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25 Best National Parks in the World 2021

best national parks in the world

The best national parks in the world are those that have a specific feeling of grandeur and awe. The best national parks are those that have preserved some of the oldest and most impressive landscapes. For this reason, the most popular national parks are also often the best national parks.

There are many diverse and beautiful national parks to visit. There are also many diverse and beautiful countries to visit them in.

We have put together this list of the best national parks in the world to help peg down your options when it comes to vacation destinations, and each one is amazing in its way.

Read more to check out the 25 best national parks in the world:

Best National Parks in the World

1. Cotopaxi National Park

Located in Ecuador, Cotopaxi National Park is a national park renowned for its fantastic landscape. Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park was created in 1973 and is home to many endangered species like pumas, spectacled bears, and Andean condors.

The national park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique geology.

2. Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

Sagarmatha National Park is also recognized as one of the best national parks in the world because it is the most extensive protected area in Nepal and harbors wildlife not found anywhere else. It has a rich cultural history and is home to many ancient temples. It is also the base camp for Everest trekkers.

Read how to plan for an Everest Base Camp trek here.

3. Serengeti National Park

great migration at serengeti

Serengeti National Park is the best national park in Africa that is also the best spot for incredible game drives.

It has over twice as many wildebeest in its population as the next-largest parks and more than twice as many lions-  it is home to nearly 2,000 lions, making it one of the largest wild cat populations in the world.

It is best to visit this national park in time for the Great Migration. Well, you can see predators hunting out and about for their prey but watching the Great Migration is an experience that will last a lifetime.

It is better if you take a hot air balloon to see the best views of the Serengeti plains. Click here to book a safari tour to Serengeti

Read about the top destinations to visit in Africa.

4. Kakadu National Park

Located in Australia, Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Site set aside for conservation and research by UNESCO.

It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and contains some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. It is home to approximately 2,000 plant species and has the highest levels of biodiversity found anywhere on earth.
Besides, it is also home to Aboriginal people and thus, promotes rich Aboriginal culture.

5. Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park

Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park and one of the most popular National Parks in the United States. It was established in 1872 to conserve the natural beauty, and geological formations discovered during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The park is the second largest in the country, with a total area of over 2.2 million acres. Yellowstone’s diverse ecosystems include woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands in addition to geysers, mud pots, and hot springs that cause the park to be famous for tourists.

One of the major attractions of Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Canyon. Besides, you can also see grizzly bears, wolves, and the largest buffalo herd you’ve seen in America.

6. Banff National Park

Banff National Park is situated in the province of Alberta’s Canadian Rocky Mountains. The national park is also called “the little slice of heaven.” It is Canada’s first national park to be created, having been established in 1885.

The national park is full of scenic beauty and breathtaking sites where you can go for a splendid hike. Banff National Park is home to an abundance of animals such as elk, deer, black bears, bighorn sheep, and various birds. Besides, you can visit lakes and caves in the park.

7. Iguazu National Park

You have probably heard about the iconic Iguazu Falls that has been listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The national park is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

On the other hand, Iguazu National Park is a World Heritage Site set aside for the preservation of wildlife and scenery in South America. It is located on the border between Argentina and Brazil and houses the Iguazu waterfalls too.

Established in 1934, this park is home to many rare species such as the jaguar, tirica, South American tapir, jaguarundi, anteater, yacare caiman, and the black-fronted piping guan.

8. Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is a national park found in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. Established in 1952, Fiordland National Park is one of the best national parks in New Zealand because of its beautiful landscape and remote feel.

It makes it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. The trails also offer splendid views of glacier-carved fiords, mountains, and lakes.

9. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park in South Africa offers impressive biodiversity and tourist-friendly game parks. The national park houses the big five- lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes, and hundreds of animals and bird species.

The national park is best explored on a classic safari tour that lets you hop on a 4×4 and go see the wildlife. Not to mention, Kruger National Park also offers luxury lodges as well as camping spots. You can visit Kruger as a family or go there for a honeymoon trip.

Read other cool activities to do in South Africa.

10. Komodo National Park

komodo national park

Komodo National Park is an island nature reserve located on three islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, of Indonesia. Founded in 1980, the national park is home to Komodo dragons (the world’s most giant lizard) and sea turtles. It also has a variety of ecosystems.

Another great activity besides exploring nature is going for a scuba dive, so make sure to take your swimsuit with you.

11. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is located in the northern-most and western-most portions of California, United States. The park is home to waterfalls, deep valleys, grand meadows with wildflowers that all make up for excellent hiking trails.

Yosemite National Park’s hiking trails can be enjoyed by inexperienced hikers as well. The guided tours will take you to the most famous landmarks in Yosemite are the Half Dome and El Captain.

Wind up in Yosemite’s lakes and relax at a teahouse overlooking the beautiful sceneries.

12. Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine National Park, located in Chile is home to granite peaks, glaciers, lakes, and forests. The park hosts the best hiking trails- the W trek and the O Circuit, in Chile due to its low altitude and relative proximity to the capital city.

Do you know that W trek has been listed as one of the best treks in the world? Click here to learn more

The national park is known for its beautiful scenery that captures the imagination of thousands of hikers every year. Plus, this 448,000 acres national park is home to llamas, guanacos, penguins, and whales.

13. Etosha National Park

best national parks in the world: etosha national park

Etosha National Park, established as a game reserve in 1907 in Namibia is renowned for its vast salt span.

Going on a game drive at Etosha National Park will show you various species like lions, elephants, leopards, hippos, and FLAMINGOS. Yes, flamingos are prevalent in Etosha, especially at the salt span after it rains. Thus, Etosha gives you a spectacular wildlife experience.

You can also hike at the national park.

14. Galapagos National Park

Galapagos National Park is the first national park of Ecuador which is also enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The national park is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, which also had inspired Charles Darwin’s research on natural selection and evolution.

