Kalkalpen, Austria

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Four-fifths of Kalkalpen national park is given over to forest, forming the largest forested region in central Europe. Cutting through the dense trees are rivers, canyons and gorges, popular with rock climbers, as well as cyclists, walkers and skiers. Despite its striking natural beauty – which you can absorb in all its panoramic glory from the 21-metre Wurbauerkogel viewing tower near the town of Windischgarsten – the park is relatively unknown. The park authority offers guided tours from rangers who can take you into the heart of the forest and help you spot some of its wildlife, ranging from pygmy owls to black grouse and their elaborate courtship ritual.

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