10 Magnificent National Parks To See Around The World - Updated 2021

National parks around the world
Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew
Updated

Time for a nature and wildlife outing. Do you like to see animals? Experience them in a unique way? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to pack your stuff and book your trip to visit some of the magnificent national parks around the world. You will get to see a Komodo dragon, glaciers and other flora and fauna while on your vacation.

1. Skaftafell National Park in Iceland

Skaftafell National Park, Iceland 2011
Source: Photo by user Andrewgrandison used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Although Iceland is super cold as it is surrounded by ice, the country also has summer season and you can see sunlight too. This is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. Besides, the glaciers, as well as the flora and fauna in Skaftafell National Park, are totally magical and amazing.

In 2008, the national park became part of Vatnajokull National Park, which is another popular attraction in Iceland. If you plan to visit this park, the best time will be summer as winter can be quite unpredictable. For outdoor enthusiasts, this is the place to go and you can spend a perfect vacation here.

It is a popular spot for camping and hiking. So, do not miss this exciting trip to see this natural wonder with your five senses. Among the attractions at this park are the country’s highest mountain peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, waterfall Svartifoss and glacier Skaftafellsjökull. Also, take a walk along the park with the park rangers during the summer season.

Skaftafell National Park

Address: Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park 785, Iceland

Website: Skaftafell National Park

2. Pilanesberg Game Reserve in South Africa

Pilanesberg Game Reserve - Mama Rhino and Her Baby
Source: Photo by user Yoshi Canopus used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Whenever South Africa comes to your mind, you will think of safaris and the wildlife in the country. It is time for you to stop dreaming and head over to Pilanesberg Game Reserve for your summer holidays. This is not the usual safari you see in South Africa as the surrounding area of the game reserve is beyond imagination.

Did you know that Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes in the world? This is one of the reasons you should visit this place. Pilanesberg got its name from a Tsana chief, Pilane.

Be prepared to be amazed by its unique crater as well as its various wildlife at the park. Along with more than 80 species of indigenous birds, you will get a close encounter with leopards, lions, rhinos, elephants and many others. Take your time to really enjoy yourself and camp out for a few nights as caravans and lodges are widely available.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Address: Bojanala, North West, South Africa

Website: Pilanesberg Game Reserve

3. Paparoa National Park in New Zealand

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, NZ
Source: Photo by user Christian Michel used under CC BY 2.0

Located on the northern side of the South Island’s west coast is Paparoa National Park. This is another national park you must visit in a lifetime. Its weird ‘pancake-stack’ coastal formations are a big crowd-puller to this attraction.

If you decide to come to this national park, you need to inform the tourist information center as this place is not for everyone due to its rough and dangerous terrains. Get ready to explore the unique underground streams, limestone cliffs, beautiful caves and majestic canyons while you are here. You can also bring your kids along in order for them to enjoy the nature. Besides, go fishing, bird watching, kayaking or just take a walk in the park.

Paparoa National Park

Address: Greymouth, New Zealand

Website: Paparoa National Park

4. Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda

Animals near Nile in Murchison Falls National Park
Source: Photo by user Daryona used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Uganda is another country you need to visit as there are numerous national parks there too. Time for you to take a photo of the waterfall at the national park. Murchison National Park is the country’s largest national park and is home to a wide array of wildlife. While at the park, you will get to see the shoe-billed stork, one of the rarest waterbirds in Africa. You can either enjoy the scenic view of Murchison Falls or see the Ugandan Kobs, crocodiles or chimpanzees, some of which you will not see in the zoos.

Murchison Falls National Park

Website: Murchison Falls National Park

5. Northeast Greenland National Park in Greenland

Franz Josef Fjord, glacier
Source: Photo by user Jerzy Strzelecki used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Greenland only has one national park, which is the Northeast Greenland National Park. It is the largest national park in the world and visitors as well as tourists must come and visit this national park. Due to its weather and natural landscapes, not many people have visited this national park as it is surrounded by glaciers, volcanoes, and icebergs.

You need to really plan and think in advance if you are coming to this national park. It is not just mere physical and mental preparation. Since the country is located near the Arctic Circle, you will come across walruses, polar bears, musk oxen and other Arctic wildlife. Do not forget to bring your winter clothing and survival kit.

