Europe is famously known for its ancient capitals and intellectual heritage. However, the region has fairy-tale like forests, breathtaking lakes, and a rich flora and fauna. There are many beautiful and well-preserved national parks in Europe worth visiting and exploring.
The EU is also committed to preserving and protecting the environment and taking special care of its natural resources. In recent years, the European Union has established new policies and goals in order to safeguard the health and well-being of its people. In addition, bear in mind that it is likely that as of 2021, travelers to the EU will be expected to obtain the ETIAS authorization. This is in line with their policy to improve security in the region.
Find out about the best national parks in Europe.
Top National Parks in Europe
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
One of the oldest and biggest national parks in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was proclaimed a national park on April 8th, 1949. The park is located between Zagreb and Zadar.
What makes the park unique and a must visit are its lakes arranged in cascades. The sixteen lakes are interconnected and follow the water flow. The park is home to deer, bears, wolves, boars and a wide range of rare bird species. The park covers an area of 300 square kilometers.
Belluno Dolomites, Italy
Set in northern Italy, this national park extends over 32,00 hectares. It was established as a national park in 1988 and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2009. The park consists of several mountain ranges, including the Alpi Feltrine, Monti del Sole, Schiara, and Talvena.
The park has rivers, springs, and streams. Visitors will also encounter pine forests, pastures, and alpine meadows. Belluno Dolomites has a large alpine biodiversity that features deer, bats, and birds.
Wild Taiga, Finland
A perfect opportunity to escape to nature, the Wild Taiga in Finland stretches from Kuhmo to Suomussalmi, in the northeast of the country. This amazing park offers numerous activities and the chance to appreciate wildlife.
Visitors can cycle through the park, or go on hikes. There’s also canoeing, fishing, and horse riding. In the winter, travelers can participate in a husky program or cross-country skiing. The park hosts music festivals and has school camps.
Located in the south-eastern part of France, it is made up a mountainous region of the Dauphine Alps. The Council of Europe has named the park, “European Park of the Mountain.” The Ecrins National Park is an ideal destination for those who love nature. People who visit the park can enjoy its diverse fauna and flora. Sports lovers can take long hikes and the more adventurous spirits can take on climbing.
The Ordesa National Park has several routes that allow its various visitors to explore the park at their own pace. There are a series of accessible trails that can lead travelers to the “Cola de Caballo” Waterfall, the Gradas de Soaso rapids, and viewing points like the Garganta.
This national park is a glacial valley in Aragon, first discovered in 1820 and mapped in detail in the 1920s. The valley is about 11 kilometers long.
The EU Environment Policy and its Objectives
The EU has very high environmental standards and has established and Environment Policy in order to protect nature and transition to a “green economy”. The European Union legislation set over 130 environmental targets and objectives to be met between 2010 and 2050.
The concept of a “green economy” has become a priority for the EU in recent years. In order to grow economically while protecting nature, the European Union has developed integrated policies that promote a sustainable environmental framework. Protecting nature has become fundamental for the region. The EU shares valuable resources like water, air, and natural habitats.
The EU environment policy has specific goals to safeguard the wellbeing of its people, some of these are:
- Guarantee safe drinking and bathing water
- Improve air quality and reduce noise
- Reduce or eliminate the effects of harmful chemicals
According to the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP), the EU acknowledges that the cities need to be more sustainable and identifies that they need to address climate challenges more effectively.