Northern European Animals

Unknown to many, Northern Europe offers an impressive collection of some of earth’s most magnificent creatures. The brown bear, Eurasian lynx, elk and herds of reindeer can be found along with different species of colourful birds such as puffins, cormorants, guillemots and the white-tailed eagle. Just off its shores, you will also find a diverse selection of marine wildlife including killer whales, seals and humpback whales. Look even further and you will also find elusive animals like the polar bear, the arctic fox and many species of owls. If you’ve not already booked your ticket to Europe, join us on a magical adventure and discover just a small slice of what Northern Europe has to offer.

The white-tailed eagle is one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of over 7ft. The largest population of this species is found in Norway, however, their breeding range stretches across Northern Europe, Russia and Northern Asia.

White tailed Eagle Norway
White-tailed Eagle Norway | Flickr: yathin

An awe-inspiring bird to watch, the white-tailed eagle feasts on various fish, small and large mammals and other birds. Also known as the sea eagle, this species is currently classified as “least concern” however were critically endangered for almost two centuries due to hunting and environmental pollution present in their prey.

Face of the White tailed Eagle Norway
Face of the White tailed Eagle in Norway | Flickr: rattenteufel

Norway has one of the largest colonies of puffins in the world with over 15,000 birds nesting in this region during the summer season. These birds are famous for their clown-like faces and they can easily be spotted on the Puffin cruises to Pyramiden.

Atlantic Puffin in Norway
Atlantic Puffin in Norway | Flickr: talaakso

The nutrient-rich bogs and the large number of insects in this area make it a paradise for these birds and if you’re lucky enough to wander the hilltops you may even see a few scurrying across the path to their burrows.

Atlantic Puffin post fishing, Norway
Atlantic Puffin post-fishing in Norway | Flickr: talaakso

Wildlife enthusiasts will immensely enjoy visiting the spectacular Vesteralen Islands, an archipelago just off the coast of Norway. There are a number of whale watching safaris between May to mid-September and though centuries of whale hunting has decreased the population of these magnificent creatures, the chance of spotting one is high.

An exhilarating experience, you’ll get a chance to view pods of killer whales as well as, sperm, pilot and humpback whales who share the waters with inquisitive seals.

Bearded Seal at Monaco Glacier, Svalbard
Bearded Seal | Flickr: kerrylondon

Another spectacular animal that can often be seen along this coast is the walrus. They can be observed by visitors in summer during their breeding season, along the shorelines of fjords and the islands of Karl Prins Forlandet and Moffen.

Walrus in Svalbard, some of the most impressive european animals
Walrus in Svalbard | Flickr: smudge9000

In addition to the wildlife, the Vesteralen Islands are a fantastic place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), a natural light show caused by an interaction between the upper atmosphere, cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma.

Abisko National Park Northern Lights
Northern Lights in Abisko National Park, Sweden

For the adventurous among us, guided wildlife safaris take visitors into the exotic world of the musk ox and the polar bear in Svalbard.

Male Polar Bear jumping in the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway
Male Polar Bear jumping in the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway | Flickr: bering_land_bridge

The thrill of admiring these giant beasts on a snowmobile is sure to be an exciting experience; the harsh elements easily make it the adventure of a lifetime, in a land where animals outnumber humans.

Polar bears not only survive but thrive in the harsh terrain of the remote Svalbard archipelago and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox.

The panoramic terrain in the north-east of Finland, filled with pristine rivers and dense forests is home to the majestic European brown bear. The brown bears are native to this region and are best admired on a tour to a bear-hide. 

Mother bear and 3 cubs - Incredible European Animals
Mother bear and 3 cubs | Flickr: vermazeren

Set in the dense pine forests of Finland, the bear hide is equipped with viewing chairs and a sleeping area with strategically positioned amplifiers in the forest announcing the movement of animals inside the hide.

Listen carefully, as the cries of the fierce wolverines are often heard in the forest. These notoriously tough carnivores scavenge food from other predators like wolves and bears.

Wolverine in Finland
Wolverine in Finland | Flickr: nh53

Sweden is home to an array of wildlife, including moose and elk which can also be seen on guided wildlife tours. Moose here can reach heights of over 2 meters and males can weigh-in over 800kgs; needless to say, if you want to see one of these immense creatures, be very careful and keep your distance, especially around breeding season.

Elk in Sweedn
Elk in Sweden | Flickr: paraflyer

Keep your eyes peeled, if you’re lucky you could see a Eurasian Lynx, this is one of the largest cat species in northern Europe and one of the rarest and hardest to see of all European animals, with an estimated population of around 1250.

Eurasian Lynx Portrait
The illusive Eurasian Lynx Flickr: tambako

It’s not just large imposing animals that you’ll find in Northern Europe, Scandinavia is also home to a fantastic array of owls, who feed on smaller rodents like mice and squirrels.

Red Squirrel in Denmark
Red Squirrel in Denmark | Flickr: justonemoreshot

There are over 519 species of birds alone in Sweden making this area popular with birdwatchers and ornithologists alike.

A drive along the scenic roads of Northern Europe is invigorating, but do watch out for the reindeer! These beautiful creatures are a common sight along the highways and are often a traffic hazard.

Svalbard Reindeer herd, some of the most beautiful European Animals
Svalbard Reindeer herd | Flickr: smudge9000

Reindeer have historically been found at lower latitudes, however, past the late 19th century they have only been found from the top of Northern Europe, through Russia and into Canada where they are typically referred to as caribou.

Reindeer close to the North Cape, Norway
Reindeer close to the North Cape, Norway | Flickr: soese