“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” — Freya Stark, British explorer.
Whether we set out to travel in reality or in our imaginations, it helps to wander off to a place that is beautiful and pleasant, so that when we return home, we come back feeling rejuvenated. The world has seen dramatic changes over millions of years, with old nations often disappearing to give way to new ones. However, what makes each country stand out from the crowd is their history along with their people, and of course the natural topography of the region. Each place has its unique features, ranging from riveting mountains, enticing gorges, to transfixing rivers, vast, calm beaches and spellbinding forests. Whether it is an interest in the rich flora and fauna of a place or it is a fascination with the art and architecture found in a city, there are certain countries that have become worldwide favorites. Here are twenty five most beautiful countries in the world that have won millions of followers.
Greece is a beautiful country with some of the most picturesque scenes that the world has to offer. Be it Mt. Olympus, the Aegan Sea or the ruins of Acropolis and Athens, Greece is a spectacular sight for most of us. Even when you want a quiet holiday, you can visit the Arkadi Monastery, or just sit by the beach looking at those typical, little, white houses with their blue doors.
If there’s ever a country that offers us with a wide variety of architectural brilliance, even in the simplest of constructions, it has to be Italy. Irrespective of whether it’s Venice or Rome, this country will leave you in awe. For an extra dose of the magnificence of nature, head straight to the Alps, Tuscany, or Lake Maggiore. Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with the most breathtaking amalgamation of natural and man-made beauties.
If you have watched the Australia Tourism advertisement on television, then yes, the country does feel like “love, for the first time.” The Mornington Peninsula National Park, Kata Tjuta National Park and Kakadu National Park are extremely popular tourist destinations. However, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas aren’t all you get to see in this awe-inspiring place. What makes this continent so impressive is its coastline that stretches for more than 16000 miles. To top that, you have the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Sydney and the island of Tasmania.
Despite the recent streak of earthquakes that hit Nepal, the country still remains one of the most beautiful in the world. If you want to go shopping, Kathmandu is definitely the place for you. In case you just want to get lost in the rich cultural history of the land, there could be nothing more satisfying than a trip to Bhaktapur, in spite of the fact that all you would find there now are ruins. For the religious minded, there are the Bodhnath, Swayambhunath, and Pashupatinath temples. If you’re a nature lover, then the Chitwan National Park and the Pokhara Lake are definitely must-see places. What’s even better is the fact that everything in Nepal is affordable. In a nutshell, Nepal has it all.
5. New Zealand
Known for its exotic islands, New Zealand is a prime hotspot for vacationers. Auckland has several spectacular beaches that tourists love to visit, and Wellington is absolutely exquisite as a small city. Apart from its outlandish charm of cities and beaches, there are other attractive spots to visit, including Lake Wakatipu, the Fiordland National Park, and Queenstown. New Zealand is so picturesque that it has been named the ‘Most Beautiful Island Nation’ in the world.
The fifth largest country in the world lays claim to some of the most picturesque places, be it the Amazon River or the Rainforests. That’s not all, Rio de Janeiro is considered the second most magnificent city ever, and the Iguazu Falls the second most beautiful in the world. Brazil’s spectacular biodiversity will leave you mesmerized for many days to come.
This one is for nature and wildlife enthusiasts for sure. Tanzania is one of the most stunning places you will ever come across in your lifetime. It has a plethora of water bodies, including Lake Manyara and Lake Victoria. If you want to spot the most exotic wild animals, visit the Serengeti National Park. In case you have never experienced the beauty of a volcano, you have to see Mount Kilimanjaro. Dying to see an archipelago? Go on and head straight to the Spice Islands. Yes, Tanzania is famous for all these and much more, making a name for itself as a truly awe-inspiring country.
8. South Africa
Another country steeping in splendor is South Africa, which boasts of magnificent coastlines, spectacularly constructed cities, and some of the most popular wildlife reserves. Be it the opulent town of Franschhoek, the elegant city of Cape Town, the picturesque Clarens Drive, or the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa seems to have it all.
Germany does not often feature in the list of beautiful countries, but if you go beyond the hustle and bustle of cities like Frankfurt or Berlin, you might recognize this land’s true charm. Smaller cities such as Leipzig and Dresden look like they jumped straight out of fairy tales. However, what really stands out is the Romantic Road in Bavaria, which is abundant in architecturally brilliant castles. Apart from that, there is of course the Black Forest, the Alps, and towns like Rothenburg and Heidelberg.
France isn’t just a country for elite minds, but is also a place that is known for its quaint charm. Culturally diverse, this place is definitely one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The villages with their pretty cottages are sure to make you feel nostalgic even if you aren’t from there. Moreover, what could be more fascinating than the Musée du Louvre or the Eiffel Tower? Not into architecture, and you want to bask in the serenity of nature? Mont St. Michel and the Chamonix valley will never disappoint you!
