National Parks in Central and East Europe

National Parks in Central and East Europe

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In the second half of the 19th century it was the first time in history that a country's (namely US) government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect them and to allow all people to enjoy. This developed into Yellowstone becoming the first official national park a few years later, in 1872. In Europe the first national parks were a set of nine parks in Sweden in 1909. These days Europe has approximately 360 national parks at the moment. After World War II, national parks were founded. Some countries were rather late with establishing national parks. (introduction by Lolli)

This page has been compiled by jck (A, CZ, SK) and peterbud (HU, RO, SI, UA) with additional help from yatsek. It is part of a bigger family, presenting Europe's National Parks on SummitPost. These sister pages are:


Gößgraben valleyGößgraben Valley
(Hohe Tauern NP)
Gesaeuse mountains from AdmontGesäuse NP
(Ennstaler Alps)

There are 7 national parks in Austria:

Official site of national parks in Austria (in German)

Official site of national parks in Austria (Info in English)

National Park nameLocation
Map of Austria
What kind of place
Donau Auen NPLower Austria - ViennaOne of the largest unbuilt floodplain area in Europe. Danube river, marshy plains. Over 700 species of vascular plants. Ramsar site, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Gesäuse NPStyriaMountains - Ennstaler Alps, up to 2369m (Hochtor). Embraces two massifs: the Buchsteinmassiv and the Hochtorgruppe.
Hohe Tauern NP Carinthia - Salzburg - TyrolHighest mountain range in Austria- Hohe Tauern with three main groups: Glockner Group, Venediger Group and Ankogel Group. Very rich wildlife.
Neusiedler See - Seewinkel NP BurgenlandNeusiedler Lake, rippling reed beds, sweeping meadows with flat saltwater pools. Wildlife - mainly birds (endangered species). UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Nockberge NP CarinthiaThe oldest mountain region in Austria - Nockberge/Gurktal Alps.
Oberösterreichische Kalkalpen NPSalzburg - Upper AustriaMountains - Oberösterreich Forealps. Peaks: Hohe Nock (1963 m, the highest), Ötscher (1893 m).
Thayatal NPLower AustriaRiver Dyje. Mountains. Wilderness. Caves. Connected with National Park Podyji in Czech Republic.

Gesaeuse panoramaGesäuse National Park (Ennstaler Alps)

Czech Republic

Somewhere between Szrenica and SniezkaKrkonoše NP
Skalna Brama 24Krkonoše NP
Panèavský vodopád(Panèava waterfall)Krkonoše NP

There are 4 national parks in the Czech Republic:

National Park nameLocation
Map of the Czech Republic
What kind of place
Šumava NP Jihočeský krajLargest forest complex in Central Europe (together with Bavarian Forest). UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Krkonoše NP Liberecký kraj Mountains - Karkonosze (Snezka, 1602m), post-glacial cirques, tarns, Tertiary peneplain, bizarre granite rocks, vast Krumholtz zone, mountain (mugo) pine, bogs, streams, cascades and waterfalls. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Podyjí NPJihomoravský krajRiver Dyje. Mountains. Wilderness. Caves. Connected with Thayatal NP in Austria.
České Švýcarsko NP Ústecký krajSandstone rock town - unique rock formations: Prebischtor, Vileminina skála and Rudolfův kámen. Slot canyons. Castle ruins (Šaunštejn, Falkenštejn). SP page about the area: National Park České Švýcarsko
Spring near Pravicicka Brana - PrebischkegelČeské Švýcarsko NP
Pravicicka BranaČeské Švýcarsko NP
Palcát - Ostrov rock townČeské Švýcarsko NP


Fátyol (Veil) waterfall in the Bükk NPBükk NP
Hegyes-tű basalt formationBalaton Uplands NP
(Hegyes-tű basalt formation)
Deep in the ForestDuna-Ipoly NP
Entrance of Baradla caveAggtelek NP
Hungary has 10 National Parks ("Nemzeti Park"). The caves of Aggtelek, the Hortobágy Puszta, and the Fertő (Neusiedler) Lake landscape area are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This interactive map shows protected areas (not just National Parks) of Hungary. If you switch over to the Hungarian version (click the flag in the upper right corner), you can download a zipped kmz file for Google Earth (by clicking the ball in the upper-right corner) which will show all the protected areas of Hungary (National Parks can be highlighted by checking the "Nemzeti Park" box only in the "védett területek" folder). English version of the kmz file is under construction, I suppose.

