Where are the 10 largest national parks in Europe located?
The largest nature reserves on the European continent, which have arisen through 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 to visit if you want to visit the 10 largest national parks in Europe.
The largest country on earth has some large nature reserves to offer
In northwestern Russia lies the Kenosero National Park, which occupies tenth place in our ranking with an area of 1,397 square kilometers. Huge forest areas, deep lakes and desert-like wastelands are, in addition to the prevailing silence and often freezing cold, the “main attractions” for visitors from all over the world. In 9th place is Smolenskoye Pooserje, which stretches over 1,462 square kilometers and is located in Smolensk, Russia, near the Belarusian border. UNESCO made it a biosphere reserve in 2002, which should be further evidence of the fauna and flora that naturally grow here.
The “Waldai” is a national park and cultural landscape in one and occupies eighth place with an area of over 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 embankments, which are also called terminal moraine or frontal moraine, it offers a rarely represented landscape form. 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 place of the ten largest national parks in Europe is also the largest in its country, the “Hohe Tauern” in Austria. Its total area is 1856 square kilometers and it extends over the federal states of Salzburg, Tyrol and Carinthia. Glacier fields, extensive forests and valleys formed during the Ice Age are three features that make this region of the Alpine republic worth seeing. The Sochier 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, has with 1970 only 14 square kilometers less “nature reserve” than the “Padjelanta”. Both parks belong to the world cultural heritage of UNESCO, which under the name “Laponia” has made other nature reserves and national parks in Northern Europe under its patronage.
Places 1 to 3 are undisputedly the “biggest” in Europe
With the “Lemnenjoki” we welcome 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 – not a single road through it. Almost extinct predators enjoy the same protection here as the diverse natural landscape. The Wodlosero National Park ranks second with 4,689 square kilometers. It is located north of the Russian city of Pudosh, in the Republic of Karelia and was established in 1991.
It was also designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2001. This means that in this national park, nature and people go hand in hand to ensure that the natural composition of the park remains largely untouched. The Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, with a total area of 14,200 square kilometers, is larger than many German states. In its center lies the glacier of the same name, which alone is 8,100 square kilometers in size. The remaining area is made up of adjoining nature parks and nature reserves, which are also very prominent in terms of their splendor and biodiversity. To visit all of the nature reserves listed here, you will need a lot of time, which in retrospect will definitely have been worth investing.
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