Inspiration

15 of the World’s Most Naturally Beautiful Countries

Incredible natural scenery from white-sand beaches to snow-capped peaks.

Naturally Beautiful Countries

Northen lights over Skogafoss waterfall. Photo by Petr Perepechenko/Getty Images/Canva

By Elizabeth Rhodes

Dec 14, 2021

WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY in the world? When it comes to the Earth’s diverse destinations, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, but there are some countries that have the upper hand when it comes to their natural resources.

From the red rock formations of the American West to the Maldives’ pristine white-sand beaches, there are so many incredible places to visit, so we’ve rounded up 15 of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world as a starting point for your next big adventure. With majestic mountains, lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, abundant wildlife, gorgeous coastlines, and much more, these countries offer undeniably stunning scenery that will wow any traveler.

Iceland

From massive waterfalls to black-sand beaches, this island country is packed with unbelievable natural beauty. And depending on the time of year you visit, you can experience unique natural phenomena; during the winter months, you can spot the elusive northern lights over frozen waterfalls and icy landscapes, and come summer, you can hike among the lush scenery and soak in hot springs under the midnight sun.

France

Between the snowy French Alps, glamorous Riviera, rolling vineyard- and lavender-covered hills of Provence, verdant Loire Valley, and rocky coast of Brittany, is it any surprise France is often considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world? Plus, those natural resources provide us with French wine, cheese, and more, so what’s not to love?

Indonesia

Made up of thousands of islands, Indonesia has everything from green terraced rice fields to beautiful beaches, dense rain forests, and more. The island of Bali is popular among travelers seeking vistas of intricate temples against backdrops of crashing ocean waves or rolling hills with a volcano in the distance.

United States

From sea to shining sea, the United States offers a wide range of picturesque landscapes. With the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, the magnificent Grand Canyon, the snow-capped peaks of Alaska, and the postcard-worthy California coastline, it would take years to fully explore the country’s most beautiful places.

Maldives

When you picture the perfect beach paradise, clear, turquoise waters and bright white-sand beaches — like those you’d find in the Maldives — probably come to mind. Above the water, you can take in views of the palm trees lining the beach from a thatched-roof overwater bungalow, and under the surface, you can explore another world of coral reefs and sea life.

Italy

Italy is a dream destination for so many travelers — and once you visit the first time, you’ll be so enchanted by the country’s natural beauty (and delicious food, incredible architecture, and friendly people) that you’ll be ready to plan your next trip. It’s hard to choose from the Tuscan hills lined with vineyards, the wanderlust-worthy Amalfi Coast, and the soaring peaks of the Dolomites, so we recommend visiting them all.

Switzerland

The alpine landscapes of Switzerland — defined by the breathtaking mountains and sparkling lakes dotted with charming villages and ski resorts — make this country a must-visit destination, particularly for outdoorsy types who love to hike and ski. In the winter, the country looks like a living snow globe, and during the summer, the snow melts to reveal green mountains and wildflowers.

Japan

Bamboo forests, relaxing hot springs, iconic Mount Fuji, and tropical beaches — you’ll find all this and more on a trip to Japan. Plan your getaway during cherry blossom season to see the country’s famous blooms for yourself.

Costa Rica

Everyone knows that Costa Rica has incredible biodiversity, so nature lovers have to add this destination to their travel list. Pretty beaches, the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest, volcanoes, waterfalls, and tons of wildlife are just a few of the reasons why this is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world.

Nepal

Eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including the famous Mount Everest, are located in Nepal. All the Himalayan countries are beautiful, but mystical Nepal is are a draw for adventurous travelers hoping to test their climbing skills and endurance, as well as for those who just want to admire these impressive peaks from a distance. There’s also diverse wildlife like rhinos, tigers and more.

Peru

The Amazon rain forest and Andes Mountains — home to Machu Picchu and the Rainbow Mountain — are reason enough to visit Peru (along with the ceviche and Pisco). Huacachina is another natural attraction — it’s the only natural desert oasis in South America. Today, it’s home to a village, but the surrounding desert adds another unique landscape to the mix.

United Kingdom

Cities like London, Edinburgh and Manchester might overshadow the United Kingdom’s natural beauty, but there’s plenty to see outside the major cities. From the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast to the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway to the dreamy Scottish Highlands, there’s plenty to get out and explore in the U.K.

Sponsored by Patina Maldives

South Africa

South Africa offers a truly impressive array of landscapes, from the vineyards of wine country to safari destinations like Kruger National Park to the mountainous coastline. This variety means there’s something for every type of traveler, with scenic views to match.

Tanzania

Another popular safari travel destination, Tanzania is where you’ll find the Big Five: elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. The country has two very popular national parks — Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, home to the iconic volcano, and Serengeti National Park. Tanzania also has a beautiful coastline and stunning islands like Zanzibar.

New Zealand

Outdoor adventure abounds in New Zealand, where you can cruise around Milford Sound’s fjords, ski on the North or South Island, check out geothermal phenomena like geysers and mud pools, and admire the country’s ancient glaciers.

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