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National Parks in the Alps

You know that the Alps range is stunning; imagine the splendor of the areas protected as National Parks from Slovenia and Austria through Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy.

At the eastern extreme of this mighty range are the Julian Alps, where Slovenia and Austria share a border, heavenly scenery and magnificent hiking and skiing country. Triglav National Park is named after Slovenia’s highest peak, at just less than 3,000 meters. This area looks as if it’s where all the postcard photos are taken: views of craggy mountains draped in dense green forest abound. A “Wow! This is beautiful!” destination for sure. Glacial Lake Bohinj is in the park and is a favorite place for summer water sports and just chilling out.

Across the way in Austria: more Alps, more simply awe-inspiring vistas. Nockberge National Park is a high mountain national park carpeted with conifer forests and lovely Alpine meadows. Search for rare orchids as you walk through Gesäuse National Park, where abrupt changes in elevation create dramatic backdrops for your vacation photos. Limestone Alps National Park has one of the largest areas of untouched forest and mountains streams, and in Hohe Tauern National Park watch for what glitters - you can pan for gold!

How about a view of the German Alps from a cable car as you approach Berchtesgaden National Park in Bavaria? You can also see a palace, thermal baths, the fjord-like Lake Lake Königssee and The Eagle’s Nest, not to mention trek through fantastic scenery on the well-marked trails. Keep crossing those Alps and next you’re in Switzerland, where the Swiss National Park lies on the border with Italy. Established in 1914 and as such the oldest national park in the Alps, Switzerland’s only national park is renowned for its abundant animal population; if you’re lucky you might see ibexes, chamois, marmots, or northern hares. All this and an excellent interpretive center make it a great national park for families.

Switzerland keeps it simple and successful with one national park called the Swiss National Park,located near the Italian border. Thanks to 80 kilometers of hiking paths, nature trails and excursion destinations for children and families, humans can have as good time in this extraordinary park as the abundant animal population of ibexes, chamois, marmots, northern hares, lizards and innumerable birds for which it is famous.

The Italian Alps are right next-door and offer you a choice of four national parks along Italy’s limestone borders with Switzerland and France. The Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park in the Veneto region protects the UNESCO-listed mountains for their extreme gorgeousness. (If you’re getting the distinct impression that the Alps are always gorgeous, you are correct; it’s one big limestone beauty contest). Lombardy’s Stelvio National Park, the largest in the mountain range, lets you take a look at every kind of Alpine terrain known – if you’re up for the hike! Val Grande National Park near Milan is truly wild, the largest expanse or untamed territory in the Alps; best to hike here with a guide. Adjoining the French border is Gran Paradiso National Park, where you can watch chamoix graze in alpine meadows while you graze on local delights such as salami and Fontina Dop cheese.

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