19 Best National Parks in the World

Martina Rosado
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Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park was established in 1975 precisely to protect the Indian Tiger Panthera tigris tigris. This park lies in the northern part of the Satpura Range Hills where it is home to over 200 species of birds, 75 species of mammals, 9 species of reptiles, and 20 species of amphibians.

Ranthambore National Park is ranked the No. 1 Tiger Reserve as well as the No. 2 Top Tiger Reserves in the entire world.

Ranthambore National Park’s landscape is known to be wild, and an ideal habitat of Tiger Panthera tigris tigris. It is one of the most isolated forests in India that even exist in the dry climate of the lower country.

It will be nice not to have to travel far for visiting this national park since it will be very easy to arrive in Ranthambhore from Delhi, Mumbai, or anywhere from any major cities in India.

Since this national park is known to have Tigers, having this one protected all over the world in the wild is a great benefit to the tiger population.

This would be a great way to see a Tiger in the wild. Being in a national park means you don't have to worry about disturbing any wild animals so you can turn the camera off and just enjoy the experience of being in the wild, without worrying about any cameras.

Vatnajokull National Park

Location: Iceland

Terrain: Mountain and glacier streams

Flora and fauna: Whale watching

Number of tourists: 1 million

Year developed: 1950

A view of the natural beauty of Iceland's Vatnajokull National Park. Photo by Brian Mink.

Vatnajokull National Park is an area of mountainous ice and boggy ground in the south of Iceland, covering 3,203 square kilometres (1,230 sq mi). It is in the south of Iceland, near Jokulsaír and Jokulsargljufur, in the south of the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and in the outflow of the glacier river Jokull. It is mostly referred to by tourists as part of the Golden Circle that includes the other two most visited national parks, and is part of the greater Vatnajokull National Park. It is the most popular of the three national parks for visitors to Iceland, and is also one of Iceland’s largest glaciers.

The area was first explored in the middle of the 19th century by European researchers, and has continued to be studied for astronomical research, geomorphology, glaciology, and research on soil composition, permafrost, and local vegetation types. It was named a national park on 25 September 1974, and is part of the Arctic Circle UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica.

Etosha National Park

Namibia.

Location: Northern Africa, South of Botswana

Average Temperature (In Celsius): Spring – High 14-17, Low 12-10

Summer – High 24-30, Low 18-13.

Autumn – High 14-18, Low 10-9.

Winter – High 9-14, Low 3-7.

Etosha is a massive open plain formed from ancient volcanic activity that stretches 37,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) from the Kalahari to the Gobobeb Mountains along the coast of the Gulf of Tswana in northern Namibia.

The plain covers approximately 110,000 km2 (42,000 sq mi), an area almost as large as the United Kingdom, and is commonly referred to as the “African Serengeti.” The park forms a transition between the Great Escarpment to the east and the Kalahari Desert to the west.

Jiuzhaigou National Park

China.

Jiuzhaigou National Park is a national park in the Jiuzhaigou Valley in the western part of Sichuan Province, China. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 25 December 1992.

The park is located in a temperate zone along the valley, covering an area of 78,718.5 hectares, and with elevations ranging from around 1,200 meters to 7,400 meters above sea level. The valley is surrounded by mountains, from the west being the Qujingli Nanling, from the southwest the Jinshaling, from the south the Tangza, and from the east the Dabieshan and the Nanzhushan.

The Jiuzhaigou Valley is one of the foremost tourist attractions of southwest China, and one of the ten major scenic zones of the People’s Republic of China. More than 2.5 million tourists visit the park annually and spend an estimated 1.7 billion RMB. However, overgrazing, pollution, illegal road-building and explosion of tourism have caused some degradation of the wildlife and the landscapes.

Torres del Paine National Park

Located in the southern part of Patagonia region, Torres del Paine National Park is a Chilean protected area that was formed to preserve the unique ecosystem and bears of the area.

Starting from Paine Massif and Foraker Point, three of the most important peaks in the area, the park is named after them. It is also home to the glacier painted landscape, which attracts hikers that love trekking through glaciers.

You will also have the opportunity to camp on the glacier lake; however, you will need to make reservations in advance.

The park is also considered for its resistance to the largest earthquake in the history of South America, in 1960. Those who want to see the monument of the earthquake can do it from a lookout point that is currently renovated.

The park is also loved for the different wildlife you can see, most notably the rought-necked falcon and the caracara … bird of prey that mostly hunts skink.

Finally, what makes the park even more special is the Torres del Paine food tour, which is a must if you are planning a visit.

Most of all, the park is famous, on account of its natural beauty and picturesque land formations, of which some are carved by glaciers, and others by the wind.

Plitvice National Park

Croatia (Avg Reviews: 5.0)

Goreme National Park

Turkey.

The Goreme National Park, which can be found in Cappadocia, Turkey, is literally filled with goblins. Goblins may very well have been the original rock artists. Picture hundreds of dome-shaped monasteries that were carved by hand out of the soft volcanic rock that exists there. This park is a truly amazing place to see, and while it is one of the smallest parks on this list, it is definitely one of the most unique.

This park certainly has a specialty dining location or two: the “Mother and Baby Cave.” That’s the name for a cave that is carved into the shape of an underground baby. Since this is literally a birth, you won’t be allowed into the cave, but you can take pictures of it and marvel at the sheer creative genius of the builders.

You could spend a whole day in this park, but if you have a few hours, keep your eye out for “The Cappadocia Green Line,” which marks the longest lava tube in the world.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a naturally beautiful part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the western part of the United States. Part of the Yosemite Valley is actually located in Yosemite National Park (the other side of Wawona Road is the El Portal/Mono County side, which has additional wilderness areas within it).

The total area of the park is 1,189.91 square kilometers (460.86 sq mi), which is slightly smaller than Rhode Island. More than one million years ago, the Yosemite Valley had its beginnings as a lake. Thousands of years later, the natural power of erosion began to shape the land in the form of granite cliffs and columns.

The Great Fire of 1865 destroyed the vast majority of the forest covering the Yosemite area. Yosemite has its own micro-climate. Similar to Santa Monica, it is warmer than the other parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and has a very small chance of snow in the winter.

Yosemite Valley was a prime destination for early 20th century American artists, as it features a large variety of different stone strata, precipitous rock faces and numerous rock formations, such as Half Dome. Yosemite Valley is surrounded by high country of sequoia groves and meadows.

Kakadu National Park

Australia.

Discovered by local crocodiles, the Kakadu National Park covers some 3,800 square km of northern Australia. As the name implies, Kakadu is a difficult, wet, and tropical region. The park hosts one of the largest numbers of waterfalls in the world, as well as ancient rock art and ancient cave, deep gorges, and even two lakes which were formed inside old volcanic craters.

The park also offers a chance to enjoy a variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, wombats, the web-footed platypus, marsupials, and 60 different species of birds, as well as more threats, including saltwater crocodiles.

As well as Kakadu, searching the outback can also procure other destinations such as the Mungo National Park, the Kimberley Rainforests, and the Gibo Gorge National Park in New South Wales.

You might also enjoy Golden Gate National Park, the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania, and the Pacific Coast in the United States.

Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park is in the region of Bolívar, in the Venezuelan Andean National System, in the state of Amazonas.

It was created on February 27, 1980, with an area of 120,853.0 hectares, it has the "largest waterfall in the world", however due to logging this second largest waterfall will soon disappear.

It is home to the legendary Angel Falls, at 779 m.

Carrao Falls is a 220-metre high waterfall.

The main attraction for visitors is the Central Cryptoporticus section of the park.

