i'm travelling to europe this spring and i've been using blogs as my go-to travel guides for what's cool beyond the getting there's and must do's of a traditional travel guide. this kind of exhaustive research is a lot of work, but it pays off by directing you to all the local favourites and hippest neighbourhoods. i recently discovered some travel guides that speak to me on an aesthetic and cultural level, combining both substance and style.
this independent, barcelona-based company has published european city guides for amsterdam, barcelona, lisbon, london and madrid. their books have been called "guidebooks for people who hate guidebooks" (the guardian) and "your hippest good friend" (the independent). they're suitable for locals who want to rediscover their city and tourists who wish they were locals. buy them online or in shops across europe.
this series-in-the-making of american guidebooks, launched last fall, has captured my attention with its choice of cities to cover -- nashville and austin -- and its clean look. each pocket-sized guide is "equal parts travel guide and tribute" and is packed with best-of lists, hand-drawn maps and interviews with locals. watch for upcoming guides on all your favourite american cities: seattle, new orleans, san francisco and brooklyn are in the works. buy them online or in shops across nashville (the austin field guide publishes next month).
[images via le cool and wildsam]