The latest tours in the Greater Côa Valley, Velebit Mountains and Rhodope Mountains rewilding landscapes will further enhance nature-based tourism and promote rewilding across Europe.
An immersive experience
Wildlife across Europe is making a comeback thanks to stronger legal protections and improved habitat connectivity, quality and function. More research and education have improved levels of coexistence. When the ecological and social factors combine, wildlife is given more space to flourish.
Rewilding Europe Travel is offering opportunities to witness this resurgence of wildlife first-hand. And the communities who live alongside it play a crucial role in the trips, acting as ambassadors and advocates for the rewilding movement as it gathers more and more momentum.
“Our trips are a perfect immersion in the rewilding landscape, born from the close collaboration of Rewilding Europe Travel, the local rewilding teams, and the local communities. They offer an insider peek into the wonders of rewilding, the return of wildlife, and the empowerment of local nature-based entrepreneurs. We can’t wait to share the beauty of rewilding landscapes with travellers from all over the world”, says Irene Fernandez Saez, Operations Manager of Rewilding Europe Travel.
“Our trips offer an insider peek into the wonders of rewilding, the return of wildlife, and the empowerment of local nature-based entrepreneurs.”
Irene Fernandez Saez
Operations Manager of Rewilding Europe Travel
Going wild in the Côa
Take a private trip with the expert naturalist and experienced guide, Fernando Romão in the Greater Côa Valley, and you will come away with an in-depth knowledge of its wildlife and culture. In cooperation with our local partners from the Wild Côa Network, an action-packed itinerary has been designed to give you a full appreciation of what this rugged landscape holds over three or four-night stays for one to four people.
Griffon vultures provide a key link in the food web, reintroduced Sorraia horses add to the trophic complexity while helping to reduce wildfire risk, and the Iberian lynx is knocking on the door of this critically important wildlife corridor. There are many reasons to visit this little-known corner of Portugal where habitat restoration is in full swing. Explore the mixed forests and meadows of Vale Carapito and see how the newly acquired wetland site of Paul dos Toirões is being transformed from a former mine into a natural area where nature takes the lead in shaping the landscape again. You’ll also get the chance to visit Ermo das Águias, where the land is bouncing back after years of heavy grazing and wildfires.
Discover extensive ancient beech forests and alpine grasslands in Croatia’s Velebit Mountains, and get close encounters with its largest resident – the brown bear – from the safety of two comfortable hides, designed in collaboration with SKUA Nature and Rewilding Velebit. Wild boar, roe deer, red fox and – if you’re particularly lucky – golden jackal might make a nocturnal appearance too through the mirrored glass.
During walks with a local expert wildlife guide from the Rewilding Velebit team, you’ll get to take in the spectacular karst limestone landscape and panoramic views from some of the highest points of the Velebit Nature Park, perched on the coast. It will also give you the opportunity to look out for tracks of the elusive Eurasian lynx, or spot the iconic Balkan chamois demonstrating death-defying agility up and down the steepest of slopes.
For Marin Roncevic – tour guide and enterprise officer of the Rewilding Velebit team – these are trips with far-reaching benefits. “I am extremely glad that we can cooperate with Rewilding Europe Travel on such an important project as the wildlife safari. Nature tourism is the key to success in shifting economic interest from exploitation in terms of hunting to sustainable development and nature protection. Once we prove the profitability of this type of tourism, we will make a significant step forward in the protection of wildlife and shifting the interest toward rewilding activities.”
Raptors in the Rhodopes
Our third new trip will take you to a biodiversity hotspot in Bulgaria, on a photographic expedition with a local expert photographer, Bogdan Boev. Focusing on the riverine habitat of the Thracian Plain and the awe-inspiring Rhodope Mountains, it is a dramatic landscape of volcanic cliffs where you’ll find golden eagles, long-legged buzzards, Egyptian vultures, grey wolves, golden jackals and the peregrine falcon. Hides carefully positioned in the picturesque wetlands and woodlands along migration routes by the Maritsa river can offer up memorable encounters with forest bird species such as the Eurasian jay and raven.
Europe’s largest and heaviest raptor – the cinereous vulture – can also be found here. Their comeback to the area received a big boost in November 2022 when 14 birds from Spain were released into the wild by Rewilding Europe, in collaboration with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and our local partner team, Rewilding Rhodopes. Visit the vulture hides in Madzharovo and you could see these spectacular birds of prey for yourself as they strengthen the ‘Circle of Life’ in the Rhodope Mountains.
A community-centric approach
A common thread that binds these three trips together is that they all employ resources from – and directly benefit – the local areas through various locally-led initiatives. By boosting local economies and increasing awareness of local businesses Rewilding Europe Travel supports communities living in rewilding landscapes. Local communities are at the heart of each rewilding landscape, and play a critical role in the regeneration of the rural areas in which they live through the development of nature-based livelihoods.
Through these trips, Rewilding Europe Travel is catalysing interest in rewilding by demonstrating the value of wilder and healthier land, where natural processes are being restored on a journey back towards fully functioning ecosystems that are nature-led. Utilising local knowledge is key to communicating the positive effects of rewilding, and showing the crucial role it can play in enhancing biodiversity and instilling climate change resilience while breathing new life into the communities whose lives are firmly intertwined with nature.
With trips tailored to small groups, an emphasis on travelling by train and supporting measures such as peatland restoration in place to offset carbon emissions, each Rewilding Europe Travel trip has been designed to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible.