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Lupines by Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
naruedom | Adobe Stock

The 5 Most Naturally Beautiful Countries in the World

SmarterTravel

It’s said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—attraction is subjective and hard to rank, but one study has tried to use data to determine the most naturally gorgeous country in the world. 

Finance site Money.co.uk created a “natural beauty score” and ranked countries based on the number of scenic attractions per 100,000 square kilometers. 

The geological features that counted towards the natural beauty score included volcanoes, ultra-prominent mountains, coral reef areas, protected areas, coastline length, tropical forest area, and glaciers. 

Here are the top five countries deemed the most naturally beautiful by the study, along with the most picturesque places to visit in each destination. 

Indonesia

Five images of picturesque locations around Indonesia (listed below)
linortis & Katya Tsvetkova & artifirsov & Adel & Aqnus | Adobe Stock

With pristine coral reefs, thousands of miles of coastline, and towering mountains, Indonesia claimed the top spot as the most beautiful country. The country is composed of over 17,000 different islands—making it the largest archipelago in the world.

Most Picturesque Places

  • Komodo National Park
  • Gili Islands
  • Tanjung Puting National Park
  • Borobudur
  • The beaches of Bali

New Zealand

Five images of picturesque locations around New Zealand (listed below)
shirophoto & Cozyta & aavideos & Noradoa & Richard | Adobe Stock

New Zealand’s geographical diversity earned it second place in the survey. In just one trip, you can summit mountain peaks, walk on a glacier, and kayak down the coast. The only debate left: Is the North Island more beautiful than the South Island?

Most Picturesque Places

  • Milford Sound
  • Mt. Cook
  • Bay of Islands
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Lake Tekapo

Colombia

Five images of picturesque locations around Colombia (listed below)
Luciano & st_matty & Matthias & Danaan | Adobe Stock and Colombia Co

Colombia packs a lot of beauty into its borders for a relatively small country. There are the rugged Andes mountains, the lush green Amazon rainforest, and a lengthy coastline populated with stunning beaches. 

Most Picturesque Places

  • Tayrona National Park
  • La Zona Cafetera
  • Mount Monserrate
  • Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
  • Serranía de la Macarena

Tanzania

Five images of picturesque locations around Tanzania (listed below)
byrdyak & federico neri & Simon Dannhauer & PUTSADA & foscrotimages | Adobe Stock

Tanzania is home to the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, the dreamy Fanjove Island, and the wild Ngorongoro Crater—three destinations that could not be more different. Once you visit and fall in love with Tanzania, you’ll have to make multiple return visits to see all that the country has to offer. 

Most Picturesque Places

  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Fanjove Island
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • Serengeti National Park
  • Lake Manyara National Park

Mexico

Five images of picturesque locations around Mexico (listed below)
Simon Dannhauer & Aleksandra & aldo felipe orozco hernández/EyeEm & eskystudio & Victor | Adobe Stock

Mexico has something for every one of the natural beauty categories—there are volcanoes, mountains, coral reefs, tropical forests, and even glaciers in this diverse destination. As the 13th largest country in the world, you’ll have a lot of ground to cover on a trip to Mexico.

Most Picturesque Places

  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Izta-Popo National Park
  • Cerro de la Silla
  • Playa del Amor
  • Bahia de Loreto National Park

Want to see how the rest of the world ranked? Check out the full Natural Beauty Report from Money.co.uk here.

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