Last Updated September 5, 2021

Best Travel Books for Europe

0  comments

Travelling to Europe doesn't happen without a lot of planning, but where do you start? Guidebooks are a great way to get ideas about where to go and what to see. Some of the best travel books for Europe provide tips and skills you will want to know before you go.

More...

These tips and skills are things you'll want to know beyond just what to see or where to stay. Some of these travel books will provide valuable information on customs, safety tips, and how to budget.

I highly recommend getting a book or two. It will give you an advantage in your planning. You'll find ideas for things to do you didn't know existed and save your money.

You won't be able to see all of Europe on one trip. These books will help you plan the perfect trip based on your interests and budget.

Using some of the links on this post supports the site. Expand here to learn what that means.

To help keep this site going, I use some affiliate links. These links will take you to trusted travel partners that I love and it costs you nothing extra to purchase a product or use their service. I may receive a small commission, which I use to keep this site running. 

If you found this site useful and want to support it, all you have to do is use the links when booking. It's that simple.

Some people just want to say thanks by buying me a coffee. I do love coffee. Like a lot. I have seven different ways to make coffee at home....okay maybe it's an obsession. 


Best Travel Books for Europe

Best Travel Books for Europe to buy

Photo by Alex Zamora

Travel books are as popular as ever. With the pandemic, people have been taking more time to read and plan their trips to Europe. 

We sit in front of screens enough. Getting back to books is a growing trend. 

These travel books for Europe are full of information. Many people don't want to read that 1000+ page book on a phone or tablet. 

New and Used Travel Book Options

You'll notice buttons for each book where you can see the NEW and USED price for each book.

Why did I include used books also? While these books may not be expensive, buying a few of them at a time can be. You want your money to go towards your trip, don't you?

Not only that, the used books come from Better World Books. They support literacy, libraries, and promote sustainability which we all can agree is a good thing. 

If you want the most up-to-date version of a travel book, then go for the new one. After you are done with the guidebook, you can pass it on to someone else, sell it (there is a market for it) or donate it to your local library.

Best Travel Books  for Europe -

Quick Comparison List 

Below is a quick overview of my top picks for guidebooks for Europe. After this short roundup, you'll find a detailed review of each book, including some supplementary books that could be useful. 

#1

Top Pick!

Lonely Planet Europe Guidebook

Lonely Planet - Europe Travel Guide

  • Paperback
  • 1498 pages
  • 195 maps
  • Covers: 40 countries

Who it's for:

First-time traveller or someone looking for both popular and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

5 of 5 stars

See Prices

#2
Rick Steves Best of Europe Travel Book

Rick Steves - Best of Europe

  • Paperback
  • 1010 pages
  • 100 colour maps
  • Covers: England, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands.

Who it's for:

Someone limited on travel time looking for Europe's greatest hits in Europe's most popular destinations.

4 of 5 stars

See Prices

#3
Fodor's Essential Europe Travel Book

Fodor's Travel Essential Europe

  • Paperback
  • 1024 pages
  • Dozens of maps
  • Covers: 25 countries

Who it's for:

Someone with limited time and wants to visit Europe's must-sees recommended by locals.

5 of 5 stars

See Prices

#4
Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door

Rick Steves - Europe Through the Back Door

  • Paperback
  • 777 pages
  • Covers:18 countries/regions

Who it's for:

Planning guide for a first-time traveller looking to learn practical travel skills and tips for travelling Europe.

5 of 5 stars

See Prices

#5
Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring

Lonely Planet - Europe in a Shoestring

  • Paperback
  • 896 pages
  • 186 Maps
  • Covers: 41 countries.

Who it's for:

Someone who wants to maximize their experience and minimize the money spent.

5 of 5 stars

See Prices

#6
Rough Guide to First-Time Europe

Rough Guide to First-Time Europe

  • Paperback
  • 344 pages
  • Maps
  • Covers: 31 countries.

Who it's for:

First-time travellers to Europe looking for tips on travelling Europe, with brief overviews of the countries to get ideas.

