If you’d rather go in winter, Wildlife Safaris Finland takes guests out on foot, ski or snowshoe from its “base camp”, a traditional log house complete with sauna, to see wolverine, wolf and otter tracks and, if they’re lucky, spot golden eagles, Siberian jays, waxwings or even the northern lights. Starting and finishing in Warsaw, the tour costs from £552pp, and includes transfers, half-board in a cozy wooden forest guesthouse, evening lectures by visiting scientists and self-guided nature walks.
In the country’s rugged north-western corner, nudging the border with Albania, two national parks (Northern Pintos and Vikos-Aoös) attract a trickle of tourists to sites such as the Vikas gorge and the Maori villages, but in far smaller numbers than those congregating along Greece’s busy coastlines. Between the mountains’ toothy peaks, deep ravines and alpine lakes are valleys of beech, chestnut and pine forest (parts of the latter belong to the Natural 2000 network of protected natural sites across Europe).
In the Northern Pintos national park alone there are 11 wildlife sanctuaries, helping to protect 4,000-odd plant species and fauna ranging from wolves, jackals, otters, red deer and brown bears to herons, egrets and spoonbills. Photography tours, birdwatching trips and trekking can be arranged in partnership with local organizations such as Zen, the Maori Excellence Network.
Over a million hectares of protected biodiverse land is linked through wilderness corridors here, one of eight key areas run by Dutch non-profit organization Rewinding Europe, and a few European bison have been reintroduced. Daily guided hikes blend cultural excursions with nature activities, including forester-led visits to bear hides.
Or sign up for Discover Adventure’s new Transylvanian Winter Wilderness Trek, a five-day group trip running next February which takes in chamois-spotting and snow-shoeing in the region as well as an overnight stay at Lake Bales’s Ice Hotel. Photograph: Lathe cobbled streets and riverside wine bars of Porto may be heaving with tourists these days, but three hours’ drive east, along Portugal’s north-east border with Spain, the COA Valley is unfathomably quiet.
For longer trips, local tour operator Miles Away or the Netherlands-based European Safari Company can put together tailor made packages. You most likely call to mind bustling city streets, architectural marvels, cathedrals, and museums.
What do you have in mind this year: sitting on a beach, exploring nature, or visiting historical sites? From deserts to glaciers, culture to amazing parties, South America really does have it all.
This vast continent spans diverse landscapes, taking in various peoples and cultures, each as vibrant and intriguing as the last. It has countries steeped in history, with fascinating stories, delicious food and unique wildlife.
If South America isn’t already on your list for 2020, here are 7 great reasons why it should be! Often described as the most European of all Latin American countries, Chile is a delightful mix of historic buildings, Latin culture, delicious food and world-class wine, and stunning nature.
Chile has much to offer the visitor, from icy glaciers to dramatic deserts, and wine tours to first-rate museums. This coastal magnet pertaining to hedonists worldwide has been trending for years.
Its 16th-century Alpine houses and alleyways are home to cafés and shops. A funicular railway connects to Salween, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake, and to Skywalk Hallstatt viewing platform.
A trail leads to the Chen Valley glacier garden with glacial potholes and Waldbachstrub Waterfall. Iceland is an ideal destination for today’s active tourist.
Here are three unique destinations that you must visit until the end of summer. You can relax even in full winter by a pool while enjoying a delicious cocktail.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Madrid emir Mohammed Ben Allahyar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls.
Puerto Princes tops the list when it comes to ecotourism in the Philippines. Amsterdam is a historic Western city with a modern and multicultural Vibe.
It likes the trustworthiness of being the greatest holiday getaway as well as prime honeymoon destination nowadays. Hundreds of thousands tourists from all around the world come to Amsterdam all year round.
Whether you’re seeking a break from the smog, desirous of adventure and thrills, or just in need of some holiday inspiration, here are 12 wild destinations that excite and intrigue. In North East Poland, near the borders of Russia and Lithuania, lie the breathtaking Marian Lakes.
Take a kayak trip, a stroll amongst bison through the Biaowiea forest, and a tour of Hitler’s wartime headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair. When visiting the Western Fjords, it is impossible not to feel that you have traveled back to the beginning of time.
In May, spring brings renewed life and in the winter, the stark contrast of white snow and nearly black waters elicits awe and admiration. Climb to the highest peak or canoe between the magnificent fjord walls at this spectacular, wild destination.
Granite structures called tors jut out of the landscape, providing refuge for wildlife and climbing opportunities for visitors. It is easy to stumble upon a forgotten archaeological site, as the land is riddled with antiquities and prehistoric living spaces.
Set off at sunrise, climb a tor, and as the sun rises read ‘ The Bed of Tulips’, if you’re lucky you’ll see the pixies. Nestled in the Julian Alps, the glacial come tectonic emerald water appears as an elixir might to a dying man.
From pagan temples to ‘wishing bells’ that sank with a young lover at sea, the perceived romanticism of this lake is not misplaced. If you desire a truly enlightening trip, be sure to read about the dwarves who lurk in the lakes and look out for the two monks from St. Basin.
