Best national parks in Europe

50 Best National Parks in Europe

National parks are natural areas protected by the state in order to preserve wildlife and natural environment. There are over 500 national parks in Europe offering public recreation and enjoyment, as well as the escape from the everyday city hustle. 

Every national park provides the visitors with numerous activities and attractions, but how to decide which national park is worth visiting the most? Find out in our list of best national parks in Europe!

How did we do it?

Among different approaches of making a list of the best national parks in Europe, we decided to collect Google reviews and ratings of actual visitors as the main source of data to rank the national parks. Our goal was to rank the national parks according to the rating they had at the moment.

We collected all the data within two days, and it included every national park in Europe. After we got the results, we decided to continue with the ones which had above 5000 reviews in total.

In case more national parks have the same rating, we considered the number of reviews. Therefore, a national park with more reviews is ranked higher. 

In the end, while searching for the best national park in Europe, we concluded that there are no poorly rated national parks which indicates that visiting a national park guarantees a healthy outdoor vacation and a variety of benefits and new experiences for all travelers.

Top 50 National Parks in Europe

For each qualified national park on the list, we’ve included an example of a review which describes it best. As a result of our data analysis, here is a list of top 50 best national parks in Europe for 2020.

50. Pyrénées National Park, France

On the border of France and Spain lies a national park with peaks over 3000 meters high, lakes, waterfalls and lush forest. National Park Pyrénées is home to authentic natural features found only on the Pyrénées. It is one of the oldest national parks in France with more than 70 different animal and plant species. 

Visitors enjoy hiking through the diverse landscape and many recommend the refreshing mountains for the summer heats. 

“Amazing! We went to Saint Lary and through to Lac de Payolle. The views are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Lovely walks and if you like mountain biking there are loads of great routes.”

49. Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain

The Sierra Nevada is the biggest of all national parks in Spain, known for one of the highest Spanish peaks, Mount Mulhacen, reaching over 3000 meters in height. This Andalusian mountain range offers plenty of activities such as paragliding and bird watching. Also, Sierra Nevada is the southernmost ski resort in Europe with a season lasting from November till May.

Visitors recommend hiking, cycling and even motorcycling through the mountain range. Many point out the perfect skiing conditions and slopes. 

“Beautiful national park. Wild, rugged and definitely worth hiking in. Not so many places to fill water though, so make sure you bring enough.”

National parks in Europe, NP Sierra Nevada

NP Sierra Nevada

48. Cévennes National Park, France

One of the wildest French regions is filled with mountains, rivers, streams, as well as incredibly rich flora and fauna. There are plenty of interesting sights, gorges Tarn and Jonte, caves of Aven Armand and Dargilan and meteorological observatory site at Mont Aigoual are just a few to name. Visitors can enjoy plenty of activities including hiking, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking and more. 

Visitors are amazed by the region and its terrain often calling it ‘magical’ and ‘sublime’. 

“Beautiful park with lots of well marked hiking trails, wonderful towns to visit, tasty local foods and friendly people. We stayed for four days but look forward to coming back to do multiday hikes.”

47. South Downs National Park, The UK

South Downs is one of the newest national parks in the UK and Europe, designated in 2010 and it stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne. The rural area of Hampshire offers walking and cycling trails and horseback riding. In South Downs, visitors can see the spectacular panorama, discover the historic house of Uppark and discover charming villages.

Visitors are delighted with the pub selection, a good offer of activities. Many point out how the park is a heaven for dogs!

“100 miles of beautiful chalk downs, with lots of trees, fields, birds, sea views, prehistoric forts, bridleways and pretty villages. Great for day walks.”

46. Vanoise National Park, France

Vanoise is the first French national park established in 1963. The park is located in the French Alps, bordered by some of the top ski resorts in France, including Tignes, Val-d’Isere, La Plagne etc. The area is rich in animal and plant species of which the most popular is Alpine ibex or bouquetin. The area extends over the Italian border where Gran Paradiso National Park continues.

Marmot is very often spotted while hiking. Nature is often described as ‘sublime’ and mountain refuges are praised. 

“Went mushroom picking, lovely forest with that beautiful pine smell. Hills are steep so appropriate footwear essential. The lake was a lovely aquamarine colour and you can walk across on a wooden walkway.”

