10 of the Most Photogenic National Parks Worldwide
- Marianne Stenger
- 21st January 2019
Photography is all about finding beauty in the mundane, but if you’re in a bit of a slump with your photography, a change of scenery can do wonders to relight your creative fire.
It’s for this reason that most photographers also love to travel, because not only does travelling to new and diverse places provide endless photo opportunities, but it also helps you to view your own part of the world in a new light once you return home.
If you’re both a photographer and nature lover, visiting a national park is a great way to recharge your batteries while photographing gorgeous views, unspoiled nature, and maybe even some local wildlife. Although it’s difficult to choose from the many breathtaking nature reserves around the world, here is a small sampling of some of the most photogenic national parks worldwide.
1. Yellowstone National Park, USA
Yellowstone is one of the most famous national parks in the world, and for good reason. The 3500 square mile park is packed with natural beauty, from rivers, hot springs, and geysers to forests, mountains, and even its very own Grand Canyon. Yellowstone National Park is also home to an array of iconic North American wildlife including bison, moose, grizzly bears, cougars, and wolves.
2. Serengeti National Park, Tanazania
The Serengeti in Tanzania, East Africa is another world famous national park that’s an absolute dream to photograph. The park’s landscape is amazingly varied, with its classic savannah plains, hilly woodlands, and tranquil water holes where every animal from giraffes and zebras to elephants and lions all gather to drink. The best time to visit is during the annual migration, when huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle move across the Serengeti in search of green pastures.
3. Snowdonia National Park, Wales
You don’t have to travel halfway across the world to find tranquillity and awe-inspiring natural beauty. Snowdonia is home to Wales’ highest mountain ranges and more than one hundred lakes, as well as and a number of medieval castles and charming Welsh villages. Hiking to the summit of Mount Snowdon will take about three hours, and you’ll be rewarding with stunning views of valleys, forests, rivers, and rolling pastures below.
4. Galapagos National Park, Ecuador
It was during a visit to the Galapagos Islands that Darwin began to form his Theory of Natural Selection, and Galapagos National Park is still a place of incredible biodiversity. It consists of 127 rocky volcanic islands where you can enjoy unspoiled beaches and hiking trails that take you past lush green landscapes and fascinating rock formations. You can also try to spot and photograph some of the wildlife that’s unique to the islands, such as the blue footed booby, giant Galapagos tortoise, Galapagos sea lion, and of course, the now famous Darwin’s finches.
5. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is like nothing you’ve ever seen with 16 turquoise lakes connected by stunning cascading waterfalls of all sizes and heights. The park’s walking trails consist almost entirely of quaint wooden bridges that wind through the forest and alongside the pristine lakes and waterfalls, some of which are so clear you can see the fish and other marine life swimming below. Plitvice Lakes National Park is also home to rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, including the European brown bear, lynx, wild cat, and more than 320 different types of butterflies.
6. Iguazu National Park, Brazil and Argentina
Located in both Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu National Park or Iguaçu as it’s called on the Brazilian side, protects what is left of South America’s once massive Atlantic Rainforest. Although the whole park is spectacular for hiking and wildlife viewing, its main attraction is the magnificent waterfall system of the Iguazu River. The waterfall spans nearly two miles with vertical drops of up to 260 feet, while the river forms a semi-circle in centre of the park, thus creating a natural border between Brazil and Argentina.
7. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park is New Zealand’s biggest national park and showcases some of the country’s most impressive scenery, from fiords and shimmering lakes to waterfalls and snow-capped peaks as well as an ancient rainforest. It’s the perfect place to do some hiking, or ‘tramping’ as it’s called by New Zealanders. Some of the park’s highlights include jet boating along the River Waiau to see The Lord of the Rings filming locations, completing the Key Summit hike for a bird’s eye view of the park, and viewing glow-worms in the Te Anau Caves.
8. Jostedalsbreen National Park, Norway
Nearly half of Jostedalsbreen National Park is covered by the biggest glacier in mainland Europe. For photographers, this is in itself is enough reason to visit, as the glacier provides one-of-a-kind photo opportunities with its blue ice caves and backdrop of tall snow-capped peaks. It’s not all ice and snow; however, as Jostedalsbreen also has lush green valleys and gorgeous glacial lakes where you can take in the picture perfect landscape or do some fishing and kayaking.
9. Guilin and Lijiang River National Park, China
Guilin and Lijiang River National Park is one of China’s most scenic locations. The area is famous for the numerous karst hills, caverns and cliffs that were formed over thousands of years from eroded limestone, and with the Li River in the forefront, it’s a scene that guarantees some gorgeous photos. One of the best ways to see as much of the park as possible is to take a river cruise, which will take you past sights such as Elephant Trunk Hill, Rooster Fighting Hill, and Water-Dropping Village.
10. Black Forest National Park, Germany
With lush meadows, dense forests of hundred-year-old trees, placid lakes, rushing waterfalls, and even quaint wooden chalets, the Black Forest National Park looks like something straight out of a fairytale. The park gets its name from the thick canopy of evergreens that cover large areas of the park, and it’s all this greenery that makes it the perfect habitat for rare plants and animals including the pygmy owl, three-spotted woodpecker, and western capercaillie. Some photography highlights include the Schwarzenbach Lake, Triberg Waterfalls, and the idyllic mountain resort of Baiersbronn.