Zoos are unlikely to be at the top of a holiday to-do list, unless perhaps you’re in San Diego. But the best zoos in Europe are some of the biggest, oldest and most popular in the world.
Wherever you head on a European driving holiday, there is sure to be a zoo worth visiting – these are just a few fail-safe favourites. So pack up your luggage, loved ones and European Breakdown Cover and get going.
Prague Zoo, Czech Republic
Inexpensive, vast and varied, Prague Zoo attracts around 1.3 million visitors a year. Its animals, including big cats, camels and Komodo dragons, live in specially designed themed habitats – Elephant Valley, Hippo House and Indonesian Jungle! There is also a petting zoo and playground which, alongside frequent animal demonstrations, make this an ideal excursion to enjoy with children.
Find directions with RAC Route Planner – journey time 10hrs 2mins*
La Palmyre Zoo, France
This waterfront zoo opened its doors in 1966 with just 80 animals to see – today, it houses more than 1,600 animals. Its seaside setting is the perfect location for the zoo’s number of marine mammals, which includes sea lions, otters and the majestic polar bear. There are plenty of other land animals to meet, such as majestic tigers, mighty rhinos and colourful tropical birds.
Find directions with RAC Route Planner – journey time 7hrs 15mins*
Berlin Zoological Gardens, Germany
Germany’s oldest zoo is home to a mighty 16,000 animals from 1,500 species. The impressive and important collection includes hippos, sharks and pandas. Visitors will also be able to marvel at unique architectural features, specifically the Victorian Elephant Gate entrance with its sandstone sculptures and East Asian decoration.
Find directions with RAC Route Planner – journey time 8hrs 15mins*
Barcelona Zoo, Spain
Barcelona Zoo rose to fame for caring for the world's only albino gorilla, Snowflake – the cover star of Basement Jaxx album, Rooty. Today it houses more than 2,000 animals in thoughtfully designed enclosures that replicate their natural habitats. Family activities, workshops and educational programmes give visitors a real insight into the world of endangered species and their conservation. To mark this 120th anniversary, Barcelona Zoo is planning a full and varied programme of events to celebrate its long history – all the more reason to head to the Med this spring.
Find directions with RAC Route Planner – journey time 11hrs 43mins*
Jardin d’Acclimatation, France
This idyllic zoo with its enchanting boat rides, railway, puppet theatre, miniature golf course, adventure forest play area and menagerie of rabbits, goats, pigs and llamas make it perfect for smaller children. There are also a number of workshops for adults, which now includes the art of desserts – well, when in France!
Find directions with RAC Route Planner – journey time 2hrs 42mins*
*From Calais, France.