Amazing Animals In Europe
What cool animals can you see in Europe?
We all know there are awesome animals in Africa and Asia. But there are also some seriously cool animals in Europe as well! Puffins, reindeer and bears, OH MY! While you’re in Europe, these are some of the cool animals you can see, without going to a Zoo!
Spotting Pink Flamingos in Sardinia
Photo by Larry Koester / CC BY
Most people visit Sardinia in the summer, to enjoy the amazing beaches. However, Sardinia has much more to offer: beautiful cities and villages; archaeological sites; incredible hiking trails; great food and wine; festivals; and a thriving wildlife.
Birdwatching is fabulous in Cagliari, the capital of the island. Surrounding the city, there are various ponds where pink flamingos nest. The most easily accessible one is actually right in town and it is called Molentargius. This natural regional park with access points spread across the city. The best one is located along Poetto beach, which can be reached by bus from the city centre. Access is free of charge, and it is possible to rent bikes to move more easily around the park.
The best time to see the Pink Flamingoes in Italy
Pink flamingoes are spread across the oasis and can be easily spotted on a simple walk. The best sighting, however, is just from the city at around sunset time, when groups of flamingos can be seen flying, moving from one pond to the other.
By Claudia | My Adventures Across The World
Chasing the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd
Did you know there are reindeer in Scotland? Located within the Cairngorms National Park, you can go in search of the free-ranging reindeer herd yourself, but a trip with the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre ensures you’ll find them, trained herders can give you lots of information and you can even hand feed them. The herd can roam far and wide so it can be a long walk uphill or a short wander through a bog but at the end of the expedition, you will certainly get a stunning view of reindeer on the hillside.
On our first visit we had the bog option, my feet were wet and it was freezing cold but as soon as we spotted the reindeer in the valley in front of us I simply squealed, I couldn’t care less about soggy feet or cold fingers, I was beaming ear to ear. We had no idea what to expect on our trip to see them but these beautiful creatures are very friendly and certainly not camera shy.
Photo by Robin McConnell / CC BY
How to see Reindeer in Scotland
If you’re planning a visit to the Reindeer Herd, the centre and the hill location are just under 3 hours driving from either Glasgow or Edinburgh but to get the best out of your visit and the surrounding Cairngorm National Park basing yourself in the snow sports town of Aviemore is certainly your best bet!
By Kirstin | The Tinberry Travels
Taking a Tour to see Reindeer in Scotland
If you’re ever in the area, a close encounter with these wonderful animals while surrounded by epic Scottish Highland landscape is certainly something not to be missed.
Here is one of the highest rated tours which include a stop at Loch Ness, a Whiskey Distillery and a drive through stunning film locations which include James Bond “Skyfall” and Harry Potter “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.
Watching the Gannets in North Berwick
About a half hours journey east of Edinburgh in Scotland is the town of North Berwick, home to the Scottish Seabird Centre. This is, as the name suggests, a centre dedicated to teaching visitors all about some of the many seabirds that can be found in Scotland, which includes puffins, kittiwakes and northern gannets. There’s a load of information here, but the real adventure is to take one of the sea safaris that the centre offers. These take you out to the uninhabited islands off the coast, where you can get up close to many of the seabird species.
We loved seeing the puffins of course, but the most impressive sight had to be the northern gannet colony on the Bass Rock. This is the largest northern gannet colony in the world and is home to tens of thousands of these large seabirds, which makes for a hugely impressive sight.
When to see gannets in Scotland
These tours are available for anyone to book, with the main season being from Spring to Autumn. For best viewing though, we suggest visiting during the breeding season, which is late April through to early June.
By Laurence | Finding the Universe
Seeing the cute Atlantic Puffins in Shetland
Seeing Atlantic Puffins has been on my bucket list for a long time! These small distinctive looking birds spend the summer in many places in the British Isles, including Scotland. I knew when I moved here I would have to find them!
One of the best places to see Puffins in Britain is in Shetland, the northernmost group of islands between Scotland and Norway. There are at least seven colonies there, and the one at Sumburgh Head on the southern tip of mainland Shetland has up to 5000 birds. After visiting Shetland in the winter I just knew I’d have to return in the summer to see Puffins, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The puffins were all over the cliffs near the lighthouse, walking and hopping to within a metre of us and flying all around.
