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europe travel literature

Europe – Guide & Travel Literature

Europe – Travel & History Literature

The following books are some of many we would recommend for reading before, during, and after your trip with us to one of the diverse European regions. Some are what we would call ‘background’ reading, some are specific to the trip you will be doing, and all are excellent preparation and fun to read, counting the days before your holiday begins…



Lonely Planet: Normandy
Author: Jeanne Oliver, Publisher: Lonely Planet
From lofty cliffs and glamorous beach resorts to sleepy villages on the Seine, Normandy is a sensory delight. This detailed guide will help you explore the region’s fascinating heritage and the landscape that inspired the Impressionist movement. Includes 25 detailed maps, including a plan of Rouen’s stunning cathedral, in-depth special section on the D-Day landings, accommodation options ranging from cliffside camp sites to sumptuous mansions, the cream of Normandy’s famously rich cuisine
The Most Beautiful Villages of Normandy
Author: Hugh Palmer, Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Normandy is a vast region of open country and woodland, stretching from the limestone plateau of the Pays de Caux in the northeast to Mont-St-Michel and the Cotentin peninsula in the west, where the villages anticipate the sturdy architecture of Brittany, and to the hills of the Perche Normand in the south, a famous horse-breeding region. It is also a coastal land of towering cliffs and sandy beaches, imbued with a poignant sense of momentous historical events and punctuated by delicious villages.
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
Author: Antony Beevor, Publisher: Penguin Books
The #1 internationally bestselling history of D-Day is now enhanced with rare video footage from the NBC News Archives for the ultimate narrative of the battle for Normandy.”Glorious, horrifying…D-Day is a vibrant work of history that honors the sacrifice of tens of thousands of men and women.”””Time
Holding Juno
Author: Mark Zuehlke, Publisher:Douglas & McIntyre
At D-Day’s end, the Canadians, who had landed on Juno Beach, were six miles inland “” the deepest penetration achieved by Allied forces on this infamous day. But every soldier on this front line knew worse was yet to come. For in the darkness the Germans were massing, intent on throwing them back to sea. With dramatic intensity, Holding Juno re-creates the ensuing battle and ultimate Canadian triumph and includes fascinating first-person soldier accounts as well as photos and maps.
Walking in Provence
Author: Janette Norton, Publisher: Cicerone
“…Used this book on a 10 day break from New York City in October. We were yearning for some good day hikes, great food and wine, and an authentic feel for the region. This book helped steer us to all three. We did three walks from the book: Le Cousson (our favorite of the three), North Side of Luberon (entirely covered by mist the day we did it), and La Gambade (Dentelles de Montmirail). The color photos from almost every walk, detailed and interesting walk descriptions, and excellent directions for navigating trails with varying degrees of sign-posting were all very useful. This book is small enough to tote around with you daily, has great tips on town highlights and where best to base yourself for walking, and enticing walks with great, detailed descriptions. I wished we had more time to try more of the walks..” Review,
Markets of Provence – A Culinary Tour
Author: Ruthanne and Dixon Long, Publisher:William Morrow Cookbooks
“…If you or anyone you know plans a trip to Provence, make sure this book goes too! It is an excellent guide to the wonderful Provencal outdoor markets. If you want to experience Provence at its finest, this is one of the very best guide. Full of gorgeous color photos, this is a beautiful as well as helpful book. After the trip, it is wonderful to go through the book again and savor all of the great memories. For the finest produce, cheese and other delights of the South, this book is a must have! …” Review at
A Year in Provence
Author: Peter Mayle, Publisher: Vintage
In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January’s frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhà´ne Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provenà§al life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.

