15 Most Beautiful National Parks in Europe

Most beautiful national parks in Europe offer a glimpse into the continent’s diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and geological wonders. The amazing cities in Europe are frequently the highlights of travel. You will, however, be missing out on the breathtaking landscape that can be found all around the continent if you limit yourself to just urban regions.

The best way to discover and appreciate the distinctive landscapes found throughout Europe is through national parks, like the Lake District in England or the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps. From cascading waterfalls to rugged mountain peaks, here are the 15 most beautiful national parks in Europe that every nature enthusiast should explore:

Read Also: The Top 10 Best States to Visit in the US in 2024

Criteria for Selecting the Most Beautiful National Parks in Europe

These criteria collectively contribute to the beauty and attractiveness of national parks, making them desirable destinations for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and travelers seeking unforgettable experiences amidst stunning natural landscapes.

  1. Scenic Beauty: Scenic beauty encompasses breathtaking landscapes, stunning vistas, and unique geological features that captivate visitors and inspire awe. Parks with dramatic mountain ranges, pristine lakes, lush forests, and picturesque valleys are often considered exceptionally beautiful.
  2. Biodiversity: Biodiversity refers to the variety of plant and animal species within a park’s ecosystem. Parks with rich biodiversity offer a diverse array of flora and fauna, indicating their ecological significance and contribution to conservation efforts. The presence of rare or endemic species adds to the park’s allure and beauty.
  3. Recreational Activities: The availability of recreational activities enhances visitors’ experiences and allows them to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty. Parks offering a range of activities such as hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, boating, and photography provide opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and exploration, making them more appealing to visitors.

Read Also: The Top 17 Best Waterfalls in the World

1. National Park of Plitvice Lakes

Explore the stunning Plitvice Lakes | A&K Villas

Plitvice Lakes is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe located in Croatia,  known for its beautiful waterfalls, clear lakes, and green forests. This UNESCO World Heritage Site spans over 296 square kilometers and has 16 lakes connected by waterfalls. The park’s unique landscape, with limestone formations and travertine barriers, creates stunning blue pools and green forests. It’s a favorite spot for people who love nature and photography.

Explore a system of well-kept hiking trails and wooden boardwalks that wind through the park’s various habitats when visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park. Picnic spaces and restaurants give chances for rest and refreshment amidst the natural splendor, while boat rides and guided tours offer educational experiences conducted by knowledgeable park staff.

2. Hohe Tauern National Park

The Hohe Tauern National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, encircles the same-named mountain range in the Austrian Central Eastern Alps. The largest environmental reserve in the Alps, the Hohe Tauern National Park is home to forests, glaciers, waterfalls, and tundras.

Going hiking in parks or to the top of large peaks like Großglockner and Großvenediger is common. Still, there’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely drive around the park and following the breathtaking Grossglockner High Alpine Road or amazing tunnels that cut across the mountains.

Read Also: 18 Fun and Interesting Facts About Egypt

3. The National Park of Triglav

Triglav National Park, located in Slovenia, is often hailed as one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe. Known for its stunning mountains, lakes, and valleys, it spans 800 square kilometers, encompassing a diverse range of landscapes. Named after Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia, the park holds the prestigious designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a myriad of hiking trails, mountain biking routes, and opportunities for rock climbing and paragliding. The park’s network of well-maintained trails caters to all skill levels, from strolls through alpine meadows to challenging ascents of mountain peaks.

In addition to outdoor recreation, the park offers opportunities for cultural immersion and relaxation, with charming mountain villages, cozy guesthouses, and traditional Alpine cuisine awaiting visitors after a day of exploration.

4. National Park Vatnajokull

Vatnajökull National Park, located in Iceland, is renowned as one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe for its stunning natural beauty and unique features. Named after the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap, this national park encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including glaciers, volcanoes, geothermal areas, rivers, and waterfalls.

The Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, filled with icebergs, and the Svartifoss and Dettifosis waterfalls are among the park’s highlights. Hiking is the most common way to see the Vatnajökull National Area, and those who wish to spend the night in the area have access to numerous campgrounds.

Vatnajökull National Park is safeguarded due to its exceptional natural value and significance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To ensure that future generations may continue to appreciate the park’s magnificence, conservation activities are concentrated on protecting the park’s fragile ecosystems, controlling the impact of visitors, and encouraging sustainable tourism practices.

