Does anyone here have experience using Rick's audio guides? I'm curious to know if his guides are better or equivalent to the audio guides available at many of the major sites. The idea of not having to pay several Euros for something I can get for free is enticing, however, I don't want to miss out on content going the cheaper route. Has anyone used both and have an opinion of the quality? Thanks!
Rick's audio guides reflect his quirky approach to art and art history. If you enjoy reading his guidebooks and other travel writings, you would probably also appreciate his audio guides. No cost to listen to one or two now and see if you like them. If you wanted additional historical context, you could supplement them with other materials gleaned from the Web or other sources. http://www.ricksteves.com/news/audio-tours.htm
They're free to download and listen to so check them out. They've GOT to be better than the vast majority of the ones I've used from the museums - crackly audio, often a difficult-to-understand accent, sometimes the commentary goes on waaaay too long, too, or they tell you nothing that isn't already on the info plaque (ggrrrrr). And they're no better about the audio not matching up with the artwork in front of you (sigh) as happens with Rick's sometimes. Be warned that this does happen occasionally with RS' audio tours (print and audio); museums do move things around without consulting with Rick first ;-) Use Rose's link and get the RS Audio Europe App! Lots of good stuff there to keep you busy for days and days...
They're somewhat irreverent and idiosyncratic, like his books and TV shows, but factually solid and he has a real talent (imho) for describing works of art. That said, I had an "interesting" afternoon in the Louvre a couple of years ago trying to follow his audioguide which must have been out of date. I saw a lot of great art trying to find the works he was telling me were right around the corner.
But his current Louvre audioguide is dated the month I was there, so I must have just missed the update. Curse those museum curators moving things around without consulting the Man!
I used the Salzburg audio tour and thought it hit the high points. I have been on 4 Rick Steves tours so I'm used to his style and the "drill" of his quirky humor and selection of sights to look at. I always find them entertaining and on point - but I do not desire a super detailed description - if you're wanting that at an art museum (for example) I'd spring for the audio guide there. On the link in the post above, you can down load the maps for each tour - you can see if he covers the sights you want and even listen to the audio for a preview. He doesn't cover every museum though, so you may not be able to save in that regard. Also, as noted earlier, the museums can and do shift items around.
We used his guide for St Marks Cathedral and Square in Venice, and for the Accademia in Florence. I found them quite useful for noticing things we never would have noticed otherwise, small details and such...but trying to share one set of headphones with hubby didn't work too well...lol...like we were joined at the hip! Needless to say I have a headphone splitter now, and would not hesitate to use his app again.
Thanks to all for your candid responses, it is always greatly appreciated. I will probably mix it up a bit. Maybe use both on the BIG things I'm interested in seeing like "David" and "Mona Lisa"; just to get a different perspective. I have the app on my smartphone and can easily click on the appropriate chapter after listening to the "official" audio guide.
Rick thinks of everything! So easy and convenient and right to the point! Safe travels all!