13 Most Beautiful National Parks in Europe

by Flora Backup
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Ready to dive into the magic of Europe’s best national parks? Trust me, they’re not your average walk in the park. From the glaciers of the Arctic to the wildflowers of the Mediterranean, each will have you reaching for your camera every two seconds.

Imagine wandering through forests so lush, you’d swear they’re straight out of a fairy tale. You might stumble upon a hidden waterfall, its sound a soothing backdrop to your hike. And those lakes? They’re so clear, you can see the pebbles at the bottom.

Gaze at snow-capped mountains in the Alps, and feel like you’re on top of the world. Or spot amazing wildlife in its natural habitat – maybe a deer peeking through the trees or an eagle soaring high above.

So, are you ready to experience the wonders of Europe’s national parks? Each one offers its own natural beauty, just waiting for you to explore. Let’s go on this journey together!

Here's all the most beautiful national parks in Europe that you should know about.

Most Beautiful National Parks in Europe

Are you ready to embark on a journey through some of Europe’s most breathtaking natural landscapes? From the serene beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park to the rugged wilderness of Saxon Switzerland, Europe’s national parks are a haven for nature lovers, waiting for you to explore and cherish. Let’s set off on this inspiring adventure through the most beautiful national parks Europe has to offer.

1. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Ready for a jaw-dropping nature experience that won’t empty your wallet? Let’s talk about Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a Croatian wonderland of cascading lakes and waterfalls, and it’s way more affordable than you might think.

Stroll along wooden walkways, surrounded by 16 terraced lakes that look like they’ve been painted by an artist. The waterfalls here are something else – they connect these lakes, creating a scene straight out of a fantasy movie.

Explore Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site, a wonderland of affordable cascading lakes and waterfalls.
Explore Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site, a wonderland of affordable cascading lakes and waterfalls.

If you’re coming from Zagreb, the capital, it’s about a 2-hour drive. It’s a straightforward trip, perfect for a scenic road adventure. From Split, another popular destination, you’re looking at around 2.5 to 3 hours by car. The journey takes you through some lovely landscapes, so the time flies by.

Make sure to hit the Upper Lakes for the most epic views. The hike up there is a bit of a workout, but trust me, the panoramic sights are totally worth it. Plus, it’s a great spot in Croatia for those Insta-worthy shots.

2. Oulanka National Park, Finland

Finland’s Oulanka National Park is a hidden gem known for its diverse landscapes, including rivers, waterfalls, and the famous “Bear’s Ring” hiking trail. If you’re looking for a European escape with incredible natural beauty, here’s your spot!

The “Bear’s Ring” trail is a must for adventure seekers, offering a chance to spot Finland’s wildlife, including brown bears. For outdoor enthusiasts, canoeing along the Oulankajoki River is an absolute must-do. Canoe rentals are readily available, making it easy for you to embark on this picturesque adventure in Finland.

Oulanka National Park in Finland is a hidden gem renowned for its diverse landscapes, offering a captivating natural beauty.
Oulanka National Park in Finland is a hidden gem renowned for its diverse landscapes, offering a captivating natural beauty.

After a day of exploring, you’ll find plenty of cozy accommodations in nearby Kuusamo. From charming hostels to welcoming guesthouses, there’s a perfect spot for every traveler to rest and recharge. Imagine winding down in a comfy room, reflecting on the day’s adventures, and gearing up for what’s next on your journey.

So, if you’re ready to immerse yourself in Finland’s breathtaking nature, explore diverse landscapes, and possibly spot some bears, Oulanka National Park is the perfect destination for an unforgettable adventure!

3. Belluno Dolomites National Park, Italy

Ready to be wowed by some of Italy’s most stunning alpine scenery? Let’s head over to Belluno Dolomites National Park. This park is a slice of heaven for nature enthusiasts and budget travelers alike.

Nestled in the heart of the Dolomites, this park offers jaw-dropping mountain landscapes, lush valleys, and crystal-clear lakes. It’s like stepping into a postcard. Make sure to visit the Mis Valley. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but the serene lake and surrounding mountains are totally worth the trip. Plus, it’s a great spot for a peaceful picnic away from the crowds.

