The 20 most beautiful national parks in the world

Although human activity often ravages ecosystems, some places on the planet are fortunately still protected in order to preserve their natural appearance, prohibiting any intervention that could alter their primary side. The first national park was established in 1872 in the United States, in Yellowstone. Since then, this model has spread around the world and these places where biodiversity is preserved are multiplying around the globe. To go green, we have here selected twenty natural parks to visit around the world

The Kruger National Park in South Africa, the kingdom of animals

In South Africa, close to the border with Mozambique, the Kruger is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful reserves in the world. Its 885 km of roads and 1,739 km of tracks pass through different ecosystems, with flora and fauna evolving over the kilometres. Near the rivers, rhinos bathe in the shade of the acacias, while further west, elephants live in the dry region. A unique park

The Galapagos National Park, a natural sanctuary

Born more than ten million years ago during a volcanic eruption, the Galapagos archipelago was considered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau as the "last sanctuary of natural life": it is here that Charles Darwin would have been inspired for his theory of the evolution of species. Off the coast of Ecuador, this archipelago of 127 islands has been declared a 97% national park. In 1984, UNESCO also classified it as a biosphere reserve because of its exceptional flora and fauna

The Huascarán National Park in Peru, in altitude

North of Lima, in the White Cordillera, the Huascarán National Park owes its name to the summit it shelters, the highest point in Peru rising to 6,768m. Its high mountain lakes, glaciers and large canyons form a grandiose landscape, a paradise for trekking enthusiasts. Its fauna is also unique: you will see the famous Andean condor hovering above your heads

The Grand Canyon National Park in the United States, a mythical site

The vast territory of the United States is home to many national parks (we've already revealed 15 that you can't miss), and the Grand Canyon in Arizona is so breathtaking that we had to mention it again in this article! Sculpted by the Colorado, the dimensions of the Grand Canyon are vertiginous: 450 km long for a depth of 1 300 m and a width of up to 30 km!

The Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, a water spectacle

Between Zagreb and Zadar, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most visited sites in Croatia. It shelters 16 lakes linked together by 92 rivers forming an exceptional and virgin natural spectacle. Its fauna and flora are privileged, brown bears, otters, wolves and lynx evolve there and more than 1,400 species of plants have been recorded there, representing 30% of the Croatian flora

Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, of fire and ice

Europe's largest national park, Vatnajökull National Park was classified as a major natural heritage for humanity by UNESCO in July 2019. A well-deserved recognition for this unique site where volcanoes rub shoulders with glaciers. Among the latter, Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe, or the Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon with turquoise blue waters. For fans, the Vatnajökull was the backdrop for several episodes in seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones

Chobe National Park in Botswana in the wilderness

Two hours from Victoria Falls in northern Botswana, Chobe National Park is home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa, as well as lions, zebras, hippos and more than 450 species of birds. This territory of 11,700 km2 is known for its unique fauna, it is a true natural sanctuary where several ecosystems meet. A true concentration of the beauties of Botswana!

Banff National Park, a Jewel of Canada

Banff National Park, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is Canada's first national park. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of Canada's most visited sites and for good reason: its forests, rivers, glaciers and lakes form an exceptional landscape. Among the park's most popular sites, Lake Louise, with its mountainous shoreline, and Moraine Lake, with its turquoise blue waters, are worth a visit

Iguazù National Park, between Argentina and Brazil

Iguazù National Park is located in the north-east of Argentina, on the border with Brazil. The park is divided into two parts: the Argentinean part and the Brazilian part. We can't advise you which one to choose, as the spectacle is spectacular on both sides! These gigantic waterfalls, the most impressive of which is undoubtedly the Garganta del Diablo , which is over 80 m high, can be discovered along paths populated by coatis

The Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, a must-see getaway

This natural site in southern Thailand covers a total area of 3,500 km2, revealing exceptional flora and fauna. On the flora side, the queen of flowers is the rafflesia, an impressive giant flower that can reach 90 cm in diameter! As for the fauna, the park enjoys an incredible diversity: gibbons, elephants, tapirs but also flying squirrels and tigers are present. Cheow Larn Lake, a lake with emerald-coloured waters, is the most popular site in the park for an unforgettable boat tour

