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Remote and cheap birding in europe (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I'll probably have 2-3 weeks this summer for my own, which I'd like to use for birding (however I'm not sure if everything will work out) and I was thinking of doing some birding on my own in a place, where
A) there's a lot to discover (e.g. new lifers, but maybe also interesting (new?) species for the WP or europe)
B) it's safe to travel on your own (so rather no Egypt)
C) it's cheap to travel (I'm still a student)
D) I can get around without a car and a guide (I should really make that drivers license)

I'm currently thinking about birding in the Ural region (Rubythroat FTW), because a friend of mine did that last year, but I'm not so sure how well I can get around there without a car.

So if you know any place that fulfills the above mentioned conditions or if you have any tips on traveling independently in a remote area (I'm thinking of camping) any comment would be greatly appreciated. This would be my first trip like this, so I'd rather not start with an all too difficult place.



Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Depending on when during the summer, any of the Baltic countries - especially if you are so late that the early fall migration becomes an option. I only know about the area from a friend of mine who has visited a couple of times, but it sounds like a wonderful area. Bus transportation should actually be possible without paying an arm and a leg.



Well-known member
Very inexpensiv place is Bulgaria.
Much more save and also not expensiv is Belarus.
I heard different time, the people should be very pleasent there.

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
Or even better, adding the remote and added species such as Azure Tit, try the neighbouring Belarus. Cheap, exciting, top WP birding.

Without a car Jos......ambitious!

We did it last year, no idea how we'd have done it without a car but even with a driver and a car it was only 100$ per day plus fuel. people are great too, very friendly and accomodation can be done cheaply.

Ditto Georgia and Armenia, would be very tricky and time consuming without a car?

As mentioned, Baltic states would be an option.

Israel, plenty of places can be done on PT in Israel without too much bother but don't go in high summer, VERY hot, too hot to bird by 0900hrs.

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Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Ditto Georgia and Armenia, would be very tricky and time consuming without a car?

Georgia is easy without a car ...especially the Kazbegi area, been twice, both times without a car. Also the coast area easy without a car. South-east Georgia really needs a car though.


Well-known member
'Remote' and 'easy without a car' is direct contradiction.

Maybe Azores (American vagrants?) or better Cape Verde? Or some migration hotspot (Georgia? Burgas?)

Turkey without a car is pain. Did it once, public transport is slow and only between major towns and villages and birds are kilometers away, usually requiring steep walk up in the blazing heat. Birds per buck are less than driving, and infinitely less pleasing. The same applies probably to any Middle Eastern or North African country.

My advice: make that driving licence, or team up with someone who either can drive or can hire a car and a driver and split costs.


Bah humbug
If you're prepared to hitchhike that will certainly open areas up to you - and many more undeveloped (ie on the fringes) areas are relatively safe and easy to hitch in.

Did Turkey,Georgia and Armenia (briefly) in May with c260 species, mostly by bus with some hitching a few years back.
Isreal 200+ two weeks hitching and bus but that was winter (should be trip reports of this and above on here somewhere)
Morocco in the summer - bus, train and hitching - targetted trip, mostly successful.

Getting down to south Morocco/Western Sahara by public transport/hitching should be do-able in the summer.

Canaries could be cheap - small enough to walk/try hitching and (slim) chance of early yanks in the late summer (you could hope) in the western isles.
Cape Verdes would be great - looked into it once and a relatively popular location for hiking holidays, so with some island hopping could be productive.
N Norway would be fun - and no more expensive than islands to get to if you do it right perhaps.
Armenia - but then why not Azerbaijan?

Got to be sensible about the heat/water and the isis/terrorist situation in certain areas though. Flights/living costs could easily get away from you in some places as well unless you were careful to budget well.

But think that some mountainous regions in summer could be good - Western Ukraine, Slovenia, those kind of places or the Urals as you say could be productive.
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Well-known member
If you are camping then some of the Scottish archipelagoes might be OK - Orkneys, Shetlands or Western Isles.
The Scots are not very good about picking up hitch-hikers but I suspect you could get around adequately.

You just need to be lucky with the weather.


Mad scientist
Another vote for the Caucasus region from me - get in touch with the guys at Batumi Raptor Count, I'm sure they can help you along.
If you're prepared to camp, hike a lot, brave some bad weather and catch the one-bus-per-day then Iceland can be done on the cheap - happy to assist with an itinerary and Edward (here on BF) is a goldmine of local intel.
Further afield...have you considered the USA (very cheap flights now with Norwegian, Wow and Westjet) or central Asia (a Kazakh colleague tells me it's a great place to visit).


Well-known member
Thank you guys for all the input so far, there are definitely some locations I hadn't even thought about, like Scotland, Island or Israel. I still haven't decided and probably won't do so for at least another month, when I finally know what university plans for me. In the end I might even get the chance to do such a tour or I might be able to get someone to join me.
Central Asia would also be really interesting and North America of course too, however I wonder if flights are really that cheap. Last year I did a trip to Peru that was way above my student budget, so this year I would really like to keep costs down. But if there are actually cheap flights to a place outside of europe I miht consider those aswell.

Keep it coming, it's really nice to get information about some places. Eventhough I might not go this year I might try it when I'm older and richer ;)


Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
'Remote' and 'easy without a car' is direct contradiction.
I wouldn't agree with that ...I've travelled to numerous remote areas without a car ...just a few, much of the Himalaya, throughout Sudan, highlands of Ethiopia, Alaska, Hertfordshire, etc. Well, maybe one of those doesn't belong there :)

Turkey without a car is pain. Did it once, public transport is slow and only between major towns and villages and birds are kilometers away, usually requiring steep walk up in the blazing heat. The same applies probably to any Middle Eastern or North African country.

I've travelled through much of Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa with and without cars ...can't say I found them difficult ether way. All sites in Jordan are easy by public transport for example, Egypt is probably easier without a car and my species tally in Morocco is basically identical for trips with/without a car. Did all Turkish sites without a car too, transport goes everywhere.


Unknown member
Guinea-Bissau: very easy without a car (used to be 20 years ago, should be the same now) and camping. It can be done on a very low budget. LOTS of new bird species for the country still to be discovered/added to the country list (especially in the east or southeast), with Chimpanzee, Forest Elephant, Hippos (even at sea), numerous other primates (including Galagos) and many other goodies. 300+ bird species possible in 4-5 weeks. But you'd probably need to know at least some basic Portuguese.
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