Budapest, Hungary – CNN has selected Polish and a Hungarian national parks as part of its annual ranking of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.
Białowieża National Park, in Poland, and Hungary’s Hortobagy National Park have both been ranked among the top 20 natural sights not to miss in Europe by CNN’s travel reporters.
Hortobagy National Park, Hungary
A UNESCO-protected site since 1999, Hortobagy National Park is Hungary’s first national park, particularly famous for its Nine Hole Bridge and its water buffaloes. Covering an impressive 800 km² on the Great Plain, Hortobagy National Park has been designated as a national park in the early 1970’s and is currently the largest protected area in the country.
You can check out the complete list of Hungary’s UNESCO Heritage Sites right here to see how many of them you still have to cross off your list!
Białowieża National Park, Poland
Bordering Belarus and located on the watershed of the Baltic and Black Seas, Poland’s Białowieża National Park is one of the most important in Europe and the last temperate primeval forest on the continent. Fun fact: it also hosts the largest population of European bison in the world.
It’s also the only natural site listed and protected by UNESCO in Poland and has been at the center of a controversy between the current government and environmental groups campaigning for the protection and preservation of this incredible natural wonder covering an area of more than 140,000 ha.
Been there, done that? Then you might be interested in finding out the other most beautiful national parks in Europe handpicked by CNN:
- Lake Vattern, Sweden
- Jurkalne Seashore Bluffs, Latvia
- Susak, Croatia
- Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
- Barmouth, Wales
- Union Hall, Ireland
- Hoge Veluwe National Park, Netherlands
- Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany
- Henne Strand, West Jutland, Denmark
- Abelboden, Switzerland
- Loire Valley, France
- Apuseni Mountains, Romania
- Yorkshire Dales, England
- Zagori, Greece
- Unst, Shetland Isles, Scotland
- Lofoten Islands, Norway
- Picos de Europa, Spain
- Lake Inari, Finland
If you’re more of an urban traveler, you can also check out CNN’s ranking of the 20 most beautiful European cities “with hardly any tourists” – which includes a few proud and noteworthy Central European gems!