What are the Best Zoos To Visit In Europe?
I think this is a good post to write as I have been to a good number of Zoos on my travels. In England (I’ll be honest) I don’t go to Zoos really at all but whilst I’m on the continent this is kind of my thing.
The one near me in Shepreth Hertfordshire is about it for England. I haven’t been to London Zoo, Colchester Zoo or Bristol Zoo but every capital city I go to on the continent, if I am there long enough, I will try to get to the zoo.
Berlin and Paris Zoo are two I’d like to get to at some point and on my next tour across Eastern Europe through countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland I want to go to the zoos there but as for the one’s I have been to…
The 8 Best Zoos To Visit In Europe: Based On My Own Experience (As of January 2024)
Malta was the first country I went to and visited a Zoo overseas. OK so It wasn’t a zoo really, it’s a marine park with the main attraction being the bottlenose dolphins but still I would like this to be on this list. I have been here twice now. There was no Sea Lions the first time I visited but STILL my first visit here was pretty special.
It might sound crazy but one of the Dolphins they trained to talk. Not like conversational but just a couple words. I mean you really got to see this to believe it, I kind of find it hard to believe myself but seriously they are so clever. They love their trainers too and what a show it was.
Although, the thing I found most interesting was that apparently these dolphins at the marine park are trained to go out to sea and pick up plastics out of water that could be dangerous to the wild population.
It is not really what you expect to hear. Many say keeping creatures like Dolphins and Orcas in captivity is cruel but when they are actually leaving the place and coming back I think this absolutely changes everything.
Now, so this place Malta Marine Park is well worth a visit, and not just to prove I’m not nuts saying about the talking dolphins lol. (Visit the Website HERE)
I highly recommend but moving on…
Visit Edinburgh Zoo Scotland
Twice now I have been to Edinburgh Zoo. The first time I went prior to this I was obsessed with the idea of seeing a Panda bear. I think I even thought about going to Berlin Zoo before this just to get this opportunity but in 2021 finally I made this happen.
It was raining at the time I finally got to see the Pandas, I laugh now, there was a long queue of people all desperate to see them and they were all getting absolutely soaked. No one wanted to miss this opportunity though so people just got on with it.
It was kind of disappointing really as both Pandas were sleeping. All I see was there fur in a ball lol Although, I did get to see a Koala Bear at Edinburgh zoo.
Apparently, Koalas are even harder to see than the Pandas. It is said that Koalas sleep for around 20 hours a day. Mostly because there diet is solely Eucalyptus leaves which they get very little nutrition from and which makes them severely lethargic.
I didn’t know this till the 2nd time in the Koala enclosure. This time I didn’t see them and the zoo keeper explained this was why and that I was very lucky to see them before.
Besides this it’s quite a big zoo. Lot’s here and its a great day out. If you are in UK like me it’s £11.95 to get to Edinburgh overnight from London.
Highly recommend and whilst your here if you get the chance…
Also Check Out The Highlands Zoo In Kingussie
Me and my bears lol I think what sold me on coming here was the Polar Bears. I’ve seen a few since at Budapest, Prague and Vienna.
This is not really an easy place to get to. What I did was get the coach from Edinburgh to Inverness and I think I had to get a bus or another coach to Aviemore and a train to Kingussie.
When you get here don’t even think about not waiting for the bus. I’ve never seen so many Sheep OMG it’s a long way but when you get there its a good experience. I would definitely love to come back. There isn’t a load of animals here but it is a nice place to go.
It’s a good excuse to go see Nessie on the way. I never see her but YES if you get as far as Inverness have a look at getting yourself to the Highland Wildlife Park. I shall leave the rest up to you but moving on…
One of My Favourite Places – Budapest Zoo
The first time I visited Budapest really should have put me off ever coming back. I was lucky I didn’t get seriously hurt but actually coming back here and being able to find my way around made a huge difference.
The highlight of my trip back I think 100% must have been visiting Budapest Zoo. It is actually a botanical garden as well and the most incredible thing for me is the lake here. Shame I didn’t get a photo to share here. Damn Facebook as I did upload an album of photos (that have just disappeared). But the photo above is right by there.
It is such a beautiful place with lot’s of birds such as Herons, Storks and Pelicans. I would love to come back here and I would love people I know to see this.
It also has Polar Bears and this was a surprise for me. To be honest, it is hard to remember what animals I see where because I visited 3 zoos in the space of about a week. It would have been 4 if Bratislava Zoo was not closed. Now…
Vienna Zoo – Like Nothing You Will Ever See
I came here 4 days after my stay in Budapest. This was by far the most Incredible. Before you even get to Vienna Zoo it is unreal you walk through these amazing gardens with statues of Mer Horses and Gold plated gates.
I actually think if you wanted to impress someone on a date or take your children somewhere nice they will never forget this experience.
And as for the actual Zoo, this is apparently one of the oldest zoos in Europe. Inside they have a domed restaurant with the ceilings covered in grand paintings. You really have got to see this. It’s a bit pricey in here but if Art and Architecture Interest you WOW>
The Polar Bear enclosure was another highlight for me (or was this the one in Budapest lol). They have a huge enclosure with tubes so you can see them swimming as well as above ground. I didn’t think they looked very happy at Prague Zoo but here I thought they did. What they done is pretty cool it’s a very good Zoo.