45. Calanques National Park, France

Calanque is one of the newest national parks in Europe and France, inscribed in 2012. It is located in Southern France, in Bouches-du-Rhôn. The area is remarkable for its landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage. Moreover, it consists of the land, the sea and the suburban areas, which makes it unique. 

Visitors often describe the landscape as sublime and many point out the hiking paths and abrasion cliffs. 

“Beautiful hike and exercise!! One can wish to have a beach to themselves, but the business is understandable. Gotta love nature :)”

National parks in Europe, NP Calanques

Calanques D’En Vau bay

44. Timanfaya National Park, Spain

Timanfaya is a national park situated on Lanzarote, The Canary Islands. It is made up entirely of volcanic soil as a result of volcanic eruptions. Actually, the Timanfaya volcano remains active even today. As the whole area is considered a UNESCO Biosphere reserve, strict rules need to be obeyed in the park. 

Visitors are fascinated by the lava fields, geysers and exciting activities such as camel ride or bus tours. 

“So amazing to see the steam fly up. The hedge catch fire and the bus tour is great. Will definitely be back. The kids were fascinated.”

43. Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

The first national park in Italy was inscribed in 1999. Today, Cinque Terre is the smallest Italian national park and it consists of 5 medieval villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The area offers plenty of activities both on the land and the sea. 

Cinque Terre takes visitors’ breath away with its picturesque landscape that includes vineyards, terraces, alleys and more. 

“I’ve never seen so colorful, beautiful and amazing place. There’s a lot of people, but It’s normal, everyone wants to see something so wonderful. I will come back here.”

42. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes is the most visited national park in Croatia and this part of Europe. They are special for its incredible landscape consisting of turquoise lakes and plenty of waterfalls connecting them. There are several trails that let you explore nature and the lakes by hiking or cycling. 

Plitvice Lakes is by far the most reviewed of all national parks in Europe. Visitors are discussing the entrance fee, for some acceptable, for others less, and the overall ticket and entrance system. 

“A beautiful place that everyone who is in Croatia should visit. traffic organization in the park and route marking very good. It is best to buy tickets in advance on-line.”

National parks in Europe, NP Plitvice Lakes

NP Plitvice Lakes

41. Lake District National Park, The UK

Lake District is one of the most visited national parks in the UK, located in North West England. It is also one of the oldest European national parks as well as one of the largest ones. The beautiful blend of mountains, lakes, massifs and small towns offer a variety of activities such as hiking, cycling and numerous water sports.

Visitors are stunned with the beauty of the park, as well as a variety of activities available. Many also praise the great selection of pubs.

“Too big a place to really give a comprehensive low-down, but if you grab a map, close your eyes and point anywhere it’s gonna be beautiful. Pick a place and visit. You won’t be disappointed.”

40. Piatra Craiului National Park, Romania

Piatra Craiului is a national park located in the Southern Carpathians, so dramatic landscape is guaranteed. Its main feature is the 25km limestone ridge while others include meadows, forests, caves and more. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as horseback riding and bird watching, as well as discover the nearby villages.

Visitors recommend hiking and climbing as the most attractive activities.

“One of the best national parks in Romania. The paths are well marked and generally very clean. Due to its above-average difficulty there are not many hikers, so one might actually find some solitude.”

39. Pirin National Park, Bulgaria

Vihren National Park, as it was originally called, is one of the three national parks in Bulgaria. The main part of it is the Pirin Mountains in a combination with waterfalls, caves and glacier lakes. Due to its position, the park’s main winter focus is skiing, while summers let visitors explore the hiking routes.

Visitors enjoy Pirin National Park both in winter and summer period due to many interesting activities on offer. 

“Wonderful nature! Countless peaks, valleys, ridges, lakes, etc. The mountain is amazing and there are many hiking trails through the heart of nature where you can get very close to the wildlife.”

National parks in Europe, NP Pirin

NP Pirin

38. Wicklow Mountains National Park, Ireland

The largest and the most popular national park in Ireland is located south of Dublin. The area of the Wicklow Mountains National Park consists of mountains and lush forests offering plenty of activities to its visitors. Due to its proximity to the Irish capital, the park is a great escape from the city hustle.