The mammals, plant, and fish species of this national park cannot be found anywhere else in the world. They even have their species of tortoises and lizards; how cool is that, right?

Additionally, it is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where penguins exist.

The best way to explore this national park is on a cruise ride. It can be costly, but it’s totally worth the bucks.

15. Daintree National Park, Australia

The Daintree National Park is another biologically diverse rainforest in the world that houses Australia’s 30% of frog population, 65% of butterfly and bats.

You will have the experience of a lifetime as you hike through the rainforests and encounter crocodiles, birds, and animals. Daintree River tour is equally fun as you get to cruise the Great Barrier Reef.

If you are looking for more adventure, ride a horse and take a scenic drive around the national park.

16. Abisko National Park, Sweden

The Abisko National Park is a national park in the north of Sweden that boasts majestic mountains and views of the Abiskodalen valley.

Visiting this national park is a serene feeling as you walk through alpine meadows and picturesque rapids. You will also come across Scandinavia’s largest alpine lake.

During summer, you get to experience the midnight sun as well.

17. Maasai Mara National Park

The Maasai Mara National Park is the largest national park in Kenya. It is located in the southwestern part of the country. It is the most popular safari park in Kenya and, well, all of Africa.

Visit Maasai Mara from July to October to see the famous wildebeest migration. Going on a safari during this time will help you get up close with lions, cheetahs, and leopards too.

The national park is full of life with its diverse flora and fauna, and another best way to check it out is by taking a hot air balloon ride.

18. Namib-Naukluft National Park

Established in 1907, Namib-Naukluft National Park is a national park that is one of a kind in all of Africa.

Take a trip to the park for the magical sunset views of the desert and its sand dunes. You can also take a tour to a local village and experience traditional life and culture.

Other activities to try at the Namib-Naukluft National Park are hiking, 4WD tours, and historical tours.

19. Thingvellir National Park

best national parks in the world: Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park, located east of Reykjavik, Iceland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Watched the TV show “Game of Thrones”? Well, Thingvellir was where it was filmed. However, the national park gains its popularity not just because it is a film shooting destination but because it is the world’s oldest existing parliament.

The national park houses volcanic mountains that are yet to erupt. Plus, it also has lakes where you can go snorkeling.

20. Cinque Terre National Park

Cinque Terre National Park, Italy, is one of the most beautiful places in the world, established in 1999. It is a marine and coastal national park covered by sea cliffs, wildflowers, and colorfully painted houses. Cinque Terre National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cinque Terre national park is known for its dramatic rugged coast, picturesque fishing villages, and colorful landscapes. The best part about Cinque Terre National Park is that you can hike along the trails and experience Italian culture. You can go for a swim in between your hikes along the trails.

In Cinque Terre National Park, you can try water-based activities like boat rides, snorkeling, and kayaking. These activities will let you explore the waterside caves of Cinque Terre.

All in all, you will see the fantastic views of the Mediterranean coastline when in Cinque Terre National Park.

Read about the popular cities to visit in Italy here.

21. Tatra National Park

Tatra is a national park located in southern Poland, and its mountains create a border between Poland and Slovakia. Tatra is one of the most scenic parks in Europe due to its sharp-jagged peaks and grandeur rock formations.

With an area of 81.71 miles, it houses one of the Alpine mountain ranges and various caves and streams. The national park also has various flora and fauna like grey wolves, brown bears, and European otters. Eagles and falcons are prevalent in this national park too.

Because of these reasons, Tatra National Park has been recognized as one of the top 30 national parks in the world.

22. Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Canaima National Park is another most popular natural park in South America that houses the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls. It is also one of the largest national parks in the world.

Canaima National Park’s beauty is enhanced through the grassy savannahs and flat-topped mountains, making it a famous hiking spot.

A trip to Canaima will not only show you the beauty of landscapes but also the wild species such as the three-toed sloths, pumas, capybaras. You will also see orchid’s hundred species all in one place.

Canaima truly is a picturesque destination, and it is best if you go on a three-day hike and a canoe trip on the base of the Angel Falls to explore this national park fully.

23. Grand Canyon National Park

best national parks in the world: grand canyon national park

The Grand Canyon is a vast natural chasm located in the state of Arizona, United States. It is one of the world’s best national parks.

The national park welcomes you with incredible rock formations and millions of years of geological history.
You can explore this national park by hiking, rafting, or by going on a helicopter ride.

If you are hiking, check out the views from several viewpoints like Mather point, Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower, and the Yavapai Observation Studio.

You should also spend a day rafting down the Colorado River to explore the national parks by water.

24. Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is one of the tourist-favorite spots to see the wildlife in Nepal. Located on the Terai Lowlands of south-central Nepal, Chitwan National Park has dense forests that are home to rare wild animals, including the one-horned rhinoceros and Bengal tigers.

The national park also has an elephant sanctuary and a crocodile breeding center.

The national park is best explored on an elephant safari or a jeep safari. However, if you feel like you are ethically doing wrong by going on an elephant safari, a jeep safari will always be there for you.

You should also go canyoning on the Rapti river and check out the crocodiles lurking on the shores. It will be a thrilling experience indeed.

25. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park and is the only major park in the world located within a country’s borders. It protects an enormous volcanic mass and the highest mountain of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro (4877m), in its vicinity.

Kilimanjaro National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It houses the big five and other wild animals like giraffes, bushbucks, and zebras. Going on game drives will be an incredible experience as you get to see the animals on the beautiful grass plains with a background of Mount Kilimanjaro.

If you are looking for more adventure, climb the Mountain. Beginners and professionals can both conquer the mountain.

Here we have it, the best national parks in the world. Let us know which one would you like to add to your travel bucket list?

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