For years, Lonely Planet resisted pressure to cram the whole of Europe into a single guide. They've given in--with a vengeance. Europe on a Shoestring packs 40 countries into 1,200 pages, while still finding room to brief you on all the aspects of pre-trip preparation, from packing right to finding the best airfares.
Of course, given Lonely Planet's youthful irreverence, you shouldn't expect your grandfather's Europe. Coverage of traditional favourites like England is trimmed to make room for pocketbook-friendly destinations in Turkey, Morocco, and the Baltic states. The Eastern Europe coverage journeys beyond the tourist-thronged streets of Prague to lesser-known gems like Riga and Vilnius. Lonely Planet even covers the former Yugoslavia, as it slowly begins to emerge from its days as a war-torn no man's land. No matter where you are, the guide points out regional highlights to help you sift through its wealth of information.
As the name implies, Europe on a Shoestring focuses on "budget" travel. Fear not--you needn't resign yourself to meals of bread and water and endless nights on the floor of a seedy flophouse. The 30-odd book contributors believe it's possible to travel cheaply without sacrificing style, comfort, and safety. Though the accommodation sections focus on hostels, there are enough bed-and-breakfasts and guesthouses to keep you a safe distance from rowdy spring breakers, if you so desire. Similarly, the entertainment sections offer everything from pubs packed with rowdy Australian backpackers to the finest theatre, opera, and ballet in the world.
If you want to take on only a part of the continent, you're still better off with a less comprehensive guide. But if you're interested in exploring St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Petersburg's Hermitage, and everything in between, this book gives you all you need to see Europe on your own terms. --Andrew Nieland [via]