Visitors are mainly stunned by the scenery, especially lakes. Many point out that the park is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. 

“One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Bring a small picnic and pick the white trail. It’s tough going up but worth it. Just wish we brought a sandwich to eat when we got to the top!”

37. Bükk National Park, Hungary

Bükk National Park is located in northern Hungary and it is the largest national park in the country. Its main features are forests and karst caves, including the longest and deepest cave Istvanlapa. The park abounds in plant and animal species of which many of them are endangered. 

Visitors mainly recommend hiking and praise the natural phenomena of the park such as caves, waterfalls etc. 

“Easily affordable train ride up and down, if you don’t want to hike. Nice and clean nature, quiet all over.”

36. Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

Gran Paradiso National Park continues on the French Vanoise National Park. The park was named after the Gran Paradiso mountain, home to a large number of ibex. Hiking and climbing through nature are the most common activities, as well as skiing in the winter period. 

Visitors often spot ibex, chamois and marmot while on the hiking adventure. 

“Good protected area, home to chamois, red deer, bear and eagles. Managed by a dedicated team of scientists and enthusiastic field rangers.”

National parks in Europe, NP Gran Paradiso

35. Archipelago of La Maddalena National Park, Italy

Archipelago di La Maddalena is located in the north of Sardinia and it comprises numerous islands and islets. Seven islands are the most famous ones – Maddalena, Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria and Razzoli. The park offers the pristine coast with shallow waters and plenty of activities for its visitors.

Visitors often refer to this area as a “paradise”, praising the crystal clear sea they usually enjoyed from the small boats. 

“The colours you can see here… I suggest to rent a boat and spend the day there.”

34. Cairngorms National Park, The UK

Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK, located in Scotland. The main feature of the park is the Cairngorms mountain range. The area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts offering popular activities such as hiking, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing and more.

Visitors are enthusiastic about the park’s scenery and outdoor activities. Many point out skiing as one of the most attractive activities. 

“Beautiful scenery, never get bored going there for hiking and exploring with my family. Great outdoor fun with beautiful views and wildlife.”

33. Killarney National Park, Ireland

The first national park in Ireland is located near Killarney, in County Kerry. The park is unique for its diverse ecology and as the only Irish home to the red deer. There are numerous attractions for visitors such as Muckross House, Dinis Cottage, Innisfallen Island, O’Sullivan’s Cascade, Torc Waterfall and many more.

Visitors praise the park’s surroundings such as lakes and the overall scenery. 

“Spectacular, rugged scenery. Misty but enchanting during my visit. Roads are narrow, so go slowly and cautiously and enjoy this amazing feast for the eye.”

National parks in Europe, NP Killarney

NP Killarney

32. Danube-Ipoly National Park, Hungary 

Danube-Ipoly National Park is the most diverse in Hungary. It is situated between the Danube river and Ipoly rivers. The park consists of Pilis Hills, Visegrád, and Börzsöny Hills. The area features many interesting attractions such as castles and gardens with a huge number of bushes, trees and flowers. 

Visitors recommend hiking as the best way to explore the park, its forests, hills etc.

“One of the nicest places for hiking in the central area of Hungary, close to the capital Budapest.”

31. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, The UK

Pembrokeshire Coast is one of three national parks in Wales. It is one of the smallest national parks in the UK and its main feature is its coastline. Therefore, the area is covered in golden sandy beaches awarded with several awards including Blue Flags. Nearby hills offer a splendid view of the entire area. 

Visitors very often get stunned with the scenery and park’s features such as coves and walking paths. They also point out the good pub selection.

“Amazing walk along the coastline with magnificent views. The sea looks clear blue and the wind in your face makes you feel alive.”

30. Slovak Paradise National Park, Slovakia

East Slovakia is a proud home to Slovak Paradise mountain range and one of the most visited Slovakian national parks. The area is full of trails with interesting parts where visitors can spend days hiking. Also, there are around 350 caves in the park for all speleological enthusiasts. The most popular cave is Dobšiná Ice Cave, a UNESCO Site. 

Visitors love the hiking trails that often include interesting parts like ladders in the various gorges. 

“Beautiful semi-wild trails, somewhat demanding but lots of fun. We have really enjoyed Sucha Bela and be definitely back for more. Highly recommended!”

