Now controlled by the ruthless publishing giant, Penguin, the Rough Guides have shared the fate of the Lonely Planet in losing the cutting edge that first brought them to attention. They began with Mark Ellingham who wrote the Rough Guide to Greece in 1982, a travel guide that brought a journalistic approach to the world of budget travel.
Since then the Rough Guides have spawned their own empire and stretched way beyond the world of travel, covering topics as diverse as the internet, pregnancy and Brazilian music. They’re usually slightly more zany than the Lonely Planet but still conform to the paradigms of an international market and are about as wild as an ex hippy turned corporate businessman.
The web site for Rough Guides is quite admirable in that they put all of their travel guides for free online, though. So if you do need a quick overview of a place you’re going to you can check it out on the site without having to buy and then lug a huge guide book around with you.