I love maps. I love reading, studying, and examining maps – and making notes for various bars, clubs, and restaurants I plan to visit. Unless you’re barreling through town on a tour bus a good map is essential for exploring city streets and finding your way around independently. However when you actually arrive at a new city you want to use a map as little as possible. When you exit a subway, or duck into a corner to orient yourself and get your bearings you want to limit your map time and get moving again.
Most maps are printed on thin paper which easily rip after some heavy use and folding. And the print is microscopic. Any rain, or extensive moisture and humidity renders your map an inky mess.
In preparing for my upcoming trip to Munich and Prague I stopped by Mapsco, (unequivocally the BEST map store in the west), and ordered the Berndtson’s “Munich City Street” map. Unfortunately they don’t carry Prague, but I’ve used their Buenos Aires and Yucatan maps on previous trips.
I can’t say enough good things about Berndtsons. They’re printed on high quality durable laminate, yet can still be folded and pressed any which way down to pocket size. Even though the map is a standard rectangular size when I’m in a specific area of town I fold the map so I’m able to stuff it in my pocket and quickly glance at it when needed.
But wait, there’s more: The streets aren’t simply lines, but actual bubbled drawings with the name written INSIDE the street for clearer reference. There’s a technical name for this which escapes me. It’s quite clear which streets are large arterials and small side streets. Also noted are subway stations, and regional areas and transit maps are on the reverse side.
I can’t find an official site for Berndtsons, but googling Berndtsons, (note the spelling), plus your desired city will return many online retailers that sell them. Or look for the yellow letters maps in any travel section.
I highly recommend them. If investing your hard earned money and time to explore a new place it’s a $10 well spent.