29. North York Moors National Park, The UK

North York Moors is a national park located in North Yorkshire. That makes it a perfect getaway from the city crowds. The area offers a long coast, dramatic scenery and a lot of cultural background. Discover gardens, abbey, ruins and one of the starriest skies in the UK.

Visitors are stunned with the scenery both in the park and along the railway route. Many also point out a good selection of pubs and cafes. 

“Some nice roads for a bike trip or quick hiking. Some areas easily accessible with children. Not too crowded either.”

28. Yorkshire Dales National Park, The UK

Yorkshire Dales is another national park with a major part being in North Yorkshire. The area abounds in interesting sights such as castles, mills and caves. The park is ideal for those who primarily look for hiking and enjoying the natural surroundings. 

Visitors come here to enjoy the English countryside and all its benefits. Many also like to point out some great pubs in the area. 

“Really good with lots of scenic walking. With good kit and reasonable map reading skills you will have great fun.”

National parks in Europe, NP Yorkshire Dales

NP Yorkshire Dales

27. Šumava National Park, Czechia

Šumava, also known as Bohemian Forest National Park, is located in the region of South Bohemia, along the border with Germany. On the German side continues Bavarian Forest National Park. Šumava, often called “the Green Roof of Europe”, is perfect for hiking, cycling and spending some quality time in nature.

Visitors have recognized Šumava as a great place for hiking with a beautiful landscape. 

“Very pretty national Park with loads to do, lookouts, walks, castles, nature trails, rivers, thick forests, animal centres and enclosures due visitors and more. Well worth the visit.”

26. Stelvio National Park, Italy

Stelvio is the largest national park in Italy, but also one of the largest national parks in Europe. The park consists of valleys, glaciers and Ortles-Cevedale mountains. Popular tourist centres include Bormio, Castelbello, Sluderno and Valdisotto. There are numerous hiking routes and spotting a wild animal is very common.

Visitors are impressed with the Stelvio Pass through the Alps and skiing as the most attractive winter activity.

“ So much to do here. The Alps are stunning and the people are nice. Surprisingly, prices are very reasonable even for us poor Eastern Europeans :)”

25. Curonian Spit National Park, Lithuania & Russia

The Curonian Spit is a national park divided by countries Lithuania and Russia. It is a delicate sandy spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea coast. The site is also protected by UNESCO. The park is a popular beach resort where visitors can enjoy the crystal clear waters.

Among many things, visitors are mostly impressed by the dunes and beautiful forests. 

“A magnificent area of natural habitat and beauty with clean beaches, clean water, lots to see and do, as much as you want or as little and simply relax.”

National parks in Europe, NP The Curonian Spit

NP The Curonian Spit

24. Carpathian National Park, Ukraine

The first national park of Ukraine is also the biggest one. It is located in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and it protects the area of the Carpathian Mountains. There are plenty of trails through the mountains and forests where visitors can discover various animals and plant species. 

Visitors enjoy the beautiful nature and landscapes and many encounter animals in their natural habitat.

“You can’t rate this thing lower, it’s nature wonder with many beautiful places but also with a variety of animals.”

23. Słowiński National Park, Poland

Słowiński National Park is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea between the towns Łeba and Rowy. The most exceptional feature of the park is the moving dunes. There are unique plants and bird species in the park which visitors can discover through around 170 km of hiking trails.

Visitors get stunned by the dunes, as well as beaches. Biking through the park is highly recommended. 

“Majestic forest, wild beaches of white sand, changing Baltic sea, from roaring waves to lake-like calm…”

22. Brecon Beacons National Park, The UK

The Brecon Beacons is one of three national parks in Wales centring around the Brecon Beacons mountain range. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the park as it offers numerous exciting activities. You can try out horseback riding, cave exploring, fishing and a wide selection of water sports. 

Visitors are stunned by the scenery and the hills. Many encounter animals such as sheep and ponies. 

“Beautiful area in the mountains, the view from the top is amazing. Good place to go with kids.”

National parks in Europe, NP Brecon Beacons

NP Brecon Beacons

21. Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Czechia

Bohemian Switzerland or České Švýcarsko National Park is located in the north-west Czechia, on the Czech side of the Elbe Sandstone mountains. Across the border continues Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany. The area is protected for its unique sandstone formations and rock villages, as well as rich flora and fauna. 

