Top 20 Most Beautiful Countries 2023 - Ranked by Forbes
Top 20 Most Beautiful Countries 2023 - Ranked by Forbes
Table of Content

Wonderful though it may be, the world is crammed with stunningly beautiful locations. When it comes time to take a vacation, you may have trouble settling on a single destination. It seems virtually difficult to narrow down a list of the most beautiful places in the world when there are 193 drastically varied countries to choose from.

The natural beauty of Indonesia was rated 7.77 out of 10 by Forbes, making it the most beautiful country in the world. There are more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia.

With a score of 7.16 out of 10, Colombia has joined the ranks of Indonesia and New Zealand as one of the world's three most beautiful countries.

Mountains, tropical forests, and the Amazon rainforest make up Colombia's terrain, once again earning the country top marks for its stunning natural scenery.

Top 20 Most Beautiful Countries 2023 - Ranked by Forbes

1. Indonesia

Photo: posindonesia
Indonesia - Photo: posindonesia

Indonesia, one of the crown jewels of Southeast Asia, boasts some of the world's finest islands. First on the list is Bali, a spiritual, sun-kissed paradise. It is congested, but there are still pockets of tranquility in places like the central region of Tabanan, with its waterfalls, butterfly gardens, and rice fields protected by UNESCO.

The Raja Ampat Islands, located off the coast of West Papua, are a scuba diver's paradise with their azure canals and biodiverse reefs. And don't forget about Flores, an island with white sand beaches and towering green hills that is rather uncrowded.

2. New Zealand

Photo: theculturetrip
New Zealand - Photo: theculturetrip

From its 9,000 miles of breezy coastlines to its turquoise lakes slicing through mountains, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most captivating landscapes. With its brilliant blue glacial waters and endless fields of pink and purple lupins, Lake Tekapo is possibly one of the most colorful places in the world.

Additionally, New Zealand is brimming with galleries and museums that contribute to the country's cultural and artistic identity. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa highlights the rich history and significance of the Mori people to New Zealand's national identity.

3. Colombia

Photo: globalgrasshopper
Colombia - Photo: globalgrasshopper

Colombia is unique not only because it contains parts of the Amazon rainforest and the Andes, but also because of its incredibly diverse terrain. Tayrona National Park, with its coconut palm-studded beaches and nearly 3,000-foot-high rainforests, is one of the most beautiful places in South America.

Cabo de la Vela is a one-of-a-kind cape surrounded by rocky cliffs where the ochre desert meets the aquamarine sea; it's difficult to reach but well worth the effort.

4. Tanzania

Photo: planetware
Tanzania - Photo: planetware

Tanzania is one of Africa's most complex, romantic, and friendly countries, with vast swaths of stunning wilderness.

Tanzania has some of the best game parks in the world, two of Africa's highest mountains, beautiful white sand beaches and coral reefs, and delightfully friendly and welcoming people.

The names are legendary: the Serengeti plains; Lake Victoria, the Nile's birthplace; Mount Kilimanjaro's towering bulk; the red-clad Maasai cattle herders; and the spice islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. Traders sailing the East African coast named the Swahili people and inspired Sinbad the Sailor stories, while Sultan Said built luxurious baths for his Persian wife. Inland, the great Victorian explorers Burton, Speke, Livingstone, and Stanley led porter convoys across vast terrain. Here, imagination can run wild; reality more than matches fantasy.

5. Mexico

Photo: globalgrasshopper
Photo: globalgrasshopper

Mexico is ranked highly on this list for a reason—it has 67 national parks, more than 5,000 miles of shoreline, and a variety of landscapes, from deserts to snow-capped volcanoes. Wild, empty beaches and Hierve el Agua, a collection of unmanmade rock formations and mineral springs, are both claimed by the state of Oaxaca. The Sumidero Canyon, located in the southern state of Chiapas, is astounding with its 3,000-foot rock walls, caves, and waterfalls.

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, northwest of Mexico City, receives millions of butterflies every autumn, while the whale sanctuary in El Vizcaino is a crucial location for grey and blue whale reproduction. Mexico also goes to considerable measures to conserve its species.

6. Kenya

Photo: thrillophilia
Photo: thrillophilia

The country in East Africa has garnered a global reputation for its huge savanna grasslands and rich wildlife. Kenya's natural beauty, however, does not end there. At the base of Mount Kenya, you'll find glacial lakes, in the Mau Forest Complex, you'll find lush indigenous trees, and on the coast, you'll find brilliant blue waters.

