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Europe’s PAN Parks

Green peaks in the Central-Balkan National Park.

Photo: Petar Paunchev

The Old World is exploring new frontiers as Europe’s PAN Parks, a highly regarded certification organization supported by the World Wildlife Fund, expands its reach. The latest addition is Estonia’s Soomaa National Park, where travelers can walk through fields of blue irises or visit a Finnish smoke sauna that floats on the Raudna River. Other finds: Russia’s Paanajärvi National Park, perfect for a hike through unscathed boreal forests past lady’s-slipper orchids and wild reindeer; and Bulgaria’s Central-Balkan National Park, made up of almost 175,000 acres preserved to protect brown bears, wolves, and rare golden eagles. panparks.org.

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