Ready to discover the most beautiful countries in the world? The world is full of destinations that ignite the imagination, so pack your bags and let’s set off on a journey through these spectacular countries.
Look, it’s no spoiler alert to say that our planet is an incredible tapestry of natural beauty, one where pretty much every country has its own unique charms… but there are some that really do blow you away.
After (gasp) over two decades of travel, there’s a long list of places that really have lived up to any possible expectations I had, no matter how lofty.
From the azure waters of the Maldives to the rugged peaks of Switzerland, this guide is going to take you on a trip through the world’s most beautiful countries. Let’s go!
Most Beautiful Countries in the World
Made up of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is as beautiful as it is seemingly endless.
I can’t name too many places that made me fall quite as head over heels in love as Indonesia, with its iconic rice terraces, epic sunsets, and eye-catching cuisine.
Ancient temples built on stunning (and seemingly impossible) cliffside real estate, forests filled with secret caves and adorable monkeys, and the picture-perfect blue waters and striking black sands of Bali are just a few reasons why Indonesia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Stretching along a chunk of South America, you’d be correct in assuming that Chile offers more natural beauty than just about any country on this list.
Start with the solidified lava rivers, terraced quinoa fields and otherworldly nighttime skies in the Atacama Desert in the north. Or explore the icy glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and vast network of lakes and rivers in Torres del Paine in the south. A trip to Chile will show you some of the most beautiful country anywhere in the world.
Add a few days in Central Chile to see the striking colonial architecture of Santiago, the fabled vineyards of the Maipo Valley, the lush Elqui Valley and the picturesque coastal shores of the Pacific Ocean.
United States of America
Want to see one of the most beautiful (and vast) countries in the world? Of course, you do.
Head to the USA, where the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains bridge the gap between beautiful urban landscapes like the skyline of Manhattan and the lakeside shores of Chicago to the vast, sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles near the Pacific Ocean.
From the sweeping plains of Death Valley National Park to the cacti-studded reaches of Arizona, or the unbelievable views at Zion National Park, the United States is a place of intense natural and urban beauty that would take more than one lifetime to discover.
115 unique islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Eastern Africa make up the world’s most beautiful country for beaches – Seychelles.
I didn’t make the rules, the crystal clear blue waters shimmering against the white sands and dramatic palm-lined rocky shores make Anse Source D’Argent the most gorgeous beach you’ll ever see. But there’s so much more.
The massive Aldabra Tortoises on Curieuse Island are an animal lover’s dream. Many of them have been quietly lumbering their way along the jungle shores of the Seychelles for over 100 years.
Add some epic hiking trails to the mix, which feature verdant forests, scenic waterfalls, and birds of nearly any colour, and Seychelles is hard to beat.
Since we’re on the subject of the most beautiful beaches in the world, let’s head over to The Maldives. White sands? Check. Clear blue waters? You bet.
And trust me, when people ask, “What is the most beautiful country in the world?” I’m thinking about The Maldives. The white sands, cyan waters, and stunning overwater bungalows put it at the top of my list.
But you can often find beauty beneath the surface, and scuba diving through the brilliant blue and yellow coral and tide-swept shipwrecks will open your eyes to some of the most incredible underwater scenery anywhere.
I’ll admit I sometimes overlook Canada when thinking of the most beautiful countries in the world. Big mistake.
Take a trip to the top of North America and expect to be blown away by dramatic landscapes that truly look even better in person than the unbelievable photographs you’ve probably caught on Instagram.
Everyone should see the cobalt blue waters framed against the towering mountains in the UNESCO-appointed Canadian Rockies Mountain Parks at least once. You also won’t want to miss the dramatic high tides and tree-topped sea stacks in the Bay of Fundy.
Add the cobbled streets of Montreal, the French-colonial architecture of Old Quebec, and the bright lights of the Toronto skyline, and you have the perfect balance of beautiful natural and urban landscapes.
When I was 18 years old, I took a trip to Brazil, which changed how I saw the world.
In no small part, the golden sands and palm-lined shores, the sheer force of the Iguazu Falls, and the abundance of wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest opened my eyes to how incredibly gorgeous our planet is.
But making your way to the top of Mount Corcovado to see the Christ the Redeemer statue embracing the city of Rio de Janeiro puts things into perspective from a unique vantage point.
Renowned for its stunning Renaissance architecture, rolling sun-kissed vineyards in Tuscany, and beautiful cities like Florence and Rome – Italy is the most beautiful country in the world in many people’s minds.
