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Greece, Athens, & the Mainland (Eyewitness Travel Guides) 2007

Forget pages of text (that's what I had the first time I went to Greece), this visually rich guidebook is the way to go, especially in such an historically orientated country. Great site maps. Unless you're spending an awful lot of time here you won't use more than two-thirds of it, but having it along makes all the difference.

Also, it's not all ancient history by any means, the local food section is REALLY useful and coverage of Athens excellent.

Greek Islands (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

This guidebook is well up to Eyewitness visual standards, but because it covers most of the myriad Greek islands, it tends to be a bit thin on each one. For example, there aren't maps of all the major towns (although I appreciate many are quite small!).

If I was going to a lot of islands, this would be useful and it's certainly good for giving you a taste of the different options. Of course, as a beautiful souvenir it's magnificent.

Cadogan Guides: Greek Islands (9th edition)

A lot of this was written by a Greek who spent 20 years knocking about the islands and it shows (she still goes back every year to see her family). If you have more change in your pocket than the average backpacker, you'll find this book's recommendations useful (9th Edition, June 2007, 672 pp).

Again, this covers a wide range of islands (and Athens), so the in-depth information on each is necessarily limited. The maps are quite good though, and the style of writing refreshing. Lots of interesting background on Greek island customs, mythology and goodish coverage of ancient sites.

Lonely Planet Greek Islands (Greek Islands, 2006)

This is the updated version of the one Helen and I used when we spent a couple of weeks travelling light around Santorini, Mykonos etc. We didn't book anything and find that for this type of travel the LP guides can be quite useful, especially from the weight point of view.

The book also covers Athens, but is slightly out-of-date on a few things (2006 edition).

Crete (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides)

Not perfect, and getting on a bit (2003), but worth it if Crete is your destination. Conveniently sized, it's attractively designed and covers the important bases.

"The island of Crete is divided into three regions. Highlights of the central region include Crete's capital, Irakleio, as well as the archaeological sites of Knosos, Phaestos, Gortys and the resorts of Malia and Chersonisos. The western region profiles Rethymno, Chania, and Samaria Gorge while the eastern region focuses on the holiday resort of Agios Nikolaos. "

Not enough for you?
Here is a link to a general Greece Book List

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