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5 Stunning European National Parks And The Sites You Must-See At Each

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Here are 5 national parks in Iceland, Austria, Croatia, Germany, and Turkey that you should visit along with our recommendation for what you should not miss while exploring each of the parks.

Göreme National Park


Göreme Historical National Park in central Turkey features soft tuff rock carved by wind and water over thousands of years. The rocky formations are connected by an ancient network of caves. Back in the 4th century, people built underground communities, including chapels and store rooms, to escape and resist Arab marauders.


Göreme Open Air Museum


The museum is famous for its temples and rooms carved out of the soft tuff rock. Beautful, decorative frescoes can be seen throughout the rooms as well as the Karanlik Kilise Church.

If you're looking to explore the area a bit further, consider a tour of Kaymakli or the Selime Monastery in Guzelyurt.

Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria


Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest of the 7 national parks in Austria. Located in the Alps, the park includes the Pasterze, the longest glacier in Austria, and the Krimml Waterfalls, a three stage waterfall with a total height of 380 meters. There are five nature sanctuaries in the park that are protected from human disturbance.


Krimml Waterfalls


Krimml Waterfalls are the highest waterfall in Austria. The falls are made up of 3 stages totaling a height of 380 meters (1,247 feet). The first and third stage have 140 meter drops and the second stage is 100 meters. The highest point of the falls is 1,470 meters above sea level. Glacier melt feeds the Krimmler Ache river with the highest volume of water running over the falls in June and July.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia


Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. The most popular feature of the park are its 16 lakes connected by caves and waterfalls. Their distinctive colors of blue, green, and grey change based on the minerals in the water and the angle of the sun making it a unique experience.


Veliki Slap


Veliki Slap is a 78 meter high waterfall that flows from the Lower Lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park. This spectacular waterfall is not to be missed.

Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany


Saxon Switzerland National Park, established in 1990, is located south of Dresden. The park is split into two areas in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Its rocky canyon landscape rises up quickly from the Elbe river in the valley to its peaks reaching up to 556 meters above sea level.


Bastei Bridge


Bastei Bridge is a sandstone bridge built in 1851, replacing an older wooden bridge. It is 76.5 meter long and its seven arches span a ravine 40 meters deep. It cuts its way through the mountains providing commanding views of the surrounding park.

Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland


Vatnajökull National Park is dominated by the the Vatnajökull glacier. It is Europe’s largest glacier outside of the arctic, covering a massive 8,100 km2. Its thickness is about 400 to 600 meters helping it to conceal valleys, mountains, and active volcanoes. The glaciers icecaps rise to over 2000 meters above sea level.


Ice Caves


The crystal, blue ice caves form as canals of water run through the glacier in the warmer months. As the weather gets colder, the water flow stops and the ice freezes forming new caves each year. Changes in weather can cause them to be unstable. Never visit a cave without a certified guide.

The Family Travel App For Exploring The World


Each of these parks is featured in the Duckwyn Travel app. Join today and use the app to track where you've been and share your experiences with friends and family. Add a unique badge to your Duckwyn Passport when you visit each of these parks.


Source: Wikipedia

Photo Attribution:

Göreme National Park - Feridun F. Alkaya

Hohe Tauern National Park - Sander Hoogendoorn​

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Solmaz Zohdi

Saxon Switzerland National Park - Melker Wångdahl

Vatnajökull National Park Badge: - ​Theo Crazzolara

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