Austria's high mountains offer a combination of glorious scenery, picture-perfect views, delicate alpine blooms and fascinating insect life. The upper slopes are populated by chamois, ibex and wild boar, and the country whose national bird, the black eagle, features on its coat of arms is a great place for birdwatching.
This Portuguese mid-Atlantic archipelago is a haven of calm. Lush volcanic islands are surrounded by ocean that is home to an exceptional variety of whales and dolphins. No fewer than 26 species have been recorded in recent years, and almost any outing usually reveals six to eight different species.
One of Europe’s last remaining wildernesses – a mosaic of taiga forest, crystalline lakes, peat bogs, and pine heathland – stretches from Finland into Russia. This undisturbed countryside is the best in Europe for viewing brown bears and makes a perfect refuge for its 430 bird species, 100,000 moose and around 200 wolves.
With Atlantic, Mediterranean and North Sea coastlines, and great mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, as well as lesser ones, France exhibits a wide diversity of habitats. This, along with the largely agricultural landscape and relatively sparse population in some regions, ensures a rich flora and fauna.
Hungary consists of two long stretches of plains and mountains, which sit either side of the picturesque Danube River. Within its ten national parks, reserves and numerous protected areas, there are 73 mammal species, including brown hare and red fox, as well as over 400 bird species.
Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans merge, this island nation has the world’s northernmost capital city. The sparsely populated interior consists largely of a plateau covered by mountains and glaciers, with areas of intense volcanic activity, and the surrounding seas are rich in marine life.
Stretching from the highest peaks of the Alps to the island of Sicily, with the mountains of the Apennines along its entire length and two long coastlines, Italy presents various different habitats. Add to this the mountainous island of Sardinia and there is enough to engage any serious lover of wildlife.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful countries on earth due to its rugged coastline, glaciers, mountains and coastal fjords, Norway is known for its stunning displays of Northern Lights, excellent whale watching opportunities, and its largest mainland animal - the elusive elk.
Located on the Black Sea at the crossroads of southeastern Europe, Romania has a vast area of undisturbed forest. A good indicator of its integrity is the presence of fauna that includes 60% of Europe's brown bears and 40% of its wolves. The Danube Delta also demonstrates exceptional biodiversity, with over 300 species of bird.
Despite its small size, Slovenia offers an incredibly rich and diverse mix of wildlife and stunning landscapes. From the Dinaric Alps which cross the country to create one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas and the sand dunes that meet the Mediterranean coast, Slovenia is an ideal location to view wildlife in a lesser visited area of Europe.
With a long and rich history, the principal country of the Iberian Peninsula has a surprising wealth of wildlife in its national parks and reserves. A patchwork of protected areas harbours several endangered species that have been saved from the brink of extinction by effective conservation.
Sweden is a land covered by forests, rivers and lakes and is home to some fantastic wildlife. Over 65% of the land is covered by beautiful forests and the country provides perfect habitat for mammals such as bear, wolf and elk, as well as an many interesting bird and butterfly species.
Avid wildlife enthusiasts don't need to stray far from home to see wildlife. Across the UK our national parks, national nature reserves, RSPB reserves and WWT (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) reserves, as well as many other undesignated spots, are simply great places to watch our rich population of wildlife.