Plus, talking of Bears (not that there really bears) Vienna also has Pandas!
I would say come to Vienna after Budapest and on the way to Prague. Bratislava you can go to as well but for me I didn’t really like it here. Maybe I need to visit again it is pretty cheap here – especially for the beer.
Prague Zoo – Another Good One To Visit
I never knew this prior to visiting but back in 2002 Prague Zoo was devastated by a catastrophic flood that caused lot’s of problems. Sadly lot’s of animals perished and then again in 2013 another flood hit the Zoo – although the majority of the animals survived this.
Now, after 10 years from the flood (when I visited) things seem to be back on track. On my last visit I see they were fundraising for (I think) a new enclosure for the Gorillas on higher ground. The Zoo is kind of on a mountain if this makes sense some parts are more protected from floods.
There last fundraiser was I believe for the Polar Bears. When I was here they were building a new enclosure. I’m not sure if this is ready yet but it’s somewhere I would actually love to come back and see. The Polar Bears did not look happy in their enclosure. I thought it was a bit small but I’m sure this was just temporary will change with there new place.
And I forgot about this – I remembered thinking WOW in six months I’ve seen Polar Bears at 4 different zoos. No Brown Bears lol they were there but nowhere to be seen. I thought I had more chance of seeing a wild one.
However, what really excited me at Prague Zoo were the Tasmanian Devils. I actually had to go in twice because I never see them the first time and then I did.
Which is quite interesting as were on the topic. Apparently in Tasmania the Devils are being wiped out by a disease and Prague Zoo is helping keep them alive with their conservation project making sure to jeep a breeding population of non infected Devils..
*Note: I was really hoping to see the Baby Pangolin when I visited but I never found them. This is another good reason to visit alongside the Tasmanian Devils.
My Visit To Zagreb Zoo
I visited Zagreb Zoo back in 2022. It was a nice place. I can’t remember a whole lot about it but what I do was that it was pouring down with rain. There were these absolutely savage sparrows and I was right opposite the Chimpanzees with the Sea Lions to the left.
There are more animals here. It gets confusing when you visit as many places as I do but its cool. If you have children not much else to do for them in Zagreb apparently and it’s also pretty easy to get to. One thing I liked most about Zagreb was this it is so easy to get around.
I think the Bosnian Pyramid I would definitely love to go back to and if I did I would be coming via Zagreb I think so maybe I will be back, and I think probably same with this next one…
The Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo
Shamefully I will admit that I didn’t see enough of Amsterdam Zoo whilst I was here. It is quite an odd place. Lot’s of twists and turns but maybe this was just me tired from my travels prior to getting here. Although Amsterdam in general I thought was a bit eccentric if that’s the word.
I would advise not to drink any alcohol before visiting – there are not many toilets here which made this for me very difficult. It is either wee yourself or go in the Lions enclosure lol I did not do this but was a funny thought I had in my head.
Although, despite this I found Amsterdam Zoo to be quite unique and unlike other places. I unfortunately did not get many photos. These were lost with my phone on my last trip to Lanzarote but the Elephants are pretty impressive from what I remember.
I also spotted this Black Panther here too. Something I haven’t see before.
I guess I definitely have to come back here. It was so bad I missed so much here. No Giraffes or Zebras. Amsterdam was quite an expensive place I thought but I would go back.
Honourable Mention: Gibraltar Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park
I have been to Gibraltar twice now. Every time I’ve been Spain since I have looked at my options for coming for a stop over. It is somewhere with a very special place in my heart.
The wildlife park here I will visit most days. It is only small but it’s just 5 euros to visit and you can see a variety of animals and birds such as Ring Tailed Lemurs, Tamarins, Marmosets, Macaques, Parrots and Bats.
I haven’t come here when its been that busy before. More than once I’ve had to find a member of staff to pay them my 5 euros. They are usually pretty busy here so they don’t tend to be in the ticket office too much.
Other Places I’d Like To Visit…
I mentioned Paris Zoo, I’ve been to Paris but not to the Zoo and there are actually two of them. Berlin Zoo is another very famous one with Giant Pandas so that is on the list and a couple of others are Dublin Zoo and Madrid Zoo. I especially want to go to Madrid just for this.
I’ve literally just been looking at flights to Madrid, visiting the zoo and getting the coach from Madrid to La Linea Concepcion. Going back to Gibraltar.
I don’t know if/when I will do this. I travelled a lot last year but maybe I should stick to my original plan of flying to Finland and back from Poland via Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Each capital has a Zoo – Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, and Minsk.
I mean it’s strange I haven’t been to London Zoo but all in good time.
So I shall try and make a follow up post if I do visit these places. I will finish up here but if you are reading this try and visit some of these places and others for yourself. A lot of the money being made from these Zoos is helping the animals. Lot’s of these places have conservation projects.
For this reason, I really hate when people bad mouth zoos. I got this quite a bit for sharing pictures on Facebook whilst away. In some cases neglect does happen but a lot of people don’t realise that places like Zoos and Wildlife parks do a lot of good.
In fact, the survival of some species depend on places like Zoos and there are plenty of cases where Zoos have been successful in saving certain species. This article has 10 good examples of this. I will conclude here but hop you have enjoyed reading.
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