Features that are the most exciting for the visitors are the gorge and the sandstone rock formations. Visitors also enjoy the activities such as the boat ride.

“Fantastic during any time of the year. Unique table mountains and the Koenigstein castle must be in your list when you go to Saxony.”

20. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, The UK

The national park is located in Scotland and it covers Loch Lomond and the wooded glens of Trossachs, along with other surrounding hills. The area is a delight for outdoor activities with plenty of options. Also, nearby restaurants offer great local food and drinks. 

Visitors are delighted with the scenery and the variety of outdoor activities, especially hiking in the hills and cruising the lake. 

“Loved this place the scenery was amazing and I had a wonderful experience and I will definitely recommend this place for you also I will definitely be back again”

19. Dartmoor National Park, The UK

Dartmoor National Park is located in Devon, England and it is unique for its rare wildlife, long history and the stunning scenery. There is a lot to see and do, from the historical castles and abbeys, villages and towns to exciting walks, hikes, cycling and fishing, to name a few. 

Visitors are delighted with animals such as sheep and ponies. They often refer to the park as an area of outstanding beauty. 

“Beautiful place, lovely and lively river,great for a bit of wild swimming and walking the dogs. Very highly recommended.”

18. Ojców National Park, Poland

Ojców National Park National Park is the smallest national park in Poland, located near Krakow. The name of the park comes from the village of Ojców. The area has some interesting sites such as castles, caves and extraordinary rock formations. There are plenty of trails for hiking and exploring the surroundings. 

Hiking and exploring the park’s attractions is a favourite thing among visitors. Many point out the delicious trout eaten in the local restaurant. 

“Hidden and little known gem in Krakow. Beautiful national park with great scenery and plenty of hiking trails.”

17. Picos de Europa National Park, Spain

Picos de Europa is the first national park in Spain inscribed in 1918, and one of the oldest national parks in Europe. It is an area protected by UNESCO shared between the regions of Cantabria, Castille and Leon and Asturias. The area features a mountain range consisting of huge massifs, so hiking is the most common activity, although difficult sometimes because of the weather. 

Visitors are stunned by the park in every way. They often praise the aerial lift and the gastronomical offer.

“An unforgettable place, magical and pristine. Outside of peak season even more. Be ready for the weather, bring some boots, and immerse yourself in this beautiful park.”

National parks in Europe, NP Picos de Europa

NP Picos de Europa

16. Krkonoše National Park, Czechia

National Park Krkonoše is located in two Czech regions, Liberec and Hradec Králové. Krkonoše is actually the highest mountain range in Czechia that is also protected by UNESCO. Moreover, tourism and other factors affected the park that it is actually registered as one of the most endangered national parks in the world. 

Visitors love hiking through the splendid landscape and many adore the park especially in the summer period. 

“Beautiful park. Some good hikes with beautiful views. Wild blueberries grow everywhere.  Stay on the paths or you will be fined.”

15. Triglav National Park, Slovenia

NP Triglav is the only national park in Slovenia, named after the highest mountain in the park. Triglav is the symbol of the country also featured on the national coat. Hiking and climbing is the most common activity in the park. Visitors can discover many sites such as Vintgar Gorge, Savica Waterfall and Lake Bohinj.

Visitors love the water sports offered in Triglav, especially rafting and kayaking. 

“One of the best national parks I ever seen. Beautiful nature. Peace and calm. Trails almost empty even during summer season. Definitely recommend.”

National parks in Europe, NP Triglav

NP Triglav

14. Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal

Peneda-Gerês, also known as just Gerês, is the only national park in Portugal. Hiking and walking is the best way to explore the area which has many interesting elements such as waterfalls, traditional villages, watermills and more. Here, one can learn a lot about the history of Portuguese traditions. 

Visitors love the waterfalls and other features of the park. Many also point out the great gastronomic offer in the local restaurants. 

“Wonderful… An amazing huge park with all kind of track and natural attractions to visit. In summer take your swimwear and go for a dive or a swim in the many lagoons.”

