Where to See Exotic Wildlife in Europe
Are you a dedicated David Attenborough fan with a burning desire to observe animals in their natural habitat? Then you might be surprised to know you don’t have to go long haul to turn those dreams into reality! Here’s where to catch a glimpse of exotic wildlife in Europe…
With lush landscapes made up of pristine forest, glacial lakes and windswept arctic fells, the wilds of Finland provide the perfect habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. From awe-inspiring hunters like bears, lynx and wolves to spectacular birdlife, including eagles, cranes and swans, a trip to Finland offers nature lovers the chance to observe some of the world’s rarest creatures. Whether you’re a keen birdwatcher, amateur wildlife photographer or simply have a fondness for majestic national parks, Finland can’t fail to delight and inspire.
With Atlantic, Mediterranean and North Sea coastlines as well as sweeping countryside and a number of mountain ranges, France provides a diverse range of habitats for wildlife. Explore the Camargue for beautiful flamingos, white horses and black bulls or head to the Pyrenees for an alpine Eden populated by golden eagles and prancing chamois. You can even go looking for wolves in the French Alps – the species made a return to the slopes in the 90s after being hunted to distinction some 50 years previously.
This often overlooked Portuguese archipelago is rich in natural beauty and wildlife, unsurprising when you consider it stretches for than 6,000 miles along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. While there is plenty of interesting bird and plant life on the islands to intrigue wildlife aficionados – such as the Azores Bullfinch and Roseate Terns – the real treasure here lies in the deep blue sea. More than 25 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises have been recorded in the waters of the Azores, including Blue Whales.
The Svalbard archipelago of Norway is one of the world’s most northern inhabited regions. While its well known for its icy terrain and frozen tundra where polar bears, reindeer and Arctic foxes can be found, the Polar summer offers visitors the chance to truly get to grips with the wildlife as the light lasts around the clock. Migrating birds arrive in the spring to nest, thanks to the nutritious surrounding waters. Walrus, seals and whales also enter the fjords at this time while later in the summer, as the snow melts, boats can push further north in the archipelago, covering more ground to scout out bears.
The Białowieza and Biebrza National Parks of Poland play host to the largest herds of free-ranging bison in Europe as well as plentiful red deer, moose and the elusive Eurasian lynx. The picturesque Narew Valley is often referred to as ‘the Polish Amazon’ with its hospitable wetlands providing birds, beavers and otters with excellent breeding grounds. While wolves can still be found in various locations in Poland, such as the Carpathian mountains and the Białowieza Primeval Forest, they can be notoriously hard to track.
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