Top 10 Rewilding Projects In Europe

rewilding in europe
| 6 min read

Rewilding is a sustainable effort aimed at environmental protection and ecological restoration. It is a gradual method toward conservation. Through rewilding, natural rhythms are put back into place. Humans can help in many ways, such as reverting to traditional farming practices and restoring natural waterways. As a pioneering example, Europe has taken significant rewilding initiatives to replenish its natural landscapes and bring back its rich wildlife.

On your next vacation, would you like to help locate elusive European bison and return them to Poland? Or learn about the conservation of Marsican brown bears in Italy? By participating in rewilding activities, you are not only gaining fresh experiences but also contributing to Mother Earth’s healing. Taking rewilding actions can be rewarding and can evoke a sense of purpose. If you want to be part of such a meaningful cause, read on for the top rewilding projects in Europe.

1. Plant trees in Affric Highlands, Scotland

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sam Fentress used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The restoration of woodland, peatland, and riverside habitats is the primary goal of this project in the Affric Highlands. This 30-year rewilding project aims to transform the bare hillsides into teeming Caledonian pinewood forests again. Creating riverwoods and rewetting peatlands are also underway to help wildlife live and survive.

Tree for Life, the preferential partner of Rewilding Europe, offers education and training programs in the new rewilding education center at Dundreggan to equip locals with the right skills and further expand livelihoods in the area.

The tour itinerary for the Affric Highlands and the Wild West Coast covers visiting Dundreggan Rewilding Centre and hiking to the stunning landscapes of the highlands. Travelers can explore Eilean Donan Castle and enjoy whisky tasting. A guided marine wildlife trip to Sula Bheag is even included! Moreover, the rewilding area provides accommodations and meals should guests avail of the offered trips.

Affric Highlands

Address: Central Highlands of Scotland

Website: Affric Highlands

Price: from 1,695 GBP (2,166 USD)

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2. Explore the Greater Côa Valley, Portugal

Vale do Côa2 Joana Mafalda Gomes
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joana Mafalda Gomes used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Led by Rewilding Europe, this large-scale project envisions reinforcing 296,526 acres (120,000 hectares) of a wildlife corridor to improve connectivity between the Douro River and the mountain ranges of Malcata. The Greater Côa Valley holds significant importance as it is home to wild herbivores and birds of prey.

Adventure enthusiasts can explore the 124-mile (200-kilometer) Côa Valley Grand Route, encompassing several rewilding sites, to spot diverse wildlife and stunning natural landscapes. This way, they can help boost nature-based enterprises to thrive and support local communities.

Travelers can also tour the area’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and sprawling national parks. Moreover, they can indulge in a slow food experience attended by a local chef. Joining the initiative and booking the trips include local guides, sumptuous meals, and comfy accommodations, to name a few.

The Greater Côa Valley

Address: Greater Côa Valley, Portugal

Website: The Greater Côa Valley

Price: from 645 GBP (824 USD)

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3. Witness the northern lights in Swedish Lapland, Sweden

Reindeers at Lake Torneträsk, Abisko area, Swedish Lapland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matti&Keti used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Lapland is often referred to as “Europe’s Alaska” because of its ultimate wilderness and scenic beauty. The rewilding initiative in this area is adopting a fishing ban policy and eliminating artificial waterways such as dams to boost Lapland’s fish migration. This destination combines natural and cultural heritage in one gorgeous setting, where the indigenous Sami community coexists with many natural treasures.

Booking a trip in this place lets you access comfy accommodations and transportation, ensuring a convenient stay. You will also have several activities here, such as immersing yourself in Sami culture and discovering the traditional lifestyle and culinary glory in the two-night itinerary in a remote Sami Camp. An expert local guide ushers this group tour. You might even witness the spectacular northern lights if you are lucky!

Swedish Lapland

Address: Lapland, Sweden

Website: Swedish Lapland, Sweden

Price: from1,500 GBP (639 USD)

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4. Meet the European bisons in the Southern Carpathians, Romania

Piatra Craiului, Southern Carpathians - Romania - Landscape photography
Source: Photo by Flickr user Giuseppe Milo used under CC BY 2.0

This rewilding effort is geared toward bringing back the European bison, generating local businesses, and supporting local nature entrepreneurs. Moreover, the project area covers more than 1,000,000 hectares (2,471,051 acres) of old-growth forests, wild rivers, mountains, and extensive lands of mosaic vegetation. Aside from these, educational outreach programs and training are being executed to provide learning opportunities for the local community.

Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania are working together to develop one of Europe’s largest wilderness to give the bison and other wildlife a free and viable habitat. You can join the bison tracking group tour with an expert local guide to support and learn about the initiative. You can also engage with locals and gain cultural experiences in the village of Armenis.

Southern Carpathians

Address: Carpathian Mountains, Romania

Website: Southern Carpathians

Price: from 445 GBP (569 USD)

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5. Go bird-watching in Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Rhodope Mountains E1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elena Chochkova used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Rhodope Mountains take pride in being Bulgaria’s last and only breeding ground of griffon vultures. The region is also the refuge of wolves and jackals in the country. Travelers with a penchant for bird-watching often flock to this side of Bulgaria to sight different bird species soaring overhead, including the endangered vultures. You can also spot bears and other wildlife in the dense mountains.

