The European continent is a very varied area – from vast forests to high mountains, grassy plains and mighty rivers. Every national park offers a unique experience of nature and wildlife, so add these seven Eastern European national parks to your ‘to see’ list.
Cheile Nerei Beusnita, Romania
Romania may not the first place that springs to mind when you think of outstanding natural beauty, but this unconventional national park has scenic views in spades. The forested park is located around Nera River and upper Beu River on the west coast of the country. It has trails through forests and is walking distance from the Anina Mountains.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Though Mljet National Park in the Adriatic islands is one of our Top National Parks in Central Europe(link), this Croatian national park is in Eastern Europe. Plitvice Lakes is rated as the number one national park in Europe by European Best Destinations. Founded in 1949, the national park borders Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Karst mountainous region of inland East Croatia. The Korana river water flows down afforested mountain reservoirs, before tumbling over two majestic waterfalls into the lakes.
With 126 individual lakes among dense forests, Aukštaitija is one of Europe’s hidden treasures. The Ažvinčiai Forest Reserve is a further demonstration of the value Lithuania places on its natural areas. According to a state document, sixty-four species of plants, eight species of fungus and 48 bird species can be found in the park, which is named after its high elevation.
Valbona Valley, Albania
The Valbona Valley is a wonderfully unspoilt national park amidst the Albanian Mountains. The landscape is a sight well worth seeing. The land around the mountains is so green it borders a ‘nature reserve’ in the east, a ‘nature park’ in the south and a neighbouring national park to the west. No wonder the majority of the area’s tourism is from hikers and explorers.
Whereas most natural landscapes in Eastern Europe have lakes, rivers or forests – Goreme Valley is dry and rocky. The post-volcanic, prehistoric landscape is formed naturally from rock erosions. Turkey have protected these precious ancient sanctuaries due to their historical significance. Goreme National Park is totally different to most other national parks in this part of the world.
Hortobágy National Park is an UNESCO-listed natural world heritage area of East Hungary. The landmass is mainly grassland, as it is located on the Great Hungarian Plain where flocks of large ungulate animals graze and breed. The plains have stayed almost exactly the same for many millennia and, to sustain their untouched nature, farming on the plains has been prohibited since 1996.
Extremely hilly, the Durmitor National Park landscape can be as low as the deepest gorges in the world and as high as the clouds, where the highest peak of the Dinaric Alps, Bobotov Kuk, reaches 2,523 meters. Durmitor is popular with hikers as there are trails along many river canyons. Skiing is allowed by UNESCO in the winter, most notably down Savin Kuk mountain.