There is something quite magical about walking in a beautiful forest; leaves rustling, branches creaking and the scurrying of animals in the undergrowth help to transport us to an Enid Blyton-esque world. Here at Hero & Leander we believe that this is an experience to be shared, and so we have put together a list of Europe’s Most Enchanting Forests.
Bacton Wood, Norfolk
Bacton Wood, or Witton Woods as it is also know, is a wonderful mosaic of conifer plantation, mixed woodland and open spaces. Ramble through the lush tree lined, leaf scattered paths hand in hand and admire the 30 species of tree that can be found, some are native and some have been introduced. Lots of exciting events take place at Bacton Wood throughout the year ranging from conservation work to activities suitable for children. After hours of admiring the Great British wildlife, why not lay a blanket down and set up a good old fashioned picnic.
For more information: www.visitnorthnorfolk.com
Black Forest, Germany
Famous for its much-maligned chocolate gateau, few realise Germany’s Black Forest is a gastronomic heaven – it’s also synonymous with hiking. Explore this fairytale woodland wonderland, oozing Hansel and Gretel charm, on this new foodie hotel-to-hotel walk. Here, it is possible to see the wood for the trees though – the landscape frequently opens up to reveal gorgeous views and routes have been crafted to maximise these. Plus expect cosy wooden inns, rolling pasture, soaring peaks (ascend the slopes of Feldberg, the Black Forest’s highest peak) and riverside walks (stroll along the Löffeltal through the remarkable Ravenna Gorge). Don’t miss a visit to the attractive pocket-sized city of Freiburg.
Price: from £745pp based on 2 sharing, including 6 nights’ half board accommodation, 2 picnics, route maps and notes, and luggage transfers between hotels with Inntravel. Flights not included.
inntravel.co.uk, 01653 617000
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, a sparsely populated area bordering Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It may not be somewhere that you would initially think of but it is known for its vast wilderness, ski resorts and natural phenomena including 24-hour summer daylight, and the Northern Lights. Usually thought of as a Christmas destination, Lapland is home to some of the most beautiful forests in the world. Jávri Lodge, based in one of Finland’s largest protected areas is the perfect destination for couples. With 2,550 square kilometres to explore, guests can become immersed in the breathtaking scenery as they explore the extensive woodland that surrounds the lodge. Once the winter residence of Finland’s longest serving president, Jávri Lodge is well accustomed to hosting important guests. After an exhilarating day exploring the outdoors, couples can enjoy presidential treatment and relax by the fireplace, in the swimming pool or the two Finnish saunas while the expert chef prepares a menu to showcase the finest produce caught from local hunters and fisherman that day. Spend the evening looking up to the stars for a glimpse of the spectacular Aurora Borealis.
Stay at Javri Lodge from €400 per person per night including full board. Finnair flies to Ivalo via Helsinki with fares starting from £190 return.
Garajonay Forest, La Gomera, The Canary Islands
Garajonay consists of a dense forest made up of different plant species, often surrounded by a sea of clouds that gives the forest a magical aura. These fogs, are intercepted by the forest itself, producing a moisture load which is essential for the survival of a green territory located on an arid island. These types of forests are classified as “laurisilva” forests or “evergreen laurel”, since most of its component tree species have leaves similar to the laurel. Their existence is possible thanks to the high humidity and the mild temperatures, accompanied by little fluctuations during the year. There are about 2000 species of plants in the Park, and we must highlight the high number of endemic species unique to this particular island and to the rest of the Canary Islands. You can also see streams in this National Park. It´s network of permanent water flows are the best preserved of the Canaries. The park has a wide infrastructure of facilities and services, which include a Visitor Centre, an Information Centre, a wide network of viewpoints, recreational areas and a network of well-marked trails, which allow a better understanding to enjoy a truly natural gem of nature.
Los Tilos Forest & La Caldera National de Taburiente National Park, La Palma, The Canary Islands
La Palma is the fifth largest of the islands situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and is the most densely wooded of the Canary Islands. The untamed nature of the island and clear skies, provide the perfect setting for nature-loving-couples looking for a unique experience. Los Tilos Forest offers a hiker couple’s paradise. The stunning subtropical jungle provides a serene setting filled with captivating waterfalls and streams. Either take the 2.5 kilometre walk, taking you around the heart of the forest, or the 1,000 metres walk to the refreshing springs in Marcos and Cordero. La Caldera National de Taburiente National Park is the most attractive landscape for a romantic stroll with your loved one. Couples can weave through a maze of rugged landscape, criss-crossed by numerous streams, waterfalls, and deep ravines. The forest is also covered by dense Canarian pine woods providing a gorgeous canopy for shelter for a picnic.
Peruccia Forest, Sujetska National Park, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a beautiful country with swathes of rugged wilderness. The Sutjeska National Park is one such area and boasts one of Europe’s last primeval forests, as well as the mighty Durmitor Mountains. This itinerary from Exodus Travels includes some of the best trekking the region has to offer: ascending Bosnia’s highest peak, Maglic Mountain, passing hidden waterfalls and glacial lakes and heading into the Perucica Forest. The trip also includes time for sightseeing in the beautiful cities of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, and Sarajevo and Mostar. The trip does involve a moderate level of fitness but the rewards are more than worth it as guests get the opportunity to explore one of Europe’s last hidden gems.
This is a nine day trip priced from £1,299 per person including flights, all accommodation, most meals and a tour leader throughout. Next departure is 16 June.
Book at www.exodus.co.uk or call 0208 772 3937