The wildlife experiences in Europe are more diverse than you may first think, here are five of our favourites.
See whales and puffins in Iceland
Iceland Circumnavigation aboard the Greg Mortimer
During the summer months, the harbour and surrounding areas around Reykjavik are teaming with wildlife, including a variety of birds, whales and dolphins. On our cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer there is the possibility of seeing harbour porpoises, white beaked dolphin, humpback whale, fin whale, minke whale and in winter the orca (or killer whale as they're also known). The majestic blue whale is also a visitor to the Icelandic waters during the long summer months.
It is possible to see puffins between May and mid-August. They return to the same site to breed year after year, laying their eggs in late April to early May, then feed the fledglings for a month or two. After this, the parents abandon the nest and leave their young to fend for themselves. There is a variety of other birdlife that you could see including cormorants, arctic terns, eider ducks and black guillemots.
Brown bear watching in Finland
Finland is home to approximately 1200 brown bears which are mainly found in eastern Finland, close to the Russian border, where there is less human habitation. It’s in this area where we’ll be spending four days at the Wild Brown Bear Centre. The viewing season runs between April and September, before the weather starts to turn colder and the bears go into hibernate. June is mating season for brown bears and May is when any cubs that have been born over the winter start to take their first explorations into their surroundings. Although bear sightings are not guaranteed, it is common to see a number of individual bears from our hides during any one night and you may also see owls, wolverine, foxes and elk.
Bird watching in the Danube Delta
The Danube Delta is a bird-lovers paradise. The diverse habitats in and around the wetlands of the delta attract a huge and diverse selection of birds. During our spring and autumn trips, thousands of migrating birds make a stop here on their long journeys. Breeding season is generally in May, so there are higher numbers of birds in and around the delta at this time of year. The species of birds that we could see will vary depending on the time of year, but the white pelican is seen on most trips. We may also spot the pigmy cormorant; 80% of the world’s population make the delta their home. Egrets, herons, grebes, red footed falcons and white tail eagles are also possible to see.
See whales and dolphins around the Desertas Islands
We take a boat trip out to the Desertas Islands where we'll hopefully get to see dolphins and whales along the way. Our boat will be 'Bonita da Madeira', a 23 metre long wooden sailing boat. The Desertas Islands are a group of three uninhabited islands, which lie around 25 kilometres off the coast of Madeira. They have been dedicated as a Natural Reserve to protect the rare species of monk seal, monachus monachus, which favours them. In the waters around the islands we may see sperm whale, Bryde’s whale, fin whale, common bottlenose dolphin and Atlantic spotted dolphin amongst other species that frequent this area.
The Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve visited on the MI
The Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve is a haven for an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including more than 780 herbaceous species, 34 species of fish, over 50 species of mammal and an impressive list of over 200 different birds. We have a full day hiking or the opportunity to go canoeing through the park to enjoy the natural and scenic beauty of one of the most pristine environments in Belarus. Wildlife that can be spotted here includes lynxs, polecats, otters, American mink, wild boar, red deer and elk.
See all our wildlife trips in Europe.