If you’ve already checked some of America’s national parks off your list, you’ll love these national parks around the globe.

By Liz Cantrell
July 09, 2021
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It's no secret that America's national parks are beloved by U.S. residents and international visitors alike. In 2020, the National Park Service recorded over 237 million visits across popular sites like the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yellowstone. If you've checked a few of America's favorite parks off your list and are looking for an adventure further afield (and some great photos for Instagram), there are hundreds of stunning national parks all over the world, from lush lakes in Croatia to wildlife sanctuaries off the coast of South America.

We asked our trusted A-List of top travel advisors for their recommendations for the world's best national parks. Read on to see what special places they can't get enough of.

Gap of Dunloe in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Gap of Dunloe in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland
| Credit: Chris Hill/Getty Images

Killarney National Park, Ireland

Ireland's version of Grand Teton National Park: it has such great hiking and benefits from a buzzing town nearby (Killarney), yet also has hotels and residences that are in quieter locations too. Another lesser known option is Wicklow National Park just south of Dublin, with beautiful mountains and valleys that house Ireland's greatest ruined monastic city, Glendalough, which predates Ireland's cities. — Jonathan Epstein, Celebrated Experiences

Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
| Credit: G.L. Cheng/Getty Images

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia's largest national park is one of the most unique gems in Europe, with a mix of forests and a chain of 16 terraced lakes connected by waterfalls. Hiking, horseriding, ATV and bike tours makes this one of the most fun and picturesque national parks to explore! Perfect pairing to mix an itinerary with city exploring in Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, and Zagreb and enjoy the great outdoors with the best of both worlds! — Harlan deBell & Kara Bebell, The Travel Siblings

Large bird on Galapagos Islands
The Galapogos are home to incredible species of birds
| Credit: Juan Ortiz/Getty Images

The Galapagos National Park, Galapagos Islands

This park is absolutely beyond compare and is a must for National Park enthusiasts. As one of the most protected national parks in the world, the Galapagos Islands are full of incredible wildlife that are not afraid of humans and will come in closer contact with you than is possible in most other natural places in the world. You can experience a variety of landscapes in a small space, from lush highlands full of tortoises, to moon-like volcanic rock, covered in piles of iguanas. And the marine life is sure to excite even the most well-traveled guests when they have the opportunity to snorkel with penguins, sharks and playful sea lions, all while blue footed boobies dive for food in the distance. — Erin Correia, Adventure Life

Kaz Daglari, Turkey

Designated as a National Park in 1994, Kaz Dalgari (Mt. Ida in antiquity) in Turkey is surrounded by the Aegean Sea on the south and Çanakkale Straits on the north, enjoying fresh mountain and sea breezes all at once, which makes the flora truly exceptional. The beautiful villages on Kazdağları are some of its most charming features. Camlibel Village is a popular one because of its gorgeous Aegean Sea vistas. Another favorite is Adatepe. Apart from its beautiful historic stone houses (some of which serve as boutique hotels), the village is also known for its excellent olive oil; it even has an Olive Oil Museum. Yeşilyurt Village, located just a few kilometers from the sea, is also worth making a stop for its stone houses, narrow cobblestone streets, historic mosques, cafés, shops, and friendly locals. Mount Ida owes much of its fame to the work of Homer and his epic poem, the Illiad, where the mountain is the setting for several mythical events. — Engin Kadaster, Turkey At Its Best

Elephants in the Riverbed at Chitake Springs, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
Elephants in the Riverbed at Chitake Springs, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
| Credit: Vicki Jauron/Getty Images

Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe is one of the most remote and least developed safari parks in Southern Africa. Given its location along the magnificent Zambezi River, the park is home to an amazing array of animal and bird species, and as a result offers a plethora of exciting adventure activities including open vehicle game drives, exceptional guided walking safaris and exciting canoeing excursions among huge numbers of hippos and crocodiles. — Julian Harrison, Premier Tours

Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park, Japan

Some of the best national parks in Japan are in Hokkaido, the sparsely-populated northernmost island of Japan, known for its mild summers and winters of powder. If you're a hiker, summer and fall are excellent options. If you're looking to get off the beaten path, I'd recommend Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park off the northwest coast. There are two unique islands you can reach by an hour ferry ride from the mainland, which offer some incredible hiking experiences – including ascending a dormant volcano on Rishiri and enjoying the alpine flowers, fishing villages, and various temperate zones of Rebun. If winter is your game and you're looking for memorable experiences on their own or to add onto a ski trip, you need to see the intricate dances of the red-crowned cranes in Kushiro-shitsugen National Park in eastern Hokkaido. In the winter, their marsh habitats are covered in snow, and it's a magical experience to see them at sunrise as the steam drifts up from the river. —Amy Tadehara, InsideJapan

Lonely tree in Caingorms National Park Scotland
Caingorms National Park, Scotland
| Credit: Getty Images

The Caingorms National Park, Scotland

The largest national park in the United Kingdom, the Cairngorms provide exceptional wildlife and birdlife – including some of the rarest birds of prey in Europe. Hill climbers will be kept busy with the 55 munros [a mountain peak higher than 3000 feet] in the park. There's also historical castles, such as Blair Castle, the seat of the Duke of Atholl, not to mention Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty The Queen's highland home. For those who are seeking a little luxury, the renowned Fife Arms is located in the Cairngorms National Park, as well as Killiehuntly, the Scandi-chic 19th Century farmhouse, beloved of those who wish to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of real life. — Camilla Davidson, NoteWorthy

Altyn-Emel National Park, Kazakhstan

Altyn-Emel National Park is located in the Ili River Valley of Kazakhstan and covers about 1800 square miles (4,600 km²). The beautiful isolation of this area invites visitors to explore its archaeological, historical and cultural monuments, and rich biodiversity. The Bes Shatyr burial mounds are the remains of a 6th century BC necropolis. Here you can find rare and endangered species like the Przhevalsky horse and the elusive snow leopard, while Lake Kapchagi and the Sholak Mountains are prime bird watching areas. A few kilometers from the Ili river lies the Singing Dune. Reaching a height of 120 meters it provides a grand panorama of the area from the top. In dry weather, when the sand moves it can sound like an organ rumble or low jet engine. It's triggered by shifting sand avalanches. Grab your friends and push! Zulya Rajabova, Silk Road Treasure Tours

Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) mother with cub at edge of pool, Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Bengal tiger mother with her cub in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India.
| Credit: James Warwick/Getty Images

Bandhavgarh National Park in India

Located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, this is a less-touristed national park and one which often grants its visitors incredible sightings of the Bengal tiger. One can also be lucky enough to spot white tigers and leopards. — Rebecca Mazzaro

The Azores, Portugal

The Azores are made up of several islands, and there are several national parks with 26 volcanos, some of which are underground. For your first visit we recommend exploring Mount Pico and its volcano. Yes it's active! Also try the hot springs at Furnas. — Steven Vigor, Iberian Escapes

Sossusvlei dune, Naukluft National Park, Namibia
Sossusvlei dune, Naukluft National Park, Namibia
| Credit: Getty Images

Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia

The breadth and depth of Africa's national parks are tremendous, from the magnificent big cats and exotic and rewardingly abundant wildlife of the fertile Maasai Mara and Serengeti in East Africa. One I always recommend is the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia (the area more commonly referred to as Sossusvlei.) The mesmerizing rust-hued dunes are a sight to behold. —Liz Wheeler, Micato