Kay's Reviews > Vienna

Vienna by Stephen Brook
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's review
Jul 31, 10

bookshelves: art_architecture, european-civ, travel-guides, nonfiction
Read in January, 2003

I'm a big fan of the Eyewitness Travel Guides, and an even bigger fan of Vienna, perhaps my favorite continental city. I've spent days wandering the city, drinking in the sights, so it's a joy to have such a visual guide at hand to remind me of the sights I love best and to guide me on future explorations.

The Eyewitness Travel Guide format is visually appealing -- a lavishly illustrated introductory section expounding on the history and key features of the city followed by color-coded sections, each devoted to a different area. Those in a hurry should go straight to the introductory section for a quick historical overview and then a "cut-to-the-chase" guide to the city's "best" features: the best museums and galleries, historic houses and palaces, churches, jugendstil architecture (an aspect of the city I adore), and coffeehouses (ditto).

The rear of the book is devoted to practicalities such as transportation, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. Since it heavily relies on pictures rather than words, it's easy to pick up a guide, thumb through it, and let a striking photo serve as inspiration for where to go or what to do. The text on even the major sights is succinct, so if it's the full monty you're after, supplement this guide with something more substantial like a Blue Guide. However, if you want to get a quick sense of what a destination has to offer, an hour or so spent with one of these guides is probably one of the most effective ways to do background research.

One quibble is that since the Eyewitness Guides are printed on nice, heavy stock, they're not that light. Perhaps in the future another format - digital? - will get around this problem.

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