Found on every continent except Antarctica, bears have always held a mystical allure. Our bear-watching holidays take you closer to their natural habitats where you can see the immense grizzly bear fishing for salmon in North America, watch the European brown bear roaming the pine forests in the Finnish wilderness or go on a bear-watching expedition in the Rodopi Mountains.
The bear is one of the most incredible mammals on earth and our guided tours, accompanied by expert leaders, give you a fascinating insight into their secret behaviours. As well as hiking through diverse habitats, following tracks and looking for other evidence of bear activity, you’ll also spend time in purpose-built hides that are located close to where the bears are most often spotted. These once-in-a-lifetime experiences will give you a much greater understanding of the different species of bears and how they survive in the wild.
Not only will you discover diverse landscapes and observe the habits of these magnificent creatures on our bear-watching holidays, but you’ll also have the opportunity to look for other wildlife in the area, from dolphins and sea lions to various species of whales.
British Columbia in the western province of Canada is known for its wildly beautiful scenery and prolific wildlife, especially black bears and grizzly bears. The rugged mountains, Pacific Coast and dense forests are home to some of the most sensational animals in the world. Explore the Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Sound and Vancouver Island for an unforgettable wildlife adventure.
Bear Watching Adventure Holidays
8 DaysfromNZD 2,979
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Explore majestic mountains and villages looking for Brown bears
Carpathian Mountains, Romania: Looming over traditional Romanian villages, the Carpathian Mountains have long been home to wild brown bears. Nearly half of the population of European brown bears has been recorded in the area, making it one of the best places in the world to spot these majestic creatures. Explore virgin forests, deep canyons and mountain tracks as you go in search of bears in the Barza Valley. An evening excursion to a forest hide allows you to get closer to the animals and watch their behaviours in their natural environment.
Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia: Next to Tofino National Park in British Columbia, Clayoquot Sound comprises acres of temperate rainforest and fjord inlets. The area is home to the iconic black bear, and you can embark on a thrilling Zodiac expedition to see them in the wild. When the tide is low, the bears gather at the shoreline to look for shellfish and your expert guide will steer you along the bays, imparting their knowledge and sharing fascinating facts. There’s a good chance you may also spot other animals and local birdlife such as the bald eagle, porpoises and seals on your wildlife excursion.
Orford River, British Columbia: The Orford River is another prime location in British Columbia for bear watching, but here you’ll find the grizzly bear. It’s believed that a staggering 10,000 grizzly bears are living in British Columbia, making sightings here very likely. Because of the vast numbers of salmon spawning in the Orford River, the bears frequent the water between August and mid-September. Sail below dramatic mountain scenery framing the river and take a bus to the viewing platforms where you’ll get one of the best views of the grizzly feeding on the salmon. This is a captivating sight, especially when they’re accompanied by their cubs.
Rodopi Mountains, Bulgaria: Placing Bulgaria firmly on the map for bear-watching trips, the remote landscapes of the Rodopi Mountains are a popular stomping ground for brown bears. On our Realm of the Brown Bear guided tour, bear expert Julian Perry teaches you everything about their behaviour and habitat. As you hike through the mountains and forests, you’ll look for bear tracks and other signs of activity. An evening trip to a specially built hide lets you observe the brown bears in safety and comfort, and you’ll get a greater knowledge and understanding of their habits.
Oulanka National Park, Finland: Sprawling across parts of eastern Finland, Oulanka National Park is a fabulous location for brown bear-watching. Discover the vast wilderness made up of pine forests and rivers where wildlife is rife and head to a remote hide where you’ll spend the night. The large windows of the hide are designed to give you the best possible viewing experience so you can see the brown bears close up. July and August are particularly good months for bear watching in Finland as they are drawn to the area within the national park to search for carcases of carrion.
The trip content is very varied and if you love wildlife, wildflowers and fungi this is a great trip. Wild European Brown bear watching in the forest and the bear sanctuary was brilliant. Local hikes in the rugged countryside- Barza valley; Coja, Pestera and Postavarul nature reserve were wonderful. Brasov and Bran castle visits were informative and took you back to the past.
We enjoyed our week with Julian down in the Rodolpi Mountains, trekking the hills and meadows, on the lookout for the wildlife of the region. We loved it all. The landscape (sort of alpine-esque) is gentle in places and vigorous in others. Every day the walks took us to new areas and vistas. People have impressions of what Bulgaria is going to look and feel like and this week resets those expectations completely. We summoned up the energy to head to the hide a couple of times and loved it there – a real “in the moment” way to spend three hours. The hotel was welcoming and comfortable with ample delicious local specialties to fuel our efforts. Travelling in September we were surprised by how many flowers were still out, the butterflies and insects, the huge range of funghi, not to mention the very varied bird and mammal life of all sizes. There was the familiar, and the new, at every corner.