Some of the animals you meet at Canaima are: the spider monkey, the agouti, the titi, the tucunare, the coatimundi, the hutia mouse, the toucan, the leaf-tailed saki and the tapir.

It has an altitude of 740 m. to 765 m.

Komodo National Park

The Komanawa Komodo National Park is a protected area of indonesia, which is home to megafauna including komodo dragons, the largest lizard in the world.

This national park lies about 10 degrees north of Kuta and is known for its amazing biodiversity, comprising ecosystems such as mangrove swamps, peat swamps, white sand beaches and coral reefs.

Komodo National Park is not only known for its diverse ranges of plants and animals but for its unique geological wonders as well. You will enjoy the green landscapes of the island along with the yellow sands of the north and the low sea level in the south.

The park also consists of marine reserves and a marine park. The Jodolo, the largest volcanic island in the southeast of Komodo, and Gili Motang, which has a river system, are also part of the national park.

The history of the park began in 1958 when the Indonesian government decided to establish the park in an area formerly occupied by a headhunting tribe.

The park was renamed Komodo National Park in 1992.

The park is part of the Nusa Tenggara province, which is the northernmost part of the island of Indonesia.

The park offers an amazing diversity of landscape, climate and forms of life to its visitors.

Kruger National Park

Located in South Africa and bordering Swaziland, this park makes up an area of 10,383 square kilometers. If it were a country, it would be the 37th largest in the world. It is home to a wide variety of animals including lions, leopards, cheetahs and rhinos. It is possible to encounter all these as well as giraffes, elephants and a great deal of other wildlife. This would be one of the best places to take a trip with the family or a significant other. It is also possible to go on safari here.

Matterhorn

This mountain that attracts the most tourists every year despite not being the tallest, but is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. It is located in Switzerland and lies at the intersection of three countries: Valais, Bern, and Italy. There are more than one thousand miles of hiking trails to explore. There are also endless opportunities for snow boarding, skiing, and ice climbing in the winter time. For those who enjoy being in nature, this is one of the best places to go.

Peter Iredale

The Great Barrier Reefs is one of the most incredible places to visit. This is one spot in which you could never tire of exploring. They are located in Queensland, Australia. This part of the world has been around for thousands of years but has had its name changed many times over.

Fiordland National Park

New Zealand.

Even though it’s a remote, rugged and beautiful wilderness, Fiordland National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the world. It’s an attraction for locals and international tourists alike and usually has around 30,000 visitors per year.

Fiordland National Park is home to various types of fauna, including yellow-eyed penguins, native gecko, and wildlife like tusked billy and greater spotted kiwi.

The large wetlands and clear streams will enchant you with the various freshwater species here such as brown, chasm and black trout, velvet and brook trout, and golden eye.

The park is also home to five hydrothermal features that are hot springs that are present thanks to hot geothermal magma from the Earth’s crust and the shallow groundwater. These natural geothermal attractions not only attract tourists, but they are also a guaranteed investment for the future.

Finally, Fiordland National Park is home to the secretive yellow-eyed penguins. These penguins are one of the world’s rarest penguin sub-species, providing a parasite-free and disease-free food source for the animals of Fiordland.

Iguazu National Park

(Brazil)

Iguazu National Park is located in the Iguazu River region. Iguazu National Park covers some 2,800 square miles and encompasses large portions of the countries of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and most of Uruguay. The park’s terrain is diverse and ranges from the lowland tropical rainforest to the Andean foothills and high peaks.

Iguazu National Park contains several prominent landforms – many of which have cultural significance. There are also two divergent rivers – the more western is called the Iguazu Falls, which lies on the border of Argentina and Brazil, and the more eastern one is called the Parana River.

The Iguazu National Park is home to over a hundred endemic species – which include the Iguazu lemming. The air is also home to many birds, including the ibis. The number of insects found in the region is surprising.

The flora in the park reaches a height of between 3 to 6 feet and consists of herbaria, papaya trees, and the lechuguilla. The fauna is abundant and includes the capybara, tapir, gray parrot, manatee, and guanaco.

