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A roundup of new guidebooks

03 March 2007

In the last couple of months Lonely Planet have published new editions of their regional guides to Eastern Europe, Mediterranean Europe, and Europe on a Shoestring. These editions mark the debut of Serbia and Montenegro as separate countries.

Other new editions appearing in recent months include Lonely Planet Croatia, Rough Guide Slovenia, and The Bradt Guide to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Rough Guide to Slovenia is excellent, but on this occasion the blurb writer has rather let the side down, describing the new edition as a guide to “one of Europe’s least discovered countries”. That description might apply to Belarus or Albania, but Slovenia??

Lonely Planet have also released a new version of their Eastern Europe Phrasebook. The most obvious change is that the section on Serbian has been omitted - or rather subsumed into the Croatian section. This certainly makes practical sense, and avoids duplicating large amounts of text (although I would have liked to see more examples of Serbian Cyrillic). While I’d like to think that LP have done this as a reflection of linguistic rather than political reality, I can’t help suspecting that a desire to save space may have played some part - in keeping with the general trend in LP’s guidebooks, this phrasebook is slimmer than its predecessor.

Apart from that, my first impression is that this edition is better organised than the previous edition, with better use of colour coding to make it easier to find the section you want. But if you have an earlier edition, I wouldn’t advise rushing out to get the new one, as the content doesn’t seem much different. If anything there are more omissions than additions. One that I immediately noticed is the section about how to say “I am English/Australian/whatever”. The previous edition included Irish,
Scottish, and Welsh in the list of nationalities, but apparently we Celts are no longer considered part of the English-speaking world by Lonely Planet.