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The Best National Parks in Europe

 When on a trip to Europe, its incredible cities are often the highlight, however limiting yourself to urban areas means that you’ll miss out on some of the amazing scenery that can be found throughout the continent. From England’s Lake District to the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps, national parks are a great way to experience and appreciate the unique landscapes found all over Europe. Therefore, if you’re planning a European getaway, be sure to make a stop or two at some of the continent's most beautiful parks: 
 
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Jotunheimen National Park
Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park is known as the Land of the giants, which refers to the park’s many mountains. This park is home to over 250 mountain peaks, some of which are the tallest in all of Europe. In between these snow-capped peaks, you’ll find bright blue lakes filled with melting snow, creating picture-perfect scenery. The park is also full of wildlife such as elk, reindeer, lynx, and the lakes are full of trout.
Lake District National Park
This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful destinations in England. As the name suggests, this park is home to many lakes, but the mountains that dot the landscape are equally appealing. Visitors come here to enjoy scenic walks, and there’s no shortage of accommodation located within the park itself.
Caldera de Taburiente National Park
Beaches and holiday resorts are probably the first things that come to mind when somebody thinks of the Canary Island. However, this Spanish island is home to the stunning Caldera de Taburiente National Park. While visiting this park, you can hike along the edge of a mountain, soaking in the breathtaking views of green valleys and the ocean in the distance.
Bialowieza National Park
Located on the border between Poland and Belarus, this is the last remaining temperate primeval forest in Europe. If you have always wanted to see European Bison in their natural habitat, this is the best place to do so. This national park is also a great destination for cycling and hiking through shaded paths and trails. While visiting, be sure to stop by the Museum of Nature and Forest of the Bialowieza National Park in order to learn more about the wildlife and development of the park.
Oulanka National Park
In Northern Finland, you’ll find the beautiful Oulanka National Park. The park encompasses land which once belonged to the Sami people that lived, hunted, and fished in the area until the 17th century. Today, a visit to this park means the chance to hike along the Karhunkierros, which is the most popular trekking route in the country. Other pastimes in the park include mountain biking, picking berries, canoeing on the rivers, and staying overnight in a wooden cabin.
 
Saxon Switzerland National Park
This park, despite its misleading name, is actually located in Germany, near the city of Dresden. Bizarre stone formations and spectacular views are just some of the wonderful characteristics of this national park. Here you can visit iconic sights such as the spectacular Bastei Bridge that rises 245 meters above the Elbe River.
Gran Paradiso National Park
In the middle of the Graian Alps of Northern Italy is the Gran Paradiso National Park. Originally, the park was formed to protect the ibex from poachers, since the area was supposed to be a private hunting ground for the King. Part of the park is forested, and there are also multiple glaciers within its boundaries. Hiking is popular throughout the park, particularly up the summit of Gran Paradiso Mountain, and there are also stunning views of nearby Alpine peaks such as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn.
Durmitor National Park
This park is located in Zabljak, Montenegro. Surrounded by river canyones, Durmitor is home to huge peaks that rise up at sharp angles and create a surreal landscape of contrasts. This national park is popular for those who want to climb mountains, admire the glacial lakes, ski or snowboard.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Right in the heart of Scotland is the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National park. This park is home to a number of stunning mountains such as Ben More, Be Lomond, and Stob Binnein. The West Highland Way is a path through Loch Lomond that takes hikers to several spectacular vantage points. There are a couple of small villages located in the park where you can stop for a pint or some lunch.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
In the middle of Croatia is the stunning Plitvice National Park, a forest reserve that’s well-known for its series of 16 remarkable terraced lakes. Each of these lakes are connected by waterfalls, and they lead to a stunning limestone canyon. Paved walkways wind around these lakes, leading to some spectacular views. It’s also possible to enter some of the caves and view the lakes from within the rocks.
 
Source: touropia
Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
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