Tuesday, July 23, 2024

REVIEWED: Marco Polo – Madrid

This pocket-sized guidebook is easy to walk with and has plenty of insider tips – and even a pull-out map

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Who needs a guidebook these days? With apps everywhere and all the information you could ever want available online, it’s tempting to proclaim the ‘death of guidebooks’ once again. It’s about curation, stupid.

Beyond TripAdvisor

By collating all the information you could find online alongside valuable ‘insider tips’, a pull-out map and more besides, Marco Polo’s latest goes way beyond the likes of TripAdvisor.

Only in …

An entire page of ‘insider tips’ at the front of the book rather gives away the book’s highlight in one go, though there is plenty more information. The ‘Only in Madrid’ section proved handy in what was a whistle-stop tour around the Spanish capital (kudos for including the Chocolatería San Ginés café at Pasadizo de San Ginés; its late-night churros con chocolate was divine). So too the Metro map and extensive pages of maps, while the ‘in a nutshell’ proved handy read on the plane pre-arrival.

Walk on by

There are things this guidebook isn’t so good at. Given it great pull-out map and metro map on the inside-back cover, you would think that it had maps covered. Not so; the ‘walking tours’ section is left looking a little pointless, with no maps provided.


No-one wants to bury their head in a smartphone, which is why this pocket-sized guidebook will succeed. It’s packed full of useful information and it’s all presented in a flickable manner. However, we can’t help feeling that the guidebooks vs apps debate needs an update; how about a guidebook that also had an app? Real-time audio tours and walking maps shown on a phone could give this already impressive travel-friendly, multi-coloured guidebook concept from Marco Polo a multimedia dimension.

Price as reviewed: £6.99

Buy Marco Polo Madrid