5. National Park of Ordesa

Walking in the Ordesa National Park | Pyrenees

The National Park of Ordesa, nestled in the Spanish Pyrenees, is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and verdant forests. Established in 1918, it stands as one of Spain’s earliest national parks and has attained UNESCO World Heritage status. Encompassing over 15,000 hectares, it boasts deep valleys, towering cliffs, and pristine rivers.

Nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike flock to this park, drawn by its allure as one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe. At the National Park of Ordesa, visitors can enjoy walking on clearly marked trails that go through the valley. These paths offer great views of the mountains nearby and chances to see animals.

Some popular trails are the Faja de Pelay, a narrow path along the cliffs, and the GR11 trail, which goes all the way through the Pyrenees mountains. The park has centers where visitors can learn about its plants, animals, and history, and park rangers can lead educational programs.

Read Also: The Best Place to Stay in Barcelona in 2024|Best Neighbourhoods

6. Trossachs and Loch Lomond

The Trossachs National Park and Loch Lomond are among the most beautiful national parks in Europe, located in the center of Scotland. Several magnificent mountains, including Ben More, Be Lomond, and Stob Binnein, can be found in this national park.

Trekking across Loch Lomond, the West Highland Way offers hikers the opportunity to experience solitude amidst verdant surroundings and numerous breathtaking viewpoints. It’s huge, covering more than 720 square miles. You can do lots of fun things there, like hiking, biking, swimming, and looking for animals. There are quaint villages, warm pubs, and authentic Scottish food just waiting to be explored.

Numerous outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, cycling, sailing, and wildlife observation, are available to visitors to the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Parks. From easy strolls along lochside walks to strenuous hikes up mountain peaks, the park’s vast network of routes accommodates hikers of all ability levels.

7. National Park of Durmitor

Žabljak is home to one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. Surrounded by river valleys, enormous peaks rise at strange angles on Durmitor, creating a setting of remarkable contrasts. Durmitor National Park is a well-liked location for people who want to go skiing or even snowboarding, see the glacial lakes, or summit mountains.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area of over 390 square kilometers and is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Balkans. The park’s diverse ecosystems support a variety of flora and fauna, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Visitors to Durmitor National Park can enjoy hiking, biking, rafting, and wildlife viewing. The park offers trails for all skill levels, from easy walks to challenging mountain climbs. Cultural attractions like medieval villages and monasteries add to the experience. Guided tours and interpretive centers help visitors learn about the park’s natural and cultural heritage.

8. The National Park of Gran Paradiso

The Gran Paradiso National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, is located in the heart of the Graian Alps in Northern Italy. Since the area was once thought to be a king’s private hunting zone, the park was initially established in 1922, it was the first national park in Italy and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Encompassing an area of over 700 square kilometers, the park is dominated by the towering peaks of the Gran Paradiso mountain range, which soar to heights of over 4,000 meters. There are several glaciers inside the park’s bounds, along with a portion of forest.

Visitors to the National Park of Gran Paradiso can immerse themselves in the beauty of the Alps, experiencing firsthand the tranquility and splendor of this pristine wilderness. Whether hiking through mountain valleys, spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, or exploring ancient villages, visitors are sure to be captivated by the park’s timeless charm and natural wonders.

Read Also: 19 Outstanding Things to Do in Malaga, Spain in 2024

9. National Park of Saxon Switzerland

Germany’s National Park of Saxon Switzerland is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, a breathtaking natural area renowned for its impressive sandstone cliffs, rich woods, and deep valleys. It was founded in 1990 and is named for the stunning scenery that is descriptive of Switzerland. It has a total area of more than 93 square kilometers.

Towering rock formations, meandering rivers, and picturesque vistas define this distinctive environment, which attracts both nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. You will be able to see famous sites like the magnificent Bastei Bridge and the towering Königstein Fortress, which is perched 245 meters (800 feet) above the Elbe River, even if you’ve never gone climbing before.

Discover the breathtaking rock formations and serene natural surroundings for yourself. Exploring the secret caverns and grottoes, hiking to expansive views, or taking a riverboat ride will all leave visitors spellbound by the park’s ageless charm and breathtaking natural features.

10. National Park of Oulanka

Oulanka National Park

The vast verdant expanses and breathtaking scenery of Oulanka National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, are located in Northern Finland. Established in 1956, this stunning natural reserve is known for its pristine wilderness, meandering rivers, and dense forests. It covers an area of over 270 square kilometers and is renowned for its rugged landscapes.

