Off the beaten track

These beautifully designed, compact city guides will give you the inside word on where clued-up locals love to go


Love Travel Guides

Founder Fiona Caulfield has simple criteria for what gets in to her handmade guides to India’s greatest cities: “Does this entry help you fall in love with the destination?” Those that made the cut include Jaipur’s best samosas (recommended by an in-the-know chai wallah) and a bangle shop that’s supplied every Maharani of Jodhpur. Hardys Bay Publishing, from £26.95, Stanfords


City Secrets

Manhattan architect Robert Kahn tapped his contacts in the arts and media for the best “overlooked places”. The result is a series of clothbound guides to Manhattan, Paris, Rome, London, Florence and Venice, packed with insider tips such as designer Azzedine Alaïa’s favourite Parisian bookshop (Les Cahiers de Colette, in the Marais, FYI). Fang Duff Kahn, from £11.99, Waterstones


Uncommon Guide Books

Covering an eclectic list of places – Malta, Gozo, London, Dubai, Stockholm – each volume is a travel writing-guidebook hybrid with essays, photography and tips from local creatives. Rather than the usual postcard-worthy images, the contributors have captured what it’s really like to live in each city. Miranda, from £20, Stanfords


Herb Lester City Guides

These retro-inspired, pocket-sized illustrated maps highlight a city’s lesser-known gems without trying to be obscure. They cover a host of cool US and European cities and are cleverly edited with chapters such as, “A Brooklyn Bar For All Reasons” and “It’s Nice To Be Alone In Paris”. Herb Lester Associates, from £4, Herb Lester



Profiling loads of the cities we’ve got on our must-visit list (Berlin, Tokyo and Melbourne to name a few), each guide features the favourite hangouts of 60 “stars of the creative scene”. Despite its hipster-sounding credentials, the series is full of under-the-radar museums, hidden parks and quirky stores we can’t wait to visit. Viction:ary, from £8.99, Foyles