20 of The Most Beautiful Countries In The World
Rough Guides are a company that produces guide books for most of the countries around the world and recently they were interested in finding out where readers of their books and users of their website thought was the most beautiful place on Earth?
Collating the answers from asking where is the most beautiful country in the world, they compiled a list of the top 20 and here we go through them and see why they ranked so highly with seasoned travelers.
Famed for its gloriously lush jungles and verdant hillsides steeped in terraced paddy fields and small holdings, Vietnam is rich in natural beauty and wonder and it's not just inland where you can see this.
Stunning rock formations in Ha Long bay and quiet, sandy beaches all add to the charm of the country.
Ancient cities that remain in tact with their wonderful and historic architecture are a big draw for this Eastern European country as is its near Mediterranean climate that complements its stunning 2000km coastline.
The coastline itself has sandy beaches dotted with fortifications from times gone by that overlook the azure waters that lap at the land. In land, National Parks filled with forests and cascading waterfalls are more than enough to lose yourself in their jaw dropping effervescence.
There is a reason Ireland is known as 'the Emerald Isle' and that's because of its island location off the West coast of the United Kingdom and mainland Europe makes for perfect weather conditions to produce a land of greenery.
Rolling mountains that fall off into a rugged coastline and forests and swamps that sit on peat bogs make for a diverse ecosystem and stunning visages.
Norway is noted for its gorgeous and rugged scenery and its fjords are no exception to this with the crisp, clean Nordic air making everything seem brighter, clearer and more in focus. In winter this manifests itself as a sort of stunning contrast of bleakness and beauty as the snow makes the towering fjords a pure white whilst the waters become so dark they look almost pitch black.
Come the spring and the snow will melt away and the fjords will burst into color with the towering, rocky walls feeling almost untouched and untainted
Peru's majesty comes in a variety of forms from its portion of the Amazon rainforest that is split by mighty rivers to its towering peaks of the Andes mountain ranges, the country has sand, snow and pretty much most of the points in between these two.
Its remnants of ancient civilizations from Mayans and Incans also add to its many gorgeous vistas including the famed Macchu Pichu.
Noted for its mountainous geography thanks to its Alpine cities and villages, it has many ski lodges and winter resorts that encourage biking, hiking and skiing through its snow capped scenery.
Alpine lakes and picturesque towns and villages all make it a quaint sort of fairy-tale land.
The landscapes of Finland inspired and shaped the mysticism and wonder of children's stories such as those of the iconic characters The Moomins and it's not hard to see why with their rugged inlets and wild and mysterious forests that make up this enigmatic country.
Harsh winters and glorious summers give it a very unique shape and feel and add to its power as a land of magic and hidden wonders to behold.
So large and diverse is the sub-continent of India that it is bound to hold something for everybody. Marshy jungle like terrains such as the Sundarbans hold wild tigers, snakes and other animals amidst its tangled knots whilst the jungles play home to elephants and apes.
The cities are hustling, bustling microcosms of humanity with grand palaces from ancient times through to the Raj dotting the architectural landscape whilst mountain ranges and rice fields fill in the gaps in between.
The cultural makeup is immensely rich with it being home to one of the world's greatest ancient cultures and its legacy remains in tact all over the country with temples and ruins spotting the land like eruptions that have seemingly cropped up from nowhere.
Throw this into the mix of white, sandy beaches with palm fronds and the Gulf of Mexico gives rise to an eclectic array of sea creatures whilst mountain ranges also play a part in its geography.
This tiny Eastern European country may be small but sure packs in a lot to its borders with mountains, forests, lakes, seashore and old towns all rolled into one.
The Julian Alps are dotted with medieval towns along the banks of lakes and rivers that make up such a jaw-dropping country.
This tiny principality of the United Kingdom has some of the best beaches in the world hiding amongst its slate mountains and rolling hills that seem endlessly undulating.
Victorian towns and villages pop out of nowhere whilst rural farming seems to take prescience for miles and miles on end. National parks like Snowdonia offer a chance to walk amongst the rocky formations that puncture the moody skies here.
The United States is an absolutely massive country and takes in so many different landscapes, terrains, and climates that it is impossible not to find beauty wherever you may turn.
Glaciers and ice sheets in Alaska contrast starkly to the tropical climes of Hawaii whilst geothermal pools in Yellowstone and the roaming buffalo of Yosemite create eye-wateringly alluring images.
Right on the very point where two tectonic plates meet, Iceland is known as 'the land of fire and ice' due to its lava fields, active volcanoes, black beaches, warm hot springs, geysers, and glaciers, it is all there to be seen and explored.
Stunning waterfalls that turn gold when hit by the light at the right time of year and a modern forward thinking capital that still clings to its routes as a tiny fishing port. Just amazing.
The green and pleasant land of England has long inspired artists and poets with its coastal cliffs of Cornwall or its watery wonders in the Lake District, the country is a verdant paradise of greenery and scenery once you break free from its larger cities.
Chocolate box villages of Victorian architecture punctuate the landscape whilst its rugged and ever changing coastline that surrounds it always offers up something new.
Indonesia is an archipelago of a myriad of different islands all with a unique flavor and feel to them as they vary from mountainous to jungle strewn soaking up a massive array of cultures and cuisines.
The warm waters bring in tropical fish and birds whilst temples stand tall over these luscious landscapes.
5. South Africa
Somewhat surprisingly, this is the only African country to make this list but the sheer size of it means it has plenty to offer from its coastline that sees sharks and other sea life in its waters to its magnificent table mountain and plains that are perfect for safari.
Completely wild in parts, the variety of flora and fauna on show is quite immense whilst the culture draws from an array of European and African sources.
Home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations known to man, its cultural beauty still pockmarks the landscape with its ruins and temples whilst the romanticism of its vineyards, and coastal towns and villages permeate through into the Alpine settings of their mountain settlements.
Lakes and islands are also a feature of the country and create something of an ever different landscape wherever in the country you visit.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand is a unique country in the sense that it encompasses almost all of the possible landscapes on the planet within its own borders. With a spine of mountains that come from volcanic origins, its rolling landscape has fjord-like bays, golden beaches, and icy glaciers as well as rainforests and open plains.
With much of its beauty split between its two main islands, many consider the Southern Island more rugged and beautiful but the North is not without its charms either.
Canada is a country of raw beauty with vast and expansive landscapes of lakes, glaciers, mountains, bays, and beaches it also has localized wildlife that add to the national character such as beavers, bears and moose.
Such a large and relatively untouched country offers up some truly epic adventures, sights and sounds to be a part of and it is little wonder it ranks so highly on this list.
The tiny British nation of Scotland is surrounded on three sides by rough seas and windswept, rugged coastline that shape its rocky isles. In line with Nordic countries, it has long glorious summers and dark moody winters that create a magic and majesty about its persona.
Relatively rural it is known for its lochs that hold untold mysteries within their depths whilst its rolling hills and sometimes perilous shores make it the most beautiful place in the world right now.