In little time, the whole of Europe will feel the warm embrace of spring. With the new season come some of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences for a naturally curious traveler. In other words, you could be one of those peaceful kayakers atop a Polish lake. Keep reading to get a sense of what you could discover if you venture into the outdoor splendors of this continent!
Slide your kayak into a Polish lake
Every year, when the birds begin to sing and the buds on trees begin to unfold, people slide their kayaks into the clear waters of Poland’s Masurian Lake District. As they paddle out, their boats softly cutting through the still water that glimmers in the sun, they find themselves among the tranquility of the European outdoors. All around them stand groves of pine and spruce, birch and aspen, fragrant and reborn in the spring warmth. Perhaps the most exciting part of the marvelous day is this poignant realization: the lake they’ve just embarked upon is one of over 2000 in the area, many of which are connected to one another through rivers and canals. In other words, with a little help from a map, they can spend the day exploring a seemingly endless array of lakes and waterways, no wonder this is a place that was a finalist for the New 7 Wonders of Nature!
Before leaving Poland, there are a few more experiences to consider. After a morning of fluvial exploration atop your kayak or canoe, what does one want more than a picnic, seated on the soft grasses that grow on the banks of many Masurian lakes? Time to land your craft at any bank that sparks your fancy, tie it up, and spread your picnic blanket for a riparian feast. Poland is home to many scrumptious delicacies that are especially gratifying after a long morning of kayaking. Consider packing some fresh spelt bread, cold butter, ham, and sausage. Another treat: local strawberries, which begin to appear in the last weeks of spring. At the end of your day on the water, consider staying in any one of the dozens of eco-lodges near the main lakes, which are often made from sustainable, regional materials and serve local specialties like stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, or vegetable salad.
Witness the legendary region of Transylvania on horseback
What’s another perfect way to enjoy the transition of winter to spring in the European outdoors? On horseback. Europe is home to countless destinations where equestrian enthusiasts can experience the expansive, lush countryside from upon their perch on a strong steed. Consider planning a horseback adventure in the Romanian region of Transylvania, where you can shoot back in time and experience the mysteries of this historic region, dotted with castles, wooden cottages, and majestic mountains whose summits will likely still bear some snow as you set out on a spring morning. Transylvania is in fact one of the continent’s best-kept secrets. Ride your horse through the green pine forests, across streams, or through farming villages where horses like the one you’re sitting on outnumber motor vehicles. In other words, this is nature, pure and simple with nothing to sully it. A few horse trails to consider are the Transylvania Ride, which cuts through forested hills, the Carpathian Mountains Ride, which passes through gorgeous mountains, or the History and Nature Ride, which will introduce you to some of the most pristine, untouched land in the entire region. As for lodging, there are numerous options—cabins along the way which you can rent, local inns and eco-lodges, and quaint traditional hotels.
Plunge into the waters of the Adriatic Sea
In addition to the opening flowers, the new leaves on trees, and the longer days of sunshine, spring in Europe is also a time when the water of our seas starts to warm up, making it possible to plunge beneath the surface in your diving gear. Consider heading to Montenegro for a springtime diving getaway. This Balkan country with a rich past is home to some remarkable coastline that begins to open up as the weather warms. Budva, a 2500 year old town on the Adriatic Sea, is an excellent destination to slide into a wetsuit, strap on an oxygen tank, and dive under water to see the aqua life that flourishes there. Swim down in this stunning sea, feel the stillness of life underwater, watch the bubbles of oxygen float up around you. If you’re lucky, a school of fish just might dart above you, their colorful scales glinting in the sunlight shining down through the water.
Now, you’re equipped with several ideas about outdoor experiences to consider in Europe this spring. But don’t stop there, there’s so much to discover! Check out our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages for hundreds of ideas for things to explore in European nature. Of course, traveling may still be difficult, yet the great thing about springtime adventures is that they are equally possible in the summer. The best thing to do right now is search for inspiration by using the hashtag, #NaturallyCurious. You can also join the Visit Europe Facebook group for nature lovers by clicking here!