The Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns have shown us the real value of the great outdoors and how important it is to take good care of nature. National parks are some of the most beautiful destinations in the world and need to be cherished and protected well.
Unique flora and fauna, surreal landscapes encompassing ancient forests, gleaming lakes and fjords, jungles, and picturesque mountain ranges are what make worldwide national parks so important and valuable. From breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland to turquoise crystal clear lakes in Croatia, there is so much magnificent and untouched wilderness to be seen during our time on Earth.
Here are some of the most stunning places on Earth that you should visit in your lifetime.
Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland
Although there is much to see in Iceland, making time for Vatnajökull National Park is a must due to its picturesque views. This huge park offers a good look at glaciers and also the country’s highest mountain peak.
Vatnajökull National Park is the largest one in Europe, encompassing an enormous area that takes weeks to explore. An extraordinary mixture of mountains, glacial ice, rivers, volcanic, and geothermal activity forms a captivating landscape. Vatnajökull glacier is larger than all of Europe’s glaciers combined, and its glacial tongues stretching down towards the ocean make unique and jaw-dropping views.
There is a wealth of hiking trails, especially in the park’s southern half. Just make sure to take the necessary steps to prepare when hiking solo. One of the favorite activities is exploring the ice caves that change position from season to season.
Banff National Park in Canada
This beautiful park with vibrant turquoise water is Canada’s oldest national park, and it is also part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its lakes are breathtaking, and their color can be compared to the Caribbean waters. Lake Louise, a glacier-fed lake, is the most famous among them.
Scenic views, wildlife sightseeing, and loads of things to do all year long, make this national part a real jewel. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, and soaking in the Banff Upper Hot Springs in the summer are some of the most popular activities during the season.
In the winter months, the park resembles a small Swiss skiing town, and you can see ancient monoliths ranging from 45 to 120 million years old.
With so much to see and do, this is one of the most stunning national parks in the world that you shouldn’t miss!
Göreme National Park in Turkey
If you are in for something completely different and unique, Göreme National Park will indeed sweep you off your feet. Another UNESCO Heritage Site, this park is famous for its one of a kind volcanic landscape and incredible rock formations, making it seem like sculptures surround you.
This spectacular landscape has been entirely sculpted by erosion that formed mountain ridges, valleys, and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or “hoodoos”.
The Göreme valley, with its surroundings, has even more to offer. It contains Christian sanctuaries from the Byzantine period, and also dwellings and underground towns dating back to the 4th century.
Arches National Park in Utah
Red sandstone formations shaped by water and wind are attracting staggering 1.4 million visitors a year to Utah’s Arches. Impressive natural archways and enormous freestanding walls are otherworldly phenomena capturing the eyes and hearts of every visitor.
After visiting this astonishing place, you can head to cabins on the Colorado River and enjoy winery hosts free tastings by the fireplace.
Besides the impeccable beauty, this park attracts visitors with plenty of fun and adventurous things to do. Hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, canyoneering, and rock climbing are among the most popular ones.
You can also take an auto tour, enjoy picture-perfect viewpoints, and soak up the exceptional beauty of eroded sandstone fins, towers, gargoyles, hoodoos, and other nature-made gems.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
With its exceptional beauty, 16 crystal clear natural lakes, stunning waterfalls, and caves to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park looks like it’s out of this world. Located in the mountainous region of Croatia, this park is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.
If you visit the Plitvice Lakes National park, you will see for yourself what makes it so special. Scenic views, its amazing flora and fauna, and teal-blue waters will inspire you to explore more of this majestic place.
If you happen to enjoy exploring wildlife, you will surely fall in love with this place and its diverse fauna. The vast forests surrounding the lakes are home to wolves, bears, rare birds, butterflies, and other magnificent creatures.
This destination should definitely be on your bucket list!
Torres del Paine, Chile
Amazing remote wilderness and breathtaking landscapes are what makes this national park in Chilean Patagonia stand out, and earn its spot on the must-visit list.
Back in 2013, this national park was declared the eighth wonder of the world. Once you see its ancient forests, rivers, mountains with blue glaciers, and stunning views of lakes and fjords, you will understand why it got that recognition.
With 17 hours of daylight in the summer, there is plenty of time to explore some of the world’s most scenic trekking routes. The horns of the Torres del Paine massif are the most breathtaking during sunrise, with purple and red glow making them look out of this world.
There are more amazing places on Earth to see in your lifetime. But wherever you may roam, always keep in mind to preserve nature and leave nothing but footprints.