For those who love the great outdoors, Europe offers plenty of destinations for a short holiday including everything from the secluded mountain retreats of central Europe to the huge swathes of ancient forests in Poland to the magical fjords of Norway and much more. If you are hoping to go on a holiday to somewhere far from the rush of urban life, consider these following five European holiday destinations for nature lovers.
1. Białowieża Forest, Poland
Białowieża Forest covers a huge area of eastern Poland and western Belarus. The forest is what remains of the vast swathe of primeval forest which once covered much of Europe from the Urals to the Atlantic Ocean. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you are into hiking, bird watching, or just have a love for nature in general, Białowieża is a unique destination. Most notably, it is also home to Europe’s largest land animals – the European bison. A good base from which to explore the region is the nearby city of Białystok in Poland.
2. Český Raj, Czech Republic
Český Raj, or Bohemian Paradise, is the number one nature reserve in the Czech Republic. Sadly, few visitors to the country seem to have the imagination to step beyond the centre of Prague’s Old Town. However, while Prague is magnificent indeed, there is plenty more to see in the rest of the country. Český Raj is located only around an hour away from the city by bus or train. It is home to some of the country’s most beautiful countryside making it a top destination for hiking. The stunning region is also scattered with fairy tale castles, chateaux and ruins.
3. Svaneti, Georgia
For those who want to go truly off the beaten track, the Republic of Georgia on the eastern cost of the Black Sea is a good start. The small yet highly mountainous country in the heart of the Caucuses is steeped in history and boasts some truly stunning nature. The region of Svaneti in the north of the country is home to some of Georgia’s most picturesque mountains. The region is scattered with rustic villages where the way of life has not changed much since ancient times. The capital and largest town is Mestia, reachable from Tbilisi by either bus or small aeroplane.
4. Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom
While neighbouring England is largely overcrowded, Scotland is a lowly populated country well known for its beautiful nature and plethora of islands. The Scottish Highland is one of the best places to go in the U.K. if you want a secluded holiday surrounded by nature. The city of Inverness is the region’s capital and it also makes for a good base from which to explore the Highlands. The region is very large, however. It also comprises all of the Scottish islands. Most of the area is very sparsely populated. Places of note include the Grampian Mountains, Ben Nevis and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
5. Geirangerfjord, Norway
When it comes to nature, Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Extending right up to beyond the Arctic Circle, Norway boasts a great amount of dramatic landscape. Geirangerfjord is one of the most visited in Norway and it is also listed as a World Heritage Site. At the end of the fjord is the small village of Geiranger, where there are plenty of places to stay, making it an ideal base for exploring the area. The fjord is notably home to some of Norway’s largest waterfalls and some of its steepest mountains.