The old continent is home to many national parks. Each of the European countries is proud owner of at least few of these parks and the truth is that when it’s nature we’re talking about, it’s hard to say which is the most beautiful – all of them are truly breathtaking!
Below you will find a list of ten national parks that we liked the most, and believe that you will agree with us, at least for few of these. Next time when you’ll feel a need to connect with nature, just check out your bucket list and make sure to cross one of these national parks.
When going to Croatia, make sure to visit Plitvice National Park, because you won’t find anything similar like this – no wonder why some compare it to Eden. This national park has 16 lakes that are connected to each other by walkways thanks to which the visitors of the park can explore the area. There are also breathtaking waterfalls, of which the tallest one is 75 meters high, known as ‘Veliki slap’. Because of the delicate ecosystem, the tourists aren’t allowed to swim into the lakes or the waterfalls.
2. Dartmoor National Park
Located in Devon, England, the Dartmoor National Park is named after the river Dart and is known for containing the biggest granite areas in Britain. There are granite hilltops that are called ‘tors’, with High Willhays being the tallest with 2,037 feet above the sea level. In this national park you will find interesting landmarks, such as England’s second tallest waterfall and coaching inn from the 1700s, to name few.
3. Jostedalsbreen National Park
Of course, it is impossible to talk about national parks and not mention some of the Norwegian beauties. The Jostedalsbreen National Park is relatively new – it is founded in 1991 and it represents the biggest glacier in mainland Europe, that also separates the two longest fjords in the world. The glaciers and their movement is changing the landscape constantly, so it will always amazing you with the beauty of the nature.
4. Triglav National Park
Triglav is the only national park in Slovenia and covers 4% of the country’s territory. It is one of the oldest national parks in Europe as well and is known for being very picturesque – the photo says all, right? The park is named after the tallest Slovenian mountain and this is a place where you will enjoy the beauty of numerous meadows, hills, small and large rivers and some of the most famous Slovenian lakes, such as Lake Bohinj and Triglav Lakes.
5. Oulanka National Park
Here we have the second Scandinavian beauty on the list – we’re talking about the Oulanka National Park, located in the Finnish region of Lapland. What will amaze you the most here is the vast variety of all kinds of trees – Scotch pines, spruces, and silver birches, to name few. Just imagine the scenery in Autumn! Thanks to the glacier era, the park contains waterways – such as the Oulankajoki River – that carved canyons and crevices, additionally contributing to the beauty of the park!
6. Peneda-Gerês National Park
The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in Portugal, near the border with Spain and was established in 1971. The national park is home to green valleys, granite heights and oak forest, but what will also fascinate you besides the breathtaking landscape is the big number of granite villages that haven’t changed their look ever since the establishment of Portugal as country in 12th century! So, be prepared to enjoy medieval villages among one of the most wonderful European parks.
7. Monti Sibillini National Park
Located among the Italian mountains of Sibillini, the national park got its name from a prophetess named Sibyl, that during the medieval ages was visited by important figures who were hoping she would give them a pearl of wisdom. The mountain slopes can get high and you will notice that they are cut by valleys and rivers, tucked inbetween. In this area, there are 18 towns that are charming thanks to their medieval look and history.
8. Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is established in 1918 and since 1997 it represents a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a truly wonderful place that shows the beauty of the Pyrenees – the whole place is fascinating thanks to its dramatic landscape, containing raised mountain plateaus and deep carved canyons, green valleys with rivers flowing through, forests and waterfalls. This national park offers great time for hikers especially!
9. Bavarian Forest National Park
The Bavarian Forest National Park is in fact the first German national park. The philosophy behind the management of the park is ‘Let nature be nature’, allowing the forest within the park to thrive as much as possible. The park contains the Lake Rachel that offers a breathtaking view! There is also a natural garden, known as Hans-Eisenmann-Haus Visitor Center, that offers more than 700 different plant species. Some consider summer as the best time to visit the park, although if you’re a lover of winter activities, then you should visit the park then as well.
10. Trakai Historical National Park
Trakai is one of the five national parks in Lithuania and it is also the smallest of them all. The national park contains 32 lakes and other formations that were created during nature’s activities in the Ice Age. However, Trakai is divided in two parts – one being all natural and the other is artificial, made due to the activities of the people. The national park is located very close to the capital of the country, so make sure to visit these two on your trip!