Flora and Fauna on the Adriatic Coast
Love that pearly Adriatic for all the plants and animals this gentle maritime climate supports. All around this narrow sea in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro are skies full of seabirds, waters full of sea life, and a wide range of plants with their preferences for sandy or rocky beaches, just like you.
Italy, rough and wild, yields natural beauty easily on a par with its cultural treasures. In the Alps expect chamois and goats, evergreens and tiny Alpine flowers; in the Apennines are specially adapted species or wolf and lynx, as well as bear and fox. Contrast that with the drier, Mediterranean climate in Sardinia and Sicily, where honeybees and olive trees flourish and the air is scented with pine and rosemary. In the vales of Umbria are broadleaf forests with beech, oak, maple, ash and some conifers for good measure. Don’t miss a gorgeous walk on the heights of San Marino, a short (crow’s) flight from the coast with Panavision views of the hills tumbling towards the sea.
Almost two thirds of Slovenia is forested, with virgin tracts remaining not far from Lubjlana. You’ll see evergreens and deciduous trees, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, and berries, according to the season. Flowers are rampant in Slovenia but leave them in the ground in the mountains, where the many rare species are protected. While you’re in the woods, keep an eye out for roe deer, squirrels and the occasional wolf, lynx, ibex, wildcat, capercaillie and pheasant if you’re really fortunate. There are bears in the woods but they’re the shy type.
Croatia is a land of varied habitats: sunny and warm on the coast, a bit more invigorating in the highlands, and wide open on the golden plains of Pannonia. Visit the t two arboretums, one in Trsteno, near Dubrovnik, the other in Opeka, near Vinica, to survey Croatian flora all in one place. Sail the azure blue waters of the Adriatic and discover the island that is one of the last habitats of the griffon vulture in Europe. You can put to sea with an adopted dolphin or, if you’re really lucky, encounter the mysterious and rare Mediterranean monk seal.
Slip further south along the coast to stunning Montenegro and the most celebrated fjord in verse, as well as high mountains such as Durmitor, Bjelasica, Komovi. These crags offer an unforgettable experience with their hidden lakes, numerous pastures, forests, pointed peaks, diverse flora and fauna, fast mountain rivers and imposing canyons.