On May 24 we celebrate the European Day of National Parks. This is an anniversary of coming into being the first national park in Europe. It was the park Sarek located in northern Sweden, existing since 1909 and registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Beautiful, mountain and inaccessible

Sarek National Park is not the first in the world. Thirty-seven years earlier the United States Yellowstone Park was created. But this is not the most important. The area in the municipality of Jokkmokk in the region of Norrbotten has been protected due to the alpine landscapes – the park is home to more than 200 peaks and about 100 glaciers. For this reason Sarek is difficult to explore and not recommended for inexperienced walkers. Only a few routes are available for tourists, including the scenic Kungsleden.

European beginnings of parks

In Europe so far 250 national parks were established, most of which correspond to the second category of protected areas according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Sweden is a pioneer in this field. In May 1909, the Swedish parliament founded as many as nine parks. Until World War II parks were created in twelve European countries (Sweden, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Ireland, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania and Greece).

Parks in numbers

The largest in terms of occupied area is the “Jugyd wa” National Park located in the Northern Ural in Russia (18 917 km square). But most parks are located in Finland – as many as 26. On the other hand Norway ranks first in the category of participation of national parks in the whole area of the country – 7 percent.


In our country there are 23 national parks, but also 120 landscape parks. The establishment of three consecutive national parks – Jurajski, Turnicki and Mazury is under discussion. The oldest Polish parks are Pieninski and Bialowieski, created in 1932. And the biggest Biebrzanski NP. The youngest is “Warta Mouth” being 14 years old. In our country national parks occupy only 1 percent of the area.