Who doesn’t look at travel photos on Instagram and fantasize about visiting the most beautiful places in the world? But what defines beauty? A new study from the website money.co.uk aims to rank the 50 most beautiful countries on earth by analyzing the amount of natural wonders in each place, from coral reefs and tropical rainforests to volcanoes, glaciers and more.
“While beauty is ultimately subjective, it’s clear that these countries have a lot to offer visitors, whether you prefer adventuring in the mountains or relaxing by the coast,” says Sal Haqqi, personal finance editor at money.co.uk.
Coming in at the top of the list as the most beautiful place on earth is Indonesia, which has a natural beauty score of 7.77 out of 10. Indonesia is home to more than 17,000 islands and over 31,000 miles of coastline. “And just off the shores of these islands, you’ll find over 31,000 square miles of coral reef, teeming with life, much of which can be explored from the popular province of Bali,” says Haqqi.
Some of the other natural attractions that helped propel Indonesia to the top of the list of most beautiful places include Komodo National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sumatra (which is covered with tropical forests) and Kalimantan (home to an orangutan reserve).
Second on the list of most beautiful places: New Zealand, which had a natural beauty score of 7.27 out of 10 and is known for its mountain peaks, rolling hills and a number of active volcanoes and glaciers. It’s no surprise that so many movies like The Lord of the Rings have been filmed here.
Next up is Colombia, which scored 7.16 out of 10. Like Indonesia and New Zealand, Colombia has a long coastline. It also has varied landscapes, from the Amazon to the Andes.
Despite its long Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, as well as its natural attractions and national parks ranging from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone, the United States didn’t make it into the top 10. With a score of 6.04 out of 10, the country was ranked number 12. Countries besting the U.S. ranged from Mexico (at number 5) to France (at number 8).
Here’s the list of the 50 most beautiful countries in the world:
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- United States
- Solomon Islands
- Costa Rica
- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
- Saint Kitts & Nevis
- Cape Verde
- El Salvador
- Dominican Republic
- Northern Mariana Islands
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