These 11 National Parks in Europe Are Straight Out of a Fairy Tale

By Michelle Yastremsky

Hiking trails to waterfalls, castle ruins to endless lakes; picturesque fields and wildlife sanctuaries. These national parks in Europe prove that not all parks are created equally!

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Cinque Terre National Park • Cinque Terre Italy

Italy’s first national park!

Explore the stunning coastal villages and picturesque terrain that comprise this UNESCO World Heritage Park. The Cinque Terre (five lands) covers a collection of five quaint seaside villages, famous for their gorgeous scenery and fresh seafood.

The Burren National Park • County Clare, Ireland

Postcard-worthy views.

Experience views that seem to span to the end of the world, discover glacial-era limestone and uncover prehistoric fossils at one of the most visited sites in Ireland.

Vatnajökull National Park • Iceland

Add this to your Iceland bucket list!

The combined forces of geothermal activity, glacial ice and volcanoes make this area a must-see on your next trip to Iceland. Although this park was only established in 2008, today its land mass covers 13% of Iceland’s totally territory.

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park • Huesca, Spain

Spain’s oldest protected area.

Get lost in the lush forests of this stunning park. With elevations reaching an impressive 3,000 meters, you’ll encounter a variety of wildlife and flora in this protected park. Visit during the autumn season for breathtaking views as the leaves change from green to shades of yellows and reds.

Saxon Switzerland National Park • Saxony, Germany

These natural formations rock!

Just one hour outside of medieval Dresden lies one of Germany’s most picturesque parks. Be sure to take a walk across the Bastei Bridge – one of the park’s most recognizable icons.

Calanques National Park • Provence, France

Cliffs & coasts!

Those who veer off the beaten path in search of this park will be rewarded with views of calanques hidden between sloping cliffs. Depending on the time of year, some driving roads will be closed off, making a majority of this wonder accessible only by boat.

Plitvice Lakes National Park • Croatia

Over 1 million visitors each year.

The surreal colors of the lakes of Plitvice make this park look rather like a painting than a place you can visit. Take in the beauty of the waters in shades ranging from gray to azure.

Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park • Belluno, Italy

From lush forests to high mountains.

Plan a hike through this national park in Italy and enjoy views of the famous Dolomite mountains, nicknamed the “Pale Mountains.”

Killarney National Park • Killarney, Ireland

Ireland’s first national park.

This vast area is one of the few in Ireland that has been consistently covered in woodland, dating as far back as 10,000 years. It's a popular starting point for the tourist route, the Ring of Kerry, making it a seamless addition to any trip to Ireland.

Mercantour National Park • Provence, France

Hiking trails and idyllic villages.

Explorers of this popular national park in France will enjoy scenic views, and perhaps even stumble upon a chamois, marmot or even ermine or two! History buffs will want to visit the foot of Mont BĂ©go, where about 37,000 Bronze Age petroglyphs call home.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park • Scotland

Explore the many mountains and lochs (lakes)!

Scotland's famous lake may be Loch Ness, but the combination of stunning terrain and unique wildlife make this area a destination equally worth exploring. Enjoy a scenic cruise on one of the lakes or make a stop one of the 30 islands. You may even spot a wallaby or two!

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