The top 10 national parks worldwide
National parks offer breathtaking landscapes in remote places where travellers can view unspoiled nature in protected areas.
trivago has compiled its top 10 most spectacular nature reserves, out of the hundreds located around the world - from deserted islands and coral reefs close to the Venezuelan coast, mountain villages in Liguria or carnivorous plants in the Irish moorlands – away from the well known parks, untouched regions offer picture perfect experiences.
These are the top 10 national parks that trivago travellers favour the most:
1. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile (Última Esperanza)
In the spectacular landscape of the Chilean Torres del Paine National Park, visitors can experience a combination of mountains, emerald-green lakes and icy glaziers. The top attraction in the national park are the three tower-like rock formations “Torres del Paine” – the blue towers. In the spectacular and impressive landscape, travellers can stay in small camps or simple hotels with the basic creature comforts. High on the daily agenda are hikes through the snow-covered summits and valleys and kayaking tours.
2. Tikal National Park, Guatemala (El Petén)
In the Tikal National Park guests are deeply immersed in the Maya culture. In Tikal, the largest excavated area on the American continent, travellers find six square miles of temples, palaces and other fascinating remnants from the Mayan civilisation. The local Maya left the area over 1,000 years ago and left an archaeological gem. The region in the north of Guatemala is a nature reserve: In the jungle, visitors come face to face with many apes, parrots and large toucans.
3. Jasper National Park, Canada (Alberta)
In the largest national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, visitors can follow the trails of grizzly bears, coyotes and wolves. The fissured mountain landscape in Athabasca Valley has sparkling seas and enormous glaciers. The impressive Columbia Icefields feed the eight large glaciers; the adventurous traveller can take special bus tours around the area. In the summer the national park offers many mountain bike and rafting tours, in the winter numerous adventurous ski routes are accessible to travellers. The beauty of Jasper National Park speaks for itself: With two million visitors per year it is one of the most popular national parks in Canada.
4. Cinque Terre National Park, Italy (Liguria)
The picture perfect area in Liguria, Italy, has been conserved for many years. On mountains that hang over the ocean, five colourful villages – die Cinque Terre – are dispersed around the landscape. Small hotels and bed and breakfasts offer amazing views over the pictorial “Bay of Poets” in the golf of Genoa. On the many walking trails through the five villages and the open countryside, visitors have fantastic views over the ocean. The so-called Lovers Walk “Via Dell’Amore” owes its name to a romantic history: For a long time residents from the small villages Riomaggiore and Manarola had to take on cumbersome ways to visit their neighbours. The current walking route now connects the villages with an easily accessible path.
5. Nairobi National Park, Kenya (Nairobi)
Nairobi National Park offers travellers a taste of African wildlife. Guests to the national park can expect to see lions, cheetahs and zebras, as well as over 400 different species of birds. In addition, the park also has one of the most successful conservation areas for rhinos. Animal fanatics have the rare opportunity to see a black rhino in its natural habitat. Kenya’s top rated national park is too small for elephants – however a world famous raising centre for young elephants regularly opens its doors to visitors. The park consists predominantly of Savanna landscapes. In the west the highlands extend with extensive forests as well as valleys and seasonal streams.
6. Arches National Park, USA (Utah)
In the Red Rocks in Utah, visitors can view approximately 2,000 naturally grown stone arches. At 14 metres high, the Delicate Arch is the largest pillar of them all. The rock formations are constantly changing due to the results of natural erosion. The colours and forms in the unusual landscape in the Colorado plateau cannot be seen elsewhere around the world. Visitors can go on explore the area on jeep safaris, by foot on one of the many walking paths or by kayak on the Colorado River. Arches National Park is also a popular destination for mountain climbers: Free climbing is permitted on many of the cliffs.
7. Connemara National Park, Ireland (Connaught)
In the west of the Republic of Ireland lies the picturesque Connemara National Park. The extensive moorland used to partly be a farming area – the Kylemore Abbey. Remnants from the past settling can still be seen: Visitors can discover 4,000 year old megalithic chamber graves. Today visitors can ride on wild Connemara ponies through the park; besides them many red deer can be spotted. The colours of the landscape are determined by the multicoloured heath herb. Botanical fans are able to discover many types of orchids and carnivorous plants, such as Sun Rope. Some of the mountains within the park belong to the Twelve Bens, an Irish mountain course, which promises spectacular views across the country.
8. Archipelago Los Roques National Park, Venezuela (Vargas)
105 miles from the Venezuelan coast, 42 islands and numerous sand banks form the Archipelago Los Roques National Park. Due to the distance from the mainland, visitors can experience almost untouched nature with some of the best preserved coral reefs in the world. The different water colours from dark blue to turquoise green and the clear white sandy beaches offer visitors something new every day. Travellers can explore the small islands and sandbanks by boat. Visitors can then experience how it feels to be stranded on a deserted island for a day. Everywhere on the Archipelago so-called Posadas await guests: South American style hotels are small family-run houses, located in rural areas.
9. Picos de Europa National Park, Spain (Asturias, Cantabria, Castle and León)
The largest Spanish National Park runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. The mountainous landscape is a paradise for hikers: For a quick walker it takes around five hours to conquer the Cares ravine that divides the mountain chain Picos de Europa in half. At a height of 1,100 metres in the Asturian part of the park, the Covadonga lakes offer fantastic panoramic views. Travellers can take in breathtaking views over the mountains from Santa María Real Basilica in Covadonga. The chapel of Covadonga is built into a rock cave and is a Mecca for many pilgrims. In the evening holidaymakers can retreat to one of the so-called Sidrerias, where they can drink Spanish apple cider.
10. Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany (Bavaria)
The Berchtesgaden National Park is the only German national park that still has many small mountain pastures and farmers. Steep mountain slopes rise up to the sky and the Königssee in the centre rests at the foot of the 2,713 metre high Mount Watzmann. The Bavarian landscape is characterised by many different types of mountains. Hikers on the innumerable walking routes meet with chamois and the Capricorn. Different types of gentian and the protected Edelweiss make for a perfect alpine adventure.
The top 10 national park ranking is based on the most popular search requests from July to September 2009 on trivago.co.uk as well as the best rated National Parks on trivago. trivago has more than 100,000 reviews for tourist attractions around the world, available on one site.
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