13. New Forest National Park, The UK

New Forest National Park is located relatively close to London. The area abounds in forests, glades, cliffs and marshes. Hiking the trails is the best way to discover the park’s beauties, but also to meet ponies, donkeys and deers freely roaming around. The park can be an ideal escape from the crowds of London. 

Besides being delighted to meet animals such as cows, ponies and donkeys, visitors also love the great selection of pubs in the area. 

“Proper getaway from the busy schedule. In the wilderness we get to know the wildlife and clean air. It’s all about fresh air, sounds of nature, a quick break and burning few calories.”

12. Karkonosze National Park, Poland

Karkonosze National Park is a continuation of Czech Krkonoše National Park. Both are a part of the same biosphere, and both are national parks in Europe protected by UNESCO. The park is located at the highest point of the Sudetes mountains, Karkonosze mountains being a part of them. Therefore, there are plenty of trails for hiking and discovering the park. 

Hiking through the gorgeous landscape is a favourite thing among visitors. Many consider the park the best in winter.

“We go there most years. A very beautiful area for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, etc, which is not yet ruined by tourism.”

National parks in Europe, NP Karkonosze

NP Karkonosze

11. Peak District National Park, The UK

Peak District is a national park situated in the heart of England, between the cities of Manchester and Sheffield. Therefore, the area has been inhabited since the Mesolithic era. Hiking, cycling and canoeing are among the most popular activities, but visitors can also try more adventurous activities as well as explore the towns and its remarkable sights.

Once again, visitors are delighted with a great pub selection in the area. Hiking is a common activity and the part is often referred to as an area of outstanding beauty.

“An area of absolutely outstanding beauty, somewhere to visit if you enjoy superb scenery & nice walks. Also very nice if you just fancy a light mooch & some quaint eateries.”

10. Teide National Park, Spain

Teide is the most visited national park in Spain, located on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. The park is named after the third-largest volcano in the world around which it is centred – Mount Teide. The terrain in the park is so unique that it is used for scientific studies due to its similarity with planet Mars.

Many visitors discuss the aerial lift to the top of the mountain as it seems to be not working all the time. Others are simply stunned by the lunar appearance of the area and its resemblance to Mars thanks to the lava ground. 

“To visit here it is as if you were visiting another planet. An incredible collection of vistas, sparse and rocky. Above the tree line, above the clouds!”

9. Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Durmitor is the largest national park in Montenegro located in the northern part of the country, bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are 17 glacier lakes and more than 40 mountain tops, the highest peak being Bobotov Kuk. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of activities, from skiing on Žabljak in winter to rafting on Tara river. 

Not surprisingly, visitors mostly like activities such as skiing and rafting, as well as hiking through the beautiful scenery. 

“Most beautiful nature, great place for bicycle, rafting, hiking, swimming in the mountain lakes.. amazing food.. and above all very good people!!”

National parks in Europe, NP Durmitor

NP Durmitor

8. Babia Góra National Park, Poland

Babia Gora is located in the southern part of Poland, on the border with Slovakia. It is a massif great for hiking but also skiing in winter. Spotting a bear in a reservation or some other kind of wild animal is a common thing. Besides nature, visitors can explore the nearby village Zawoja.

Visitors are mostly praising the nature and the landscape of the park. Some mention weather which can be unpredictable. 

“Great views and the terrain isn’t too difficult if the weather is good. There is a hostel in the area with quite reasonable pricing.”

7. Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

Although it sounds Swiss, Saxon Switzerland belongs to German national parks and it is the continuation of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park in Czechia. The park offers more than 400 km of hiking trails which can be done with a certified guide. Among the park’s greatest attractions are Bastei Bridge and Königstein Fortress.

The park is often referred to as beautiful, offering great experiences. 

“The perfect place for hiking. Breathtaking views, beautiful paths, great outdoors. Not many people on the way, quiet place out of civilization. No coffee bars, no souvenirs, just you and Nature.”

6. Stołowe Mountains National Park, Poland

Stołowe Mountains National Park is located on the border with Czechia and it comprises the Polish part of Stołowe Mountains. Majority of the park is covered in a dense forest. Besides the diverse wildlife, the most characteristic feature in the park is the unique natural rock formations that form the picturesque landscape. 

Visitors are stunned with the rock formations and the overall nature. Many love the variety of trails and stairs in the park. 

