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Flora and Fauna in the Mediterranean

The European countries of the Mediterranean are sun-drenched, well-salted, and covered with gorgeous scenery teeming with animal life. This region evokes superlatives, so get yourself out on a coastal hike or sit quietly on a beach, and come up with your own way to describe the intense beauty of the natural world in the Mediterranean.

Turkey is one big garden, with 10,000+ species of plants. The Black Sea coast is cool, humid and verdant, but the Mediterranean climate on the southern seaboard fosters banana trees and date palms. Sniff fragrant pine and cedar forests in the Taurus Mountains. Some 400 species of indigenous or migratory birds live in Turkey; the travelers are migrating between Africa, Asia and Europe. Spot them around the shores of Lake Manyas and at the Sultan Marshes near Kayseri, thought to be the only place where flamingos, cranes, herons and pelicans breed together. Sea turtles and seals play in the waters of the Mediterranean and the Aegean; you should, too.

The variety of plant and animal life and the unspoiled scenery make Cyprus one of the most beautiful places for appreciating nature. For a birdwatcher Cyprus is a must-visit, as the island is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, while a large number of endemic plants, such as the Cyprus orchid, tulip and crocus, make it a botanist’s paradise. The island even has its very own national animal, the Cyprus mouflon, a kind of wild sheep that roams free in the extensive forests of western Troodos. Green and Loggerhead turtles breed on the island's sandy beaches in summer, while the Mediterranean monk seal and dolphins play offshore in the warm, calm, crystal clear seas of the island.

Greece has loads to offer nature lovers in the ups and downs of its diverse terrain, from shady, forested mountains to sun bleached islands. Observe and admire rare bird species nesting on rocky coasts, sandy beaches, sand dunes, river deltas, lakes, marshes and coastal plains; study the highly diverse floral life of the Greek countryside; and visit the unique sea parks which provide shelter to two protected species, the Mediterranean monk seal and the sea turtle.

Italy, rough and wild, yields natural beauty easily on a par with its cultural treasures. In the Alps expect chamois and goats, evergreens and tiny Alpine flowers; in the Apennines are specially adapted species or wolf and lynx, as well as bear and fox. Contrast that with the drier, Mediterranean climate in Sardinia and Sicily, where honeybees and olive trees flourish and the air is scented with pine and rosemary. In the vales of Umbria are broadleaf forests with beech, oak, maple, ash and some conifers for good measure.

For centuries farmers in Malta have cleared the forest to make room for crops, so the islands are now largely bare of trees. Yes the Maltese are keenly aware of the importance of trees to the environment for all living things, so the Tree For You (34U) campaign came into being to make Malta greener. The 34U Campaign enables you to commemorate your stay in Malta, or any important person or occasion in a way that generations to come will enjoy. To see some of Malta’s loveliest creatures, consider some underwater sightseeing in its crystal clear waters. 

Constructed on the southern side of the “Rock”, or Monaco, the impressive Zoological Gardens - home to many species of exotic birds and animals - were established in 1954 by Prince Rainier III. See some 250 animals with around 50 different species including exotic birds, a black panther, a white tiger, hippopotamus, reptiles, primates, lemurians and more.

Discover Spain’s unique and rich array of flora outdoors or at one the fantastic botanical gardens in the major cities. Plant life is Spain is as varied as its terrain and microclimates. The Vedado de Eguaras Nature Reserve is a geological depression where farmland is interspersed with pine woods, whose shade provides an excellent spot to eat and rest. This area is an ideal spot for viewing wildlife such as foxes, badgers, rabbits, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, eagle owls and occasionally great bustards. The Region of Castile-La Mancha is something like an avian Grand Central Station, thanks to its location on major migratory routes, so birdwatchers, this is your heaven.

Rhine Valley

The Rhine, one of Europe’s great rivers, brings to mind wine and beautiful landscapes.

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Who put the “Be” in Benelux? Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg!

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The Pyrenees Mountains straddle the border between Spain and France.

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