Top 20 countries revealed, Australia left out

Influential travel guide company, Rough Guides, has cast the vote for top 20 countries in the world to its readers, and the results are in.

And with over 60,000 subscribers to the “tell it like it is” travel companion company, this ain’t no vote to be scoffed at.

Still, Australia didn’t even rank a mention. Not even at #20. Nope.

Anyway, wiping our tears and moving on, let’s get some serious inspiration for our next big adventure.

#20: Vietnam

Rice fields on terraces in the sun at MuCangChai, Vietnam.

Scraping into the top 20 was the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam, deemed beautiful for its impressive rock formations of Ha Long Bay to the terraced fields of mountainous Sa Pa, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

#19: Croatia

Scenin beach in Koiza waterfront

Croatia attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to historic cities such as Dubrovnik and Split, writes Rough Guides, and – as @okemp1989 put it on Twitter so simply: “That coastline”, which stretches for almost 2000km.

#18: Ireland

Ruins of Three Castle Head, County Cork, Ireland

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”.

#17: Norway

Northern lights - Green Aurora borealis over Alesund, Norway

The Norwegians have it at #17, and who could blame the readers for voting this chic spot; 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!”

#16: Peru

Llamas at first light at Machu Picchu, Peru

What’s not to love, right? The Amazon jungles, endless deserts, lofty, snow-capped mountains – you get the idea.

#15: Switzerland

Matterhorn at sunrise with Stellisee in foreground

As @g_sehringer says on Twitter: “you can’t leave out Switzerland when talking about beautiful countries – truly gorgeous”. Guess we can’t argue with that then.

#14: Finland

Stars above treetops

Another Nordic country? Are you really that surprised? According to Rough Guides readers, it’s “the skies, the forests, the mysticism, and just about everything else” make it one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

#13: India

Rush Hour

We’ll proudly stand up and say India deserves its place on this list, from its people to its colourful traditions and enthralling monuments.

On Twitter, @Breathedreamgo said, “India is culturally the most beautiful country in the world”.

#12: Mexico

CASAS DE Guanajuato

Another one of Rough Guides’ reader favourites, and a personal one of this Travel Weekly editor. Stunning relics of ancient civilizations, clear blue cenotes, and everything else in between.

#11: Slovenia

Church on island in Lake Bled, Slovenia

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.”

#10: Wales

Conwy Castle in Wales, United Kingdom, series of Walesh castles

The gorgeous castles got this beauty over the line and into the top 10, according to Rough Guides readers.

#9: USA

Sunrise at Yosemite National Park

Well, we suppose with a country as vast and diverse as America, it had to make the list somewhere. One of the Rough Guides readers, DrewV, pointed out 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”.

#8: Iceland

Hikers Under the Northern Lights

Come for the “dramatic landscapes” and “uncommon beauty” said @IceSif on Twitter. Oh, and also the black beaches, hot springs and volcanic mountains, of course.

#7: England

Stone Footpath Along Mountain Ridge In Peak District.

England’s main attractions are what make it such a beauty – from its dramatic cliff faces, and gorgeous rolling hills that are iconic when you think of the English landscape.

#6: Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at sunrise, Bali, Indonesia

On Twitter, @lukmanaul chose Indonesia for its myriad islands, while @astrie_sulastri picked out the country’s mountains and heritage.

#5: South Africa

Group of African elephant drinking at the water hole

Shockingly, this is the only African country to make the list, a continent with incomparable beauty. On Twitter, @Allafrica01 says “South Africa has to rate as one of the best with all the variety from wildlife to beaches.”

Damn, Africa.

#4: Italy

Lake Como, 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

Lupins Of Lake Tekapo

Ah, our cousins across the Tasman, they made it into the list at number 3. We’ll pretend we’re not bitter when we credit them for having striking scenery, breathtaking fjords and majestic mountains.

#2: Canada

Dawn at Maligne Lake

Oh, Canada. Don’t worry we won’t start singing. But this one is an obvious entrant if you ask us; such a diverse country and such unbelievable mountains, it was a clear winner.

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.”

#1: Scotland

Kilchurn sunset

The folk with the funny accents, bagpipes and kilts made it into the #1 spot. Lucky we’re looking at their natural beauty, then. And let’s be honest, it’s hard to fault.

Rough Guides writes its “wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world”.


  • Bruce

    Finland has to be the worst developed country on the plant to go on holidays. Its a joke as far as tourism is concerned. Helsinki is the ugliest city on the planet and the locals are like zombies devoid of all emotion. They are neither unfriendly or friendly just zombies.

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