the phone and takes a picture of your credit card. Sure enough while in London we came across this "chatty cashier"... we quickly evaluated this as one pf the warni
Apr 02, 2014 Silas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure that this would be very helpful for a great deal of people. It does a pretty good job of letting you know details about whether or not it is worth buying a rail pass, gives an overview of several European countries, and some pretty sensible travel tips (use a money belt, watch for thieves). However, I think I just don't enjoy travel writing. Parts where the author is just describing a day he had irritate me, and I have a serious problem with how they are sometimes written in second pers ...more
Fred Landis
Jun 15, 2011 Fred Landis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rick Steves is a French caricature of Americans.He has no style,no class,never had an idea in his life,after a career visting Europe he understands less about the subject that I did when I was ten,but he occupies space.
Oscar Wild's description of a cynic is a person who knows the price of everything but the value of none.By this description Rick Steves is a cynic.He tells people how to save money on a pointless trip because he has not give a clue why they should go.
The default position during PB
Kristi Mangan
Mar 22, 2014 Kristi Mangan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in Europe and didn't think I needed a guidebook for our visit this year but I was wrong. This is by far the best guidebook I've read with dozens of practical tips I had never heard before. What makes this book special is Steves' dedication to appreciating European culture - he encourages us to travel simply and engage with the people, not just check off visits to the touristy spots. As an ex-ex-pat who was mortified by clueless American tourists, I love how he sweetly but firmly offers ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Zain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I read the 2006 edition (got it from a used bookstore) but I'll fool myself into believing not much has changed in content. I read this all through my trip to Central Europe last summer and it was an awesome and very helpful read. It didn't have much about the towns and regions I went to, but it was because of this book that I learnt of the Munich Walking Tours and went on an amazing, informative and very thought-provoking Third Reich Tour on a rainy morning in München, walking through the beer ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Akshata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Love, love, love this book. Rick Steves covers a lot of travel aspects for a conscientious traveler in this entertaining textbook of travel tips. Covering packing tips, flights, hotels, money tips and solo travel, he is thorough, brutally honest and funny. It is a book for those who are patient enough to be educated before traveling, and it's not for you if you're looking for a quick fix "what to do in Europe" book. There is a section on major cities at the end (excerpts from his guide books) fr ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Tama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in preparation to traveling to Europe. It was a good "prep" book that helped us plan for 2 weeks of travel in Europe. The MOST helpful advice was probably about packing. Used his advice to pack what we really needed and not what we may need. I read the electronic version which had links to other areas of the book. Those were useful to get to specific information, but in the electronic world, it was hard to get back to your original location in the book. Learned to use an electroni ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Steves writes my favorite European travel books. Europe Through The Back Door has a chapter for each of the main countries, so it makes for lighter packing if you are hitting a bunch of countries on one trip. He also writes country specific guide books if you want more in-depth information. I used this book a couple years ago when I backpacked through Europe and I thought the sight seeing and travel suggestions were great. The thing I love about Rick Steves is he writes for the budget consi ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Pro - Steves demystifies Europe for the reader, dispensing TONS of practical advice for the first time European traveler. He tries to mix in the historical Europe with the continent as it is today, and does a good job with it. Although he has some well known favourite places (Rothenburg, Germany, Bruges, the Oslo-Bergen train ride etc.) he covers a good portion of Europe and offers his own opinions on various places.

Con - Sadly, Steves has recently felt the need to inject his liberal political o
Feb 05, 2009 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Steve's books are great. Great tips on where to eat, sleep, sight see. We have planned both of our trips to Europe using his books!

He has trip plans for the number of days you plan to stay - for every attraction he tells you how long you should expect it to take. He tells you exactly where the highlights of a museum are located so you can skip the stuff you don't want to see. Around every attraction, he lists a perfect place to grab lunch or a cup of coffee. He suggests great places to stay
Oct 14, 2008 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Plucked this off the donation cart at my library and am enjoying every page. I'll have to get the 2008 version and compare. Steve's advice is practical and useful if not always realistic such as his view that makeup and pajamas are "optional"! Nice section on packing light even though he totally plugs the shopping section on his webpage. Still it made me take a look and he offers some nice travel accessories and bags for sale through the site. Also helpful is the section on overrated tourist sit ...more
I don't know if I read this Rick Steves book or not. I am letting it stand in for the Rick Steve books that I have read. Every travel book series has something unique to offer, and Rick's travel guides offer you the basic sights and practical ways to get there and see them. He is irreverent in a way that Fodor and Frommer are more sedate, but not off-the-wall like some of the series directed toward younger, more adventurous travelers. I read a lot of guides, and Steves is middle-of-the-road, and ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy just knows how to travel. My wife and I have enjoyed two Rick Steves' tours and in the process learned that to travel lite is to travel best. Steves guides you to all kinds of interesting places throughout Europe. The problem is that so many people use his books that his discoveries can become overwhelmed. The next time you travel in Europe, look around and you'll see loads of travelers with one of his books in hand. If you want your traveling to move beyond seeing the icons this book c ...more
Feb 08, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few of Rick's Europe Through the Back Door books from subsequent years and they are all invaluable tools for a trip to Europe. He is amazing at knowing what to avoid and what to see to get the most out of your trip and these books have so many wonderful tips for every type of situation, even things that people wouldn't normally think about. Even if you just dream of taking a trip to Europe and can't travel with his tour company or prefer to travel on your own, these books are writt ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Part 1 of this book is really great for people who are going to be travelling to Europe for the first time. I learned quite a bit and now feeling more confident about going to Europe solo. The only thing I didn't like about this book is Rick Steves' idea of "cheap" travelling is rather pricey. Wouldn't recommend this book to those looking to stay at hostel and do a budget trip.
Part 2 of the book has some really interesting cities that people should check out that aren't high on everyone's touri
Apr 14, 2014 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic European travel advice. This is the best preparatory guide for North American travellers headed to Europe. It covers the basics of money, transportation, packing, itinerary planning, culture, and more. Don't go to Europe without reading this or something similar - there will be many "A Ha!" moments where you are experiencing something strange but then realize Rick taught you how to navigate the issue. You will still need to purchase country-specific guides, as this is a general travel pr ...more
Feb 26, 2008 Margaret rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Great resource guide to traveling in Europe and not spending a fortune. I've read the older version of this book cover to cover. But Rick Steves updates it with newer information in this book. It was interesting to note that taking a plane between two major cities in Europe is often cheaper than the train. This was not the case when my husband and I traveled there before. Very helpful but his guide books have some of the same information.

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Richard "Rick" Steves is an American author and television personality on European travel. He is the host of a public television series, and a public radio travel show, and the author of many travel guidebooks and autobiographies.
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