As we are just entering 2021, I’ve put together this list of the most beautiful National Parks in Europe so that you can choose which one you would like to visit this year. If you enjoy hiking, trekking, natural photography, and adventure, then this post is for you.
When it comes to traveling, I’ve always chosen nature over crowded cities or beaches. Wondering in a National Park seems to be my favorite pass time for the weekend or holidays. And if I also can combine the hikes with some sports, that is even better.
1. Belluno Dolomites National Park– Italy
One of the most visited National Parks of Italy, Belluno Dolomites, is situated in the southern part of the eastern Alps. This National Park will charm you with its spectacular views and its colorful flowers during the summer. You will discover epic trails, lakes, waterfalls, and geological formations that prove ancient glaciers’ historical existence in the region. The accommodations are various and for all tastes: campings, refuges, B&B’s, hostels, or guesthouses; they all await you to come and visit one of the most beautiful mountains: The Dolomites.
2. Ordesa National Park– Spain
Situated on Spain and France’s border and including part of the Pyrenees mountains, Ordesa National Park is one of the world’s oldest National Parks. Here you will find the spectacular Monte Perdido (3355 m) and the Ordesa Valley, one of the most picturesque of the Park. This amazing park is both a Unesco World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve. Wondering on its trails, you will surely feel the calling of the wild. 🙂
3. Triglav National Park– Slovenia
This is the only National Park in Slovenia. Its name comes from the highest mountain you will find here, Triglav (2864 m). It is located in the south-eastern part of the Alps, at the border between Slovenia and Austria. Triglav has many beautiful hiking trails so that you can admire the landscape, waterfalls, gorges, and the rich flora and fauna. There are many guided tours available for tourists. If you are interested in sports, check out the little town Bovec, and you will find many offers to go rafting, zipline, canyoning, and several other adventures.
4. Hohen Tauern National Park – Austria
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the largest national park in Central Europe. It covers an area of over 1800 km2. This spectacular park is home to many plants and animals and offers its visitors over 226 summits of over 3000 m! It has over 4300 km of hiking trails that you will surely enjoy on your way to discover this amazing natural setup. On your way, you will encounter beautiful lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, gorges, and endless pine forests. You have a complete variety of tours and themed trails to choose from. Just check the website and make your choice.
5. Plitvice Lakes National Park– Croatia
The park’s main attraction point is its stunning lakes, as you may have guessed by its name. However, the lakes’ surface is less than 1% of the park’s total area (300 km2). The lakes have been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage list as international recognition of their immense value. The lake system is formed of multiple lakes, cascading one in the next, offering you a mesmerizing landscape. This National Park is worth visiting in every season of the year. Each one has its own colors, beautifully reflecting into the clear and blue water of the lakes. Swimming is prohibited, though, and beware of the crowds during the peak season in the summer.
6. Ecrins National Park – France
Surely this is one of the most splendid National Parks in France. It is situated between the Northern Alps and the Southers Alps, having over 150 summits over 3000 m and 5 Natura 2000 protected areas. It is said that the best way to discover the marvels of this park is by hiking; there are several huts and refugees along these trails. You can also practice lots of sports here, like canyoning, climbing or paragliding. It is a perfect environment for lots of butterflies, because of the multitude of flowers in the region, so prepare yourself for a colorful surprise. 🙂
7. Vatnajokull National Park – Iceland
Vatnajokull is the glacier covering 8% of Iceland’s surface (unfortunately, it is continuously shrinking as an effect of global warming). The National Park was established in 2008 around this amazing glacier. This park’s diversity is incredible: glaciers, volcanos, mountains, lagoons, and geothermal hot springs. Here you will love the multitude of hiking trails, the stunning waterfalls, and the original scenery as only in Iceland you will see: black rock mountains, the famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach, the black-sand beach, or the ice caves. This is a must-see, especially for photography lovers.
8. Jotunheimen National Park – Norway
The name of this National Park means “The Giants Home” in Norwegian. In fact, it is the home of over 250 mountains of almost 2000 m and the 2469 m Galdhøpiggen. Activities you can do here vary from hiking to Via Ferrata or climbing, cycling, river rafting, horse trekking, or even dog sledding or ski touring in the winter. Check out the famous hike over Besseggen Ridge, nominated in 2017 as one of the most thrilling in the world by National Geographic.
You will also find various accommodations facilities, from hotels to mountain lodges, farms, private cabins, or even camping spots for tents or caravans. This is a dream destination for hiking or photography lovers, so you must definitely consider it if you find yourself in those categories.
9. Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany
The National Park region lies in the south-eastern part of Germany, between Pirna and the Czech border, very close to Dresden and it is one of immense beauty. Its particular rock formation called Bastei makes this Park famous. Bastei and Bastei bridge is for sure the stars of this Park. Their extraordinary beauty and uniqueness will astonish you. The park is also famous among rock-climbers, it is thought that free climbing has first originated in this region. You can explore the park on foot or on a bike and also visit the castles and fortresses nearby.
10. Durmitor National Park – Montenegro
Website : http://www.durmitornp.com/
This extremely picturesque National Park is part of the Unesco World Heritage sites. Its beautiful imposing mountains, the azure watercolor of its glacial lakes, and its wide pine forests will surely inspire you once you visit it. This is the perfect place to go water rafting on the Tara river, to have fun on the high-speed zip lines, or just to enjoy one of the charming 25 hiking trails and the beautiful views they have to offer. You can also try canoeing, paragliding, cycling, or even swimming in the glacial lakes. The best time to visit Durmitor National Park is from May until October.
These are the 10 most beautiful National Parks in Europe. They have a lot to offer to adventure enthusiasts, sports and photography lovers, and adventure travel folks.
What other cool destinations would you add to this list? Let me know in a comment.