Clicking the park names in the table below will open their official websites.

National Park nameLocationWhat kind of place
Aggtelek NP NortheastKarst region, neighbor of Slovak Karst NP (actually these two are one geomorphological entity). Baradla cave is the largest stalactite cave of Europe. UNESCO World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve.
Flora and fauna of Aggtelek NP album on SP.
Balaton Uplands NP West Northern and western areas from Balaton Lake. Transdanubian volcano remains: Badacsony and others.
Bükk NPNortheastLimestone mountains and forests. Rich in karst formations. Lot of caves, many of which is only available to experienced cavers. Nice view on the High Tatras in clear winter days... SP albums: Pictures from Bükk, Bükk in summer, Bükk in autumn
Duna - Dráva NP SouthFloodplains of Danube and Drava rivers. A wide range of habitats, from open water surfaces through various types of deciduous forests to dry rock grasslands and sandy grasslands. Mecsek and Villány Mountains (these are just nature protection areas).
Duna - Ipoly NP NorthThe picturesque Danube Bend. Pilis (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), Visegrád and Börzsöny Mountains. River Ipoly /SK: Ipeľ/ area. Szentendre Island (Danube).
Fertő - Hanság NP NorthwestThe southern, mostly boggy part of Lake Fertő /A: Neusiedler See/ and Hanság (marshes, moors and bogs). Bird paradise (Ramsaar area since 1989). The lake and its surroundings are UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1979.
Hortobágy NP East The most characteristic part of the Great Hungarian Plain: the Puszta. Biggest grassland in Central Europe. The formation was finished by extensive grazing activities. Horses, grey cows, a multitude of birds (i.e.: great bustard, but many migratory birds as well). UNESCO World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve. First NP of Hungary (est. 1973).
Kiskunság NP Central Kiskunság's Puszta, also UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is made up by seven different units. Alkali lakes and sand dunes. Major resting place for migratory birds (great birdwatching place). Horses.
Körös - Maros NP SoutheastScattered areas of protected wetlands by the Körös and Maros rivers. Lizards, birds (i.e.: upopa epops).
Őrség NP SouthwestWoods, hills. Special traditional architecture.

Vista accross Badacsony... Badacsony (Balaton Uplands NP)
The Danube Bend in HungaryThe Danube Bend from Prédikálószék (Duna-Ipoly NP)


Peleaga peak and its lakes Retezat National Park.

East panorama from Vf. PietrosuRodnei Mountains National Park.

Map of National and Natural Parks of Romania

There are 12 national parks in Romania. The links below take you to official homepages, with the exception of Ceahlău and Cheile Nerei - Beuşniţa National Parks.

