This is the second book by James Lowen that BiOME Ecology has reviewed (after ‘A Summer of British Wildlife’) and is the natural successor to his earlier book ‘52 Wildlife Weekends: A Year of British Wildlife Watching Breaks’ (a book that I have yet to take a look at).

This latest offering takes you on a whistle-stop year-long tour around much of Europe’s best wildlife offerings, “encompassing 21 European countries…from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, from the Atlantic to the Aegean”. The overview map shows the spread of chosen weekends, with Iberia (and associated islands/seas) dominating with over a third of all the weekends that are featured, whilst other wildlife-rich countries, particularly in the east, not getting much of a look in.

The guide is thoroughly researched, with James himself having had the ‘tough’ job of undertaking reconnaissance missions and every account is a great read. Moving into Europe has allowed for much more ‘desirable’ Target Species than those featured in ‘A Summer of…’ where I felt James may have been constrained by competing, more specialised wildlife site guides. Pretty much every European species the average punter would want to see gets a mention in here somewhere.

As ever, this book is beautifully illustrated with some stunning photographs. I would have liked a small map to illustrate the area dealt with for each weekend, but then, I like maps, and they’re not essential.

James is quick to acknowledge that encouraging “wanton air travel” makes him feel “guilty”, with regards to climate change. We are offered links to check the most fuel-efficient airline as well as carbon offsetting schemes, for what they’re worth…

Overall, if you are interested in seeing charismatic European wildlife then this is a excellent guide, and it’s one that I wish had been published before I first booked flights with Ryanair, some 20 or so years ago…