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Rough Guide to Turkey

The Rough Guide to Turkey, 5th edition

Encyclopedic, exhaustive—perhaps even exhausting—are words that come to mind when picking up this huge, attractive tome. Indubitably abargain for the price, there is more here than almost any traveler would want or need to know about Turkey, collected by a staff of eight experienced authors.

This is both good and bad. If you are the kind of traveler who revels in detail and depth of coverage, this is definitely the book for you. But there is also the danger of being overwhelmed. What most travelers want is optimal, not maximal detail, and the Rough Guide is definitely maximal.

The depth of coverage shines if you like going off the beaten track, because the Rough Guide will take you there informatively and usually accurately. But there is a danger here as well. You may follow the guide into the back of beyond and wonder why you went there, especially if your travel time in Turkey is limited.

The Where to Go section at the front of the guide is a 4-page survey of what to see and do, but its even-handedness does not help you to prioritize your time. It’s almost as though RG feels you must see it all or your visit won’t do the country justice.

Descriptions of hotels and restaurants are longer than Lonely Planet’s but shorter than Frommer’s, and usually sufficient. The use of price codes rather than actual prices is understandable, but most readers find actual prices more easily comprehensible than price codes, even if the actual prices turn out to be a bit higher than the ones printed in the book.

All in all, an excellent guide: more than comprehensive, attractively designed, engagingly written, value-for-money priced. The only thing missing is the diploma: if you read the whole thing, you deserve a university degree in Turkish Life, Culture and Travel.

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