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Explore 5 must-see national parks in Europe for Nigerians and others

Explore 5 must-see national parks in Europe for Nigerians and others

Europe’s national parks are a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. Exploring its national parks provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in nature’s beauty.

From rugged mountains to serene lakes, these parks offer an unparalleled escape. Whether trekking through alpine meadows, observing wildlife, or simply enjoying the scenery.

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For Nigerians and others, seeking an unforgettable summer adventure, here are five of Europe’s best national parks to explore.

1. Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, Spain

Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in Catalonia’s Central Pyrenees covers 14,119 hectares of diverse landscape, boasting over 200 lakes and peaks exceeding 3,000 meters.

Its rich biodiversity encompasses alpine pastures, forests, and valleys, offering stunning views like those from the Los Encantados peaks. The park’s visitor centres offer helpful insights into its ecosystem and trails.

2. Mercantour, France

Mercantour National Park, located in southeastern France, spans 2,000 square kilometers of biodiverse wilderness. Home to half of France’s plant species, it hosts chamois, marmots, and bearded vultures. Its diverse landscapes, shaped over 300 million years, include snow-capped peaks and red-rock valleys.

The park preserves a unique mountain culture, with 20,000 inhabitants practicing traditional trades like shepherding and cheesemaking. Perched villages like Belvédère and Rimplas offer stunning mountain panoramas, while Saint-Martin-Vésubie serves as an ideal base for exploration.

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3. Eifel, Germany

Eifel National Park, established in 2004, is Germany’s 14th national park and the first in North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s a “national park in development,” allowing nature to reclaim at least three-quarters of the area over thirty years.

The park has diverse landscapes shaped by volcanic activity, including dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rolling hills. Historic towns offer a charming contrast to the untamed wilderness. With barrier-free access, the park ensures everyone can enjoy its natural treasures, from endangered species to panoramic vistas.

4. Risnjak, Croatia

Risnjak National Park, near Rijeka, Croatia, established in 1953, spans 63.5 square kilometers and is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna.

Dominated by Risnjak Mountain at 1,528 meters, the park features rugged terrain, ancient beech forests, and panoramic views extending to the Adriatic Sea. Home to the elusive lynx and other wildlife, it offers scenic hiking trails and a cool respite from coastal heat and crowds.

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5. Peneda-Gerês, Portugal

Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal’s only national park, established in 1971, spans 697 square kilometers and preserves ancient customs and natural beauty.

Neolithic tombs and Roman artifacts dot the landscape, while remote granite hamlets maintain traditional shepherd life. The park’s flora includes oak and birch forests, while wildlife sightings may include roe deer, Iberian wolves, and Spanish ibex. Trails lead to stunning waterfalls and river beaches, offering refreshing mountain stream dips.