Europe is home to some of the most stunning natural areas in the world, and the continent's national parks are a testament to its beauty.
From the dramatic fjords of Norway to the rugged coastline of Portugal, Europe's national parks offer visitors a chance to experience breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a deep connection to nature.
If you're planning a vacation to Europe, add some of these national parks to your itinerary. And if you plan to visit Paris, don't worry – many of these parks are easily accessible from the city.
Norwegian Fjords National Park
Norway's fjords are world-famous for their dramatic beauty, and the Norwegian Fjords National Park is no exception.
It has some of the most spectacular fjords in the country, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and deep-blue lakes.
Nature lovers can explore the park's many trails, take a boat tour of the fjords, or even go kayaking or fishing.
Getting there from Paris: Fly from Paris to Bergen, Norway, and then take a train or bus to the park.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Located in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is known for its cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes. Here, a diverse array of wildlife can be found, including bears, wolves, and lynxes.
If you are interested in hiking, you can walk the park's many trails. There are also opportunities to take boat rides across the lakes and swim in the park's designated areas.
Getting there from Paris: Fly from Paris to Zagreb, Croatia, and then take a bus or rent a car to the park.
Black Forest National Park
Located in southwestern Germany, the Black Forest National Park is a vast wilderness area home to some of the country's most incredible landscapes.
Dense forests, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes are on full display and waiting to be experienced. You can explore the park's many trails, go mountain biking, or take a scenic drive.
Getting there from Paris: Take a train from Paris to Baden-Baden, Germany, and then take a bus or rent a car to the park.
Picos de Europa National Park
Located in northern Spain, the Picos de Europa National Park is known for its rugged peaks, deep valleys, and transparent lakes. It has diverse wildlife, including wolves, bears, and eagles.
Picos de Europa National Park's offerings include its extensive trail system, a cable car to the summit of the park's highest peak, and an extensive cave system.
Getting there from Paris: Fly from Paris to Santander, Spain, and then take a bus or rent a car to the park.
Cinque Terre National Park
Located on the Italian coast, the Cinque Terre National Park is known for its rugged coastline, colorful villages, and terraced vineyards.
Visitors can plan their time exploring the park's many trails, swimming in the park's designated swimming areas, or even taking a boat ride along the coast.
Getting there from Paris: Take a train from Paris to La Spezia, Italy, and then take a train or bus to the park.
Peneda-Geres National Park
Located in northern Portugal, the Peneda-Geres National Park is a vast wilderness area home to some of the country's most stunning landscapes.
Terms that describe the park best are rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and deep valleys.
Options available for adventurers are going through the park's many trails, mountain biking, or taking a dip in the park's many natural pools.
Getting there from Paris: Fly from Paris to Porto, Portugal, and then take a bus or rent a car to the park.
Europe's national parks offer various landscapes, from the dramatic fjords of Norway to the rugged mountains of Spain.
These parks provide a chance to experience nature at its finest and are easily accessible from major cities like Paris.
Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Europe's national parks have something for everyone.
When planning your vacation to Europe, be sure to add at least one national park to your itinerary.
These parks offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature and explore stunning landscapes.
And if you're planning to visit Paris, don't miss the chance to take a day trip or overnight excursion to one of these fantastic national parks. You won't be disappointed by the natural beauty that awaits you.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Guide to Europe.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.