Explore Belluno Dolomites for a range of activities, from hiking to mountain biking, catering to diverse interests with panoramic views.
Explore Belluno Dolomites for a range of activities, from hiking to mountain biking, catering to diverse interests with panoramic views.

The park is open all year, and there’s no entrance fee. Whether you’re into hiking, mountain biking, or just enjoying panoramic views, Belluno Dolomites has something for everyone.

So, are you up for exploring the breathtaking beauty of the Belluno Dolomites National Park? This Italian gem is ready to impress you with its alpine splendor.

4. Swiss National Park, Switzerland

Get ready for the ultimate alpine adventure at Swiss National Park in Switzerland! This place is like stepping into total wilderness, right in the heart of the Alps. And guess what? You can dive into this natural paradise in Switzerland with totally unrestricted access. It’s all about soaking in those epic mountain views and exploring to your heart’s content.

Picture yourself trekking through untouched landscapes, where wildflowers paint the meadows and mountain peaks touch the sky. The park’s got trails for all, whether you’re up for an easy stroll or a challenging hike. And guess what? You might just bump into some cool wildlife like ibex or marmots along the way.

Swiss National Park is a favorite among nature enthusiasts, offering an opportunity to get up close with the environment.
Swiss National Park is a favorite among nature enthusiasts, offering an opportunity to get up close with the environment.

Check out the Champlönch area. It’s a bit less traveled but oh-so-worth it for the peace and epic scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles soaring above – it’s a sight you won’t forget.

Swiss National Park is a hit with folks who love getting up close with nature. It’s perfect for a day of adventure or just chilling in some of the most beautiful surroundings you’ll find in Europe.

5. Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Alright, let’s switch gears and head over to Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Whether you’re a solo traveler, with friends, or on a family trip, there’s something in Triglav for everyone. It’s off the radar but offers some of Europe’s most stunning mountain scenery.

Triglav National Park is named after Slovenia’s highest peak, Triglav, and it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ve got crystal-clear lakes like Lake Bohinj, perfect for a refreshing swim or a kayak ride. And if you’re into hiking, the park’s got trails that’ll lead you through Slovenia’s breathtaking landscapes, from lush valleys to rugged peaks.

Triglav is a haven for those seeking a genuine connection with nature, providing a serene and immersive experience.
Triglav is a haven for those seeking a genuine connection with nature, providing a serene and immersive experience.

Here’s a cool idea: Take a hike to the Savica Waterfall. It’s a spectacular sight with water cascading down into a vibrant blue pool. The hike itself is pretty accessible, and the view is totally worth the effort.

Triglav National Park is a place where you can really connect with nature. Whether you’re chilling by the lakeside, exploring quaint mountain villages, or just enjoying the fresh alpine air, there’s a sense of tranquility here that’s hard to beat.

6. Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Next stop: Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland. This park is home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, and it’s packed with epic landscapes that look like they’re straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Think massive glaciers, active volcanoes, and dramatic ice caves. And the best part? You can explore much of this otherworldly beauty in Iceland without spending a fortune. There are plenty of hiking trails where you can witness the park’s stunning scenery up close, and many of them are free to access.

Vatnajökull National Park beckons adventurers and nature photographers with its mesmerizing landscapes, creating a dream destination for exploration.
Vatnajökull National Park beckons adventurers and nature photographers with its mesmerizing landscapes, creating a dream destination for exploration.

Here’s something you shouldn’t miss: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It’s a surreal spot where you can see icebergs floating in the lagoon and even spot some seals lounging around. The nearby Diamond Beach, with its sparkling ice chunks on black sand, is a sight to behold and totally Instagram-worthy.

Vatnajökull National Park is a dream for adventurers and nature photographers. Whether you’re hiking to a glacier, exploring an ice cave, or just soaking in the views, this park offers an unforgettable experience.

7. Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

Peneda-Gerês National Park is Portugal’s hidden treasure. It’s the country’s only national park, and it’s absolutely overflowing with rugged beauty and rich biodiversity. Imagine majestic mountains, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers – it’s all here.

For hikers, this park is a dream. Trails wind through some of the most stunning scenery you can imagine. And keep your eyes open for wildlife – there’s a chance to see deer, wild horses, and maybe even the elusive Iberian wolf.

Peneda-Gerês National Park in Portugal, a paradise ready to enchant you with breathtaking landscapes and fascinating wildlife awaits your exploration.
Peneda-Gerês National Park in Portugal, a paradise ready to enchant you with breathtaking landscapes and fascinating wildlife awaits your exploration.

Don’t miss the traditional stone villages dotted around the park. They’re like stepping back in time, offering a unique glimpse into local life. And the local food? It’s a must-try, bursting with flavors that’ll have you coming back for more.

So, are you ready to explore the natural wonders of Peneda-Gerês National Park? This Portuguese paradise is all set to enchant you with its breathtaking landscapes and fascinating wildlife. Let’s go on an adventure in this beautiful corner of Portugal!

8. Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a feast for the eyes and a haven for your wallet. Get ready for jaw-dropping glacial valleys, towering peaks, and some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe.

This park is all about dramatic scenery. You’ve got the Ordesa Valley with its cascading waterfalls and the awe-inspiring Monte Perdido, the third highest peak in the Pyrenees. Hiking here feels like you’re on an epic quest and the views are the ultimate reward.

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in Europe guarantees to amaze, inspire, and rejuvenate, making it a captivating destination.
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in Europe guarantees to amaze, inspire, and rejuvenate, making it a captivating destination.

For a unique experience in Spain, try the Faja de las Flores trail. It’s a bit challenging, but the panoramic views are out of this world. And if you’re into wildlife, keep an eye out for rare birds like the bearded vulture.

Whether you’re trekking through its valleys or simply enjoying a picnic with a view, this park offers a chance to connect with nature in a way that’s truly profound.

Ready to add a touch of Spanish wilderness to your travel list? Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is a destination that promises to amaze, inspire, and rejuvenate.

9. Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

Next up, let’s head to the stunning Switzerland National Park in Germany. This place is a masterpiece of nature in Germany, and it’s super accessible! It’s even nicknamed “Bohemian Switzerland” for its proximity to the Czech Republic and its breathtaking landscape.

Get ready to be amazed by the massive sandstone formations that seem to defy gravity. Rock climbers find their paradise here, and hikers are in for a treat. Plus, if you’re into photography, this park is a dream come true.

Switzerland National Park is one of the best national parks in Europe, offering stunning natural landscapes.
Switzerland National Park is one of the best national parks in Europe, offering stunning natural landscapes.

You’ve got to check out the Malerweg, or “Painter’s Way.” This hiking trail offers incredible views of the sandstone formations and the Elbe River. Imagine spending a day immersed in this natural beauty, just a short train ride from Dresden.

The park is a place where you can picnic, hike, or just soak in the surroundings to your heart’s content. Adventure seekers and nature lovers alike will find Saxon Switzerland National Park an unforgettable experience in Germany. Get ready to be wowed by its natural wonders!

10. Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

Get ready to fall in love with the vibrant beauty of Cinque Terre National Park in Italy. This stunning destination is a feast for the eyes, featuring five colorful fishing villages along the Ligurian coast.

Start your adventure by hiking the scenic trails that weave through the villages. The views of the Mediterranean Sea are absolutely breathtaking. Imagine enjoying a delicious Italian gelato by the seaside, soaking in the laid-back atmosphere of Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre encapsulates the essence of Italy's coastal beauty, providing an unforgettable experience along the mesmerizing shoreline.
Cinque Terre encapsulates the essence of Italy’s coastal beauty, providing an unforgettable experience along the mesmerizing shoreline.

The Cinque Terre Card offers access to the trails, local buses, and even Wi-Fi, enhancing your experience in this picturesque region. It’s a favorite among young travelers eager to immerse themselves in Italy’s stunning coastal beauty.

