Europe is a continent of diverse and awe-inspiring natural landscapes that leave visitors in awe of its beauty. From rugged mountains to pristine coastlines and dense forests to serene lakes, Europe offers a wealth of outdoor wonders waiting to be explored. For nature enthusiasts, Europe is a paradise with endless opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and immersing oneself in the raw beauty of the natural world. Whether you seek the towering peaks of the Alps, the mystical fjords of Scandinavia, or the enchanting valleys of the Scottish Highlands, Europe’s natural landscapes are sure to captivate your senses and ignite your spirit of adventure. What are some of the best European countries for nature lovers?
We will also cover the following topics:
- The Natural Wonders of Europe
- Alpine Adventures
- Coastal Charms
- Nordic Wonders
- National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
- Practical Considerations
The Natural Wonders of Europe
Europe is a continent renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and architectural marvels. However, it is also home to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world, drawing nature enthusiasts from around the globe. From towering mountain ranges to serene lakes, rugged coastlines, to lush forests, Europe offers a remarkable tapestry of natural wonders waiting to be explored.
Europe is blessed with majestic mountain ranges that offer breathtaking vistas and thrilling adventures. From the mighty Alps in Switzerland and France to the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites in Italy, these famous landscapes in Europe provide endless opportunities for hiking, climbing, and skiing. The pristine beauty of the Scottish Highlands and the mystical allure of the Norwegian fjords add to the charm of Europe’s mountainous regions.
Europe’s forests are like something out of a fairy tale, with ancient trees, vibrant foliage, and a sense of enchantment in the air. The Black Forest in Germany, with its dense canopies and picturesque hiking trails, captivates visitors with its natural beauty. The Białowieża Forest in Poland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the primeval forest that once covered the European Plain.
Europe is dotted with serene lakes that reflect the surrounding landscapes like mirrors. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Bled in Slovenia, with its iconic island and medieval castle, create a picture-perfect setting. The stunning beauty of Lake Como in Italy, surrounded by lush hills and charming towns, has captivated artists and travelers for centuries.
Europe’s coastlines offer a mesmerizing blend of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and picturesque villages. The wild and untamed beauty of the Atlantic coast in Ireland and Scotland is a paradise for nature enthusiasts seeking dramatic seascapes. The stunning beaches of the Algarve in Portugal and the Amalfi Coast in Italy beckon visitors with their turquoise waters and sun-kissed shores.
Europe is home to a network of captivating caves that unveil the hidden wonders of the underground world. The Postojna Cave in Slovenia, with its awe-inspiring rock formations and an underground railway, provides a fascinating subterranean adventure. The enchanting Glowworm Cave in New Zealand, known for its luminescent glowworms, offers a surreal and magical experience.
Nature enthusiasts are constantly drawn to Europe, a continent boasting a wealth of stunning natural landscapes. From snow-capped peaks to lush valleys, Europe offers an array of breathtaking destinations that cater to the adventurous spirit.
Before visiting any of these countries below, make sure to check their travel requirements. European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS for short, is the European Union’s new framework for European travel. ETIAS visa waiver can only be used for leisure or business purposes (short-term travel).
Swiss Alps, Switzerland
The Swiss Alps are synonymous with majestic beauty, pristine wilderness, and outdoor adventure. Nestled in the heart of Europe, this iconic mountain range beckons nature enthusiasts with its snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes, and picturesque alpine villages. From the famous Matterhorn to the serene beauty of Lake Lucerne, the Swiss Alps offer a plethora of natural wonders to explore. Hiking trails lead to breathtaking vistas, where you can breathe in the fresh mountain air and marvel at the panoramic views. Skiing enthusiasts will find world-class resorts and exhilarating slopes to conquer, while mountaineers can challenge themselves with alpine climbing. Switzerland is one of the Best European countries for nature lovers .
The Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a natural wonder that captivates visitors with their dramatic peaks and enchanting landscapes. Located in northeastern Italy, this mountain range is characterized by its towering cliffs, lush meadows, and distinctive pale rock formations. The Dolomites offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and paragliding. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the region as you explore its network of trails, winding through picturesque valleys and past crystal-clear lakes. The iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the scenic Gardena Pass are among the many highlights that make the Dolomites a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
Europe is a treasure trove of natural wonders that beckon nature enthusiasts from around the world. In this part, we will embark on a coastal adventure and delve into the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands in Scotland, as well as the rugged charm of Cinque Terre in Italy. These coastal destinations offer breathtaking landscapes, captivating villages, and opportunities for outdoor exploration.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Nestled along the picturesque Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a coastal gem renowned for its rugged beauty and colorful villages. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises five quaint fishing villages perched on cliffs, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Hiking enthusiasts will delight in the coastal trails that connect these villages, offering mesmerizing views of the turquoise waters and terraced vineyards. Each village possesses its unique charm, from the pastel-hued buildings of Vernazza to the scenic harbor of Manarola. Immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere, savor delicious seafood cuisine, and capture the perfect sunset over the dramatic coastal scenery. Cinque Terre is a coastal paradise that will captivate nature enthusiasts with its enchanting beauty. Italy is one of the best countries to visit.
Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Which country has best landscape? For those seeking wild and mystical landscapes, the Scottish Highlands are a nature lover’s dream come true. Vast expanses of rugged terrain, ancient castles, and shimmering lochs define this untamed region. The Scottish Highlands offer an array of outdoor adventures, from hiking the majestic peaks of Ben Nevis to exploring the mystical beauty of Loch Ness. Nature enthusiasts can witness stunning waterfalls, encounter diverse wildlife, and wander through heather-clad moors that seem untouched by time. The Scottish Highlands also boast a rich cultural heritage, with historic castles and clan stories adding to the allure of this magnificent landscape. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and majesty of the Scottish Highlands, where nature reigns supreme and the possibilities for exploration are endless.
Europe is a continent teeming with natural wonders that beckon nature enthusiasts to embark on unforgettable adventures. Now we will venture into the Nordic region and discover the awe-inspiring beauty of the Norwegian Fjords in Norway and the enchanting winter wonderland of Lapland in Finland.
As mentioned above, ETIAS is going to be necessary in order to visit these countries after 2024. From November 2023, the European Union will launch the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), meaning that Canadian citizens will now need to apply for a pre-issued digital permit before visiting Europe. You can check ETIAS travel information on this website.
Norwegian Fjords, Norway
Prepare to be mesmerized as you cruise through the majestic Norwegian fjords, where cascading waterfalls plunge into tranquil waters amidst towering cliffs. This natural wonderland is a paradise for hikers, offering an extensive network of trails that wind through stunning valleys, lush forests, and panoramic viewpoints. As you explore the fjords, you’ll witness the raw power of nature and experience a sense of tranquility found nowhere else. Adventurous souls can also kayak along the serene fjords, immersing themselves in the pristine surroundings and marveling at the sheer beauty of their surroundings. The Norwegian Fjords are a testament to the sublime beauty of untouched wilderness and an invitation to connect with nature in its purest form. Well, as we see, Norway is the most beautiful country in the world to live in.
Step into a winter wonderland as you venture into Lapland, a region that evokes images of Santa Claus, reindeer-drawn sleighs, and the enchanting dance of the Northern Lights. Lapland offers an array of exhilarating Arctic adventures, from husky sledding through snow-covered forests to meeting reindeer and learning about the Sami culture. The mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights illuminates the night sky, painting it with vibrant hues of green, purple, and pink, creating a truly magical experience. Lapland’s pristine nature invites visitors to engage in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing, allowing them to immerse themselves in the beauty of this winter wonderland. Lapland is a destination that ignites the imagination and offers a unique blend of nature, culture, and Arctic wonders.
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Europe is a continent of diverse and awe-inspiring natural landscapes that beckon nature enthusiasts to explore and immerse themselves in its beauty. We will embark on a journey to two remarkable national parks: Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia and Sarek National Park in Sweden.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Prepare to be enchanted as you discover the ethereal beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts a series of interconnected lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests that create a mesmerizing natural spectacle. As you wander along the park’s well-maintained wooden walkways, you’ll witness the crystal-clear turquoise waters cascading from one lake to another, creating a symphony of flowing water.
Boat rides across the tranquil lakes and hiking trails that meander through the park offer different perspectives of its breathtaking beauty. Plitvice Lakes National Park is also home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including rare bird species and vibrant wildflowers. Exploring this natural paradise is a true feast for the senses and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of untouched nature.
Sarek National Park, Sweden
Escape to the remote and rugged wilderness of Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland. This pristine wilderness is a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts seeking an authentic and immersive experience. With no marked trails or facilities, Sarek offers a true back-to-nature adventure. Trekking through this vast expanse of untouched landscapes, you’ll encounter towering mountains, deep valleys, glacier-carved landscapes, and roaring rivers. Wildlife is abundant, with the possibility of spotting reindeer, moose, bears, and elusive predators like wolverines and lynx. Sarek National Park is a place of solitude and tranquility, allowing visitors to reconnect with nature and experience the raw beauty of untouched wilderness.
- Safety First: Before embarking on any outdoor adventure, research and familiarize yourself with the area’s specific safety guidelines and regulations. Be aware of potential hazards, weather conditions, and wildlife encounters. Carry necessary safety equipment, including maps, navigation tools, first aid kits, and emergency contact information.
- Gear Up: Invest in quality outdoor gear suitable for the terrain and weather conditions of your chosen destination. Comfortable and sturdy hiking boots, weather-appropriate clothing layers, waterproof gear, and a well-fitted backpack are essential for a pleasant and safe outdoor experience. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water and snacks.
- Leave No Trace: Respecting and preserving the natural environment is crucial. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, such as packing out your trash, staying on designated trails, and avoiding damage to flora and fauna. Be mindful of local regulations regarding campfires and camping.
- Support Sustainable Tourism: Seek eco-friendly accommodations, tours, and activities that promote sustainable practices. Choose locally-owned businesses and support conservation efforts in the areas you visit. Minimize your environmental impact by conserving water, energy, and reducing waste.
- Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and refrain from feeding or approaching them. Observe animals from a distance to avoid disrupting their natural behaviors. Remember, you are a guest in their habitat.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs, traditions, and the cultural significance of the areas you visit. Be mindful of sacred sites and follow any guidelines or restrictions in place.
Europe is a dream destination for Canadian nature enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the great outdoors. 7 natural wonders of Europe, From the towering Swiss Alps to the pristine lakes of Croatia’s Plitvice National Park, Europe offers a wealth of natural wonders that will leave you awe-inspired. Whether you long to witness the Northern Lights in Lapland, hike through the Scottish Highlands, or explore the breathtaking fjords of Norway, Europe’s landscapes are a playground for adventure and tranquility. So pack your bags, embrace the call of nature, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Europe’s incredible natural wonders. Let the beauty of the continent’s landscapes captivate your soul and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.