National Park nameLocationWhat kind of place
Buila-Vânturariţa NPCentralSpectacular isolated limestone ridge rising above 1800 m. Once, in the Jurassic period, it was a coral reef. Now it is rich in fossils as well as exo- and endokarst formations.
Călimani NPNorthExtensive Tertiary caldera, highest massif of the volcanic Carpathians (Vf. Pietrosu, 2100 m). Its crest drops steeply toward the inner cone turned into a sulphur mine in C20... Interesting rock formations, such as the Twelve Apostles. Unique volcanic "karst", hard to find elsewhere in Europe (sadly, the caves have been destroyed by mindless mining.)
Ceahlău NPNortheastMountain massif made of sedimentary rocks (mainly sandstone). Erosion has created stunning rock formations, many of which have inspired mystic legends.
Cheile Bicazului - Hăşmaş NPNortheastPicturesque limestone area with unique geomorphology and biodiversity. Top attractions: the deep Bicaz/Békás (HU) Gorge connecting Transylvania with Moldavia; Lacul Roşu/Gyilkostó (Killer Lake/ - formed in 1837 by a huge natural rockslide; and the superb rock towers of Piatra Singuratica /Egyeskő/.
Cheile Nerei - Beuşniţa NPSouthwestUnpopulated karst area in the middle course of the Nera River. Gorges, caves, sinkholes, waterfalls.
Cozia NPCentralThis part of the Făgăras mountain group is small in area, but displays spectacular, steep, wild limestone walls. The 15 km long gorge of the Olt River about 1300 m below the summits. Dense forest, except for a rather bare top part.
Domogled - Valea Cernei NPSouthwestAnother karstic region of outstanding natural value. Its "hot caves" hide unique ecosystems. The warmer climate, closer to the Mediterranean, enables several rare species (including scorpions and poisonous snakes) to thrive. Gorges, waterfalls, rock walls suitable for climbing.
Jiu Defile NPSouthwestLower montane forests (beech, hornbeam, linden), resembling those of the Balkans, along the long canyon of the Jiu River. Rich flora and fauna, e.g. the nose-horned viper.
Munţii Rodnei NPNorthExtensive crystalline massif, highest in the mountains separating Transylvania from Moldavia (and Ukraine). Several peaks over 2000 m (highest: Pietrosul Rodnei, 2303 m). Beautiful, peaceful alpine meadows. The area around Pietrosu Mare is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Rodnei Mountains page on SP.
Munţii Măcinului NPEastHilly region with a special mixture of ecosystems (sub-Mediterranean and Balkanic forests with steppes).
Piatra Craiului NPCentralRoyal Rock (Hungarian: Királykő, German: Königstein) - jagged ridge of Jurassic limestone between the Făgăraş and the Bucegi mountains, near the city of Braşov /Brassó/. Impressive karst formations, rich wildlife. SP page: Piatra Craiului.
Retezat NPSouthwestBeautiful mountain range with more than 50 peaks over 2000 m (highest: Peleaga, 2509 m). Rich in tarns (82 altogether), both the largest and the deepest of Romania's tarns can be found here. Retezat NP is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Retezat Mountains page on SP.
Semenic - Cheile Caraşului NPSouthwestSemenic Mountains and the gorge of the Caraş River. Caves.

Clăile lui Miron - Ceahlău mountainsCeahlău NP
Egyeskő / Piatra SinguraticăHăşmaş-Bicaz NP

In Vaser valleyMaramureş Nature Park
Eminenciás-vízesés / Cascada EvantaiApuseni Nature Park

Apart from the national parks, there are 9 nature parks in Romania, some of which are well worth mentioning:

Nature Park nameLocationWhat kind of place
Apuseni NPWestAmazing karst region in the Apuseni Mountains /HU: Erdélyi-szigethegység/. Collapse sinkholes, caves (some with underground rills), ice caves, gorges, losing streams, resurgence springs.
Bucegi NPCentralHigh plateau (above 2500 m: Omu) raised along fault lines, with abrupt walls and jagged spurs (limestone climber's paradise), south of the city of Braşov.
Munţii Maramureşului NPNorthVast, unpopulated mountain range north of Rodnei Mountains, along the Ukranian border. Deep valleys, interesting geology.
Porţile de Fier NPSouthwestThe "Iron Gate" /HU: Vaskapu/ gorge, where the Danube River exits the Carpathian Basin to flow between the plains of Wallachia and the Danubian Plain of Bulgaria.

The remaining nature parks: Balta Mică a Brăilei, Comana, Grădiştea Muncelului-Cioclovina, Mureş Floodplain, and Vânători - Neamţ.

While it is declared as neither national nor nature park, the Danube Delta receives primary protection: it is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Ramsar area and UNESCO Natural World Heritage as well.

Csodavár / Cetăţile PonoruluiApuseni Nature Park


Zbojnickie PlesaTatranský NP
Pieniny - Dunajec GorgePieninský NP

There are 9 national parks in Slovakia:

