When visiting beautiful places in Europe For us Dutch, the cities are often the highlight. When we think of national parks, we tend to think of the gigantic National Parks in America of New Zealand† Somehow we are less eager to discover national parks on our own continent. Shame! Because that's how you miss the great mountain peaks and landscapes that can be found all over the continent. From the English Lake District to the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps, National Parks are the perfect way to experience and appreciate the unique landscapes and wildlife across Europe. When planning your next European roadtrip make a stopover at one or more of the most beautiful national parks in Europe!
Tip: Crazy about national parks? read here all our blogs with the most beautiful national parks in the world.
Table of contents
15. Saxon Switzerland National Park
Despite the somewhat misleading name, it is Saxon National Park Switzerland actually completely in Germany near the city of Dresden. Bizarre rock formations and spectacular views are just some of the beautiful features of this national park in Europe that is ideal for climbing and hiking. Even without climbing experience you can visit many of the sights. The spectacular Bastei Bridge and the lofty Königstein Fortress that rises 245 meters above the River Elbe, just to name two.
14. Caldera de Taburiente National Park
When people think of the Canary Island, and the island of La Palma in particular, it is the beaches and resorts that often come to mind. It Spanish island might be it most beautiful island in Europe partly because of the amazing Caldera de Taburiente National Park† The heart of the park is what looks like a giant crater, but what is now known as a mountainous arc. While in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, you can hike along the edge of the mountain and enjoy breathtaking views of green valleys and even the blue waters of the ocean in the distance. Caldera de Taburiente National Park is not only one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, it is also home to some of Europe's most powerful space telescopes.
13. Bialowieza National Park
On the border between Poland and Belarus it is Bialowieza National Park, a large park that is also the last remaining temperate primeval forest in Europe. If you've always wanted to see European bison in their natural habitat, this is the best place in the world to do it. Bialowieza National Park is also a great destination for hiking and biking through wooded trails. During your visit, make sure to stop by the Museum of Nature and Forest of the Białowieża National Park to learn a bit more about the wildlife and the development of the park.
12. Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen National Park in Norway is also known as the Land of the Giants, which refers to the park's many mountains. The park is home to more than 250 mountain peaks, some of which are among the highest in all of Europe. Among the many snow-capped peaks are clear blue lakes filled with melted snow, creating a picture-perfect landscape. Jotunheimen National Park is also teeming with wildlife such as reindeer, elk and lynx, and the trout-filled lakes are ideal for fishing.
11. Lake District National Park
One of the most beautiful national parks in Europe and also the most peaceful destinations in Engeland is the Lake District National Park† As the name suggests, the park is home to numerous lakes. Equally attractive are the many mountains, called fells, that dot the landscape. Visitors come to enjoy long walks among the hills and take in the views, and there is no shortage of accommodation in the park itself.
10. Oulanka National Park
In Northern Finland you find the vast greenery and the beauty of it Oulanka National Park† The park protects the land of the Sami people, who lived, hunted and fished in the area until the 17th century. Today, a visit to Oulanka National Park means the chance to hike along the Karhunkierros, the most popular trekking route in all of Finland. Other activities in the park include picking berries, mountain biking, canoeing on the many rivers and staying overnight in the wooden huts in the park.
9. Gran Paradiso National Park
In the middle of the Graian Alps of North-Italy is it Gran Paradise National Park† Originally, the park was created to protect the ibex from poachers, as the area was supposed to be a king's private hunting ground. Part of the park is forested and there are also multiple glaciers within its boundaries. Hiking is popular throughout the park, particularly at the top of Gran Paradiso mountain, and there are also beautiful views of nearby Alpine peaks such as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn.
8. Durmitor National Park
In Zabljak, Montenegro, is it Durmitor National Park† Surrounded by river gorges, Durmitor is home to massive peaks that rise at sharp angles, creating a surreal landscape of contrasts. A visit to Durmitor National Park is popular among those who want to climb the mountains, admire the glacial lakes, ski or even snowboard. It is one of the lesser known national parks in Europe but, despite its relative obscurity, it is definitely worth a visit.
7. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
In the heart of Scotland is it Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park† This national park is home to some beautiful mountains such as Ben More, Be Lomond and Stob Binnein. The West Highland Way is a walking path through Lock Lomond that takes walkers to several spectacular vantage points and offers the chance to be in seclusion amid beautiful green countryside. There are a handful of small villages in the park where you can stop for a pint of beer or a pub lunch before heading to the next stop on the trails.
6. Triglav National Park
The lonely national park of Slovenia is Triglav National Park, and it surrounds Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in the country. Triglav National Park is located in the Julian Alps, meaning it has both towering mountains and lush valleys. The park is rightfully in the top of national parks in Europe. Water plays a defining role in the park, both for geographical and tourist reasons. The rivers Soča and Sava flow from the park to the Adriatic and Black Seas, and the lakes in the park are a major attraction for Slovenian residents as well as visitors from all over the world.
5. Hohe Tauern National Park
The Hohe Tauern National Park surrounds a mountain range of the same name in the Central Eastern Alps in Austria. The Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest nature reserve in the Alps and is home to tundras, forests, glaciers and waterfalls. Hiking through the park, or hiking to the tops of major peaks such as Großglockner and Großvenediger, is certainly popular. Equally attractive, however, is simply driving through the park and cutting through the mountains through extraordinary tunnels or along the scenic Großglockner High Alpine Road.
4. Ordesa National Park
The Pyrenees Mountains stretch across the border between France en Spain, and that's exactly where you get it Ordesa National Park finds. The park has a beautiful green valley in the heart of mountain peaks, making for truly unforgettable views and great hiking trails in the shadow of the towering Pyrenees. Just some of the animals seen in Ordesa National Park include hawks, owls, mountain goats, and marmots.
3. Vatnajokull National Park
The beautiful Vatnajokull National Park can be found in Iceland, and in the middle is the Vatnajökull Glacier. The entire park is bursting with contrasts, including snowcapped peaks, deep blue rivers, and even some currently active geothermal areas. Highlights of the park include the glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón and the waterfalls called Svartifoss and Dettifosis. The most popular way to explore Vatnajökull National Park is by hiking. There are numerous campgrounds for those who want to stay overnight in the park. The park is completely different from the average national park in Europe, but that's why it's extra fun to visit.
2. Picos de Europa National Park
The Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe) is home to one of the world's most picture-perfect landscapes. In the north of Spain the park is named after the three different mountain ranges: the central, western and eastern mountain ranges. These are all intersected by river-filled gorges. In seafaring, their size was the first indication of land for men at sea. The park is home to easy-to-navigate and well-marked trails, which have proven to be the best way to enjoy the natural beauty of this area.
Many viewpoints of the sea can be seen from the park, as the sea is only 20 kilometers away. Otherwise, grasslands, leafy forests of beech and oak trees, jagged rocks, waterways, high peaks and deep canyons characterize the park. Nothing is off limits at the Summit of Europe. It is truly extraordinary.
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park
In the midst Croatia is it beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park† The park is a forest reserve best known for its series of 16 remarkable terraced lakes. Each of the lakes is connected by beautiful waterfalls. The falls extend all the way to an equally stunning limestone canyon. Paved hiking trails and more challenging trails wind around these lakes and sometimes across them, creating spectacular views. It is also possible to enter some of the caves. This way you can see the lakes from a unique perspective. Plitvice Lakes National Park is rightfully one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe and definitely one that belongs on your bucket list.