The Rough Guide to Ireland says it all: “Among the romantic preconceptions visitors bring to Ireland, it is their expectations of the landscape that are most likely to be fulfilled.”
From the ethereally beautiful fjords to the compact capital, Oslo, there’s so much to discover in Norway. As @TheCultureMap says on Twitter: “glaciers, northern lights, midnight sun, jagged peaks, waterfalls: the list goes on!”
This geographically varied country is a worthy winner of a spot in the top twenty. The Amazon jungle, seemingly endless deserts and lofty, snow-capped mountains are just a few of the reasons to come.
With its breathtaking scenery and great hiking spots, Switzerland is an unsurprising entry on list. As @g_sehringer says on Twitter: “you can’t leave out Switzerland when talking about beautiful countries – truly gorgeous”.
Perhaps one of Europe’s most enigmatic countries, there’s a lot to love in Finland. According to you “the skies, the forests, the mysticism, and just about everything else” make it one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
India is sometimes controversially described as “Marmite” kind of country (you either love it or you hate it), but plenty of you are enthralled by this diverse nation. On Twitter, @Breathedreamgo says “India is culturally the most beautiful country in the world”.
Historically home to one of the world’s great civilizations, Mexico is not short on culture, history or natural beauty. On Facebook, Atanska Ileva-Matova says the country offers “Beautiful nature, ancient temples, great food. So much to see and explore.”
Small but mighty, Slovenia comes in at number 11 in your ranking of the most beautiful countries in the world. On Twitter, @RivCotSlo listed just a few of the elements that make Slovenia so special: “Mountains, forests, lakes, seashore, old towns, friendly people, and great food.”
There’s a lot of love for this country among our readers. As well as the stunning mountains and forests, on Twitter @Dylan1969 recommends visiting for the castles and history.
In such an enormous country, it’s impossible to cover all of the places where you’ll find beauty. DrewV highlights Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Park, adding “and so much of [the USA] is protected for posterity with the world’s best national park system”.
With its black beaches, hot springs and volcanic mountains, Iceland comes in at number 8, one of top 10 most beautiful countries as chosen by you. Come for the “dramatic landscapes” and “uncommon beauty” says @IceSif on Twitter.
Nothing inspires patriotism like the English landscape, from the rolling hills of the Lake District to the idyllic shores of Cornwall. Or, if you’re looking for lesser-known attractions, @BenAitken85 thinks even the X53 bus route along the Jurassic Coast can unearth beauty.
Indonesia comes in at number 6 in this poll, impressing you with its range of natural landscapes and varied cultures. On Twitter, @lukmanaul chose Indonesia for its myriad islands, while @astrie_sulastri picked out the country’s mountains and heritage.
5. South Africa
Surprisingly the only African country to make this list, South Africa – which makes up the size of France and Spain combined – is undeniably beautiful. On Twitter, @Allafrica01 says “South Africa has to rate as one of the best with all the variety from wildlife to beaches.”
Few countries receive as many accolades for their beauty as Italy. On Twitter, @Turpin101 was enamoured by the lovely landscapes and towns, while others are captivated by the history and romance of the country’s small towns.
3. New Zealand
In third place is New Zealand. Heather Bates put it superbly on Facebook, praising the country’s rolling green hills, majestic mountains, breathtaking fjords and amazing diversity of landscape from one island to the next.
In a close call for second place is Canada: home of lumberjacks, beavers and maple syrup (if you believe everything you read). But there’s much more on offer in Canada, not least its mixture of raw beauty and majestic landscapes. On Twitter @ToursByLocals says there are “so many beautiful places in the world, but I’m still blown away by our hometown in BC, Canada.”
And finally, the world’s most beautiful country is revealed: Scotland. Who can deny that these wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world?