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Crete, South West
Author: Christos Lepouras, Publisher: Christos Lepouras
New walking guide of South West Crete. Based on our long personal experience, we offer you a new walking guide of South Crete that aims to add to your holiday that extra edge. A guide through its history, mythology and local flavor. Most suitable for families seeking relaxation and hikers who want to go the extra mile. If you want to leave your footprint and not merely pass by… If you want to be a traveler and not a tourist… Join us on this adventure.
The High Mountains of Crete
Author: Loraine Wilson, Publisher: Cicerone
Iconic peaks reflected in tranquil mountain lakes, sweeping hillsides blanketed in wild flowers and dramatic, sprawling glaciers characterize the Alps. Discover why this mighty range, the birthplace of modern mountain walking has enthralled walkers for centuries. Detailed descriptions of 47 walks in the Austrian, French, German, Italian, Slovenian and Swiss Alps. Feature coverage of multicountry megawalks, Tour du Mont Blanc and Walkers’ Haute Route. Two-color maps for every walk.
The Making of the Cretan Landscape
Author: Oliver Rackham, Jennifer Moody, Publisher: Manchester University Press
Crete seems to be more of a continent than simply another island. Within its territory, the landscape changes dramatically, with incredible contrasts in temperature and scenery. Crete is 245km long and 50 km wide. With nearly 20 ranges, many of which approach 2000 meters, the mountains dominate the island, but also by the sea that encircles it. The making of the present Cretan landscape is a combination of both human and natural factures. In Rackham and Moody’s excellent book, one may explore in greater detail the interaction of these two factors and how they affect Crete today.
History of Crete
Author: Theocharis Detorakis
Theocharis Detorakis is Professor of Byzantine Philology at the University of Crete. His love for his home island led him early in his career to focus his academic work on its complex and eventful history. He is a well known authority on Crete and has published extensively on subjects ranging from the island’s history to its language and folklore. In 1985 he was awarded the Nikos Kazantzakis prize for the quality and range of his scholarly work. In 1993 he was also awarded the title of Archon megas Protonotarios of the Hol and Great Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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Rick Steves’ Croatia and Slovenia
Author: Rick Steves
Who but Rick Steves can tell travelers the best ways to meander around the region’s beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants, and fascinating history. With Rick Steves’ Croatia and Slovenia 2007, travelers can experience everything Croatia and Slovenia, has to offer – economically and hassle-free. Details Hvar Island, Dubrovnik, Split, The Julian Alps, The Karst, and other leading destinations.
The Bradt Travel Guide: Croatia
Author: Piers Letcher
Iconic peaks reflected in tranquil mountain lakes, sweeping hillsides blanketed in wild flowers and dramatic, sprawling glaciers characterize the Alps. Discover why this mighty range, the birthplace of modern mountain walking has enthralled walkers for centuries. Detailed descriptions of 47 walks in the Austrian, French, German, Italian, Slovenian and Swiss Alps. Feature coverage of multicountry megawalks, Tour du Mont Blanc and Walkers’ Haute Route. Two-color maps for every walk.
The Rough Guide to Croatia
Author: Jonathan Bousfield
We had a look at all guide books there are for Croatia, and the Rough Guide has received very good reviews. From the medieval city of Dubrovnik and the unspoilt island of Vis to the rural hinterland of Zagreb, this guide captures all of Croatia’s highlights in a full colour introduction. The top hotels, bars and restaurants are all uncovered in the detailed listings section with the new ‘Author’s Pick’ feature highlighting the very best options. There are plenty of practical tips on a host of outdoor activities from hiking the hills to scuba diving in the Adriatic.
Croatia – A History
Author: Ivo Goldstein, Publisher: Mcgill Queens Univ Press
The chapters on the twentieth century are the strongest. The spare descriptions of World War II, post-war politics, and the recent wars in Croatia and Bosnia are clear and unclouded by gratuitous political partisanship. A passage (p.187) debunking the popular myth that Tito somehow ‘solved’ Yugoslavia’s ethnic problems is particularly insightful. Goldstein is clearly a Croatian patriot, but he is no nationalist and no apologist for Tudjman’s corrupt and hateful brand of politics. He criticizes Tudjman and Milosevic and the Krajina Serbs equally…”
The Death of Yugoslavia
Author: Laura Silver
This is the companion book to the BBC documentary of the death of Yugoslavia as a nation. It follows the events from the late 80ies to approx. 1995, and gives a good summary about what happened, and why Yoguslavia was doomed to break up.

