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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

New national parks around the world

From an island in Denmark to 10 million acres in Chile, make a point of visiting new protected areas when you travel 

Parque Patagonia. Pura Aventura
Parque Patagonia. Pura Aventura

Five new parks add up to 10 million protected acres in Chile

Southern Chile is famous for Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia but much more of the region’s spectacular landscape is now being made accessible. Donations of vast tracts of wilderness by foundations run by US philanthropists and environmentalists to the Chilean state has led to the creation of national reserves covering 4.45m hectares. 17 national parks and reserves are now linked by the 770-mile Route of Parks, which starts in the port city of Puerto Montt on the doorstep of Alerce Andino National Park and continues south to the town of Villa O’Higgins. A road trip through all of them could take months.

The latest park to come into state ownership is Pumalín, which stretches from the Andes to the Pacific coast. A 16-hour drive south of Pumalín, past the active volcanoes of the Corcovado wilderness and the hanging glaciers, and forests of Queulat park, is Patagonia national park. This remains a work-in-progress, currently with 70 miles of trails, and consists mostly of grassland – making easier terrain for hikers. Self-drive holidays and car hire from Puerto Montt and Calluqueo have turned what was once a trip for an intrepid few into a more affordable bucket-list entry for the adventurous. Real World holidays offers a 12-day Carretera Austral self-drive trip from £2,595 (Dh12,883) per person. Emirates starts a Santiago service in June.

New Danish national park

In Denmark, following years of preparation, the inauguration of the new Royal North Sealand National Park, west of the capital Copenhagen, is to take place on May 29.

The park, to be Denmark's fifth, covers 64,900 acres with the forest of Gribskov and the lake of Esrum Sø at its heart. Gribskov is one of Denmark's largest forests, with centuries-old oak trees, rich fauna and flora, and prehistoric sites. Esrum Sø, the second largest lake in the country, is noted for its clean waters, recreational facilities and the 10th-century monastery Esrum Abbey at its northern end.

With interesting interior, there is also a number of historically significant sites that span from Stone Age to more recent times, including dolmens, tumuli, medieval ruins, castles and royal palaces.

Denmark is considered one of the world's best destinations for cycling. Inntravel offers self-guided hotel-to-hotel cycling along the Danish Riviera from £1,195 (Dh5,932) per person based on two sharing, including six nights' b&b accommodation maps and cycle hire; available from 19 May-30 September 2018.

Sweden opens its 30th national park

In Sweden, the 4,700-acre Åsnen officially opens this month. It is its first new addition since 2009. Nearly 75 percent of the park is water — the rest is made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered across Lake Åsnen, old-growth deciduous forests, wetlands, and lowland plains across a stunning swath of southern Sweden. Rent kayaks and summer cottages at Getnö Gård, spot ospreys and sea eagles, or pedal 86 miles of waterfront along gravel roads and rail trails.

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