“Beautiful nature, friendly people, fantastic destination for anyone with family or friends. Good traditional Polish food being a nice bonus.”

National parks in Europe, NP Stolowe

NP Stolowe Mountains

5. Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, Spain 

Ordesa y Monte Perdido is among the oldest national parks in Spain. It is protected by UNESCO and it is located on the Pyrenees, close to the French border. The area comprises rivers, glacial lakes, waterfalls and massifs. Therefore, many interesting activities are available such as hiking, mountain climbing, rafting and kayaking.

Visitors are stunned by the overall park, especially waterfalls and the hiking route through the area of field horsetail. 

“Such a beautiful, unspoilt part of Spain. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. The little villages set among the majestic pyrenees mountains really do have an unmistakable Austrian vibe.”

4. Rila National Park, Bulgaria

The Rila is the largest national park in Bulgaria covering the Rila mountain range. It features Musala Peak, the highest summit on the Balkans. The park consists of hundreds of glacial lakes, including the Seven Rila Lakes. There are numerous hiking routes with around 20 huts and 5 refuges. 

Both mountains and lakes are a part of the beautiful scenery that visitors notice from the first moment they arrive. Also, skiing is a popular activity during the winter period. 

“Nature at its best! An abundance of trails through magical forests, enchanted lakes, spectacular mountain peaks.”

National parks in Europe, NP Rila

NP Rila

3. Bieszczady National Park, Poland

The third-largest national park in Poland is located close to the border with Slovakia and Ukraine. The park is a part of the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The area is great for outdoor enthusiasts as it offers plenty of outdoor activities and an opportunity to spot various wild animals. 

Visitors love the mountains, nature and the beautiful landscape above all. 

“Lovely national park, very beautiful, nice trails. Spend 2 days there in autumn. There was fog and it gave it such a wonderful appearance along with beautiful fall colors.”

2. Pieniny National Park, Poland & Slovakia

Pieniny is a national park shared by Poland and Slovakia, covering the Pieniny mountains. The Slovakian side of the park is considered the smallest national park in Slovakia. The park in both countries is a great nature getaway in all seasons. Summers offer cycling, hiking and rafting on Dunajec River, while winters are reserved for skiing. 

Activities such as hiking, rafting, cycling and kayaking are definitely favourite activities among visitors. They also enjoy the beautiful landscape and panorama.  

“Great views over the lake and the castles. Close to the cycling path. Equipped with bars where you can buy food and alcoholic drinks.”

1. Snowdonia National Park, The UK

The largest national park in Wales appears to be the best national park in Europe. Snowdonia is home to 26,000 people, unlike most other parks. The area is of high cultural and natural importance. Visitors can explore several castles, abbeys and other historical sites. There is a variety of activities on offer in the park, including horseback riding, cycling, golf courses, fishing and more.  

Visitors are simply stunned by the scenery which is praised and the park is often referred to as an area of outstanding beauty. Reaching the summit is a favourite thing to do for most visitors. 

“Hills, mountains, rivers, streams. Snowdonia has it all, including some amazing wildlife. You can go for a drive, a walk, a cycle or in some places a hack on horseback. Everywhere is well signposted.”