No doubt inspired by the dramatic landscapes that feature towering volcanoes, lush and leafy valleys, and one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline you’ll find anywhere in the world, Italy is a sensory overload on every level imaginable.
Windswept shores make way for some of the most storied landscapes anywhere in the world – there’s a reason why Greece is on the bucket list for so many travellers.
Legendary ancient ruins like the Acropolis of Athens and Parthenon show a small glimpse into what life was like thousands of years ago in Attica.
You’ll also discover why it’s one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful countries when you see the sunset over the Aegean Sea on the beautiful Cycladic island of Sifnos.
Take a single bike ride or a hike through the Swiss Alps, and you’ll have no doubt in your mind that Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to visit.
Make your way down the snow-covered slopes in the winter, and the picturesque mountain views become that much more special.
You’ll find storybook villages on river banks in towns like Interlaken or Lucerne or hidden gems like Ascona in a setting so pristine it inspired romantic poets Byron and Shelley.
The French countryside boasts ancient castles and châteauxs in historic vineyards like the former hunting lodge and palace, Château de Chambord. Driving from the scenic Loire Valley, you can’t help but imagine centuries past.
Few cities evoke romance the way Paris does, with gorgeous examples of fine dining that enchant visitors with both their intricate details in presentation and intoxicating aromas.
Add the civil engineering marvel of the Eiffel Tower with its lattice-designed tower stretching 300 metres into the sky, and you have all the makings of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
You know there will be incredible scenery in a country that inspired the settings of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Guess what? Middle-Earth exists IRL when you visit the magical countryside of New Zealand.
You’ll see majestic waterfalls, rolling green hills, ancient volcanoes, and mysterious islands that look like something out of a fairytale book.
The dense forests and scenic shores of the Coromandel Peninsula and picture-perfect port cities like Auckland are just two concrete examples of the many types of beauty you’ll find in New Zealand.
The dramatic landscape is as diverse as the 36 indigenous cultures in the small but endlessly scenic South American country of Bolivia.
One example? The hexagonal patterns of the stark white sands of the salt flats find a new sense of beauty when the rainy season (January-April) creates the perfect mirror effect.
Need another? Bright pink flamingos post up along the turquoise waters of Cañapa Lagoon to create equally amazing photo ops.
Mineral-laden lakes featuring vivid shades of red, green, and milky whites are only matched in their beauty by the billowing smoke of the active Ollague Volcano or the bubbling Sol de Mañana Geysers against the bright blue skies.
In short, there’s a reason I keep going back to learn more about Bolivia.
In a country nicknamed the land of fire and ice, it’s no surprise that you can see some of the most contrasting displays of natural beauty anywhere in the world.
Iceland is a place where you can swim between continental plates, hike across glaciers, see legitimately magical waterfalls falling down dramatic basalt rock cliffs and witness one of the most incredible displays of nature anywhere in the world – the Northern Lights.
It’s a landscape lover’s dream come true.
Medieval architecture dotting the rocky coastline in cities like Split and Dubrovnik is so gorgeous that it became the focal point of the modern classic Game of Thrones.
From the towering palace walls of the 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace to the Gothic Cathedral in Zagreb, the architecture is as gorgeous as it is varying in influence and era.
But the natural beauty is no less impressive. Waterfalls, lakes, and clear blue seas in places like Krka National Park, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and the Dalmatian Islands never cease to amaze.
Where is this magical place? If you guessed Croatia, you’re correct.
If you’re looking to discover the most beautiful country in the world, traversing the landscapes of rolling hills, pine forests, and hidden beaches is a great start.
From the iconic Baroque and Manueline architecture dotting the hills and river banks of Lisbon to the smaller but no less charming Porto in the north, Portugal has some of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
But Portugal is full of surprises, including the charming villages of the Algarve, remote beaches in the Alentejo, and ancient vineyards meandering through the oldest wine region in the world (Douro Valley).
Follow the storied stretch of the sea up the Iberian Peninsula, where sailors and fishermen have set off into the Atlantic Ocean for centuries. You’ll see firsthand how Portugal is one of the top most beautiful countries in the world.
A small country that exemplifies beauty in almost every facet, Japan showcases world-class architecture and inventive cuisine in large urban epicentres like the endless sea of neon lights in Tokyo or the temples and markets in Kyoto.
You’ll find a dedication to craftsmanship that shows through, from handmade chef knives to gorgeous sculptures delicately made from paper (origami) and beautifully prepared culinary masterpieces like hand-rolled sushi.
And then there’s the incredible coastline, legendary Mount Fuji, and forests lined with pine, oak, and evergreens.
Most Beautiful Countries in the World: Map
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