Sweden // Around Gothenburg //

Nordens Ark

From Lysekil, head back along Route 162 and turn left (west) for Nordens Ark, a wildlife sanctuary on the Åby fjord. It’s a twenty-minute drive north from Lysekil, and on the way you’ll pass a couple of notable churches, in particular the one at Brastad, an 1870s Gothic building with an oddly haphazard appearance: every farm in the neighbourhood donated a lump of its own granite towards the construction, but none of the bits matched.

Don’t be put off by the yeti-sized puffin plonked at the entrance to the sanctuary. This non-profit-making place is a wildlife sanctuary for endangered animals, where animal welfare takes priority over human voyeurism. Red pandas, lynxes, snow leopards and arctic foxes are among the rare creatures being bred and reared in a mountainous landscape of dense forest and grassy clearings that’s kept as close as possible to the animals’ natural habitat. The enclosures are so large, and the paths and bridges across the site so discreet, that it’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars with you.

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