Top 20 European Parks in 2023 Offering Abundant Wildlife and Captivating Scenery

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visit Cinque Terre in Italy

Europe is a continent where you’ll find everything you desire. In another realm, Europe is an entire universe in itself, a place where individuals discover their paradise, regardless of their preferences. A place renowned as a fantasy destination for thrill-seekers, enthusiasts of romance, and all things related to fairy tales. You’ll discover a plethora of options there – every kind of creature, bird, and reptile, and even tranquility while exploring these breathtaking national parks in Europe listed below. There are numerous species that can only be found in Europe, nowhere else in the world.

If you’re fond of nature or have an affinity for animals and birds or simply enjoy engaging in adventurous activities, then here are some compilations of national parks in Europe where you can connect with nature and be mesmerized by the beauty it possesses.

Saxon Switzerland National Park (Germany)

1. Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)

Croatia has consistently astonished people with its picturesque scenery. When you find yourself in Croatia, you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park. This park was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, and it is situated between Zagreb (the capital city) and Zadar.

The park spans an area of almost 300 square km, and the lakes are interconnected at a distance of 8 km. Plitvice entices visitors with its array of lakes. You’ll have the chance to witness sixteen lakes interconnected by waterfalls.

Additionally, you’ll encounter various bears, deer, wolves, and rare birds, among other species, that inhabit this park. The park remains open daily throughout the year, although the operating hours may vary due to changing weather conditions. Ticket prices vary depending on the season.

Essential Reading: 11 Fascinating Activities To Experience In Slovenia During Your European Journey

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Belluno Dolomites National Park (Italy)

2. Saxon Switzerland National Park (Germany)

Do not be deceived by its name. This park is located in Germany and NOT in Switzerland. The Saxon Switzerland park shares its border with the Bohemian National Park in the Czech Republic. Make sure to allocate plenty of time when you visit this park because you will undoubtedly lose yourself amidst its natural splendor.

The park is famous for its Elbe sandstone formation. It was opened in the year 1990 and extends across a 93 square km area. Here you can engage in rock climbing free of charge (which is a must-do).

Ecrins National Park (France)

You can observe a vast scale of both plant and animal life, which is not visible in other regions of Germany. Remember to pay a visit to Konigstein Fortress, which was constructed around 1241.

3. Belluno Dolomites National Park (Italy)

Speaking of Italy, the place brings to mind the Roman culture and all the remains left behind. Belluno Dolomites National Park in Italy is always a marvelous idea to explore and appreciate a dreamy location.

Here you’ll find more than 1500 species of vegetation, which are uncommon and are paradise for botanists. Mountain of the sun is the most renowned attraction here, although the path there is somewhat challenging your destination is worth a visit.

View of Crno jezero from Mali Meded

4. Ecrins National Park (France)

France is always a top choice for travelers like you. So, if you’re in this country, be sure to visit Ecrins National Park, where the surrounding landscapes will leave you breathless. Around 850,000 individuals from around the world come here each year for hiking, climbing, and, of course, to admire the beauty of nature.

Goreme National Park (Turkey)

5. Durmitor National Park (Montenegro)

Durmitor National Park, recognized for its glaciers, underground streams, bodies of water, and various rivers. This national park features Bobotov Peak, which rises over 2,500 meters above sea level. Durmitor is ideal for thrilling activities that include hiking, mountaineering, climbing, and canoeing.

Oulanka National Park (Finland)

6. Goreme National Park (Turkey)

Goreme National Park is located in central Turkey and it is renowned for its “fairy chimneys”. This national park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1985.

The tale behind Goreme National Park is approximately 30 million years old when the volcano spread throughout the area, transforming it into rock. Over time, wind and water enhanced its beauty, and later on, people converted it into a more habitable place by constructing windows, doors, and stairs.

Sarek National Park (Sweden)

7. Oulanka National Park (Finland)

Oulanka National Park is celebrated for its series of cascades and suspension bridge that lead to various parts of the area. The park remains open throughout the year and is suitable for individuals of all ages. Moreover, there are numerous activities in which you can participate, such as hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, and many others.

Hohe Tauern National Park (Austria)

8. Sarek National Park (Sweden)

Sarek National Park was established at the start of the 20th century and it is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes and natural habitat within the park. You have the option to ski or hike in order to reach this destination. Regardless of the season you visit, each weather condition offers its own unique advantages and activities to engage in at Sarek National Park.

Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park (Romania)

9. Hohe Tauern National Park (Austria)

This national park in Austria is among the largest parks in Europe. Hohe Tauern National Park spans across three provinces of Austria – Carinthia, Tirol, and SalzburgerLand.

This park encompasses an area of 1,800 square km in the mountains and also surrounds Austria’s highest mountain. The scenery, consisting of all natural elements, is more than a delight for a traveler. When you visit this National Park in Europe, you will experience the enchantment of nature surrounding you and the beauty it possesses. You can engage in hiking, biking, or even swimming as well.

Peneda-Geres National Park (Portugal)

10. Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park (Romania)

Romania, where folklore speaks of vampires, houses this magnificent national park. This European national park leads you to the most serene place. Within the 36,758 hectares of this National Park, you will find some of nature’s awe-inspiring sights. Renowned for its turquoise lakes and untamed ravines, it showcases numerous waterfalls for a dreamlike spectacle.

