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Away from the likes of Switzerland’s stunning snow-capped peaks and Italy’s magical Dolomiti, we have partnered with Intrepid Travel to bring you the best of Europe’s lesser-known, yet equally majestic, national parks that you need to add to your bucket list ASAP.
One of the newest in Europe – and one of only five in Lithuania – Kuršių Nerija is a national park set up to protect the ecosystems of the Curonian Spit. Stretching for almost 100km (62 miles) to separate the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea, the Spit is famed for its fine sandy beaches and wonderful pine forests inhabited by deer, elk and wild boar. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits half in Russian territory, half in Lithuanian.
Those looking to hit the slopes will be in heaven here. Gran Paradiso National Park is a protected area, nestled high in the Graian Alps of northern Italy, close to the French border. While the nearby French Alps may be enticing, Gran Paradiso more than holds its own with over 700km² (270 square miles) of relaxing land, ski trails, hiking routes, plentiful flora and, of course, its protected symbol, the Alpine ibex.
The Danube Delta connects to the Black Sea in Romania and its Biosphere Reserve is one of the largest bird havens you’re ever likely to visit. Home to around 70% of the world’s white pelicans, this attractive wetland also welcomes cormorants, terns and white-tailed eagles to the final passages of the River Danube. Weaving its way through ten countries, the Danube Delta stretches for 2, 800km (1, 740 miles) and is the second largest in Europe, only pipped to the post by the River Volga. Guided boat tours, which take place regularly, allow you to experience the beauty of this reserve in its full glory.
When you think of Spain, do you only think sun, sea and sandy beaches? Allow us to change your perception. On the edge of the southern French border in North-West Spain is Ordesa and Monte Perdido, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1977. Home to vast green spaces, high mountains and rare wildlife, visitors travel here to enjoy its rural tranquility and the gentle flow of water in its streams and lakes.
Another of Europe’s top bird habitats, Lake Skadar National Park is 400km² (154 square miles) of pure bliss: think rolling hills, crystal clear water and floating meadows of water lilies. This national park has protected the largest lake in southern Europe since 1983, and sits in both Montenegro and Albania.
Last but not least is Saxon-Switzerland, a 700-km² (270-square-mile) national park in Eastern Germany. Packed with rocky terrain, hilltop castles, breathtaking viewing peaks and deep valleys, the secret hiker in you will love exploring this park. Snaking past Saxon-Switzerland is the River Elbe, where experienced rowers can take on a challenge or simply marvel at the wonder itself. Unbelievably, it is estimated that 40% of the forest remains untouched by human intervention.
For more information about Intrepid Travel’s Europe tours please click here.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.