Nairobi, the country's most populated city, is home to several craftsmen, from woodworkers and weavers in Masai Market to skillful glassmakers putting Kitengela Hot Glass on the international design scene.

7. India

Photo: himalayan-gypsy
Photo: himalayan-gypsy

When it came to providing diverse, exhilarating travel experiences, India certainly delivered. "The different areas of India offer different things - lush rainforest in the south and the beautiful Himalayas in the north," one respondent said.

While it is true that India can be overwhelming for first-time visitors, it is also true that once it gets under your skin, it is difficult to let go. From the floating palaces of Jaipur to the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, there's plenty to keep you coming back for years. Check out the most beautiful places in India for more ideas.

8. France

Photo: theboutiqueadventurer
Photo: theboutiqueadventurer

France, the largest country in the EU, is also one of the most diverse, a country whose "beautiful landscapes" you regularly praise. Consider the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps, the summertime verdantness of the Pyrenees, the purple lavender fields of Provence, the golden stone chateaux, the lovely beaches, and the exquisite cuisine.

Up four spots from our previous survey, it is evident that France's attraction remains as strong as ever, with many secrets to be discovered - it is entirely possible to get off the beaten path in Paris.

9. Papua New Guinea

Photo: adventurebagging
Photo: adventurebagging

With more than 700 languages, a variety of distinct cultures, difficult treks, and excellent surf, Papua New Guinea is truly the final frontier of travel. World War II shipwrecks attract experienced divers from around the globe, and few nations can compete with Papua New Guinea's overwhelming hospitality.

There is no such thing as public land in PNG. Every square inch of land belongs to the Papuan tribes and families. If you go exploring on your own, you risk trespassing on someone else's property and creating an unpleasant circumstance.

10. Comoros

Photo: vanilla-islands
Photo: vanilla-islands

The Comoros Islands, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, are not your typical vacation destination. If you want to temporarily disappear from the planet or if you want to spend time with outrageous locals, book your flight immediately. There are no typical indicators of tourism in this area; this is as remote as it gets.

Those who make it here will attest that it lives up to its reputation as a paradise, with banana and palm trees, ylang-ylang, and cloves in the air. The majority of the population is Muslim, and the culture is rather traditional. Meaning that there is no alcohol and modest attire is required. Its peculiar nickname, Cloud Coup-Coup, is a result of its history of more than 20 coups since gaining independence in 1975.

11. Ecuador

Photo: peruforless
Photo: peruforless

It’s almost unbelievable how biodiverse Ecuador is. The country is a smidge smaller than Nevada, but encompasses pieces of the Amazon, Andes, and Pacific Coast, as well as the entire Galápagos archipelago.

We’d argue that the Galápagos Islands are reason enough for Ecuador to land on this ranking, filled with volcanoes, lakes, beaches, and more animal species than we have room to cover here.

12. United States

Photo: lifeberrys
Photo: lifeberrys

You could spend a lifetime exploring the sites of America, all as beautiful as they are diverse. Hawaii’s vertical Na'Pali Coast is easily one of the most beautiful coastlines on the planet.

Denali National Park in Alaska is worth braving the extreme low temperatures. And perhaps you’ve heard of a charming little tourist destination known as the Grand Canyon?

13. Vanuatu

Photo: leeabbamonte
Photo: Leeabbamonte

Outside the major hotels in Vanuatu, there is an abundance of natural beauty. On remote islands scattered throughout the archipelago, you'll find erupting volcanoes, sugar-white beaches, coral reefs, secluded waterfalls, and expansive plains of volcanic ash. Vanuatu's primary export is its natural attractions, which attract tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Vanuatu is one of the few locations where it is possible to swim with dugongs in their natural habitat of seagrass. In the past, dugongs were hunted for their meat, but in recent years, conservation efforts have intensified (thanks to not-for-profit groups like the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project). Although some travelers have reported seeing dugongs near Port Vila, these sightings are extremely uncommon. The best locations to observe them are the outer islands, particularly the seagrass meadows off Malakula and Lamen Bay on Epi. They require a little more effort to attain, but they are worthwhile. From Malekula's Lamap Point to Gaspard Bay, canoe tours depart (there is a small airport in Lamap, and Air Vanuatu offers direct flights from Port Vila). You can swim with wild dugongs in the morning, then hunt crabs with local guides and have a picnic on a private beach.