Visitors can fully appreciate the splendor and peace of Finland’s natural environment by immersing themselves in its beauty. Visitors will be enthralled by the park’s ageless beauty and natural wonders whether they want to paddle alongside glistening rivers, hike through ancient woods, or simply stand back and watch tumbling waterfalls.

The most well-liked hiking route in all of Finland is now the Karhunkierros, which may be hiked during a visit to Oulanka National Park. Other activities in the park include paddling on the many rivers, collecting berries, mountain biking, and spending the night in the wooden huts that are scattered around the area.

11. National Park Bialowieza

Bialowieza National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, is a sizable park that is also home to the last surviving temperate primaeval forest in Europe. Situated on the border between Poland and Belarus, it was established in 1932, covers an area of over 100 square kilometers, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is the best place in the world to see European Bison in their native habitat if that’s what you’ve always wanted to do. With its covered paths and trails, Bialowieza National Park is an excellent place for trekking and bicycling as well.

This unique wilderness is home to one of Europe’s last remaining primeval forests, which dates back thousands of years and harbors a wealth of rare and endangered species. While you’re there, make sure to visit the Museum of Nature and Forest of the Białowieża National Park to gain more knowledge on the park’s development and animals.

12. Caldera de Taburiente National Park

The Caldera de Taburiente National Park, located on the island of La Palma in Spain, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, renowned for its volcanic crater and rugged landscapes. Established in 1954, it covers an area of over 46 square kilometers and is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

This unique wilderness is characterized by its deep volcanic crater, cliffs, and lush forests, making it a popular destination for hikers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers. Resorts and beaches are frequently the first things that spring to mind when people think of the Canary Islands and the island of La Palma in particular.

On the other hand, the breathtaking Caldera de Taburiente National Park is located on the Spanish island. Hiking along the mountain’s edge in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park allows you to take in breath-taking vistas of verdant valleys and, in the distance, the blue seas of the ocean.

Read Also: The 24 Top Travel Apps in 2024 |That You Must Know

13. Lake District National Park

Northwest England’s Lake District National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, a gorgeous natural reserve known for its magnificent lakes, attractive valleys, and towering mountains. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans more than 2,362 square kilometers and was founded in 1951.

This distinctive scenery is well-liked by outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and artists alike because of its glistening lakes, rolling hills, and craggy falls. Take in the peace and beauty of this classic countryside with your own eyes. Discovering quaint towns and historical buildings, trekking to expansive vistas, or taking a lake cruise will all enthrall visitors to this park’s natural beauty and rich cultural legacy.

14. The National Park of Jotunheim

The National Park of Jotunheim, located in Norway, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, known for its towering mountains, pristine glaciers, and rugged wilderness. Established in 1980, it covers an area of over 1,151 square kilometers and is named after the Jotnar, or giants, of Norse mythology.

More than 250 mountain summits, some of the tallest in all of Europe, may be found within the park. The glistening blue, melted-snow lakes that sit amid the many snow-capped hills provide picture-perfect splendor. Animals like elk, lynx, and reindeer abound in Jotunheimen National Park.

There are trout supplied in the lakes, which provide great fishing. This unique landscape is characterized by its dramatic peaks, deep valleys, and expansive plateaus, making it a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

15. Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

Cinque Terre National Park - Wikipedia

The Cinque Terre National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, is known for its colorful villages, terraced vineyards, and beautiful hiking routes. This breathtaking nature reserve resides on the wild coastline of Liguria, Italy. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans more than 4,300 hectares and was established in 1999.

Immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Italy’s Ligurian coastline in the Cinque Terre National Park, where you can witness firsthand the enduring appeal of its vibrant communities and stunning scenery. Visitors will be enthralled by the park’s distinctive fusion of natural beauty and cultural legacy whether they hike along attractive paths, bathe in quiet coves, or dine at charming trattorias.

This unique landscape is characterized by its cliffs, hidden coves, and picturesque harbors, making it a popular destination for hikers, beachgoers, and lovers of Italian culture.

Read Also: Where to Stay in Chicago (2024) | 6 Best place For Every Budget

European national parks represent the continent’s natural treasures, offering unparalleled beauty, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. By preserving these protected areas, we ensure a sustainable future for our planet and enrich the lives of generations to come.

Leave a comment