Tip: USE-IT City Maps

In a world where everything has become digitised, we sometimes long for a paper and a pencil... Or a good old travel map. Do we really want to take out that iPad in the sizzling heat and touch an unreadable screen with our sweaty hands? Nope: maps are really most useful in paper form! And when these guides can be as interactive as their digital counterparts, you know you can leave that tablet home next time.

A while ago, my friend Marlou introduced me to USE-IT: quirky (often hand-drawn) maps of European cities made by young locals you can print yourself or get at a local tourist office for free. I was hooked on the concept straight away: whilst popular guides like Lonely Planet tend to draw me to well-known attractions, USE-IT provided me with a totally new outlook on the concept 'sightseeing'. Rather than focusing on popular highlights of a city, the maps give you a range of tips that fall outside the scope of regular tourist guides... and do so in a hilarious way!

Just to give you a few examples: USE-IT Bratislava's first tip to all travellers is NEVER to buy food at the train station, while the creative brains behind Charleroi's guide advise you to climb up a pile of coal for a unique experience. The locals in Dresden encourage tourists join the Currywurst Competition; USE-IT Vienna has set out a "Too Much History Walk"... Fun tips accompanied by funny drawings and colourful street maps, made by local artists!

Another good thing to note is that USE-IT is sponsored by local councils and does not accept sponsored listings placements. Whenever you visit a place mentioned in a guide, you know locals genuinely like this place. No hidden tourist traps, which can only be a good thing!

USE-IT currently provides maps for 26 different – often lesser known – cities, but the maps are gaining ground elsewhere. Young people all over Europe are starting up their own USE-ITs with help of local funding, which should only be encouraged in my opinion. Not only do these guides shed a light on unexplored sights of a city, they also help youngsters to engage with their surroundings and help restore pride in a community.

Have you ever used a USE-IT map? Did you like it? Leave a comment below!


  1. Geheel onverwacht: i loooove them! Leuk dat je erover geschreven hebt, :)

    1. Ze zijn geweldig! Wat is jouw favoriete kaartje?

    2. Ik denk toch wel Brussel, omdat dat het kaartje is dat ik het meeste heb gebruikt, aan iedereen heb weggegeven én zelfs een beetje aan mee heb geholpen(, want ik interviewde de makers en gaf mijn leukste tips door, waarvan er opeens een paar op het nieuwe kaartje staan!).

  2. Jaaa! Use-it maps! Super handig. Die van Brussel gebruik ik ook geregeld als ik gasten over de vloer krijg.


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