Europe boasts some of the most incredible landscapes, ecosystems, geological formations and environmental wonders the Earth is able to offer us as human beings. Besides anthropological and historical factors of nationality, nature is each country’s pride and joy for its unique fashion in adding unaltered, raw beauty to an otherwise barren scenery.
The 500 National Parks scattered across the continent act as lungs to our atmosphere, heart to our recreative desires, and habitat to countless species of wild animals. With the menacing effects of man-made climate change catching up to us, it’s our responsibility to recognize their singularity, protect their biodiversity and discourage or ban any activity that might potentially harm their anatomy.
With carefully analysed virtual data gathered by the UK-based energy-comparing company SaveOnEnergy, a team of experts considered factors such as size, location and hundreds of Tripadvisor reviews/ratings to assemble a list of Top 10 European Countries with the Highest-Rated National Parks, and a list of Best National Parks with a perfect 10/10 (100%) Score.
TOP 10 HIGHEST-RATED COUNTRIES
1. Ukraine (9.73):
At the top of the list are Ukraine’s 8 National Parks with an average score of 9.73. The highest-ranking goes to the mountainous region of Carpathian National Nature Park (9.75). The entire area of this Park stretches for 515.7 km2, where 3,834 km2 is safeguarded from any economic activity.
2. Slovenia (9.72):
Compared to the size of Ukraine, Slovenia is tiny! But its only National Park is marvellous. Triglav National Park follows as a close second with its high peaks and steep valleys of the Julian Alps, and the two crystal-clear rivers Soča and the Sava, respectively flowing into the Adriatic and Black Seas.
3. Slovakia (9.69):
In third place, is the Central European country of Slovakia. In contrast to its neighbour at the top of the list, Slovakia is relatively small in surface area but it possesses 9 National Parks with an average Tripadvisor score of 9.69! With a flawless ranking of 10/10, Muranska Planina National Park takes the lead as one of the most beautifully preserved parks in the area.
4. Bulgaria (9.64):
Boasting 3 protected National Parks, 11 nature parks and 55 nature reserves overall, Bulgaria comes 4th in the ranking, with an average of 9.64 and located at its centre, the Central Balkan National Park scores the highest with 9.86. This park is especially interesting due to its wide variety of animal species, forest foliage, geological foundations and waterfalls that allow a real treat to anyone who visits.
5. Switzerland (9.6):
It’s certainly no surprise that Switzerland should be ranked this high on the list, despite only holding onto 1 National Park. Located at the Eastern half of the country in the Western Rhaetian Alps, the Swiss National Park belongs to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and was founded on the 1st of August 1914 (Switzerland’s National holiday). The Park owns 21 hiking routes and authorities are determined to keep the area clean, safe and free of alterations by categorizing it as a strict nature reserve, the highest IUCN level of protection.
6. Denmark (9.58):
With an average score of 9.58, the Scandinavian country of Denmark owns 6 National Parks. Five of them are confined within the pancake-flat topography of the region. However, the remaining one with a pristine 10/10 ranking, is outside of Denmark’s geographical reach, but still belongs to the Danish Kingdom: The Northeast Greenland National Park. It is considered the Earth’s largest National Park, protecting 972,000 km² of interior and coastal Greenland. The Park has no permanent human population, but it is home to wonderful Arctic species such as the musk ox, the polar bear and the walrus.
7. Austria (9.57):
Taking the 7th spot on the list, Austria’s 7 National Parks collectively score 9.57 on average- And Gesäuse National Park leads with a rating of 9.82. This magnificent protected territory stretches across the Upper Styrian region unto the Ennstal Alps. Its mountain ranges, turbulent rivers and dense forests are hailed by adventure, sports and nature enthusiasts during every single annual season.
8. Czech Republic (9.53):
A total of 4 National Parks comprise the Czech Republic’s environmental beauty. The one with the best ranking (9.57) is the Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní park České Švýcarsko). With only a 2 hour drive from Prague, this protected area takes you to the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe, a rock labyrinth and numerous steep valleys, high mountain summits with panoramic views and historic castles.
9. France (9.49):
In ninth place, France is recognized for its charming natural areas, comprised of 10 National Parks. The best ranked of them all is Mercantour National Park (9.78), located in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The marked hiking paths following through its 7 valleys attract more than 800,000 visitors every year, and climbers can be awe-struck at the ancient petroglyphs dating back to the Bronze Age.
10. United Kingdom (9.45):
Finally, the UK’s 15 National Parks conclude this Top 10 list, with an average score of 9.45. Out of all of them, Tripadvisor data points towards Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as the most memorable of them all, reaching 9.73 out of 10. It covers the entire coastal region of Pembrokeshire county, west of Wales, and is considered the only National Park in the UK entirely embraced by wild and maritime landscapes. It is also a geological wonder due to its rock formations shaped by the elements as arches, cliffs, stacks and sea caves.
NATIONAL PARKS WITH PERFECT 10/10 SCORE
For the purpose of clarity towards the reader, we’d like to share SaveOnEnergy‘s compilation of every National Park in Europe that has received a full score; meaning that online reviews and ratings have positioned them as 100% recommendable, popular and desirable for respectful visitors. These hyperlinks will direct you to their respective Destination Management Organisations (DMO’s):
- Tofsingdalen National Park
- Padjelanta National Park
- Sonfjallet National Park
- Djuro National Park
- Vadvetjakka National Park
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel Carson