‘A water world teeming with wildlife’: readers’ favourite national parks in Europe

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From camping beside glacial lakes in Montenegro to birdwatching in Poland, the continent has no shortage of inspiring wilderness adventures

One of the most incredible bird scenes in Europe took place as I hiked through the Bielawa nature reserve in northern Poland, about 40 miles north of Gdansk. I had left the village of Sławoszyno via a dirt track and was heading towards Kłanino, the open countryside and fields disappearing from my sight as the hedgerows grew taller either side of me. As I stepped forward, a gap appeared in the hedge and in front of my eyes a flock of nearly 100 cranes, which had been silent, took off across the field, honking with their red-tinged heads and faces, and feathery wing feathers flapping. I could almost touch them. The 19,000-hectare (47,000-acre) park is a mix of forest, wetland and coast.

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