Every country in the world has something to offer. Think local kitchen, groundbreaking architecture and more. But beauty is a difficult thing to quantify. This is why the world’s countries are classified according to various factors. For example, we take into account the security of life expectancy. Or also the wealth in natural resources. The latter consider details like the total number of animal species and the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Here are the 12 most beautiful countries in the world; no importance is given to each country’s numbering and the order of appearance.
It’s easy to indulge in Pura Vida (pure life) when surrounded by misty waterfalls, deserted beaches and remote jungles. More than a quarter of Costa Rica benefits from environmental protection.
For example, Cocos Island National Park is the only island in the Eastern Pacific with a rainforest. It’s a world-class diving destination filled with hammerhead sharks, giant manta rays, sea turtles and dolphins. In addition, there is the La Amistad National Park. The latter is another site of unique diversity, with cloud forests, glacial valleys and rare tropical alpine meadows. It is also home to Cerro Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica.
Located just outside the Arctic Circle, Iceland has become one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Indeed, travelers flock to the island nation in their millions. They come to witness some of the most impressive sights in the world, like towering volcanoes with gushing waterfalls and expansive underground ice caves. Jökulsárlón, the country’s deepest glacial lake, is famous for its floating blue icebergs and herds of seals. In Vik, the black sand and basalt columns of Reynisfjara Beach beg to be photographed.
New Zealand has breathtaking landscapes. Indeed, there are towering mountains, turquoise lakes and more than 9,000 miles of windswept shoreline. Just gaze at Lake Tekapo’s resplendent fields of pink and purple lupins. Milford Sound is a mountainous fjord where you can live out all your Lord of the Rings fantasies. The splendor also extends beneath the surface of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Austria is what fairy tales are made of. Disney hasn’t produced something exclusively inspired by the lakeside village of Hallstatt. The Alp’s slice-of-the-country aesthetic attracts travelers from all over the world. Whether for the ski slopes of Tyrol, the hiking trails of Innsbruck or the ice caves of Eisriesenwelt Werfen. Suppose you’re hoping to see the scenery from the movie Sound of Music, head straight for Hohe Tauern National Park. It is close to Salzburg and combines snow-capped mountains and green hills perfectly.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Caribbean island with as much charm as the Dominican Republic. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Thanks to the long list of beaches and jungles to visit, it is indeed. On the Samaná peninsula, Playa Bonita lives up to its name. It has crystal clear waters ideal for snorkeling and diving and plenty of palm trees for your classic tropical gram. If you prefer green to blue, head to Los Haitises National Park on the island’s northeast coast. With its unique limestone rock formations and mangrove forests, the park is easily one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic – and maybe even the entire Caribbean.
Ah, Canada. One of the largest and most beautiful countries in the world. This second-largest country in the world has almost too many spectacular landscapes to single out favorites. But if we had to choose, we would start with the remote Torngat Mountains National Park. It’s a land of polar bears and caribou, glaciers and fjords, and a stretch of mountains you’ll probably never forget. All 48 national parks across the country are worth a visit, from the serene Alberta of Banff to the far Kluane of the Yukon.
Norway is the land of glaciers, mountains, northern lights and fjords – especially fjords. The UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord in southwestern Norway are among the most scenic in the world. Indeed, they impress with steep rock faces and dense forests. For something a little more unique (and daring), there’s Trolltunga in Hardangerfjord. This protruding rock sits about 2300 feet above Lake Ringedalsvatnet. It offers some of the most spectacular panoramic views in the country aesthetic. And don’t forget the Lofoten Islands, which lie off the country’s northwest coast.
These make Norway one of the unique countries in the world.
Nestled in the Alps, Switzerland is easily one of the most beautiful countries in the world, no matter when you visit. In winter, however, this country’s aesthetic becomes a true paradise. Its powdery ski slopes and frozen lakes galore are unmissable. For the best view of the country’s natural beauty, stay in the village of Zermatt. Indeed, it’s such a new ski town that people buy bottles of mountain air as souvenirs! Not a ski fan? A summer visit to Switzerland is always a good idea. The picturesque shores of Lake Geneva and the badi of Zurich await you for the next family vacation.
A four-hour flight from Johannesburg, Mauritius is one of the most beautiful and accessible tropical islands off the east coast of Africa. Thanks to its ‘ underwater waterfall ‘, Instagram and Pinterest have sparked renewed interest in the country. The latter is a visually stunning runoff of sand and silt best viewed from above. Add to that some turquoise lagoons and seas rich in marine life. And it’s easy to see why Mauritius is one of the best countries in the world.
In addition to its world-class beaches, like Playa de Las Catedrales in Galicia, Spain is home to 15 national parks, including five in the Canary and Balearic Islands. Doñana National Park is home to five endangered bird species and scenic marshes and sand dunes. Teide National Park has the highest mountain in the country aesthetic (Mount Teide) and the third-highest volcanic structure in the world (Pico Viejo).
This country is home to 67 national parks. Plus, over 5,000 miles of coastline and landscapes vary from deserts to snow-capped volcanoes. Mexico tops the list of the most beautiful countries in the world for a reason. The state of Oaxaca claims wild, crowd-free beaches and Hierve el Agua.
The latter is a set of natural rock formations and mineral springs. In the southern state of Chiapas, the Sumidero Canyon surprises with its 3,000-foot cliff faces. In addition, its caves and waterfalls are magnificent. Mexico also puts a lot of effort into protecting its wildlife. Indeed, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve northwest of Mexico City is home to millions of butterflies each fall.
Australia’s natural beauty is unparalleled. You can find everything from the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged isolation of the Outback to the vineyards of Victoria. Witnessing the majesty of Uluru should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether seen from above by helicopter or from a distance at ground level during the technicolour sunset.
Another must-have? Tasmania. The island state’s mountain wilderness and pristine coastline are stunning. This is why we find this country aesthetic in the time of the most beautiful countries in the world.