Great parks of Europe
If you’re looking for an invigorating walk, horse ride or cycle through scenic wooded trails, one of the great ways to do so is to visit a national park. Here you can stroll, enjoy the fresh air with acres of open space and perhaps even sit down with a delightful picnic.
The world’s most visited national park in 2014 was the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina/Tennessee in the USA, with visitors numbering around 10 million. However, there’s no need to venture so far afield if you’re a little time-stretched or operating more on a budget. All over Europe there are some stunning national parks that make great tourist destinations, rewarding you with a relaxing and worthwhile visit.
Take a look below as the Flexicover Team highlights some beautiful places to visit.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park in central Croatia is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions and in 1979 was granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Covering nearly 300km2, the beauty of this wonderful place lies in its sixteen lakes and waterfalls. Hike through the park and take in the magnificent scenery that abounds. Located not far from the Bosnian border, the karst landscape is home to rare birds, bears, wolves, deer – though you may have to be an eagle-eyed spotter to see them all. Open year round, the park makes for an excellent day trip or an extended visit from a base in one of the park’s hotels.
Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria
Established in 1962 and located in south-western Bulgaria, the World Heritage Pirin National Park encompasses most of its namesake mountain range and stretches to an altitude of 2914m. Boasting 70 glacial lakes, pristine ponds, waterfalls, forests and caves, this is a magical place ringed with dramatic peaks soaring to the clouds. The rugged landscape also makes it one of the most diverse regions of Bulgaria for plant-life. This is a real explorer’s paradise and perfect for those who love the outdoors. Hike, bike or climb and maybe even spend a few nights camping on the banks of the Banderishka River for a real Balkan thrill.
Founded in 1982, the Helvetinjärvi National Park occupies an area of 50km2 and marks out the wild forests of the historical Finnish province of Tavastia. Helvetinjärvi literally translates as ‘Hell’s Lake’ and this body of water is the site of the park’s main attraction, the stunning ice-carved Helvetinkolu Gorge which boasts magnificent views over the areas deep valleys, fissures and rugged slopes. There are a number of different walking trails to explore as well as camping sites and a sandy beach at Haukanhieta. For those who adore all that makes the outdoors great, you can also go fishing, forage for berries and mushrooms or even abseil!
The Durmitor, Montenegro
From its highest peak at Bobotov Kuk (2,522m) you can look down over the massif that makes up Durmitor National Park. Established in 1952, the glacier-formed landscape, traversed by rivers and underground streams, boasts canyons, mountains and plateaus in abundance. The Tara River flows through the park, home to Europe’s deepest gorge at 1,300m. Ice and water have carved impressive features from the limestone providing visitors with a real ‘wow factor’. December through March, Durmitor is a ski resort and a wonderful place for hiking and rafting for the rest of the year. With fauna galore and the greatest variety of butterflies in Europe, this is a wonderful place for nature explorers to visit.
Saxon Switzerland, Germany
This part of Saxony, located in eastern Germany, is often referred to as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. The national park occupies the heart of the German side of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and adjoins the Bohemian National Park in the neighbouring Czech Republic. This gorgeous region is well worth a visit and gives you plenty of ways to spend your holiday. There are 400 km of hiking trails, 50km of cycle routes and over 700 locations available to rock climbers for those looking for an active trip! And for those who want to be pampered, there are many nearby resorts too to soothe your cares away.
Wherever you are travelling to and experiencing the outdoors this year, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.