Where are the 10 largest national parks in Europe located?
The largest nature reserves on the European continent, which have arisen from natural influences and whose further development is to be protected from human interference and environmental pollution, are not necessarily to be found in the largest countries. Here you can find out which countries you have to travel to if you want to visit the 10 largest national parks in Europe.
The largest country in the world has some large nature reserves to offer
The Kenosero National Park is located in northwestern Russia, which, with an area of 1397 square kilometers, ranks tenth in our ranking. Huge forest areas, deep lakes and desert-like wastes are, in addition to the prevailing silence and often freezing cold, the “main attractions” for visitors from all over the world. The Smolenskoye Pooserje, which stretches over 1462 square kilometers and is located in the Russian town of Smolensk, near the Belarusian border, ranks 9th. UNESCO made it a biosphere reserve in 2002, which is further evidence of the naturally growing fauna and flora here.
The “Waldai” is a national park and cultural landscape in one and occupies eighth place with its 158,000 hectares. With its extensive forests, it is not only a popular excursion and holiday destination for locals and tourists, but with its wall-like fillings, which are also called end moraine or forehead moraine, it offers a rarely represented landscape. These hills rise up to 390 meters and are a kind of trademark of the national park founded in 1990.
These national parks are almost gigantic in size
7th of the ten largest national parks in Europe is also the largest of its country, the “Hohe Tauern” in Austria. Its total area is 1856 square kilometers and extends over the federal states of Salzburg, Tyrol and Carinthia. Glacier fields, extensive forests and glacial valleys are three features that make this region of the Alpine Republic worth seeing. The Sochi National Park ranks 6th and is also the first of its kind in Russia. Its protected area in the northwest of the Caucasus Mountains covers a total area of 1,937 square kilometers.
The long-winged bat and some large eagle species are among the more than 250 animal and bird species native to the region. Places 5 and 4 are in Sweden. The “Sarek”, which is located in the Swedish part of Lapland, at 1970 has only 14 square kilometers less “nature reserve” than the “Padjelanta”. Both parks are part of the World Heritage by UNESCO, which has placed patronage under the name “Laponia” of other nature reserves and national parks in Northern Europe.
The places 1 to 3 are undisputedly the “largest” in Europe
With the “Lemnenjoki” we greet the largest national park in Finland in third place in the top 10 in Europe. It has a lot of nature in its purest form to offer on a total area of 2,850 square kilometers. You will also find the largest wilderness region in the country – through which no road leads. Almost extinct predators enjoy the same protection here as the diverse natural landscape. The Wodlosero National Park occupies second place with 4,689 square kilometers. It is located north of the Russian city of Pudosch, in the Republic of Karelia, and was built in 1991.
It was also designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2001. This means that in this national park, nature and people practically work hand in hand to ensure that the natural condition of the park is largely unaffected. The Vatnajökull National Park on Iceland, with a total area of 14,200 square kilometers, is larger than many German states. At its center is the glacier of the same name, which alone is 8,100 square kilometers in size. The rest of the area is made up of adjacent nature parks and nature reserves, which also rank very high in their splendor and biodiversity. To visit all of the nature reserves listed here, you will need a lot of time, which will definitely be worth it afterwards.