Golden beaches, the rugged Twelve Ben's Mountains, and the Round stone Bog all come together in a composition so breathtaking you will wish you were a painter. With quaint villages dotted along this breathtaking landscape, enjoy the wild airs of Connemara by day and a warming pint of Guinness by night.
Sitting at 1500 feet above sea level, the combination of the Northern Lights and wondrous waterfalls is indescribable. Walking along the coast and exploring the villages, the legends come alive and kings and queens seem to be just around the corner.
With Neolithic tombs, Celtic chapels, and glutinous seals, this part of the Welsh coast breathes an eclecticism that is hard to match anywhere else. The Politics Lakes National Park awaits in central Croatia, near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The area comprises 16 lakes that cascade into one another, creating waterfalls and bubbling streams of bold turquoise waters. Lying between Axles, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Rhone River delta, the Cam argue is a wetland of striking wildlife, a landscape that stretches endlessly into the distance.
They are one of the oldest breeds in the world and studies show that they are closely related to prehistoric horses whose remains have been found in France. In an area inhabited by horses and their cowboys, flamingos give an extra flavor that makes Cam argue one of wild Europe’s most intriguing destinations.
While most of us are happy to head to Kenya for an elephant sighting or two, few realize that Europe also has myriad indigenous species that are just as impressive. Many of the best wildlife watching spots are also wonderfully picturesque and home to some excellent places to stay, eat and drink.
While Lundy’s puffin population suffered a drastic decline over the last few decades, it has been staging a comeback in recent years thanks to the removal of the island’s rats. The waters off Lundy are England’s only Marine Nature Reserve and are home to a variety of species including sponges, corals and a colony of gray seals.
Despite being only a two-hour ferry ride from the Devon coast, Lundy is a world away, and you have to search hard for any signs of modern life, so expect quiet evenings indoors unless of course, you head to the tavern to socialize with the ‘Luddites’. Pyrenees it’s great: Straddling the border between France and Spain, the Pyrenees are home to a host of bird species and even a brown bear or two.
On a day’s hike through the High Pyrenees, expect to see a variety of birdlife including majestic golden eagles and huge bearded vultures. Not only is it family run, it also has an impressive environmental policy, uses electricity from ‘clean’ energy sources and serves sustainable, local food.
The Isle of Rum is famous for its large herds of red deer but is also home to wild goats, ponies, seals, otters and sea eagles. A colony of Manx shear waters live on the island’s soft volcanic cliffs and the 120,000 seabirds make quite a spectacle when they take to the sky.
Ranch Moor in the Scottish Highlands is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the UK and is home to mountain hares, red deer and golden eagles. Back on the mainland, options include Hunting tower Lodge on the shores of Lock Line, which is a Green Tourism Board Silver award winner and is taking steps to lessen its environmental impact.
The Dynamic Alps to the east are a great hiking destination and are inhabited by populations of lynx, wolf and brown bear. If you want to get up close and personal with one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring mammals then Role Safaris will take you deep into the Elimyssalo Nature Reserve where you can spend the night in one of the specially made bear spotting hides.
Need to know: Organized tours provide accommodation, usually in cabins or wooden lodges, as bear and lynx tracking will take you deep into the forest. The Atlantic Research Coalition has teamed up with Brittany Ferries, and the Portsmouth to Santander route includes hours of whale watching.
Need to know: No trips are being run from France this year but taking a ferry to Spain instead of flying will decrease your carbon footprint and provide the opportunity to see some magnificent ocean mammals not often seen in European waters. You can also get involved with conservation by carrying out monitoring work with Hands Up Holidays, who combine wildlife tours and environmental protection.
Situated in the north-east of the country, the Tatars Mountains form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland and are easily accessed by train. Norway it’s great: The UK’s nearest Scandinavian neighbor, Norway is home to the usual Eastern European suspects but has a few surprises up its sleeve too.
Jerk, or European wolverine, populations inhabit Norway’s extensive pine forests along with brown bear, wolves, elk and lynx. In the semi-frozen fjords of northern Norway you can watch, and even swim with, hundreds of Orca , which follow vast shoals of herring along the Norwegian coastline each year.
Many local charter companies run whale-watching trips from Fjord from the end of October until January, which also include snorkeling opportunities. The CamargueWhy it’s great: On the south coast of France, the Cam argue, a vast plain covering much of the Rhone Delta, is full of surprises.
Need to know: There are no dedicated eco-hotels in Cam argue but there are plenty of gîtes and finding locally sourced food is rarely a challenge in France. Herds of European bison, wild boar, elk and packs of wolves are all found in the vast Belarusian forest.
The Belovezhskaya Pushchair National Park in the West of Belarus has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979 and is one of the last remaining refuges of the Europe’s largest mammal, the European bison. Tourism is a developing industry here and few dedicated wildlife tours exist, but Nature Trek organizes holidays to the ancient woodlands.
Norfolk Why it’s great: The east coast of England probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind for wildlife watching, but large colonies of seals and a plethora of sea-bird species call the rugged coastline home. Blackened National Nature Reserve on the Norfolk coast is an important breeding ground for gray and common seals, which are both increasing in numbers.
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