X No Thanks

10 Best National Parks in the World

by Travelbag on 17 February 2021, 12:02PM

Fiordland National ParkGiven that daily strolls were just about the only activity allowed during lockdown, many people have discovered a newfound love of walking. So once we’re allowed to travel again, why not get out and explore some of the best national parks in the world?

Not only do these wide open spaces offer amazing scenery – and loads of scope for putting those walking skills into practice – they’re also ideal for social distancing. There are heaps of national parks to choose from, but these are our top 10.

 

1. Fiordland, New Zealand

Even in a country like New Zealand, where the bar for spectacular scenery is set pretty high, Fiordland’s dramatic beauty never fails to impress. There are 14 glacier-carved fjords which give the park its name, and which help to make it one of the best national parks in the world. The most famous of the bunch is Milford Sound. Surrounded by towering peaks and tumbling waterfalls, it was once described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. Then there’s Doubtful Sound, which is the deepest of all New Zealand’s fjords. Accessible only by boat, it’s home to bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

The non-watery part of the park is covered by moss-carpeted valleys and alpine forests – and a 500-kilometre network of walking tracks makes exploration easy. As well as loads of shorter walks, here you’ll find three of New Zealand’s most popular multi-day hikes: the Routeburn Track, the Kepler Track and the Milford Track.

 

2. Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Why is this one of the best national parks in the world? Because it’s the only place on the planet where you can come face to face with a Komodo dragon – the largest and heaviest living lizard on Earth. Spread across three major volcanic islands – Rinca, Komodo and Padar – plus numerous smaller ones, this national park is one of Indonesia’s premier attractions.

But this rare reptile isn’t the only animal to call Komodo National Park home. Take a stroll through the tropical rainforests and mountainous hillsides and you’ll soon discover plenty more. Meanwhile, the turquoise seas are inhabited by tonnes of exciting marine creatures, like whales, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins and dugongs. And another incredible thing about this national park is its beaches. As well as white-sand ones, there are others with black sand and even one with pink.

Tag a visit to Komodo National Park onto a trip to Bali, or make it part of a bigger Asian adventure.

Komodo National Park

3. Kakadu National Park, Australia

As you’d expect of somewhere so big, Australia has more than its fair of national parks. But Kakadu is one of our favourites. Located in the Northern Territory, a few hours east of Darwin, it covers almost 20,000 square kilometres – making it the biggest national park in the country. Rugged and remote, it’s a tapestry of wetlands, rivers and sandstone escarpments, famed for its biodiversity. There are over 2,000 types of plant here, while residents include saltwater crocodiles, flatback sea turtles, wallaroos and bandicoots, plus one third of all Australian bird species.

Besides being a great place for a hike, boat cruise of scenic flight, Kakadu’s also considered a living cultural landscape. Its aboriginal custodians, the Bininj/Mungguy, have lived here for more than 50,000 years. You can discover some of their stories through the park’s fascinating ancient rock art.

 

4. Torres del Paine, Chile

Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Torres del Paine. It doesn’t matter how many photos you see of it, when you eventually make it here, it’s bound to take your breath away. Skirting the edge of Chilean Patagonia, it really is one of the most stunning places in all of South America.

Amongst rushing rivers, glacial valleys and sometimes-frozen lakes stands the centrepiece of the park – the Paine Massif. And it’s in this granite mountain range that you’ll find the Torres del Paine themselves – three soaring peaks which translate to ‘towers of pain’. Although spectacular at all hours of the day, they’re particularly impressive at sunrise, when they take on a vibrant orange glow.

Torres del Paine

5. Kruger National Park, South Africa

There are heaps of game reserves dotted all over Africa, but Kruger National Park is amongst the biggest. Spread across 19,485 square kilometres in South Africa’s northeast corner, it’s one of the best national parks in the world for wildlife watching. Residents include the infamous Big Five – that’s lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – plus a supporting cast of 137 other mammal species and more than 500 different types of bird.

To really get the most out of Kruger, it’s worth joining a guided game drive. But, if you’d rather to go it alone, the vast network of roads across the bushveld means a self-drive safari’s incredibly easy. The only downside to Kruger is that it’s extremely popular – so it can get crowded. If you’d prefer somewhere quieter, consider visiting one of the private game reserves on the edge of the park insteadfor your safari holiday.

 

6. Yellowstone National Park, USA

When President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law in 1872, this geothermal wonderland in the USA became the first national park anywhere on Earth. And while it faces some stiff competition, it remains one of the best national parks in the world.

Sitting on top of a volcanic hotspot, Yellowstone is situated primarily in Wyoming, but it spills out into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Besides having its very own Grand Canyon, it’s also bagged itself more than 60% of the world’s geysers. While its bubbling mud pools, mirror-like lakes and technicolour hot springs are the real crowd pleasers, the surrounding mountains, canyons and wildflower meadows shouldn’t be overlooked.

What’s more, the park’s jam-packed with incredible wildlife. Whether on a hike or boat trip, chances are you’ll spot grizzly bears, bison, moose and elk mingling with antelopes, wolves and prairie dogs.

Yellowstone National Park

7. Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Iceland goes all out when it comes to jaw-dropping scenery. But, even so, Thingvellir stands out from the crowd. Just 40 kilometres south of Reykjavik, it’s the closest national park to Iceland’s capital – and one of the three main attractions on the classic Golden Circle route.

Boasting a strikingly stark kind of beauty, it packs in dried magma fields, Icelandic moss, craggy peaks and glacial springs. The country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also considered a place of great cultural and historic significance. And Thingvellir is also a top spot for viewing the elusive Northern Lights.