National parks in Europe, NP Snowdonia

NP Snowdonia

National Parks in Europe Protected by UNESCO

The following list presents all national parks in Europe that are wholly or partly protected by UNESCO. That includes national parks with a status of World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, as well as national parks with only a certain part, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Butrint National ParkAlbania 4.7
Valbonë Valley National ParkAlbania 4.8
Shebenik-Jabllanicë National ParkAlbania 4.7
Prespa National ParkAlbania, Greece4.8
Neusiedler See–SeewinkelAustria4.7
Rila National ParkBulgaria 4.9
Pirin National ParkBulgaria 4.8
Central Balkan National ParkBulgaria 4.8
Plitvice Lakes National ParkCroatia4.7
Paklenica National ParkCroatia4.8
Sjeverni Velebit National Park Croatia4.9
Wadden Sea National Park Denmark 4.6
Archipelago National Park Finland 4.5
Petkeljärvi National Park Finland 4.5
Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park Finland 4.7
Cévennes National Park France 4.7
Pyrénées National Park France 4.7
Réunion National Park France 4.5
Jasmund National Park Germany 4.7
Berchtesgaden National Park Germany 4.8
Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park Germany 4.8
Hainich National Park Germany 4.6
Kellerwald-Edersee National Park Germany 4.7
Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park Germany 5.0
Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Germany 5.0
Olympus National Park Greece 4.9
Vikos–Aoös National Park Greece 4.9
Hortobágy National Park Hungary 4.7
Aggtelek National Park Hungary 4.8
Kiskunság National Park Hungary 4.6
Þingvellir National Park Iceland 4.7
Vatnajökull National Park Iceland 4.7
Killarney National Park Ireland 4.8
Ballycroy National Park Ireland 4.6
Cinque Terre National Park Italy 4.7
Gargano National Park Italy 4.6
Cilento, Vallo di Diano, and Alburni National Park Italy 4.6
Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park Italy4.7
Alta Murgia National Park Italy 4.4
Trakai National Historic Park Lithuania4.9
Curonian Spit National Park Lithuania, Russia4.8
Durmitor National Park Montenegro 4.9
Biogradska Gora National Park Montenegro 4.8
Karkonosze National Park Poland 4.8
Bieszczady National Park Poland 4.9
Słowiński National Park Poland 4.8
Babia Góra National Park Poland 4.9
Kampinos National Park Poland 4.8
Biebrza National Park Poland 4.7
Tatra National Park Poland 4.7
Polesie National Park Poland 4.8
Białowieża National Park Poland 4.7
Danube Delta National Park Romania 4.7
Retezat National Park Romania 4.8
Rodna Mountains National Park Romania 4.9
Pribaikalsky National Park Russia 4.7
Valdaysky National Park Russia 4.7
Ugra National Park Russia 4.7
Kenozersky National Park Russia 4.8
Yugyd Va National Park Russia 4.6
Vodlozersky National Park Russia 4.5
Đerdap National Park Serbia 4.7
Slovak Paradise National Park Slovakia 4.8
Veľká Fatra National Park Slovakia 4.8
Slovak Karst National Park Slovakia 4.7
Tatra National Park Slovakia 4.8
Poloniny National Park Slovakia 4.8
Teide National Park Spain 4.8
Timanfaya National Park Spain 4.7
Picos de Europa National Park Spain 4.8
Doñana National Park Spain 4.6
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park Spain 4.9
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park Spain 4.8
Monfragüe National Park Spain 4.7
Garajonay National Park Spain 4.8
Tablas de Daimiel National Park Spain 4.3
Skuleskogen National Park Sweden 4.8
Stora Sjöfallet National Park Sweden 4.6
Färnebofjärden National Park Sweden 4.6
Sarek National Park Sweden 4.9
Muddus National Park Sweden 4.5
Padjelanta National Park Sweden 4.6
Swiss National Park Switzerland 4.8
Mount Nemrut National Park Turkey 4.8
Lake District National Park The UK 4.8
New Forest National Park The UK 4.8
Shatsky National Park Ukraine 4.6
Uzhanian National ParkUkraine4.7
Desna-Starogutsky National ParkUkraine4.6

National Parks in Europe With Free Entrance

Most of the national parks in Europe have some kind of entrance fee. If you visit the majority of national parks in Spain, Germany or Croatia, you will have to buy a ticket. However, in certain countries some national parks don’t have any fees to enter. National parks in Finland, Norway and Sweden are a good examples of this practice.

The following is a list of some of the most popular national parks in Europe which don’t have entrance fee. Still, that does not necessarily mean that national parks are entirely free regarding activities, entrance tickets to sights or some other additional fees.

  • Snowdonia National Park
  • Lake District National Park
  • Teide National Park
  • Peak District National Park
  • New Forest National Park
  • Picos de Europa National Park
  • Dartmoor National Park
  • Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
  • Brecon Beacons National Park
  • Timanfaya National Park
  • Calanques National Park
  • Vanoise National Park
  • South Downs National Park
  • Cevennes National Park
  • Sierra Nevada National Park
  • Ecrins National Park
  • Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Mercantour National Park
  • Gargano National Park

NOTE: The list includes only a selected number of national parks as chosen by our team. For specific national parks in Europe, it’s best to check their official website to see if entering is free of charge.

Map of the Best National Parks in Europe