Each country has its own list of tourist spots and landmarks. Many of these are man-made, some of which were constructed years and even centuries ago which actually makes them historical sites. The other half of these must-visit places comprise the extraordinary wonders of nature: magnificent parks, beautiful lakes, scenic mountain ranges, and majestic natural landscapes.
The Natural Environment as a Country’s Pride and Treasure
Without a doubt, the natural wonders of a country are one of its main tourism draws. When a country has many natural destinations that attract thousands of visitors every year, tourism becomes a lucrative industry.
Once tourism becomes a booming industry, a country will experience various benefits, including a boost in the economy. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the nation’s prosperity and overall quality of life.
Because of this, many countries are working hard to preserve, protect, and even revitalise their natural wonders to boost tourism and their economy and, at the same time, increase local pride and satisfaction.
The Best Countries in Europe for Nature Tripping
If exploring the various ecological wonders of Europe is in your bucket list but you don’t know which countries to put on top of your itinerary, take a leaf from the latest Legatum Prosperity Index and prioritise these destinations that rank high in the natural environment pillar:
According to the Prosperity Index, among all the 148 countries included in the list, Slovenia has performed the best in the natural environment pillar. It, thus, currently holds the number one position in this category.
This small European country has three natural, hard-to-miss landscapes which every tourist should at least see: the Alpine or Julian Alps in the northwest, the Mediterranean Sea in the southwest, and the Dinaric Alps in the southeast.
Slovenia has other magnificent natural wonders to offer tourists and nature lovers as well. These include:
- Mount Triglav
- Karst Plateau
- Lake Bled
- Škocjan Caves
- Soča Valley
- Vilenica Cave
The United Kingdom
The UK ranks second on the environmental pillar on the latest Prosperity Index list of the Legatum Foundation.
Although London’s manmade, historical, and royal family-related landmarks are the nation’s biggest draw, the nation has a lot to offer to tourists who want to explore and be close to nature.
Some of the UK’s most beautiful natural wonders can be found in these places:
- Jurassic Coast
Ranking third in the natural environmental pillar, Finland is one of the best destinations for nature lovers.
The country is teeming with various natural landscapes that include forests, hills, valleys, lakes, and swamps. Finland also has several public parks that outdoor lovers simply have to visit, too.
Finland’s must-visit places for those who appreciate nature are:
- Lake Saimaa
- Kurjenrahka National Park
- Oulanka National Park
- Nuuksio National Park
- Seurasaari Island
This small Western European nation landed on the fifth spot of the Prosperity Index’s ecology pillar.
Luxembourg is known for both its amazing architecture and natural beauty. It is home to several amazing camping sites which makes it one of the top destinations for avid campers from different parts of the world.
Some of the most popular destinations in Luxembourg:
- Butterfly Garden
- Moselle Valley
The country if Estonia ranks sixth in terms of countries with excellent ecological environments.
Located in Northern Europe, the country is known for its diverse landscape which ranges from rocky beaches and verdant forests to sparklingly clear rivers and lakes.
Below are some of the most stunning natural destinations in Estonia:
- Korvemaa Nature Reserve
- Lake Peipus
- Matsalu National Park
A popular summer destination, France is currently number seven in the top countries with an excellent natural environment.
The country is known as the art capital of the world. However, it also boasts many natural attractions which include:
- Camargue Salt Flats
- Côte de Granit Rose
- French Alps
- French Riviera
- Gorges du Verdon
- Scandola Nature Reserve
This country currently ranks eighth in the Prosperity Index’s environment pillar.
Norway has plenty of mountain peaks, waterfalls, and hiking trails. As such, it is one of the best places to explore for outdoor lovers.
Some of the must-visit places here are:
- Hardangervidda National Park
- Mount Floyen
- Kjosfossen Waterfall
- Tromso Fjords
Another popular tourist destination in Europe, Austria landed on the ninth spot of nations with excellent ecological environments.
This European country welcomes visitors from different parts of the globe at any time of the year. Its most famous natural tourist spots are:
- Lake Schlegeis
- Vorderer Gosausee
If discovering and getting up close and personal with nature is your goal on your next European holiday, take note of the countries above and put them at the top of your bucket list.