Map of Slovakia's national parks

National Park nameLocation
See this Map
What kind of place
Malá Fatra NP Žilinský krajCarpathians in miniature (Malá Fatra): crystalline main ridge, meadows above mugo pine zone (Veľký Kriváň, 1709m); plus spectacular limestone area glued to its N flank: Veľký Rozsutec, gorges.
Muránska planina NP Banskobystrický kraj Limestone plateau covered by dense beech and coniferous forest, karst relief.
Nízke Tatry NPPrešovský kraj - Banskobystrický kraj - Žilinský krajLargest and second highest range in Slovakia: (Ďumbier, 2043m). Vast forests: bears, wolves, lynxes. Caves (Demänovská jaskyňa Slobody, Demänovská ľadová jaskyňa). And a big ski center at Chopok.
Pieninský NP Prešovský krajLow but extraordinary limestone massif of the Pieniny, Dunajec Gorge, rare plants and birds. Medieval monastery of Červený Kláštor.
Poloniny NP Prešovský krajBeech and fir-beech forests, mountain meadows. Part of an international (Slovak-Polish-Ukrainian) UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Slovenský Kras NPKošický kraj The most extensive and best developed karst area in Slovakia: Zadielská Dolina, caves, pinnacles, walls. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Slovenský Raj NPKošický kraj - Prešovský kraj From a distance, a rather low, rolling plateau (Ondrejisko, 1270m). In fact, a paradise of limestone gorges and ravines (Sokol, Suchá, Belá, Piecky and Kyseľ), and waterfalls. Dobšina Ice Cave. SP page: Slovenský Raj.
Tatranský NPŽilinský kraj - Prešovský krajHighest range of all in the Carpathians. Consists of three distinct parts: Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras: sizable granite walls, jagged crests, cirques, lakes, no glaciers though.), Zapadné Tatry (Western Tatras: a bit lower, gentler) and Belianské Tatry (Belian Tatras: dolomite and limestone). UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Velká Fatra NPŽilinský kraj - Banskobystrický krajSmaller and lower (Ostredok, 1592m) copy of the Nízke Tatry. Vast limestone areas, such as Tlsta Nature Reserve. Few tourists except for a couple of spots, like the village of Vlkolínec (UNESCO's cultural heritage site.)

Cukorová Homolá (Cukorsüveg)Slovenský Kras NP

High Tatras panorama High Tatras in wintertime (Tatranský NP)


Triglav massif from east....Triglav from the distance

There is only one national park in Slovenia, but that's worth many...

National Park nameLocationWhat kind of place
Triglav NP WestAwesome mountains of the Julian Alps. Tons of information can be found about this area on the Julian Alps SP page and its several children pages. Triglav NP is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Panorama to ..Triglav group from Vrh nad Skrbino


Hoverla from southKarpatskyy NP
The main ridge of ChornohoraKarpatskyy NP
Horses on main ridgeKarpatskyy NP

The table below contains reserves which are literally called "national nature parks".

National Park nameLocationWhat kind of place
Azovo-Syvasky NP South WestLimans (lagoons) by the Azov Sea, interesting wildlife.
Desnyano - Starogutskyy NP NorthFloodplain, bogs, pine forests.
Hutsulstchina NP WestMountains, forests, Hutsul folklore.
Karpatskyy NP WestHighest massifs of the Northeastern Carpathians: forests and polonynas (subalpine pastures). UNESCO Bioshpere Reserve (another page about the Biosphere Reserve).
Podil'ski Tovtry NP WestForests, grasslands and meadows. Canyons of the meandering Dniester River and its tributaries carved into the plateau of Podolia, caves, deciduous forests. Castle ruins.
Shats'kyy NP North WestForests, swamps and lakes (including Ukraine's largest and deepest one, Lake Svityaz). UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Skolivs'ki Beskydy NP WestBizarre sandstone formations, montane forest, subalpine pastures.
Svyaty Gory NP East The name of the park translates as Sacred Hills: green banks of the Siversky Donets River, monastery on the high bank.
Synevyr NPWestDense conifer forests, block fields typical of the Horhany (Gorgany) Mts, subalpine pastures.
Uzhanskyy NP WestSubalpine meadows, forest, large carnivores (bear, wolf, lynx). Part of Polish-Slovak-Ukrainian UNESCO Bioshpere Reserve.
Vyzhnyckyy NP WestCarpathian foothills of Bukovyna: forests, meadows, rushing streams, canyons.
Yavorivskyy NP WestForest-steppe landscapes, historical monuments.

View from Bukowska Pass (1100 m)Uzhanskyy NP
View from Bukowska Pass (1107 m)Uzhanskyy NP
Polonina Bukowska – view towards Mount Kinczyk Bukowski (1251 m)Uzhanskyy NP (right)

Other lists of national parks and national reserves and Biosphere Reserves in Ukraine.

External Links

List of protected areas on



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.