Although vultures are sometimes considered a threat, they play a vital role in the ecosystem by consuming animal carcasses and mitigating the build-up of harmful bacteria and diseases in the wild. Hence, enhancing natural food webs and biodiversity are the main objectives of this rewilding project.

You can engage in this project if you visit this place and book an eight-night stay. This rewilding area offers guided photography trips to ensure you have memories to keep! Other activities included in the itinerary are community and winery experiences and historical tours in Sofia and Plovdiv.

Rhodope Mountains

Address: Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Website: Rhodope Mountains

Price: from 1,895 GBP (2,422 USD)

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6. Discover the magic of the Central Apennines, Italy

Apennine Mountains
Source: Photo by Flickr user Peter Kumer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Italy is primarily known for its stately architecture and fascinating culture, but not many people are aware of the magic that lies in its terrains. The Apennine Mountains is a biodiversity hotspot in the heart of Italy, comprising massive beech forests, extensive grasslands, and large populations of wild herbivores. You can also spot some Marsican brown bears here!

This project aims to reduce bear mortality and develop nature-based economy schemes to help local communities and protect the area. Moreover, this rewilding area offers a wide range of tours and experiences, such as winter wolf tracking and stirring encounters with Italy’s Big Five. With a photographic journey, you can see the exquisite Abruzzo through the lens. Apennine cultural experiences and wildlife walks in the national parks are also in store for you here!

Central Apennines

Address: Apennine Mountains, Italy

Website: Central Apennines

Price: 800 GBP (1,022 USD)

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7. Climb the Velebit Mountains, Croatia

Velebit other side
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mateom28 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Velebit is a breathtaking mountain chain at the edge of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. It is the country’s largest mountain range, featuring two parks, a biosphere reserve, underground canyons, and beech and pine forests.

Travelers with a penchant for adrenaline-inducing excursions can trek the parks and hit the trails. Once you arrive in the hides, you can observe the European brown bear and even the Golden jackal if it is your lucky day! For your dining needs, local cuisine will be served throughout the trip.

The rewilding vision for this area is to establish a wildlife and ecological corridor to create healthy living spaces for local residents and diverse wildlife species. Animals will also be exposed to natural grazing to sustain themselves and regenerate the food chain balance.

Velebit Mountains

Address: Velebit Mountains, Adriatic coast in Croatia

Website: Velebit Mountains

Price: from 650 GBP (831 USD)

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8. Learn about bison through the Bison Rewilding Plan, Poland

Bison bonasus bonasus
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Gäbler used under CC BY-SA 3.0

European bison were considered ecosystem engineers but were pushed to the limits of extinction in the early 20th century. Now, Poland is taking great steps to revive the bison population and bring them back into the wild through a comprehensive rewilding plan.

This project is helping to release the remaining European bison in their natural environments, where they can best thrive and survive. Communication efforts are also enacted to raise social awareness about the extinct animal. If this interests you, you can visit Białowieża Primeval Forest and actively take part in this initiative by learning and spreading the word.

Bison Rewilding Plan

Address: Białowieża Primeval Forest, Poland

Website: Bison Rewilding Plan

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9. Spot birds and fish in the Danube Delta, Romania and Ukraine

100_0548-Danube River
Source: Photo by Flickr user Lyn Gateley used under CC BY 2.0

The enchanting setting where the Danube River meets the Black Sea is the Danube Delta! This delta forms the largest wetland and best-preserved deltas in Europe. It hosts over 300 species of birds and 45 freshwater fish species in several water habitats.

The rewilding team and its local partners are endeavoring to refine ecological integrity and natural functioning in biodiverse shelters. That aside, the team is also promoting a nature-based economy to generate job opportunities and establish businesses to improve the quality of life in communities here.

For a delightful and enriching experience, step back in time in the nearby old town of Tulcea, which is a notable industrial port town. It houses Danube Delta Museum, featuring exhibits of stuffed wild birds and aquatic animals.

The Danube Delta

Address: Danube Delta (Tulcea County, Romania and parts of Odesa Oblast, Ukraine)

Website: The Danube Delta

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10. Experience a laid-back lifestyle in Knepp State, England

Knepp estate
Source: Photo by Flickr user Matt Ellery used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This 3,500-acre (1,416-hectare) lush estate offers a one-of-a-kind experience of soaking up nature and escaping the city’s hustle and bustle. It boasts landscaped gardens where you can take a laid-back stroll for fresh air. You can also learn about traditional farming systems and attend educational conferences to enrich your knowledge about grazing ecology.

Knepp State is a wildlife conservation project prompted to perform sustainable solutions, including soil and river restoration, flood mitigation, water and air purification, insect pollination, and carbon sequestration. Moreover, this place offers glamping and camping accommodations to its guests for a laid-back stay.

Knepp State

Address: West Grinstead, Horsham RH13 8LJ, United Kingdom

Website: Knepp State

Price: from 25 GBP (32 USD)

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Help Mother Nature heal

People have an understanding of how difficult healing can be after years of abuse and neglect. Bearing this in mind, it is about time to give Mother Nature a chance to heal on its own. The two steps of two people are more efficient than a step of one. If you want to take a step towards sustainability, check out these top rewilding projects in Europe and consider supporting any of these initiatives for a purposeful travel.

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Hallyu phenomenon (K-pop and K-drama) and writing are the two things that are keeping her sane and grounded. Her other interests include drinking coffee, designing her journal, reading novels,...Read more

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