When you think of Italy, what comes to your mind? Food? Arts? Sun? Beach? Probably all of those combined. But have you ever thought that national parks in Italy are a real underestimated deal? Italian nature is not all about Tuscany and the South. There is just so much more to see all over the country. Read on to discover 10 national parks in Italy we have gathered for you to enjoy time away from the city.
10 best national parks in Italy
Beautiful national parks can be trodden throughout the whole of Italy. It is not just a matter of trees and lakes. Spending a day in one of the best national parks in Italy holds many a surprise. Whether you are walking in Italy’s Stelvio National Park or enjoying the Bellunesi Dolomites National Park, you are sure to have the best day.
1. Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
Located in the North East of Italy, the Bellunesi Dolomites national park is entirely surrounded by rivers. We strongly recommend you pay a visit to the Soffia and the Cadini del Brenton waterfalls.
Classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site, this national park is characterized by its very rare flora. True nature lovers are most likely to enjoy thoroughly the forest reserve, the mountains, the mines, and the water of the Bellunesi Dolomites National Park. If you want to enjoy this beautiful area for longer, check out the best hotels in the Dolomites too!
2. Stelvio National Park
Walking in Italy’s Stelvio national park is a game on the layers of the earth. It is an animal wildlife center, which means that you are likely to come across animals that you would not usually encounter.
The national park with over 130,000 hectares is the largest Italian park. One can say that it is also one of the purest with imposing mountains, incredible glaciers, and waterways.
3. Gargano National Park
Located in the province of Foggia in the Puglia region, the Gargano national park encompasses the Umbria Forest. The dense woods cover over 120,000 hectares of stunning biodiversity which make it one of the top parks in Italy. We can not recommend enough visiting the Gargano national park, especially if you are in the region.
There, you can only discover flora and fauna that you have not imagined in your wildest dreams. This is a region where you can find numerous beautiful beaches in Puglia. Not only national parks, but open beaches with incredible views, breathtaking cliffs, and clear water.
4. Cinque Terre National Park
Cinque Terre has much more to offer than crystal clear shores. The five towns after which Cinque Terre takes its name, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, all have their own personalities. The beauty of the region is second to none and it is on the UNESCO Mankind’s World Heritage list.
The national park overlooks the Mediterranean sea, a touch of modernity among the exquisite medieval cities surrounding it. If you want to fill your memories with shapes, colors, and unexpected encounters, the Cinque Terre national park is one of the top parks in Italy.
5. Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo – Abruzzo National Park
Located between the Lazio, Abruzzi, and Molise regions, the Abruzzo national park is one of the biggest parks with 50,000 hectares. Like many of the national parks in Italy, it was created as a reserve for wild animals and nature.
If you want to spend a more unusual day, you can do many activities in the park. Horse riding, bird watching, cross country skiing, hiking, canoeing, and cycling are all possible. Plus, you get to work out with fresh air in your lungs!
6. Tuscan Archipelago National Park
The Tuscan Archipelago National Park is made of seven islands. Very much protected from pollution, the park is often described as a paradise. How could it not, with its clear waters and amazing fauna? The marine life is predominant and scuba divers can go to the second largest island, Giglio, to observe the fascinating underwaters.
Capraia, another one of the islands, has volcanic origins which make up its strong history. If you happen to pass by Tuscany, we highly recommend a visit to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.
7. Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
The Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park is one of the top 10 national parks in Italy because of its amazing mountain scenery. It surrounds the massif of Gran Sasso, and it is one great park to have a good hike.
It is one of the smallest parks in Italy, with a walking path of about 300 km. The diversity of outdoor activities offered by the park is jawdropping: canoeing, bird watching, ski mountaineering, horse riding… Take a chance at the Gran Sasso national park – your experience will be unforgettable!
8. Gran Paradiso National Park
We have to include the Gran Paradiso National Park, in the Graian Alps, in our list of national parks in Italy. What is interesting here is the diversity of the fauna. Indeed, you are most likely to come across animals you have never seen in your life like owls, eagles, chamois, or marmots.
This is one of the national parks in Italy that the State protects thoroughly. Its 70.000 hectares are full of immense vegetation; you can collect berries or mushrooms there, and even buy some Italian cheese!
9. Vesuvius National Park
If we tell you “Vesuvius”, you should right away think volcano! And you would be right. However, Vesuvius also enjoys a stunning national park. One of the very smallest national parks in Italy, the Vesuvius National Park encompasses 54 km of walkable paths only. Still, it is nothing short of plants, animals, natural resources, and local products.
Indeed, once you are out of the park, we recommend you to try all the local produce. Taste juicy citrus fruits, grapes, apricots, and sun-caressed Piennolo cherry tomatoes for lunch, you will need your strength back!
10. La Maddalena Archipelago National Park
National parks in Italy sometimes have more to show than trees and herbs. For instance, La Maddalena Archipelago offers one of the most stunning beaches ever. The colors there, mainly, unveil a nature’s secret you’ve never encountered. It lies in the North-East of Sardinia, and the country protects its fauna and flora fiercely. If you want to visit Sardinia, make sure to check out the best hotels, luxury hotels, and beach clubs in Sardinia too!
You must visit first the town of La Maddalena on the island, and then you can head to other stunning islands around. Visit Flamingo beach, which is literally pink, or the breathtaking island of Caprera. You can go hiking freely there, but you need authorization for diving and fishing. We strongly recommend you spend some quality time at the Budelli pink beach.
Then, keep walking around to discover the most incredible colors of the vegetation, the turquoise sea, and the rocks whitened by the sea. The crystal clear waters, the white sand beaches, and the vibes are just fantastic here! If you’re looking for the best places in the north of Sardinia, do not miss La Maddalena!
Wrapping up the 10 Best National Parks in Italy
We have put together this list of national parks in Italy in an attempt to help you broaden your horizons. Stray away from the ever-so-imposing Italian culture and cuisine and go back to your human roots with us. Whether you are expectant about walking in Italy’s Stelvio National Park or taking a big break from life’s hustle in national parks in Calabria Italy, this is it. Your chance to breathe again – with no responsibilities, just fun, for one day.