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Scottish Highlands – The Hillwalking Guide
Author: Jim Manthorpe, Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
The Scottish Highlands is the most popular hiking region in Scotland and the most spectacular mountainous area of the British Isles. This is the Scotland of the imagination: misty glens and dark lochs, windswept moors and crumbling castles. Covering 81 hills in the Scottish Highlands and providing detailed maps in the classic Trailblazer style””including tricky trail junctions, walking times and points of interest””this is the perfect guide. It also lists the places to stay and to eat; it contains a full-colour flora identification section.
Scottish Highlands – The Hillwalking Guide 2
Author: Jim Manthorpe, Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
The continuation of Jim Manthorpe’s Hillwalking Guide: Scotland’s Highlands and Islands contain some of the finest mountain scenery in Europe and by far the best way to experience it is on foot. This practical guide covers more than 80 hills in the Scottish Highlands. Detailed maps in the classic Trailblazer style. Plus places to stay, places to eat and a full-color flora identification section.
Walking in Scotland
Author: Sandra Bardell Publisher: Lonely Planet
As usual, Lonely Planet has all the information. Detailed walking maps, lots of information on the history of the Highlands, Flora, Fauna, general information….The book is fairly dense, so sometimes it is a bit harder to find exactly what you are looking for.
Hostile Habitats – Scotland’s Mountain Environment
Author: Mark Wrightham, Nick Kempe, Publisher: Scottish Mountaineering Trust
This is the first guide to Scotland’s mountain fauna, flora and landscape written for hillwalkers. “Hostile Habitats – Scotland’s Mountain Environment”, takes an in-depth look at the upland environment of the hillwalker and outdoor enthusiast, with chapters and identification sections on climate, geology, landscape, plants, animals, birds, insects, human influences and conservation. It is compiled and edited by some of the country’s leading experts in their fields.
Flora Celtica – Plants and People in Scotland
Author: William Milliken, Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Flora Celtica: Plants and People in Scotland documents the continuously evolving relationship between the Scots and their environment from the Stone Age to the present day. Based on a mixture of detailed research and information provided by the public, it explores the remarkable diversity of ways that native plants have been, and continue to be, used in Scotland. The information is presented in clear and accessible format and is laced with quotations, illustrations, case studies, and practical tips. This volume covers the complete spectrum of plant uses, addressing their diverse roles in diet, health care, culture, housing, language, environment, crafts, and much more.

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Russia – Kamchatka

Kamchatka: A Journal & Guide to Russia’s Land of Fire & Ice
Author: Diana Gleadhill, Publisher: Airphoto International Ltd.
Why go to Kamchatka? There are no luxury hotels or international spas; no jolly pubs or swanky wine bars and even if there were glamourous beach resorts there are almost no roads to get to them. Although there is a plethora of fish, nowhere can you find it more wonderfully cooked than on a Kamchatkan campfire! This extraordinary country is not for the faint-hearted. But it has some of the most stunning and dramatic volcanic scenery in the world and an inordinate amount of wildlife. To sit on a berry-covered hill and watch reindeer floating down a valley against a backdrop of volcanoes, to go fly-fishing on the Paratunka River or sit in a boat on Lake Kurilskoye and discover a brown bear only yards away; to climb an active volcano and peer down into the depths of its crater are all privileges not afforded to many. Gleadhill’s diary account of two Irish ladies “d’un Certain Age” in Russia’s Far East draws us into this magnificent landscape.
Reeling in Russia
Author: Fen Montaigne, Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffinn
In the summer of 1996, award-winning journalist Fen Montaigne embarked on a hundred-day, seven-thousand-mile journey across Russia. Traveling with his fly rod, he began his trek in northwestern Russia on the Solovetsky Islands, a remote archipelago that was the birthplace of Stalin’s gulag. He ended half a world away as he fished for steelhead trout on the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the shores of the Pacific. His tales of visiting these far-flung rivers are memorable, and at heart, Reeling in Russia is far more than a story of an angling journey. It is a humorous and moving account of his adventures in the madhouse that is Russia today, and a striking portrait that highlights the humanity and tribulations of its people.
Author: Rick Steves, Publisher: Lonely Planet
This book is different. You get good, comprehensive coverage of Russia from coast to coast, across all nine time zones. Moscow and St. Petersburg, obviously, are feature attractions and get major chapters, but so do the cities along the Volga River and fascinating cities along the trans-Siberian. Want a good introduction to the lovely capital of Tatarstan, the city of Kazan? You’ll get it here. Want to understand why the Siberian cities of Tomsk and Irkutsk are worth a journey? You’ll find those reasons, and the practical information you’ll need to get there, in this book. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Russian cities of Ulyanovsk and Bryansk, both of which are included in this book. Most people will have never heard of these cities. This guide brings you the Russia of the provinces.” Review.
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