Thingvellir National Park may also look familiar to certain Game of Thrones fans. That’s because it served as the backdrop for Brienne and the Hound’s famous fight scene in season four. If you’re keen to follow in the footsteps of your favourite onscreen characters, check out our roundup of blockbuster film locations to add to your bucket list.

 

8. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia 

This beautiful forest reserve in the middle of Croatia is famed for its crystalline terraced lakes. There are 16 of them in total, all connected by a series of waterfalls – some thundering and powerful, others a mere trickle. Hemmed in by densely forested hills, and populated by heron, butterflies and various types of fish, this is Croatia’s most popular natural attraction. Plus, it’s one of the best national parks in the world for water babies!

Unfortunately, swimming in the lakes is prohibited, but pathways snake around the edges and there are numerous wooden footbridges suspended above the water. It takes at least six hours to explore the whole place on foot – but you can shave off a bit of time by hopping on one of the park’s boats or shuttle buses.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

9. Timanfaya National Park, Spain

Located on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, Timanfaya National Park is one of the top attractions in the Canary Islands. Thanks to its eerie, otherworldly landscape, it draws in over one million visitors every year.

The whole thing was formed nearly 300 years ago when six years of near-continuous volcanic eruptions left the previously fertile land almost entirely devoid of life. Ever since then, it’s been a sea of black, grey and copper, adorned by frozen-in-time lava. For most people, the best part of Timanfaya National Park is the magnificent Montañas del Fuego – or ‘Mountains of Fire’.

 

10. Banff National Park, Canada

Located in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada. And much like Yosemite in the US, this place goes heavy on alpine scenery. It’s an epic combination of dense emerald forests, jewel-like lakes and, of course, towering snow-capped peaks.

Banff is a real playground for all kinds of outdoor adventurers. There are three ski resorts within the park – Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay – each of which offer varied terrain, making them suitable for skiers and boarders of all levels. But if skiing’s not your thing, other available winter activities include ice-skating, dog sledding, ice-climbing, snowshoeing and tobogganing. Meanwhile, in the warmer months, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking and horse riding are all possible. There are even a couple of golf courses. So if you’re keen to work on your swing – while also enjoying a staggeringly good view – you should certainly consider a trip.

Banff National Park

 

Keen to tick off some of the best national parks in the world? Call our experts on 020 3944 4620 and start planning your trip.

And you can book with confidence, knowing that our flexible offers are all covered by comprehensive COVID Pledge.


How to travel with just hand luggage

Read More

8 Best Apps for an Easy Holiday

Read More

Bucket List Holidays for 2022

Read More

21 Travel Experiences for 2021

Read More
Post of the month
by Tourism Australia More

Email sign up

Register to receive holiday offers, cheap flights deals, hotel offers and more.

Travelbag Travel/Leisure London

01 Jan 00:00 Read More
Travelbag's Twitter
Common Tags
24 Hours 3 days in 48 hours in 5 Reasons Abu Dhabi Activities Adventure Holiday Africa Alaska America Antigua Argentina asia Auckland Australasia Australia bahamas Bahrain Bali Bangkok Barbados Beach Holidays Beaches beer Bolivia Bora Bora Borneo Botswana Brazil California Cambodia Campervan Canada Cancun Cape Town Caribbean Central America Chicago Chile China City Breaks Colombo Colorado Cook Islands Costa Rica Cruise Holidays Cruises Cuba culture Dining Dominican Republic Dubai Ecuador Europe Family Holidays Festivals Fiji Florida food Food Trip Gold Coast Grenada Hanoi Hawaii hiking Ho Chi Minh City Hoi An holiday reading holidays Honeymoon Hong Kong India Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Luxury Holidays Indonesia Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Koh Samui Krabi kuala lumpur Langkawi Laos las vegas Latin America Literature los angeles Luxury Holidays Macau Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Melbourne Mexico Miami Middle East Montreal motorhome holidays music Myanmar Namibia Nature New England New York New Zealand North New Zealand Northen Territory Oman Oregon Orlando Penang Perth Perth Beaches Peru Phuket Qatar Quebec Queensland Queenstown Rail Travel Ras Al Khaimah Reading on holiday Road trip Safari San Francisco Scuba Diving Self-Drive Seychelles Shanghai Sightseeing Trip Singapore snorkelling South Africa South America South Australia South Carolina South New Zealand Southeast Asia Sri Lanka St Lucia Surfing Sydney Tahiti Tasmania Tennessee Texas Thailand Things To Do Tokyo Top 5 Things to Do Toronto tour trekking UAE United States USA USA Roadtrip Utah Vancouver Vietnam Vietnam Beaches Virginia Washington DC Western Australia whale watching Wildlife Wine Winter Sun
Archive
  • 2021
  • 2020
    • October
    • September
    • July
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2019
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2018
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2017
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • March
    • February
  • 2016
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2015
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2014
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2013
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
  • 2012
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
Please Wait...


We use cookies
Read more

Cookies: We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our site cookies.
See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Would you like a call back from one of our experts? X
chat with our experts
0871 703 4698
Call us until today

Schedule a call back

Date

Please Select a Date

Time

Please Select a Time

Title
Firstname

Please supply your First Name

Surname

Please supply your Surname

Phone Number
+44

Please Check the Number and Try Again

Destination

Please Select a Destination

HAKUNA-MATATA, WE'LL BE IN TOUCH

Dear , our experts will call you on , on to chat about your trip. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site for inspiration