Get us in your inbox

Flores, Indonesia
Photograph: Shutterstock

Revealed: these are officially the world’s most naturally beautiful countries

Researchers totted up the number of coral reefs, mountain ranges and national parks to come up with the ranking

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

After two years spent largely confined to our home countries, our next holidays have a lot to live up to. So, where should we go? Well, a new study from is here to give you a helping hand: it has ranked the world’s most ‘naturally beautiful’ countries.

How exactly do you measure natural beauty, you ask? When it comes to entire countries, the answer can be surprisingly un-philosophical. The researchers simply went around counting the number of volcanoes, mountain ranges, coral reefs and other beautiful natural things in each country.

But beauty isn’t just something you can see. The study also totted up the number of protected areas in each place. That’s right: governmental legislation can be beautiful, too. All the countries were then ranked by working out how many beautiful things they contained per 100,000 square kilometres.

The results are somewhat predictable. With its 17,000 islands, 147 volcanoes and countless world-beating coral reefs and rainforests, Indonesia came out top. Then there’s famously picturesque New Zealand, renowned for its dramatic mountain ranges, vast glaciers and huge number of national parks. Third was Colombia, with its contrasts of Amazonian jungle, Andean mountains and Caribbean coast.

Here’s the top ten in full (alongside their ‘natural beauty score’ out of ten):

1. Indonesia, 7.77
2. New Zealand, 7.27
3. Colombia, 7.16
4. Tanzania, 6.98
5. Mexico, 6.96
6. Kenya, 6.7
7. India, 6.54
8. France, 6.51
9. Papua New Guinea, 6.39
10. Comoros, 6.22

Read’s full study here.

Looking for more travel inspiration for the year ahead? These are the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022 according to us.

You may also like
You may also like