Europe is known for its stunning architecture, glorious history, romantic getaways and delicious food. It is also a region that is full of natural marvels and beauty. More than 400 wide, stretched and stunning national parks are situated throughout Europe. The parks provide you with the opportunity to learn about nature and wildlife in a fantastic way. You can enjoy numerous activities in the parks and explore some spectacular historical and cultural attractions.
Most of the parks have a minimal entrance fee and do not require any special permits. However, before visiting, it is advised to contact the local authorities and consider the weather conditions. So, get ready with your hiking gear, map and shoes, and explore nature. We have researched and picked out the five best national parks in Europe.
1. Plitvice Lake National Park, Croatia
This is one of the best national parks not only in Europe but also around the world. The park was the first to be introduced in Croatia in 1949. The park is surrounded by breathtaking lakes, stunning waterfalls, lush green forests and fantastic hiking trails.
The Plitvice Lakes have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The park has more than 16 lakes and numerous walking trails intertwined with each other. The hiking trails provide you with a spectacular view of the park. Many routes pass through the lakes, and it is undoubtedly a paradise for every hiker and adventure seeker.
You can enjoy a flavoursome meal at Licka Kuca, where you can enjoy lamb, trout and a breathtaking view after a long, eventful day.
2. Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany
This national park is one of the best hiking destinations in Europe. The park brings you closer to nature, where you can marvel at the natural wonders and witness the oldest bridge in Germany, Bastei Bridge.
The bridge provides you with a breathtaking view of the national park. The park is historically rich, and you can experience it by exploring the Konigstein Fortress. While strolling through the fortress, you can take a sneak peek into the history. The park has fantastic hiking trails offering you tranquillity and peace.
Painter’s Way is one of the most famous hiking routes in the park. Besides hiking, you can also enjoy swimming, cycling and soak up the steam in natural saunas. If you want to stay and enjoy the beauty of the park, there are many great options for accommodation, and you can enjoy local produce at the restaurants in and around the park.
Mikado Friends is a fantastic place to enjoy delicious sushi with a rustic ambience and exceptional hospitality and services. Another great place to eat and relax is Barthel’s, serving tempting and authentic German food.
3. Oulanka National Park, Finland
Oulanka National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Finland. It is a perfect spot for enjoying adventures in either the summer or winter. Bear’s Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in Finland and is also a paradise for hikers and climbers and an excellent place for interacting with exotic wildlife.
The Oulanka river is calm, pristine, and perfect for water activities like fishing and canoeing. There are many species of plants and flowers that surround the park. You can also enjoy native fruits like berries while strolling in the park.
One of the most spectacular features to witness in the park are the Northern Lights and the best time to visit is between March and April. Ravintola Talonpoyta is one of the most famous restaurants serving the most delicious food items.
4. Soomaa National Park, Estonia
Surrounded by wetlands, this national park is one of the iconic features in Estonia. The wetlands are perfect for experiencing canoeing, hiking along the trails and sightseeing. There are guided tours available in the park that can help you explore every nook and corner.
The park has a rich collection of wildlife; you can spot boars, wolves, bears and beavers. The history of the park traces back to the Stone Age. The park is a paradise for bird watchers, and you can find many vibrant species of birds soaring high in the sky.
5. Ordesa National Park, Spain
This is the most picturesque national park in Europe, located in the Pyrenees. The park has majestic mountains, and Mount Perdido is one of the most famous peaks in the park. The national park is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
The park is blessed with lush green forests, astounding species of wildlife and rugged rocks. There are fantastic hiking trails in the national park, surrounded by scenic lakes that are the perfect spot for a small picnic and unwinding after a strenuous hike.
The cliffs and rocks in the park are made up of calcium carbonate and limestone. One of the most spectacular places in the park is the Ordesa Valley, and it is a perfect spot to click some amazing pictures for an unforgettable memory.
Europe is known for cities like Rome, Italy and Vienna because of their unique history, tradition and culture. But the national parks and reserves in Europe are equally valuable and add more beauty to what are already superb destinations. Exploring a national park is way more than just admiring the scenic views. You learn to be closer to nature and be humbled and inspired by its abundant beauty.
The national parks play a significant role in protecting and preserving the wildlife, flora and fauna on Earth. We hope that these options mentioned above help you choose one of the five best national parks in Europe for your next visit and create some unforgettable memories and widen your horizon about nature and wildlife.