How can India, the land of various cultures, architecture, religions and geographical features, not appear on this list? From the foothills of the Himalayas, to the deserts of Rajasthan and the beaches of Goa to the forests of Gir; from the Taj Mahal to the religious city of Varanasi, India has every element of tourism served on a huge platter. Its diversity too is the reason why it is always considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
This might be the world’s most populated country, with ongoing political turmoil, but China is also famous for its peerless scenic beauty. There is the Tibetan Plateau, which is the highest and largest in the world. Then there is the spectacular Mekong River, as well as glaciers such as the Hailuogou and Rongbuk, which exude grandeur. Mount Namcha Barwa and the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon will undoubtedly take your breath away. As for the Great Wall of China, who could ever overlook this brilliant structure? You want some city life, you say? Make your stop at Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, and you won’t be disappointed. Just ask for all your heart desires, and China will reveal it to you.
One of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world, it is no doubt one of the most spectacular places in the world. Known as Europe’s ‘Mountain Nation’, Switzerland boasts of some of the most impressive mountains belonging to the Alps, one such being the Matterhorn. Switzerland, with villages and towns like Luzern and Lugano, is also considered one of the cleanest and picturesque countries ever.
Egypt has been long referred to as the “Gift of the Nile”, and even today stays true to its epithet. The Nile isn’t simply symbolic of sustenance for people of the country; it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With enthralling deserts, magical pyramids, and spellbinding views of the rising and setting sun, there are few other places that could match up to Egypt’s beauty.
Austria is a land of contrasts indeed, with a well-balanced melange of natural beauty and captivating man-made structures. The country is famous across the globe for its baroque and gothic style architecture, which includes the Stephansdom and the Schloss Belvedere. As for its natural landscape, Austria wins hands down when it comes to its alpine lakes.
Spain is a country made to stand out because of its resplendent scenery, hospitable people and lip-smacking food. As diverse as India, this land has it all, starting from eye-catching villages to developed, modern cities. Spain is one of the most unique countries, owing to stunning monuments like the Great Mosque of Cordoba, arresting natural treasures such as the Pyrenees, as well as its rich cultural and historical heritage.
Thailand has a plethora of forests, mountains, waterfalls and beaches, proving to be a reward for any nature lover. However, its true beauty lies in the cities, where people are full of warmth, food is appetizing and life on the streets is colorful. If you are religious, the nation also houses some of the most eye-catching Buddhist temples in the world.
If you have been to the Japan Alps and visited the Okinawa coral reefs, then you are no stranger to the beauty of Japan. Visually, this nation is quite similar to Thailand, where you get a range of natural wonders like mountains and forests. The plus point is that these spectacular places are located extremely close to the busy cities.
As they say, “Small is beautiful”, Scotland too is one of the prettiest countries in the world. It has entrancing landscapes and exotic wildlife, which makes it one of the most preferred places for tourists. It is in this country that you would be able to spot animals such as the otter, or the minke whale and also birds such as the golden eagle. As for some sight-seeing, do not miss out on the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the Cuillin range of mountains, and the Cairngorms plateaus.
The Philippines is the land of rice fields, volcanoes, islands and welcoming people. Often overshadowed by the more popular tourist spots, Thailand, Philippines is beguiling in its own right. This nation boasts of more than 7000 islands, each unique in its own way. What makes one’s stay at this place even more enchanting is a jeepney ride in the mountains of North Luzon.
When it comes to Russia, it is good to skip the chaotic city of Moscow, and plunge directly into the enthralling beauty of regions like Yekaterinburg or Irkutsk. Russia has a turbulent, yet rich history, with a multitude of palaces, churches and fortresses, each one exclusive in its own right. For a more rustic flavor, Russian villages with their dainty little cottages are a relief for sore eyes.
This one’s for beach lovers, since Maldives consists of more than 1200 islands that are absolutely idyllic, with white sands and pristine blue waters. This little country lying on the Indian Ocean also offers some of the best underwater activities, like snorkeling and diving which allow you to explore the beauty of the region to its fullest.
What better than a nation that can offer you everything, from seductive mountains, to transfixing beaches, to alluring cities, apart from the famous gastronomical delights? Yes, Turkey, with its stunning city Istanbul, and the region of natural miracles, Cappadocia, is one such country that is so mesmerizing that it is considered by many as one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
24. The Netherlands
The Netherlands is truly an enchanting country, especially in the field of art and culture. The land that gave us Van Gogh, the windmills, and clogs has truly earned its place amongst the most beautiful countries in the world. Amongst its enrapturing landscapes, what is sure to win your heart is any one of the canal towns such as Utrecht and Leiden, as is the equally charming city of Amsterdam.
The Iguazú Falls, the Valdivian forests, Glaciar Perito Moreno, and the Lake District, are all those delightful sights that make Argentina one of the most intriguing countries in the world. Also, there are the flamingoes, penguins, capybaras, tapirs, and bush dogs, which form a stark contrast to the modern cities of Bueno Aires, Córdoba and Mendoza.