The 20 most beautiful countries in the world, as voted

Andrew Munro 6 September 2017 NEWS
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Slovenia: St Mary's Church on Lake Bled

How about going somewhere beautiful?

Looking for somewhere that's just plain beautiful? Rough Guides readers have voted on the 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and they've racked their brains for the most amazing sights anywhere in the world.

Every single country in the UK made the list, and while Australia missed out on the top 20, the Pacific's finest spots were still very well represented with New Zealand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

If you want to go somewhere that's worthy of your Instagram, these voters have some inspiration for you.

Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world

20. Vietnam - The green terraced fields or stunning coastlines alone definitely earn Vietnam a spot on the list, but put both of them together and you have one of the most spectacular countries on earth.

19. Croatia - There's a reason so many tourists are drawn to Croatia. Its 2000 kilometre coastline, and towns like Dubrovnik and Split, almost seem like they were built to be beautiful.

18. Ireland - "Among the romantic preconceptions visitors bring to Ireland, it is their expectations of the landscape that are most likely to be fulfilled." says The Rough Guide to Ireland. That might not be a sterling recommendation of the food, but the countryside makes it an undeniable place to visit.

17. Norway - The least recommended part of Scandinavia to make the list, but home to incredible scenery no matter where you look, from the artfully designed capital of Oslo to the even-more-artful fjords and glaciers. Time your visit well, and you can even see the midnight sun or northern lights.

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16. Peru - Everyone can find something to love, something to do and something to vote for in Peru. From the Amazon rainforest to snowy peaks to sandy deserts, you'll always find something unforgettable.

15. Switzerland - The Swiss Alps are about as stunning as mountains can get, dappled with countless famous peaks like the Matterhorn. There are incredible views to be had from ground level, halfway up or the peaks alike. It's no wonder Switzerland is in demand.

14. Finland - If you want to find yourself around the Arctic circle, Finland might be the best place to do it. The endless snowy forests and quiet coastal hamlets give Finland an air of its own.

13. India - Sprawling, colourful and home to a truly unique combination of natural wonders, world famous landmarks and cultural attractions, India got a lot of support as one of the world's most beautiful countries.

12. Mexico - Mexico is probably one of the most practical places to find yourself surrounded by Aztec (and Olmec, Mayan and other) history, along with beautiful nature and great weather. Little wonder it's so highly recommended.

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Ik-kil Cenote in Mexico, taken in with a fish-eye lens

11. Slovenia - Between mountains, forests, lakes and seaside, Slovenia packs a lot of incredible sights inside a compact border. That means you don't have to go too far to find a view that's well worth the trip.

10. Wales - Supposedly the second-least beautiful country in the UK and the tenth most beautiful country in the world, Wales treats its visitors to a quintessential combination of mountains and forests, as well as castles and a rich historical background.

9. USA - The US of A has way too many highlights not to find a place on the list, from the Grand Canyon to Yosemite to the sequoia forests. To say nothing of the irreplaceable cultural attractions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and many more.

8. Iceland - The tiny country has plenty of fans, drawn by some truly unique scenery and geographical features, like snowy hot springs, volcanic beaches and dramatic landscapes that seem like they were drawn up to be beautiful.

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Black sand beach in Iceland

7. England - There are plenty of sight to be unearthed beyond the cities in England, and even within the cities there's still plenty of history, architecture and other inspiring sights.

6. Indonesia - Australians might be most familiar with Indonesia's top tourist spots, and the right eye might certainly find them beautiful in their own way, but sticking to the well-trodden paths means missing out on the real variety and scale of landscapes Indonesia's islands have to offer.

5. South Africa - The only African country to make the list, South Africa has an enormous amount of variety in landscapes. From city living to wildlife, and mountains to beaches, there's something for everyone.

4. Italy - A country with slightly more history than it knows what to do with, and a perfect number of scenic seaside towns and coastal cliffs, as well as plenty of countryside for adventurers to explore.

3. New Zealand - One of few countries where you'll find rolling hills that turn into mountains before you know it, which in turn run right down to the water and create breathtaking fjords. In many ways, New Zealand seems to be the most famous features of other countries rolled together in one.

2. Canada - A visitor who doesn't know what to expect might find themselves leaving enchanted, after taking in the stunning mountain vistas, dense forests and extraordinary coastlines. Go far enough to the north and you'll soon find a whole new world of frozen beaches, glaciers and permanent icebergs, for different kind of beauty.

1. Scotland - First place, as voted, is Scotland. The countryside lochs, craggy castles and wild, rolling hills are second to none and offer more places to explore than you can do in a single visit. Scotland is unofficially officially the world's most beautiful country.


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