Our Earth is really beautiful! There are so many places which can dazzle us with their beauty. The most beautiful mountains, lakes, fjords, islands, forests, interesting geological formations and even historic sites were transformed into protected areas. The aim of national parks is to maintain the unique natural environment and biodiversity within the parks through effective operation, management and conservation. Since the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, was established in the USA in 1872, nearly 3800 national parks have been established throughout different parts of the world. All of them host amazing natural or historical gems. Find below only 10 of them:
1Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park is located in the south-western corner of New Zealand, and covers an area of 1,260,740 hectares. It was established in 1952 and encompasses pristine mountain, crystal clear lakes and unforested valleys, rainforest environments and spectacular ice-carved fiords. Milford Sound is the most popular fjord and the only one that can be accessed by road. The only flightless parrot in the world – Kakapo can be spoted here, as well as dolphins and deers. If you like the boat rides throughspectacular fjords, then Fiordland National Park is the place to go.
2Galapagos National Park, Ecuador
Galapagos National Park consists of 97% of the land on the Galapagos Islands and covers an area of 693,700 hectares. It was established in 1959, in 1979 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and encompasses 19 major and minor islands as well as 42 islets. This place is a heaven for exotic wildlife creatures that can’t be found nowhere else on the planet. Only on Galapagos you will have the great opportunity to hike volcano summits, practice scuba dive with sharks, snorkel with the most amazing marine life, go spotting the rarest birds on Earth, swim or simply relax on the most pristine beaches known to man.
3Iguazu National Park, Argentina
Iguazu National Park is located in the Iguazú Department, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia and covers an area of 67.000 hectares. It was established in 1934, in 1984 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and and is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. With magical waterfalls (that fall over 70 meters high and 1500 meters wide) and the surrounding subtropical forest as a cover, the views are breathtaking.
4Kakadu National Park, Australia
Kakadu National Park is situated in the top part of the Northern Territory in Australia and covers an area of 1,980,400 hectares. It was established in 1975, in 1981 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the traditional lands of several Aboriginal groups and is home to the stunning South Alligator River. Housing stone plateaus and escarpments, monsoonal rainforests, flood plains and billabongs, tidal flats and coastal beaches, we can only imagine a magical week in Kakadu.
5Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger national Park is located is located in the far northeastern corner of South Africa and shares a long eastern border with Mozambique; it covers an area of nearly 2 million hectares. Kruger National Park was established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld. Due to its vast land, untamed scenery and vibrant wildlife, Kruger si the best Safari on earth. A dream trip where you’ll see large mammals, plenty of birds, the big hunters and the prey all sharing one land – that’s a must if you love wildlife.
6Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, Peru
Machu Micchu is located 2,430 m above sea-level, on the highest part of the eastern Andes, above the Rio Urubamba and northwest of Cusco; the site covers an area of 325.92 square kilometers and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site 1983. The site itself was built around 1450 as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Set in humid subtropical forests, Machu Picchu, provides a protected habitat for ferns, alpaca, palms and several endangered species. No matter how many times you visit the ancient sites nestled in the thick green canopy, the journey through the Inca trail always seems to carry an air of excitement and a mystic aura with it.
7Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
Sagarmatha National Park is located in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal containing three of the world’s ten highest peaks (including Mount Everest itself) and covers an area of 114,800 hectares. It was established in 1976, in 1979 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and encompasses two to three mile long retreating glaciers and deep, vibrant valleys, a snow-filled rugged terrain and a host of mountain wildlife. The park can be best experienced on foot. Nothing can match the walker's sense of excitement at complete fusion with the world of Nature by observing the park's vegetation and wildlife.
8Swiss National Park, Switzerland
Swiss National Park is located in the very east of Switzerland in the Canton Graubünden and covers an area of 174.2 square kilometers. The only protected area in Switzerland was founded in 1914 and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elks, chamois and ibex on the ground, and golden eagles and bearded vultures in the air. Valleys, rivers and snow-clad peaks, this is definitely nature’s perfection. The feeling of being at one with nature – this is a feeling you will experience in many places in the National Park, filled with awe at the ancient valleys and gorges, amazement at the spectacular view, or elation at reaching the summit after an arduous climb if you are a mountain climber.
9Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Tikal National Park is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin, in northern Guatemala and covers an area of 575.83 square kilometres. It was founded in 1955, in 1979 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because besides the amazing jungle canopy, Tikal is home to the spectacular ruins of a Maya settlement from around 250 - 900 AD. With towering temples, great architecture and integrated with vibrant wildlife, it can be one of the most amazing journeys you’ve ever hopped on.
10Yellow Dragon Scenic Area, China
Yellow Dragon Scenic Area is situated in Songpan County, in the northwest part of Sichuan Province and covers an area of over 700 square kilometers. The area encompasses the Huanglong and Muni Valley which are located in a calcium-carbonate sediment that creates the illusion of a golden dragon. An amazing eco-system that breathes the oriental style, snow-covered peaks, waterfalls, gorges, primeval forests, and hot springs along with rare and endangered species like the Giant Panda and the Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey, this is the ultimate place for photographers.