Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images Over the past year, people have been exploring their home countries more and more. Chances are, you know of the national parks near you, but have you considered visiting national parks around the world? From turquoise lakes to sandy beaches, waterfalls to rock formations, here are 11 national parks around the world you need to know about.
Göreme is located in central Turkey in a volcanic region called Cappadocia. You may know Cappadocia as the hot air balloon capital of the world (aka where all the travel bloggers get that iconic sunrise pic with what seems like a hundred hot air balloons in the background). But there’s so much more to this region—particularly Göreme valley. Göreme is known for its fairy chimneys, which are unique rock formations sculpted by erosion. These stone pillars were once used as dwelling places for entire civilizations and now there are plenty of theories about this region...some involving ancient aliens.
Best time to visit: April-May, September-October Anton Petrus / Getty Images Stay in this cave hotel close to the park that has been carved into a cliff.
It has 2 outdoor pools, a view of the fairy chimneys, and is the perfect location for exploring Göreme’s underground cities. Starting at
$176 per night. Hotels.com / Via hotels.com
Turkey isn’t the only country with incredible pillar-like rock formations. If you’re obsessed with
Avatar: The Last Airbender, you’ll definitely want to add Zhangjiajie National Forest Park to your bucket list. These sandstone towers will make you wonder where all the airbenders went. The combination of dense forest and deep canyons paired with all the clouds and pillars seem like a fantasy world. Best time to visit: April-May, September-November Lupengyu / Getty Images Stay in this cute guesthouse just a couple miles from the park.
Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world, stretching between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and is truly unlike anything else. The best way to see the falls is by helicopter, but if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there are nice trails and no bad views. If you're a thrill-seeker, you can even visit the Devil's Pools where you can soak in a spot at the edge of the falls.
Best time to visit: February-May Khaichuin Sim / Getty Images, / Alamy Stock Photo
$109 per night for a standard room. You can enjoy the pool, relax on your private porch, or try your hand at glamping in one of their fancy tents. Hotels.com / Via hotels.com
Fiordland National Park is the largest in New Zealand. While the park is filled with gorgeous fjords, Milford Sound might be the most popular of the bunch. There are beautiful mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers to explore. But most importantly, there are penguins to see!
Best time to visit: June-August (winter), December-March (summer) Nigel Killeen / Getty Images
Splurge on a gorgeous lodge with mountain views starting at
$345 per night. Or if you’re traveling in a campervan, consider booking a campervan site for $60 per night with access to all amenities. @FindingAlexx / Via findingalexx.com
You might have Croatia on your bucket list to see the beaches (or famous filming spots), but don’t skip out on Plitvice Lakes in central Croatia. The lakes are the brightest blues and greens, they almost feel fake. The worst part is not being able to jump in for a swim, but it’s worth staying out to keep the water as beautiful as it is.
Best time to visit: June-September Alamy.com / Via alamy.com[…]6imageurl%3D%26saveQry%3D%26editorial%3D%26t%3D0%26filters%3D0
If you weren’t already dying to visit Vietnam, Cát Bà National Park is a great reason. It’s located in Ha Long Bay, a popular tourist site known for small cruises, where limestone karsts abound. Cát Bà is a biosphere reserve home to a number of diverse plants and wildlife.
Best time to visit: April-May, September-November Anastasiia Shavshyna / Getty Images, / Alamy Stock Photo
While this hotel is a bit on the pricier side for Vietnam, the views are well worth the
$127 per night price tag! It boasts exceptional guest review ratings, 2 restaurants, a pool, and a spa. Hotels.com / Via hotels.com Or you can cruise through Ha Long Bay in style on a small cruise.
If you have extra time outside of exploring Cát Bà, do yourself a favor and take a small cruise throughout Ha Long Bay.
Bhaya Cruises are dedicated to responsible and sustainable cruises, but with the vibes of a boutique hotels. Overnight cruises start at $255 per person. Bhaya Cruises / Via bhayacruises.com
Tayrona is located in northern Colombia on the coast of the Caribbean, so of course it boasts tropical landscapes with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It’s the perfect place to explore and relax. You can chill out in a hammock or go for a hike in the cloud forest, whichever you choose, it’s worth the trip.
Best time to visit: December-March Ben Pipe / Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RF
Yala is best known for its leopard population, and is without a doubt one of the best spots in the world for a chance to spot leopards in the wild. There are plenty of other animals to see in the park, like elephants, birds, and of course, the sloth bear.
Best time to visit: February-June Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP via Getty Images, / Alamy Stock Photo / Via alamy.com[…]%26lb%3d%26fi%3d2%26edrf%3d%26ispremium%3d1%26flip%3d0%26pl%3d Stay just a one minute walk from the park entrance in a unique wilderness resort in the jungle.
Canada is filled with national parks, but Banff might just be the most popular...either that or it’s just well loved on my IG feed. It’s known for its lakes, mountains, and glaciers. Making it the ideal cold weather destination. And the color of the lakes are seriously unbelievable.
Best time to visit: June-September, December-March (during ski season) Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images
Tatra National Park lies on the border of Poland and Slovakia in the Tatra Mountains. The park has mountains, caves, lakes, and waterfalls, proving there's so much more to Poland than the cities...and vodka.
Best time to visit: July-October Ewg3d / Getty Images There are so many more national parks around the world. Whether you're looking for a desert getaway, an oceanside retreat, or a mountain trek, there's something for every traveler. We'd love to know, which national park is your favorite?