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10 Fantastic European National Parks that Deserve Your Attention

National parks
 National parks

National parks are not meant just for botanists and lovers of nature – they can also pleasantly surprise even the pickiest of tourists. Here we offer you 10 European national parks, where you’ll find some truly surreal sights, heavenly gardens and a wide variety of birds and other animals. How many of these have you been to?

1. Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

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Video by Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso.  Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

This national park is located in Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, near the Swiss border. It’s the country’s oldest and best-known national park. Gran Paradiso, situated in the Italian North, by the Aosta Valley, was named in honour of the mountain of the same name. The park was conceived in order to protect the Alpine goat population, but is now home to many other animal and plant species as well.

2. Triglav National Park, Slovenia

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Video by Sander van Schie - De Verfilmer.  testas

The Triglav National Park is the only national park in the whole country. It was founded in 1981, in the southeastern part of the Alps. The Triglav Mountain (2864 m – the highest peak of the Julian Alps) is located at the very centre of the park. Climbing this mountain takes around 6 hours. The valleys stretching from the mountain in all directions supply the two rivers that flow out of the Julian Alps – the Socha, which flows into the Adriatic Sea, and Danube’s tributary Sava. This place ought to be seen by everyone who likes hiking, mountains or just nature in general. Here you’ll see many waterfalls, mountains, pretty lakes and much more.

3.Oulanka National Park, Finland

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Video by JoulupukkiTV.  Oulanka National Park, FInland

This 270-square-kilometre national park, located in the Lapland Region, is beautiful in both summer and winter. It’s a remote place not far from the Arctic Circle, where forest-surrounded torrential rivers draw sports enthusiasts. In winter, this wonderland attracts lovers of pure white snow and those who want to see the northern lights. During summer, the park is visited by lovers of nature and those enthusiastic about rare plant species.

4. Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

This wild park is located in Northern Portugal, not far from the Spanish border. Even though this country is known for its marvellous nature, the Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only such park in Portugal. Its territory is filled with hiking paths. The park is also home to several cultural objects and 11-12th-century castles, such as the Castro Laboreiro and Castelo de Lindoso. Probably the most famous inhabitants of this national park are the wild Garrano ponies.

5. Saxon Switzerland, Germany

Reddish spider - Saxon Switzerland, Germany
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Reddish spider - Saxon Switzerland, Germany

High-rising cliffs, carved by deep canyons, endless plains and spectacular reliefs (towers, needles, arches and bridges) are all characteristic of Saxon Switzerland. The route stretches along the Elbe River, the shores of which are home to several majestic castles. This national park, situated near Dresden, greets one with some truly unique views – oddly shaped cliffs covered in coniferous trees, ferns and dense forests. For many years, the park was isolated in a remote corner of Eastern Germany, but is now visited by a high number of tourists.

6. Sarek National Park, Sweden

Sarek National Park, Sweden
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Sarek National Park, Sweden

The Sarek National Park was founded in 1909 and is one of the largest parks in Europe (more than 500,000 hectares). Its territory spans mountains and glaciers, the tundra and swamps, lakes and torrential rivers with waterfalls. The shape of the park resembles a wheel that’s around 50 km in diameter. Sarek has only two bridges and no paved paths. The park is protected by UNESCO.

7. Kalkalpen National Park, Austria

Kalkalpen National Park, Austria
Photo taken by wikimedia.org.  Kalkalpen National Park, Austria

The Calcareous Alps National Park – one of Austria’s 6 parks – was founded in 1997, in the mountains of Northern Alps. Around four-fifths of the park consist of a forest that’s home to various rare species of plants and animals: around 50 species of mammals, 80 species of birds, as many as 1,600 species of butterflies, and more. Tourism and winter sports here are permitted, although restricted. The River Enns flows near the park. The park’s highest peak – Hohe Nock – is 1963 m high.

8. Rago Park, Norway

Rago Park, Norway
Photo taken by Leif.  Rago Park, Norway

Rago Park, founded in 1971, is located in the Nordland Region in Norway. Its area is 167 sq. km. Even though it’s not officially a national park, this natural wonder is certainly deserving of attention from those who love Nordic nature. A craggy landscape, charming rocks and water, and the lack of people make this park a truly magical place. Located between lakes and cliffs, here you’ll also find some hiking paths and tourist huts, where you can spend the night.

9. Port-Cros National Park, France

Port-Cros National Park, France
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Port-Cros National Park, France

The island of Porquerolles is one of the three golden French Riviera islands. It’s a true paradise and home to only around 200 people. Porquerolles is the largest and westernmost of the three islands. Most of its territory is now a national park, called Port-Cros – one of the country’s most popular and most beautiful national parks.

10. Ordesa National Park, Spain

Ordesa National Park, Spain
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Ordesa National Park, Spain

This national park, founded in 1918, is located in the in northeast of Spain in the Pyrenees, Region of Aragon, Huesca Province. It’s the country’s oldest (and also one of Europe’s oldest) protected natural parks. This uniquely beautiful place has an area of 156 sq. km. and borders France. Here you’ll find many meandering rivers, steep slopes and waterfalls, cliffs and dense forests. It’s a truly excellent place for enthusiasts of wild nature. The forests here are full of marmots, boars, eagles, vultures, hawks and many other bird species.

Comments (1)

Hogward   2 years ago  Edited
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