Banff National Park

Alberta.

Banff National Park is an amazing place to visit for anyone. Whether you kayak the Bow River or take a hike, it is a wonderful place. The mountains in the area are great for wildlife watching and the warm waters of the Elbow River are excellent for fishing. An unforgettable experience is biking the Icefields Parkway. This 8 kilometer long, paved road is the largest paved mountain bike trail in the world, and it is rated as one of the top ten trails in the world for mountain bikers.

The incredible mountain scenery is changing from year to year, due to the influence of climate change. The glaciers in the area are melting, changing the whole area. The activities in the park have increased in recent years with the development of backcountry campsites.

This is a park where you can do a lot of things for a long time.

There is so much to do, and I am pleasantly surprised by the problem solving of the tourists who are literally around the world. I’m not referring to the couple from America who stay in the most remote point of the park, or a Japanese couple who come with their little daughter. But the local fisherman who comes with his little raft, which he welds together. And there is a person who knows for sure how to repair any broken canoe.

Galapagos National Park

Ecuador.

» The Galapagos Islands are incredibly special. These islands, 180 miles west of the coast of Ecuador, are considered one of the greatest marine biological reserves in the world.

» The islands are home to animal species that are unique because of their evolutionary changes. There are lizard species that are no longer found anywhere else and another species of cactus that have evolved to move with the wind and collect nesting material in their leaves. There are also giant tortoises, some of which are over 200 years old.

» The Galapagos are known as the "Darwin's Atoll." Charles Darwin conducted a variety of studies in the area, including making his famous discovery of natural selection.

» The park is largely dry, and it is at a much more manageable temperature than the equatorial regions of the South American continent. The reason for this is because the Galapagos Islands are actually the remains of a volcano.

» The wildlife of the Galapagos Islands are generally quite tame, even congregating at the main park, offering colorful tours to visitors.

» The Galapagos National Park has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A special conservation program called the Galapagos Islands Essential Conservation Areas was initiated in order to protect the unique and fragile ecosystem of the region.

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park is the first and one of the world’s largest national parks.

Just to be clear on the distinction, Yellowstone National Park lies within the borders of the state of Wyoming. It covers 4,916 square miles, with around 7,000 animals and 278 species of plants.

Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. This American property is known for its geothermal features. The earth’s heat radiates and is warmed up within the park itself. This warmth is then released at high temperatures when geysers erupt from the ground, creating a tremendous spring of hot water.

The park also features many different wildlife species. The most famous of which is the grizzly bear, which is a threatened species.

Other residents include wolves, elk, mountain goats, bison, and bighorn sheep.

Yellowstone National Park is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country. The scenery here is such a wonder that is has been featured in many movies.

In fact, several like ”°Into The Wild” and ”National Treasure,” have been filmed at this magical place. For those nature lovers who would like to take a tour of the national park, you can drive by it at 90 miles (per hour).

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania.

Serengeti National Park is found in the south of Africa, its habitat provides an oasis for people who seek adventure in their lives. This park provides visitors with views of the Serengeti, a large region that is home to many of the most well-known species of the animal.

The Serengeti is one of the most widespread areas in Africa having a huge area of grassland and forest which provide many natural resources.

Every year millions of tourists visit the Serengeti National Park to visit the wildlife in this park and this helps to sustain this wonderful park with its natural resources.

Serengeti national park is the only place in the world where one can find the endangered species of African wild dogs, cheetahs, lions, rhinos, as well as tons of other animals. This is also the only place in the world where one may see almost all the other game species found in Africa.

Some species that are found in this park only elsewhere in Africa are mountain reedbuck, roan antelope, black wildebeest and hartebeest.

Serengeti National Park is also home to incredible wildlife such as elephants, buffalos, Hyenas and wolves which make the Serengeti the best place in the world to see wild animals.