3.5 of 5 stars

See Prices

#7
Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call

  • Paperback
  • 344 pages
  • Maps
  • Covers: 31 countries.

Who it's for:

Cruise ship travellers looking for things to do at the ports of call around Europe.

4 of 5 stars

See Prices

Choosing the Best Travel Guidebooks for Europe

There are so many travel guidebooks. Especially when you are travelling to Europe. You may be finding yourself asking:

  • Do you get a generic travel book about Europe or one about a specific region? 
  • Which travel book brand is the best?
  • Which guidebook for Europe do I pick?

There are a lot of great brands out there when it comes to travel books. Everyone has their own preference. Read some of the full reviews below to find the best travel book for you.

First-Time Travellers to Europe

If you are a first-time traveller to Europe it can be overwhelming, even intimidating.

Do you find yourself asking: Where should I go? How do I even start to plan?

Then I recommend Rick Steves - Through the Back Door, or Rough Guides First-Time to Europe books. 

They will teach everything about how to travel there. While these travel guide books talk about what to do there, they are more for ideas than detailed information. 

If you are looking for more detailed information on countries, move onto a book like Lonely Planet Europe or Fodor's Essential Europe

Travelling on a Limited Time or Budget

Travel is limited by two things, time and money. People that have unlimited of each aren't reading this post.

Everyone's budget is different. Travelling on a budget doesn't mean cheap. It means finding what works best for you

I like Rick Steves' book, Best of Europe. It does a great job covering both. He teaches how to plan for your trip so you can get the most out of your dollar. It also doesn't cover everything in Europe, which is a good thing.

If you are limited on time, his book will show you the highlights that you want to see in your limited time.

Lonely Planet's Europe on a Shoestring does a great job of telling you what everything costs in places. Now you can take that knowledge and figure out your daily budget.

Full Reviews of the Best Travel Books for Europe

Lonely Planet Europe Travel Guide

This travel guidebook is one of the best. Lonely Planet is one of the best-known companies in the business.

This book is perfect for someone travelling to Europe for the first time and not sure where they want to go or if you are taking a multi-country trip throughout Europe.

Lonely Planet Europe Guidebook

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Albania

Austria

Belarus

Belgium & Luxembourg

Britain

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary 

Iceland

Ireland

 Italy

Kosovo

Latvia

Lithuania

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

The Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

Ukraine

Lonely Planet's Europe starts off with some itinerary options, but they range from 4-6 weeks. These itineraries are great suggestions for those with that amount of time, but the true value of this guidebook is the complete coverage of Europe.

This travel book will provide you with 1248 pages of ideas covering all of Europe.

One of the best things is the cultural insights, history, arts, food and drink for each area. This helps you understand the places you plan to visit.
You'll also learn important insider tips on how to avoid bad areas, and crowds finding those hidden gems most other books won't show you.

Last but not least, it will teach you all about shopping, accommodations, sightseeing and where to eat.

Conclusion:

Lonely Planet books are a great starting point to build your travel plan, especially if you are a first-time traveller. It is a very straightforward, direct read. As in, "Here's what to do, how much it cost, where it is, when it's open...." It packs a lot of information for each area.

If you are travelling to a particular region Lonely Planet has great travel books for all European regions. They include Central Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Europe, Scandinavian Europe.

If you are looking for a specific country, they've got great travel books focused on one country. They are more in-depth and have more precise information on regions and cities. 

I recommend starting with the Europe book, and/or if you plan on spending time in one region or country more so, supplement with one of the specialty books.  

5 of 5 stars

Get it here!

Rick Steves - Best of Europe

Rick Steves is well-known in the travel industry for his travel tips that really show you how to make the most of your time in Europe.

This guidebook is exactly that. If you are limited on time and want to get the best bang for your buck, then you'll want this book.

He focuses on doing it on an affordable, set daily budget per person without sacrificing experiences.

Rick Steves Best of Europe Travel Book

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

England

France

Germany

Italy

The Netherlands

Spain 

Switzerland


Rick Steves Best of Europe covers the most popular places in Europe people like to visit. It focuses on a limited number of countries but dedicates 1010 pages to them.