And there’s more! Staying in a local guesthouse or hostel lets you live the coastal Italian dream. Imagine waking up to the sound of the sea and exploring these charming villages at your own pace. Cinque Terre is all about experiencing the best of Italy’s coast in a truly unforgettable way. Get ready for an amazing adventure by the sea!

11. Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Montenegro’s Durmitor National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts seeking an adventure on a budget. With its soaring peaks, deep canyons, and the magnificent Tara River Canyon, Europe’s deepest gorge, this park offers a dramatic backdrop for exploration.

Durmitor National Park is super cheap! And this is compared to some of the other Parks on this list. Entry fees are typically around €6 per person, making it accessible to all travelers. Hiking is the main attraction here, with trails catering to both novice and experienced trekkers.

Durmitor National Park beckons adrenaline enthusiasts, offering a haven for heart-pounding adventures amidst its stunning landscapes.
Durmitor National Park beckons adrenaline enthusiasts, offering a haven for heart-pounding adventures amidst its stunning landscapes.

For adrenaline junkies, white-water rafting on the Tara River is an unmissable thrill. This adventure offers the chance to navigate exhilarating rapids in one of Europe’s most stunning settings.

Nearby Zabljak provides cozy accommodations, with guesthouses and hostels that promise a comfortable stay. It’s the perfect base for exploring the area’s breathtaking landscapes and dramatic peaks.

Durmitor National Park is a haven for those seeking heart-pounding adventures and awe-inspiring scenery in Montenegero. If you’re ready for an unforgettable journey filled with natural beauty and exciting activities, this park is calling your name!

12. Białowieża National Park, Poland/Belarus

Białowieża National Park, shared between Poland and Belarus, is a unique and ancient forest that preserves the last primeval forest of the European lowlands. It’s a sanctuary for European bison, which makes it an extraordinary destination for wildlife lovers on a budget.

Entry to the park is a gateway to its lush woodlands and meadows. Well-marked trails make it easy to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

Embark on a budget-friendly European adventure at Białowieża National Park, where ancient forests, wildlife encounters, and wilderness charm await exploration.
Embark on a budget-friendly European adventure at Białowieża National Park, where ancient forests, wildlife encounters, and wilderness charm await exploration.

To enhance your experience in this Belarus gem, consider joining a guided tour. These tours offer a chance to encounter the magnificent European bison and gain insights into the park’s history and biodiversity.

Accommodation options in the nearby village of Białowieża cater to a range of preferences. From cozy guesthouses to hotels, you’ll find the perfect place to stay and enjoy the local charm.

For a budget-friendly European adventure that combines ancient forests, wildlife encounters, and a touch of wilderness, Białowieża National Park is a must-visit destination.

13. Lake District National Park, United Kingdom

The Lake District National Park in the United Kingdom offers a picturesque escape for nature enthusiasts and families alike. Nestled in the northwest of England, this park boasts stunning lakes, rolling hills, and charming villages.

Entry to the Lake District National Park is free, inviting you to explore its captivating landscapes at your leisure. Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer a more relaxed stroll, the Lake District has trails for everyone.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Lake District National Park in Europe, where lakes, mountains create unforgettable landscapes.
Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Lake District National Park in Europe, where lakes, mountains create unforgettable landscapes.

A must-do experience in the park is cruising on Lake Windermere or Ullswater, it’s undeniably one of the prettiest places in the Lake District. These boat trips let you soak in the tranquil beauty of the lakes and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Accommodations in the Lake District cater to a variety of tastes. From cozy hostels and campgrounds to charming guesthouses and cottages, you’ll find the perfect place to stay.

Be sure to explore quaint towns like Ambleside, Keswick, and Bowness-on-Windermere. Here, you can savor delicious pub meals and soak in the local atmosphere.

The Lake District National Park invites you to experience the serene beauty of its lakes, mountains, and forests in a truly memorable way.

The most beautiful national parks in Europe for all types of travelers
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