14. Japan

Photo: globalgrasshopper
Photo: globalgrasshopper

A stirring blend of ancient and modern, Japan kicks off our 2022 countdown. High-speed trains make it easy to see a wide variety of sights during your visit - from historic Shinto temples and the serenity of Mount Fuji, to the neon-lit cities of Tokyo and Osaka, to its stunning islands. Indeed, many of you highlighted your love of Japan’s “diversity of scenery”.

15. Solomon Islands

Photo: traveller
Solomon Islands - Photo: traveller

The Solomon Islands are an archipelago of 992 tropical islands and atolls, scattered in a gentle curve. They comprise two major parallel island chains extending some 1800 kilometres from the Shortland Islands in the west to Tikopia and Anuta in the east.

Situated in the South Pacific between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, the population of about 550,000 is predominantly Melanesian but includes other smaller groups. Exotic local customs and traditions remain a very important part of life for Solomon Islanders.

The islands and waters are still a little known pristine paradise. They are particularly special for their remarkable biodiversity, containing thousands of different plant and animal species, especially the marine life. Many species are known only to the Solomons.

16. Italy

Photo: roughguides
Italy - Photo: roughguides

Praised for its mouthwatering cuisine, picturesque pastel villages, and lasting appreciation for the arts, it's hard to know where to start when talking about Italy and its beauty. For the city dwellers and history buffs, Rome stands as the birthplace of Western civilization, with numerous ancient sites to discover.

The Cinque Terre village of Vernazza calls for romantics to stroll throughout the candy-colored streets before settling on the harbor. And no vacation in Italy is complete without a day trip to Tuscan wine country, where vineyards extend as far as the eye can see.

17. Philippines

Photo: globalgrasshopper
Philippines - Photo: globalgrasshopper

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and they easily number among the most beautiful in the world. The Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan encompasses mangrove forests, one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, and an underground river.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island consists of an estimated 1,776 grass-covered domes that are mysteriously uniform in shape. The rice terraces of both Banaue and the Philippine Cordilleras provide panoramic views of every shade of green imaginable.

18. Peru

Photo: arzotravels
Peru - Photo: arzotravels

Many have heard about the monumental Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, but consider that just the sliver of the wonders Peru has to offer. In the heart of the Ica desert lies the quaint oasis of Huacachina where guests can explore the neighboring dunes behind settling in the small village at night.

Not too far from the green peak of Machu Picchu sits the rainbow-colored mountain, Vinicunca. And a trip to Peru is not complete without a trip to Lima, the country's capital city filled with Colonial-era architecture and plenty of pre-Columbian art.

19. Australia

Photo: planetware
Photo: planetware

Australia’s natural beauty is unrivaled—from the Great Barrier Reef to the wild isolation of the Outback, to the winelands of Victoria. Witnessing the majesty of Uluru should be on every traveler’s bucket list, whether viewed from above by helicopter or from a distance at ground level during the technicolor sunset. Another must-see? Tasmania. The island state’s mountain wilderness and pristine coastline are remarkably beautiful.

20. Costa Rica

Photo: nomadicmatt
Costa Rica - Photo: nomadicmatt

All regions of Costa Rica offer an abundance of natural attractions, from the jungle-covered Osa Peninsula to the beaches where turtles nest in Tortuguero National Park. The Nicoya Peninsula is a remote place to kayak in the company of monkeys and sloths, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales is home to less-visited wildlife wonders. This is Costa Rica travel at its most immersive.

San José, the nation's capital, has the most diverse nightlife, with dozens of bars, clubs, live music venues, and theaters. Avenida Central in Los Yoses is a well-known strip of upscale bars, while Calle de la Amargura in San Pedro is more student-oriented. Those who wish to socialize with locals should visit a boca bar. In Costa Rica, bocas (appetizers) are the traditional complimentary snacks served in bars. If you're fortunate enough to snag a table at a boca bar, you'll be given a menu of complimentary bocas - one beer will get you one boca, so keep drinking and you can keep eating, and you may even be inspired to salsa. Even in remote rural areas, live music can be heard emanating from bars.

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