This travel book includes self-guided walks, museum tours to follow, which is perfect for those looking to plan their own activities and do things at their own pace.

It also includes trip planning checklists, great travel tips about budgeting, how to take public transport, and a section on useful phrases in Dutch, German Italian and French.

Conclusion:

This Rick Steves book is perfect if you are visiting the countries listed, and you are limited on time.

It only touches on the popular things to do in these countries, and that's a good thing. It's written with an audience in mind with limited time to travel, so it's great if you only have 7-14 days to cover a small area.

If you are looking for other Rick Steves books that focus on individual countries, check out the link below.

4 of 5 stars

Get it here!

Fodor's Travel Essential Europe

Fodor's Travel has been around for 80+ years. Fodor's books are written by locals. This means you'll find some things other travel guides won't show you. Don't worry, they include all the top attractions too.

It's designed for travellers with limited time and also looking to get a more focused look at the 25 countries it covers. 

Fodor's Essential Europe Travel Book

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Austria

The Baltic States

Belgium 

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary 

Ireland

 Italy

The Netherlands

Portugal

Scandinavia 

Spain

Switzerland

Turkey

United Kingdom


This travel book will provide you with maps, itineraries, and recommendations for hotels and restaurants, taking the guesswork out of your planning.

Fodor's gives you all the information to help plan your trips. Things like all the travel basics of how to get around, tipping, taxes, money and other important information you will want to know.

They tell you a low, mid, and high budget expectancy for each country. Then with each city, they offer different price range options for accommodations and restaurants.

If you are a lover of food, this book offers hundreds of suggestions on restaurants in a variety of price ranges and also lists their top picks.

Conclusion:

If you find yourself asking, "How many days should you spend in X city?" then you will love this book. The book offers two-week itineraries and recommendations for how many days to spend in cities across Europe.

With it written by locals, it offers a different perspective for some not-so-common sites and good information on the top websites.

One thing I really like is that they note activities that are good for families.

When looking at Scandinavia, The Baltic States, and the United Kingdom, this travel book is slightly less detailed because they package the countries together. It mainly focuses on the main cities.

Fodor's also has their "Essential" series for individual countries for a more focused look. 

5 of 5 stars

Get it here!

Rick Steves - Europe Through the Back Door

Another great book by Rick Steves is Europe Through the Back Door. This travel book focuses more on practical travel skills you will want to learn.

What kind of tips? Tips on: How to pack, how to take public transportation, how to save money, how to avoid scams, how to plan and get the most out of your time and much more. 

You'll also learn valuable tips on the culture of the countries.

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door Guidebook

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Austria

Belgium

Britain

Croatia

Czech Republic

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Ireland 

Italy

The Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Scandinavia

Slovenia

Spain

Switzerland

This travel book is a "smaller" book at 777 pages. It touches on a bit of everything you'd want to know about travelling to Europe.

If you are a bit nervous about going to Europe and don't know what to expect, this book will help put you at ease. It will give you the knowledge you need to start planning the perfect trip for you.

This book is broken down into two parts. The first part is about practical travel skills. Detailed information on how to budget, use public transport, driving, packing, accommodations, the list goes on. You will learn a lot.

The second half of the book is about the countries, giving you a high-level overview and inspiration.

Conclusion:

This is another ideal book for first-time travellers to Europe. It covers so many topics and countries that it's a great starting place to learn what Europe is all about, get some ideas and start planning (because you will learn how!).

It's like sitting down and talking with someone who has travelled to Europe every year because Rick Steves has. You get all the ins and outs that only experience can give you.

The information is limited on the countries, with about 10 pages on each. You may want to supplement it with other country-specific books once you know where you want to go. 

5 of 5 stars

Get it here!

Lonely Planet - Europe on a Shoestring

Europe on a Shoestring is a perfect book for those looking to travel Europe on a budget.

It includes 41 countries, from the popular ones like Germany to the lesser-known ones like Montenegro.

You'll learn all the top sights, transportation, accommodations and nightlife. 

Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Albania

Austria

Belarus

Belgium & Luxembourg

Bosnia & Hercegovina

Britain

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Estonia

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary 

Ireland 

Italy

Kosovo

Latvia

Lithuania

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

The Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland)

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Switzerland

Turkey

Ukraine

This travel book has 896 pages that cover all the countries above. 186 maps help you get an idea of the layout of different cities.

At the beginning of the travel book, it offers a few itineraries. They range from three weeks to 2 months. When you look at specific countries, it will give you an idea of shorter itineraries of 1-2 weeks or less.

You'll find everything you need to start planning your trip.

Conclusion:

This European travel book doesn't really guide you to cheap things to do only. What it does best is layout the costs of everything they mention, which allows you to really price out your trip down to each Euro.

They show you the cost to visit each restaurant, hotel recommendations. This helps you plan your daily expenses because the book tells you how much a museum ticket costs, a meal, bus tickets, etc.

For more detailed looks at countries, look for other Lonely Planet books.

5 of 5 stars

Get it here!

The Rough Guide to First-Time Europe

The Rough Guide to First-Time Europe is a travel book that will teach you about travelling Europe more than anything.

It is geared to a younger audience, someone looking to get to Europe and is open to doing it on a budget.

The goal of this travel book, is to teach you how to travel Europe, so you don't waste your time or money. 

Rough Guide to First-Time Europe

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Austria

The Baltic States

Belgium & Luxembourg

Britain

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary 

Ireland 

Italy

Montenegro

Morocco

The Netherlands

Norway

Poland


Portugal

Romania

Russia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

This travel book has 344 pages, and approximately 200 pages dedicated to the "How to" of travelling Europe. This means that there are only 150 or so pages left for the countries.

In the Where to Go section, it is a high-level look at the countries. You'll get a general idea of the countries and what to expect.

Conclusion:

This Rough Guide book is suited for someone looking to learn all the ins and outs of planning a trip to Europe.

With only four pages of information about each country, you aren't getting any itineraries, breakdown of costs, or detailed list of things to do.

This book is a good starting point for someone travelling to Europe for the first time with a beginner's knowledge of how to travel there. You will want more detailed books after to learn about what to do in specific countries.

I find this book is meant more for a student traveller, someone looking to stay in cheap hotels, or a hostel and travelling by train and bus.

It does offer excellent knowledge for planning more than it does about things to do.

3.5 of 5 stars

Get it here!

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call is a focused travel book for those going on a cruise and explore the ports of call.

It covers over 80 of Europe's top cruise ports in its 624 pages.

It covers the must-see attractions, best restaurants, maps, hotels, and insider tips from locals and tons of attractions to fill your day with.

Fodor basically says, if it's in this book, it's worth doing. If it's not worth doing, it's not in here.

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call

Click to expand

Regions/Countries Covered:

Western Mediterranean

Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean

The North Sea

The Baltic States

Norway

Atlantic Islands

This travel book about cruise ship ports of call starts with Choosing Your Cruise with before-you-go tips and a breakdown of all the different cruise lines companies.

Each port will have a mini-map, what to see, where to eat, where to stay and a shopping section.

Conclusion:

This book is for anyone taking a cruise in Europe. Your port days are where you want to try and pack as much in as you can.

This book will show you the best things to do with your limited time. It not only gives recommendations on what to see but also a little history on sights and descriptions.

Most importantly they always tell you the best way to get into the cities.

Like other Fodor books, it gives you their top picks on things to do, from museums to shopping. This will help you narrow down how to use your time efficiently.

4 of 5 stars

Get it here!

About the author

As you can tell, I'm not an Instagram model. This means I have to be frugal about travelling and have found many ways to save money when I travel. I made this website because I want to show you the way real people can travel, on real budgets. If you want travel tips for Europe, you are in the right place. If you want pictures of me staring off into a sunset, in front of iconic European landmarks....sorry wrong guy.


Tags


You may also like

Tips for Flying with Toddlers

Tips for Flying with Toddlers
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to the newsletter now!

>