In case you hadn't noticed lately, our planet is a startling beautiful place and reconnecting with nature has never felt like more of a physical imperative than it has since the start of the pandemic. (Plus, studies show that it's really freaking good for you.) So, as the world slowly opens up and we're able to travel more freely again, we can think of no place better to make a beeline for than our gorgeous, global network of national parks.
The United States led the way when it founded the world’s first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, but other countries quickly followed. Today, just over 15 percent of the earth is protected land, with key ecosystems and unique landscapes ringfenced in 245 countries and territories around the globe.
These fiercely guarded spaces represent the most fantastical elements of the natural world. There are caves big enough to consume planes, sulphurous lakes atop volcanic craters, skyscraping rainforests that shelter big cats, deserts as quiet as a whisper, and remote archipelagos that feel like they’ve dropped off the ends of the earth.
Some of these parks are easier to reach than others, but even the most remote ones are set up for visitor access with trails, maps and park rangers to lend a hand. Tread lightly and they represent the most life-affirming way to experience nature. Make them the centre of your trip itinerary and you have the makings of the ultimate getaway.
From Asia to Africa and across the Americas to Europe, here’s our pick of the best national parks in the world.
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