If you love national parks as much as we do, then they probably take up the majority of your bucket list. But if you want a crash course in the best national parks around the world then this list is perfect for you.
National Parks are protected landmasses or bodies of water that have been preserved for environmental reasons or for the general public to enjoy. There are literally thousands of these epic parks all around the world that offer heaps of unique landscapes to experience. We have done some research and rounded up our Top 12 Best National Parks.
In no particular order, the lucky 12 that have made it onto the Best National Parks list are…
The High Tatras Region – Slovakia/Poland
This central European park has many easily accessible walks that get you to locations just like the one pictured above. Our pick of village bases would be Ždiar, a quaint mountain town that has all the essentials and hiking trails right near your accommodation. In winter the place becomes blanketed with snow and winter sports predominate the range of outdoor activities rather than hikes. Our recommended accommodation in the region is definitely Ginger Monkey Hostel!
Banff National Park – Canada
Photo from James Wheeler via Flickr
Banff is Canada’s oldest National Park and is full of glaciers, forests and spectacular alpine Landscapes. The town of Banff has become quite commercialised but getting out into the park offers an easy escape from this. This is definitely a National Park to see before you die!
Cradle Mountain National Park – Australia
Photo from chris.baxter via Flickr
As the starting location of Tasmania’s famous Overland Track, Cradle Mountain has both serious and relaxed options to enjoy the pristine Tasmanian outdoors. Camping within the park is quite restricted in order to limit environmental damage, but this ensures there is wonderfully preserved nature. During the Autumn months of April and May, the hills turn a distinctive golden red colour as Australia’s only cold climate winter deciduous tree loses its leaves.
Chobe National Park -Botswana
Photo from Kristin Wall via Flickr
With one of the highest wild elephant and other game populations, Chobe National Park offers high chances of witnessing animals going about their daily lives. Botswana has also just been named as Lonely Planets Number 1 Place To Visit in 2016, so expect some big things from this now stable and thriving African nation.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park -Australia
Photo from Kyle Taylor via Flickr
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef and living thing in the world (and is even visible from space!). These accolades mean than the Great Barrier Reef puts a lot of other parks to shame. However this environment is under threat by global warming, causing the bleaching and death of many corals. So get here before more loss of this incredible Northeastern Australian ecosystem happens.
Sagarmatha National Park – Nepal
Photo from valcker via Flickr
Home to the towering goliath of Mount Everest and a lowest elevation of 2845m, this park is packed with some seriously difficult but extraordinary landscapes. Any National Park that contains the world’s tallest mountain doesn’t really need a write up – the epicness explains itself and earns it a solid place in the Best National Parks list! Despite the 2015 earthquake that heavy affected the region, Nepal is well and truly open for business again. Tourism is a lifeblood of the country and the money you spend here goes a long way for its people.
Yala National Park -Sri Lanka
Photo from Patty Ho via Flickr
Sri Lanka packs a punch in the form of culture, spicy cuisine and beautiful landscapes. Yala National Park is no exception. The best times to visit this Southeast Sri Lankan park are February to July, when rainfall is low bringing animals closer to the ocean. If you are really lucky you might even see a leopard!
Vatnajökull National Park – Iceland
Photo from Ron Kroetz via Flickr
Iceland is full of rugged and unique landscapes and Vatnakoiökull is an exceptional hotspot. Head here to witness glaciers, geothermal springs and wonderful waterfalls. Iceland is renowned for having weather that changes unpredictably and suddenly, so make sure to be properly prepared no matter the time of year or what the weather is forecast to be.
Torres Del Paine – Chile
Photo from melenama via Flickr
This park located in the Patagonia Region of Chile, Torres del Paine will absolutely take your breath away! This is also a place the Backpacker’s Guide team are hoping to visit in the later months of this year. There are clearly marked walking tracks throughout the park as well as designated camping spots. Due to the the low southern latitude, there are very long daylight hours during the December and January summer months making for good hiking.
Plitvice Lakes – Croatia
Photo from 29cm via Flickr
Plitvice Lakes consists of a range of small natural lakes and cascading waterfalls. There have also been many wooden footbridges constructed allowing people to get a closer view of the cascades. Entry costs here vary with the time of year, so for a cheap ticket aim to visit this location in off peak season. Despite being incredibly busy, this really is one of the best Natural Parks and definitely worth visiting if in the Balkan region.
Yosemite National Park- U.S.A
Photo from Su–May via Flickr
Located in the state of California, Yosemite National Park is highly biodiverse. Most visitors only stick to the valley floor, but people who ascend out from this region of the park are rewarded with expansive panoramic views from the peaks. A must-visit if you are in the States.
Kilimanjaro National Park – Tanzania
Photo from Ninara via Flickr
This National Park is home to Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the major drawcard. The trek to the summit is not a technically difficult one, but allow plenty of time to acclimatise to the altitude during the journey to the top. The views from the valley floor are also a brilliant spectacle – and keep your eyes open for some of the spectacular wildlife!
Getting out into the world’s best National Parks will take your breath away and provide you with some epic travel experiences. No matter where you are, there is probably an epic National Park around so always keep your eyes and ears open to the opportunity. As you can probably tell, we love these parks and cannot wait to visit every single one of them.