Northeast Greenland National Park

Website: Northeast Greenland National Park

6. Yosemite National Park in the United States

Washburn point - Yosemite National Park, United States
Source: Photo by Flickr user Giuseppe Milo used under CC BY 2.0

A visit to the world famous Yosemite National Park is a must for everyone whether you are a first timer, local tourist, foreign tourist or adventurer. The national park was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984 and has numerous crowd-pullers that are worth a visit. From biological diversity and granite cliffs to giant sequoia groves and waterfalls, you will indeed fall in love with this place.

Kids will also love this place as they can ride a horse or engage in other activities like bird watching or fishing. Besides, various facilities are available for backpackers and campers if they plan to camp out for a night. The fees and passes differ according to seasons. Depending on weather conditions, you might not be able to visit some of the attractions in the national park. You need to refer to the park rangers or visitor center for more information.

Yosemite National Park

Website: Yosemite National Park

7. Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano as seen from Monteverde
Source: Photo by user Peter Andersen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Not many people know that Costa Rica also has a volcano national park. Located in the central part of Costa Rica, this is another national park you should include in your list. It is a popular spot for bird watching as there are various species of birds in the national park.

Among them is the endangered resplendent quetzal, which can only be found in the country. While you are here, why not stay at one of observatory type lodges and enjoy the beautiful sunrise? Hot springs, waterfalls and the lagoon will also surprise you as they are totally beautiful and awesome. Besides, you can also go on a hiking trip but you need to ask permission from the park rangers. Since it is surrounded by active volcanoes, it is better to be safe.

Arenal Volcano National Park

Address: La Fortuna - El Castillo, Provincia de Alajuela, Costa Rica

Website: Arenal Volcano National Park

8. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the United States

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 04
Source: Photo by user Niagara66 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Let’s go to the Aloha state. If you want to see the rarest flora and fauna on earth you should travel to Hawaii. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the place where you can see spectacular volcanic landscapes. The volcanoes are just like the scenes you see in disaster movies and National Geographic but this is the real thing.

The craters and lava are beyond imagination and you need to snap some photos for memory purposes. While visiting the national park, adhere to the advice of the park rangers or tour guides and do not explore the park by yourself. You do not want to get risk getting burnt by the volcanoes.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Address: 96718 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI

Website: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

9. Komodo National Park in Indonesia

Rinca, Komodo National Park, Indonesia (2717183987)
Source: Photo by user Kars Alfrink used under CC BY 2.0

Fancy to get a closer look at the world’s largest lizard? How about taking some pictures of the Komodo dragon? Time for you to book a flight to Indonesia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the national park’s role is to protect its entire biodiversity surrounding the islands and national park.

There are three islands in Indonesia, where you can have a closer look at the Komodo dragon. They are the Rinca, Komodo and Padar islands. Although the name of the park is Komodo, you can see various other wildlife. You should not get too close to the Komodo dragon as its saliva is contagious and harmful to humans.

Komodo National Park

Address: Kabupaten Manggarai Barat Kecamatan Komodo, Komodo National Park, 86554 Komodo, Indonesia

Website: Komodo National Park

10. Banff National Park in Canada

Moraine Lake 17092005
Source: Photo by user Gorgo used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you like to go hiking, visit none other than the Banff National Park. Ignite your five senses while enjoying your vacation at this national park. There are ski resorts and hot springs for you to enjoy your stay while enjoying the breathtaking views of its surrounding area.

Banff National Park is located in the Rocky Mountain and every year many tourists will come here just to visit the park. The mountain village and town, as well as its glacial lakes, are indeed eye-catching. Therefore, a holiday at this beautiful national park is a perfect way to have a fun day outing.

Banff National Park

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada

Website: Banff National Park

An adventurous trip

Although you have been to a zoo and seen different types of animals, a visit to a national park will give you a different kind of experience. To travel and explore some of the places in this world, you need to be adventurous and put on your thinking cap. Among the national parks, the Komodo National Park is the most exciting one. Only in Indonesia can you see the largest lizard on earth and you can’t see it in other countries.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. After my parents got married, I moved to Kuala Lumpur and currently residing in Selayang, Selangor. My favourite pastime...Read more

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