The Göreme National Park and Cappadocian rock sites, wonder in Turkey

Shaped by erosion, the landscape of Göreme National Park is marked by its fairy chimneys - peaks of geomorphological interest - and by the remains of cave dwellings, several of which date back to the 4th century. Its sanctuaries and rock churches are precious witnesses to Byzantine art and architecture. A fairy-tale landscape to be discovered on the central plateau of Anatolia, in Turkey

The Cinque Terre, in the colours of Italy

Between Genoa and La Spezia in Liguria, the Cinque Terre are five villages along the Italian Riviera. Characterised by their colourful houses and their splendid view of the sea, they can be discovered along the Sentiero Azzurro, a cliffside path linking the five villages together. From Monterosso to Riomaggiore, passing through Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola, the sight is enchanting

The Whitsunday Islands National Park in Australia, an archipelago paradiseThe

Whitsunday Islands are made up of 74 mostly uninhabited islands along Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A preserved postcard setting with dense tropical vegetation, numerous hiking trails and splendid beaches such as Whitehaven Beach, famous for its incomparable white sand thanks to its high silica content

Tayrona National Park in Colombia, Caribbean beauty

North of Santa Marta, on the Caribbean coast, Tayrona National Park is one of Colombia's natural treasures. It is home to a lush rainforest and heavenly beaches with turquoise waters such as Cabo San Juan. A sacred territory, the park takes its name from a pre-Colombian civilization of which there are still testimonies, notably in the Pueblito, a Tayrona village where the traditional architecture has been preserved

The Calanques National Park in France, treasure of Provence

From Cassis to Marseille, these narrow and vertiginous creeks can be discovered by boat or on foot during a hike. The cliffs plunge steeply into a turquoise sea, forming an idyllic landscape. Among the most suggestive, the creeks of En Vau are worth the detour despite their somewhat difficult access. In the summer period, prefer to go there early in the morning as the small pebble beach is very popular with swimmers!

The Black Forest National Park, Germany at altitude

In addition to the famous chocolate cake, the Black Forest is also and above all a mountain range on the Rhine in Germany! Nature is still in its wild state, protected on more than 10,000 hectares thanks to the national park status that the site obtained in 2014. Numerous hiking trails allow you to discover this landscape where moors, marshes and high peaks coexist

The Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica, in the shadow of a giant

Costa Rica has one of the greatest biodiversities in the world and the Arenal Volcano National Park is a reflection of this. Its tropical forest is home to a large number of animal species such as the tapir, the sloth or the coati. But the particularity of this park is its monumental volcano. Climbing is forbidden: this great impetuous volcano caused serious damage in 1968! However, it can be admired very well from the town of La Fortuna before plunging into the park

Los Roques National Park in Venezuela, a diver's paradise

160 km from Caracas, this Venezuelan archipelago of 50 islands is protected by a 24 km long coral reef. An exceptional aquatic environment where a unique and protected marine ecosystem has developed. More than 300 species of fish as well as all types of Caribbean corals are found in its waters whose temperature varies between 24° and 28° all year round

Jiuzhaigou National Park in China, pandas and emerald waters

Classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, Jiuzhaigou National Park is one of the most beautiful in China. In the north of Sichuan, it is famous for its exceptional waterfalls such as those of Nuorilang, its emerald-coloured mountain lakes, its virgin forests and its snow-covered peaks. It is also home to giant pandas and other endangered species such as the Sichuan takin

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, the land of fjords

No, Fiordland is not the name of an amusement park but the name of a national park in New Zealand! In fact, it is one of the largest national parks in the world, with a total surface area of over 12,000 km2. Its name has the merit to be clear: here you will see fjords... but not only! Deep forests and snow-capped peaks complete the scenery. For those who like it, the Milford Track, which runs through the mountains of the park, is one of the most famous treks in New Zealand

To be read next: