Outdoor tourism and visiting National Parks
Let’s face it, whether you’re a total nature freak or not, there is nothing more tranquil than the great outdoors.
You can’t really beat the feeling of being at one with nature in your favourite open space, with your favourite people.
There is a certain peace and sense of relaxation that some say can only be found in nature. Whether you’re over 35 or over 55, visiting one of the world’s great National Parks could be exactly what you need.
Whilst most Brits do enjoy exploring National Parks locally, with popular destinations being the Lake District and Peak District, many also choose to incorporate a National Park visit into their annual holiday.
Look at Europe, an entire continent filled with mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and lush green spaces all just a quick flight from the UK.
But let’s not stop at Europe - consider exploring some of the world’s greatest outdoor areas and the vast conservation spaces and National Parks found in North America and beyond.
Outdoor tourism and travelling with your medical condition
No matter what type of holiday you decide to take this year, Medical Travel Compared can get you covered - with specialist medical travel insurance catering for a wide range of common and lesser-known conditions.
Browse our specialist cover to ensure your National Park holiday isn’t cut short due to an uninsured medical problem.
We always recommend taking out a travel insurance policy ahead of any trip long-haul or short-haul.
For more information on policy types, visit our pre-exiting condition page to browse insurance policies and get a quote today.
Accessibility for National Parks
At Medical Travel Compared we know that having a mental or physical disability doesn’t stop our customers from travelling the world and living life to the limit.
When travelling to National Parks and conservation areas, we always recommend reviewing the accessibility of these locations before booking a trip.
Most popular National Parks across the world offer disabled parking and facilities but it’s always best to double check ahead of time.
Like any holiday, we always suggest speaking to a travel advisor or specialist before booking to ensure your needs are catered to. This applies to all outdoors holidays.
European National Parks
Unbeknown to some, Europe is home to some of the greatest National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.
Whether you want a holiday filled with adventure and activity, or exploring a large and bewildering lake is more your scene, you’ll find something for everything in Europe’s top National Parks.
Germany’s Black Forest National Park
Germany isn’t the first country that springs to mind when we consider some of the great destinations for National Park and outdoor tourism.
But it is in fact filled with great National Parks and all the serenity one could ask for.
The Black Forest National Park in South-West Germany covers a large area of over 10,000 hectares, making it one of Germany’s biggest nature parks. In terms of age - it is quite young, as it was only awarded national park status in 2014.
Expect thick land covered in tall pine trees with stunningly photogenic areas that are home to some of the park’s popular tarns and famous cirque lakes - perfect for exploring.
Italy’s great outdoors and coastal regions
Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, or known to most of us as just Cinque Terre.
The brightly coloured buildings that trace the unspoilt sea front in this Italian National Park have made Cinque Terre a tourist favourite.
It is a world-renowned attraction due to its beauty and Mediterranean atmosphere.
The Cinque Terre National Park is a picturesque fishing village and protected area in Northern Italy. It was first awarded National Park status in 1999 and has also been given a UNESCO world heritage badge.
Cinque Terre, Italy is situated on a steep cliff side and covers around 5,000 hectares of land.
This popular postcard town has become a bucket list item for many tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the pristine waters and colourful backdrop of the nearby friendly villages.
Croatia and the famous Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes are fast becoming one of Croatia and Europe’s must see destinations. Did you know that Plitvice Lakes are filled with alpine forests and enchanting waterfalls?
Whether you want to explore some of the mysterious caves, or perhaps relax on the shores of the water, Plitvice is certainly a must visit National Park.
As one of Croatia’s oldest National Parks, Plitvice also proudly has UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
This Croatian beauty can be found on Croatia’s border with neighbouring country Bosnia and Herzegovina and covers almost 300 kilometres in size.
National Parks of the Americas
Yellowstone, Joshua Tree and Appalachia are all areas you’ve likely heard about, but did you know that the Americas (North and South) are home to some incredible National Parks.
Whether you plan on visiting the tip of Argentina or want to spend some time in the deserted areas of Mexico – we recommend your next National Park holiday is to one of the lesser known areas in the below list.
Joshua Tree National Park – California, USA
Joshua Tree National Park is in Southern California, on the west coast of the USA.
The large protected area of National Park is well known for its rock formations and desert-like landscape. The name Joshua Tree comes from the actual Joshua Tree which can be found throughout the National Park.
It is an extremely iconic tree for tourists visiting the National Park - so you can see why it was named after this particular type of tree.
The area was named a national park in 1994 and covers a vast area of over 790,000 acres, with most of this area being complete wildernes.
The Joshua Tree National Park is popular with domestic and inbound tourists, with flocks of tourists visiting annually.
It is well-known for its camping spots and hiking routes. If you fancy a little outside adventure in the complete wilderness then Joshua Tree, California is certainly a National Park you’ll want to investigate.
Costa Rica – A country that is a National Park
Costa Rica, situated in Central America, is wedged between Nicaragua and Panama. Over a quarter of Costa Rica is regarded as either a National Park or conservation area.
This small country is home to some of the largest biodiversity in terms of plant and animal life and whether you visit the coast, the rainforest or somewhere in-between you’ll never be too far away from some of the best protected areas of the country.
The continental divide that splits the America’s in two rips right through Costa Rica creating a tropical, volcanic environment that’s rich soils allow plant life to thrive.
Split in two halves Costa Rica can be divided into the Pacific side and Caribbean side, one of which is a dry Caribbean landscape with the other sub-tropical rainforest.
The Tayrona National Park, Santa Marta, Colombia
Perhaps you are looking for something a little exotic, and want to travel to a relatively unexplored country in terms of annual tourist numbers.
Colombia is the one for you.
Fall in love with the prehistoric rocks dotted around the cake-mix sand along the coastline of the Tayrona National Park in Colombia’s northern Santa Marta. Enjoy rough waves hitting the shore as the humidity of the jungle hisses as it breaks the treeline producing a cloudy mist.
Explore Tayrona and make sure you sign up to do the Lost City Trek - a 4-7-day jungle trek through the National Park that takes eager trekkers up to Ciudad Perdida. Note: this trek isn’t for the faint hearted.
Explore the region that was once home to the indigenous people of Colombia and enjoy the cultural learnings on offer for this lost community.
The Galapagos Islands
It wouldn’t really be a list of National Parks without a mention of the increasingly popular Galapagos Islands.
This island group can be found off the coast of Ecuador in South America, and a trip here won’t be cheap, but The Galapagos Islands are regarded as the ultimate unspoilt and preserved destination.
The Galapagos is made up of several volcanic islands that sit along with equator off South America’s Pacific Coast. The islands are most famous for their number of endemic species that are completely unique to the islands.
Explored and studied throughout history this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one that most would like to visit but many are unable to.
Why not plan your dream National Park trip to The Galapagos Islands?
Popular Asian National Parks
Asia as a continent is huge, so it’s no surprise that its brimming with conservation areas and places of outstanding natural beauty.
If you’re planning a trip to South East Asia or further East, then this list should have you covered for all the best National Parks in this part of the world.
Thailand’s costal parks
Thailand is home to many National Parks. Khao Yai, Khao Sok and Tarutao National Park are all incredible scenic destinations and must visit areas located throughout Thailand.
Tarutao National Park is located across 51 different islands in the Strait of Malacca in Southern Thailand. The National Park itself is split into two key island groups and can be located by boat from the mainland.
The stunning island group is famed for its beaches and clear waters, along with its stories about the ancient land and has had National Park status since 1974.
Near the coast of Malaysia, this archipelago off Thailand’s coast is an ideal location for travellers looking to explore more than one island as part of a National Park holiday, as island hopping in this part of the world is not uncommon.
Komodo Island of Indonesia
Komodo is a curious island situated in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda island group, and is home to the Komodo Dragon – the world largest lizard which has been named after the island.
Komodo is one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, and part of this area is covered by the Komodo National Park.
The island covers an area of almost 400 square kilometres and is popular with tourists along with the other close by islands of Indonesia.
Komodo is home to more than 4,000 of the Komodo dragon species, which are unique to only a small group of islands and soon face extinction.
This island is popular for its reddish and pink exterior and pink sand beach - one of just seven in the world.
National Park Tourism for Over 55’s
National Park tourism is fast becoming a popular form of niche tourism.
Regardless as to whether you actively choose to visit a National Park during your holiday, or find yourself randomly hiking around a great lake or standing under a Joshua Tree for a photograph.
It’s likely that at some point during one of your outdoor or adventure holidays you’ll find yourself in a National Park.
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors and explore this great planet, then the list above should pretty much have you set for your next National Park adventure. Don’t forget to book travel insurance that covers your specific medical condition.
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