Killarney National Park (Ireland)

11. Peneda-Geres National Park (Portugal)

Established in 1971 with the aim of protecting natural resources and promoting tourism and scientific endeavors, this park offers heartwarming scenic beauty. Additionally, you can indulge in hiking and birdwatching to witness the diverse and peculiar avifauna of Europe. Explore the park’s natural assets and architecture, alongside engaging in various cultural activities.

Black Forest National Park (Germany)

12. Killarney National Park (Ireland)

Established in 1932, Killarney National Park spans over 26,000 acres of landscape. This national park encompasses Ireland’s tallest mountain called Carrauntoohil, towering at a height of 1,000 meters.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Wales)

13. Black Forest National Park (Germany)

Well, we’re not referring to black forest cake in this case. We are talking about Black Forest National Park in Germany. Renowned for its deep lush forest, impressive mountain heights and peaks, this national park in Europe has unspoiled and unprocessed beauty to captivate individuals from all over the globe. This park covers an area of approximately 1,450 square miles and can keep you engrossed in a single stroll.

Curonian Spit National Park (Lithuania)

14. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Wales)

If you are planning to visit this national park with your family, it is the best choice. You can easily explore this beautiful area on foot, engage in water sports, or simply observe the captivating wildlife species that enhance the charm of this park.

This park offers many other attractions, such as an open-air museum that provides insights into the Iron-Age, as well as Neolithic Stone structures that will undoubtedly fascinate you.

visit Triglav National Park in Slovenia

15. Curonian Spit National Park (Lithuania)

It is believed that Curonian Spit National Park was formed approximately 5,000 years ago. With its exceptional beauty, this park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to archaeologists, this park originated at the end of the Neolithic Period. With its distinct landforms and even more extraordinary wilderness, it is undoubtedly one of the top attractions in Europe for those seeking adventure, unspoiled nature, and wildlife.

16. Triglav National Park (Slovenia)

visit Ordesa National Park in Spain

While Slovenia is highly renowned among nature enthusiasts and botany aficionados due to its vast assortment of natural resources like woodlands, lakes, rivers, and more, it happens to possess only a solitary National Park. However, despite the limited number, it compensates for that deficiency by offering exceptional quality in the form of Triglav National Park. Located at the heart of the park stands the towering Triglav mountain, with an astonishing altitude of 2,864 meters, making it one of the renowned national parks in Europe for adventure seekers and hikers alike. Nevertheless, this park is not only famous for trekking and hiking, but also for other exhilarating activities like kayaking and river rafting during the summer season.

17. Ordesa National Park (Spain)

The Ordesa National Park is so ancient that it may have originated immediately after the Big Bang! But on a more serious note, it was the initial national park to be established on the European national parks map. Despite being situated in Spain, it shares boundaries with France and is undoubtedly a sanctuary for a plethora of peculiar wildlife. Some of the commonly found animals and birds here include wild boars, golden eagles, vultures, and numerous others.

18. Vatnajökull National Park (Iceland)

This park is among the most exquisite national parks in Europe and is centered around a glacier that lends its name to the park. Vatnajökull National Park serves as a mesmerizing reason to visit Iceland (as if you even needed one!) And these are not just ordinary glaciers. They are actually a collection of snow-covered mountains, geothermal areas, and meandering rivers that collectively bring this place to life. Travelers often opt for trekking expeditions in the vicinity, and there are ample camping sites in the park where you can spend a night or two amidst the untamed wilderness.

19. Cinque Terre (Italy)

visit Mljet National Park in Croatia

Desire to move beyond nature? Head to the lengthy and vibrant coastline of Italy where you will come across Cinque Terre, which happens to be a collection of four stunning towns with a unique style. This town is essentially a string of centuries-old coastal villages laid out on the rugged Italian Riviera shoreline, and this distinctive factor makes it one of the premier national parks in Europe. In each of these 5 towns, you will discover vibrant homes and vineyards clinging to steep terraces and fences, harbors dotted with fishing boats and local Italian eateries (trattorias) preparing some delicious seafood specialties in the famous pesto sauce. Cars are unable to access this area. One can only reach this place via the Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail which connects all these villages and also offers sweeping views of the deep blue sea, making it even more thrilling for adventure enthusiasts to arrive here.

20. Mljet National Park (Croatia)

This is a rather secluded island in Croatia that doesn’t receive as much acclaim and attention of the world as it deserves owing to the fact that no one truly knows that it exists. On the positive side, maybe that is what makes this area one of the most exceptional additions to the catalogue of national parks in Europe. It is so rarely discussed and even less familiar that it will be just perfect for your offbeat trip! The park is surrounded by two saltwater lakes and simply extraordinary views that are sure to captivate you. And the fact that it is entirely pristine and will have no crowd, is nothing short of a bonus.

All these national parks in Europe are a comprehensive package of plants, animals, and nature’s tranquil beauty that will instantly leave you breathless. With so many marvelous creations to explore on your Europe vacation, it will eventually alleviate all your uncertainties in your life. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and visit at least one of these national parks in Europe!


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