Seeing Puffins is just one of the many reasons to visit Shetland, but definitely one of the most amazing!
Best time to see the Puffins
From as early as March until mid-August you’ll see Puffins in this area, although the best time of day to visit is in the morning or early evening when they’re not out at sea fishing.
By Sonja | Migrating Miss
Impromptu whale watching in the Mediterranean
I was on a 48-hour sailing trip from Barcelona to Menorca and back for my offshore sailing license. We were just getting ready for a swim in the middle of the Mediterranean when one of our crew members thought he spotted a whale in the distance. We took down our sails and slowly motored over to where he was pointing. He was right! We had found a sperm whale.
As we turned off the motor and got our cameras out, a second whale joined the first one, and soon after, we had six huge whales swimming alongside our boat. They were in no rush to leave, some of them diving through underneath the boat and coming back up on the other side. What an experience!
Whilst our encounter was pure chance, there are actually surprisingly many cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in the Mediterranean, and I have yet to do a sailing trip between the Baleares and the Spanish mainland without coming across them. We always see at least some dolphins, sometimes a whale or two, or in rare instances like this, a whole pod of them.
How to see whales in Spain
If you don’t happen to own a sailboat, a good option to go whale watching is the non-profit Edmaktub, who research whale behaviour with non-invasive research techniques and invite research assistant volunteers to join them (for a fee).
By Edwina | Traveling German
Seeing Zebra at Cabarceno Nature Park
Nearby Santander, on the North Coast of Spain and just a few miles away from the Cantabric sea, Cabarceno Nature Park is worth a visit. There one can be entertained for hours wandering around among more than 50 different species living on a semi-wilderness basis in a former iron mine environment.
More moral than a zoo and entirely outdoors the only thing someone could wish for would be the possibility of wandering around the huge property on foot, not just your vehicle. Admissions are only by car to get everywhere quickly and not disturb the animals. If you are lucky as we were, you could spot awesome species like this zebra at sunset.
Cabarceno Nature Park Information
The opening hours of the Cabarceno National Park are 0930 to 1700 Mon to Fri, Weekends 0930 to 1800.
The prices change according to the season. From Apr to Sept Adults are €30 and Children €25. And from Oct to March, Adults are €23 and Children €14.
By Inma | A World to Travel
Crossing paths with an Arctic Fox in Iceland
If you’ve never gotten to know a place like Iceland, it’ll change your life. It was one of our first big trips as a couple and, incidentally, one of our first genuine wildlife encounters.
Our favourite part of the trip was our tour of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. There you have all kinds of rock formations, scenic stops – and black lava pearl beaches, like Djúpalónssandur. While our guide recounted stories of the wrecked trawler whose pieces still dot the beach, we heard someone shriek and a furry streak flew by.
While we were all enthralled, our guide casually quipped, “OH! Arctic fox!” Surprisingly, the little guy was all brown, having lost his bright white coat early due to the area’s unseasonably warm winter, and SO plush. He shyly tried to mooch food, and we noticed he had a bum paw. Regardless, he was beautiful. And then as quick as he came, off he ran.
Perhaps the best way to have a similar encounter is to be respectful and quiet about your intrusions into Icelandic wilderness. Most larger animals (foxes, horses, etc.) aren’t as skittish as Americans assume, so don’t be a threat – and consider an Icelandic guide! – and you’re well on your way.
See wild animals in Iceland
There are full-day tours for and an opportunity to take in the breathtaking scenery and possibly spot some wild animals. Good luck!
By Luke and Meagan | Two Restless Homebodies
Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Transylvania
A visit to the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Transylvania is a wonderful way to learn about the 6,000 brown bears that live in Romania.
Visiting the Bear Sanctuary in Romania
The Libearty bear sanctuary – based in the oak forests above the town of Zarnesti in central Transylvania is now open to visitors. They are open in the mornings only and are closed Mondays. They have guides to show round groups of visitors and you can see the rescued bears enjoying life in the forested sanctuary areas.
If you want to visit the Romanian bear sanctuary, you should look at their website for contact details, entry costs and for opening times as this may vary throughout the year.
By Melanie | Travel East Write Repeat
Want more cool animals?
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