Whether you’ve never been bitten by the travel bug or you have a serious case of wanderlust, there’s no denying that the world is full of surprises. From stunning scenery and breathtaking views to cultures that are far from your every day, there’s a laundry list of places across the globe that are well worth the visit.
The bespoke travel go-to Rough Guides took up the task of ranking countries based on beauty — a list that’s sure to make you green with envy. So, before we get to the No. 1 most beautiful country in the world, we’re starting off with a handful of spots that should also be on your bucket list. And trust us, we don’t think it will take too much twisting of the arm.
Most folks associate England with the royal family, and who could blame them? Kate Middleton is pretty much everything. But beyond the walls of Buckingham Palace, a whole host of beautiful scenery and historic sights abound. Whether you’re exploring the rolling hills of the Lake District, the shores of Cornwall, or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the country’s many pubs, England has a ton to offer.
It’s no wonder why this Southeast Asian nation made the list. Overflowing with hundreds of ethnic groups who speak many different languages, Indonesia is bursting at the seams with culture and authenticity at its finest. Complete with thousands of volcanic islands, world-class beaches, and jungles teeming with elephants, orangutans, and tigers, this is a destination you definitely want to visit.
5. South Africa
Located at the southernmost tip of the continent, South Africa draws people from around the world thanks to its impressive safari opportunities. Flush with a variety of ecosystems, stunning beaches, and an expansive coastline perfect for hiking, perhaps South Africa’s biggest claim to fame is the big game that roam the country’s sprawling landscape.
You’d be hard-pressed to find another place in the world that’s as well-known for a single type of cuisine as Italy. Everyone knows that this country is the place to be for pasta, pasta, and more pasta. Fancy yourself a cooking class vacation for your next trip? Italy’s the place to be for that, and so much more.
When folks visit Italy, they really can have it all. From charming towns such as Venice to major fashion meccas such as Milan, there’s something for everyone. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to mention the country’s signature artistry and ancient ruins, along with its rich Mediterranean coastline.
3. New Zealand
Ah, New Zealand. Known by some as the land of the kiwis, this far-away island country claims the No. 3 spot on the list, and for good reason. A distinct wild, fungal, and plant life contribute to the lush landscape of the country, drawing plant and animal lovers from near and far. New Zealand’s most well-known attributes are its sprawling green hills, gorgeous fjords, and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps.
When it comes to a land worthy of attracting the most avid of outdoor enthusiasts, Canada is it. The country’s famed wilderness scene includes everything from Niagara Falls to the Canadian Rockies, which includes the idyllic Banff National Park. In addition to the maple syrup stashes and world-class skiing, Canada is home to sprawling cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec.
This might be a tough pill to swallow for those who call the No. 7 spot home, but still, Scotland has earned top ranking in its own right. As the U.K.’s northernmost country, Scotland’s major cities include Edinburgh, the country’s capital, and Glasgow, which is known for its lively cultural scene.
From iconic castles to world-famous golf courses, Scotland has plenty to offer in the way of top-notch beauty. As Rough Guides put it, “Who can deny that these wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world?” And the world seems to feel the same way.
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