The Top 20 Most Beautiful Countries in the World

As you probably know, we love a good report or survey here on Bobinoz. Australia normally does quite well in these things too, which is probably why I like them so much.

For example, Australia’s biggest two cities did very well when compared to London and New York in the Safe Cities Index report of 2015. Australian cities consistently does well in the Most Liveable Cities in the World survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

If I’m not mistaken, Melbourne have topped that chart for seven years in a row now.

melbourneImagine my excitement then when I saw the headline ‘The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you‘ just a week or so ago.


A survey of people who like to travel in which they can pick what they think is the most beautiful country they’ve been to. Not just any old people, but people who read those ‘Rough Guides’ books, so some of the world’s wisest travellers.

It’s a top 20 list too, we love those even more on Bobinoz. I quickly clicked on the link, I couldn’t wait see just how well Australia would do.

I’m thinking top 5 for sure, but more likely somewhere in the top 3, and for a fleeting moment I even wondered if it might be between Australia and Canada for top spot.

Here’s the list, in reverse order of course.

The world’s most beautiful countries as voted by Rough Guide readers:

20 – Vietnam
19 – Croatia
18 – Ireland
17 – Norway
16 – Peru
15 – Switzerland
14 – Finland
13 – India
12 – Mexico
11 – Slovenia
10 – Wales
 9 – USA
 8 – Iceland
 7 – England
 6 – Indonesia
 5 – South Africa
 4 – Italy
 3 – New Zealand
 2 – Canada

At this stage I am quivering with excitement, I’m thinking it’s in the bag for Australia. Bear in mind in the article I was reading, each country in the list was separated by a huge photograph and a bit of text, so I needed to scroll further down to see the winner.




Yes, scroll down, like I did….





1 – Scotland



I could have jumped on a Greyhound Bus and moved to Scotland without a visa, but instead I went through all the expense of moving to Australia?

Not only that, I moved out of England (7th) to come to unplaced Australia. With Wales (10th) just next door to me, no border control, I could have just driven there in a few hours. And yet I moved all the way to Australia?

Even Ireland, less than an hour and a half by boat from the UK mainland made the top 20, and I flew for 26 hours to move to Australia?

Of course, during my time in England I visited all three of these countries, so I know exactly what they are like. Having lived in the fourth country, England, for nearly 50 years, I know what that is like as well.

For me, the Lake District is absolutely stunning, so I can see the attraction. Scotland too has some quite amazing scenery, although it rained most of the time I was there, so it was hard to see the views through the mist and low-lying clouds.

Ireland was amazing as well, had a great holiday there, such a laid-back place, cute even. And then there’s Wales; hmm. Wales in 10th and Australia nowhere?

Well I never did.

Australia; not so shabby

So I turned my back on all four of those countries to come to Australia, but really, it’s not so shabby here…

australia-blue mountains australia-skytrain bondi-beach brisbane beach cliff-kimberley ocean port-douglas river surfing sydney-opera-house twelve-apostles uluru whitsundays-australia

How can this not be beautiful enough for the top 20? Well, maybe, just maybe, a good number of those Rough Guide readers just didn’t fancy the 26 hour flight for themselves, so perhaps a lot of them haven’t seen Australia.

It’s worth the long haul flight, I’m sure of that.

For the original article, please check out this page on Rough Guides.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • virgil May 4, 2019, 10:06 am |

    you list is cheesy. #1 is Egypt,by far. Where are Greece and Romania. Western European countries are over-rated.

    • BobinOz May 7, 2019, 5:26 pm |

      Not my list, Rough Guide readers list. Pay attention.

  • Tom December 4, 2017, 5:25 pm |

    Hey Bob is there anyways in which you think the uk was a better place to live then australia?

    • BobinOz December 4, 2017, 6:21 pm |

      Yes, just a few, but the big one of course is location. I loved having the easy access to the rest of Europe and many other parts of the world that living in the UK allows. Australia is a bit remote making it very difficult to visit other countries, but of course, there are also advantages that come with Australia’s isolation.

  • Ankit Gupta November 30, 2017, 8:41 pm |

    good blog post wow.. @ and good one post ..

  • Ronny November 22, 2017, 9:08 am |

    Hi Bob,

    It’s been a while I didn’t pay a visit to your blog. I was cleaning my browser’s favourites when I saw your address popping out. So, I thought : Let’s have a look at what the mood is down under !

    Your style is as good as ever and when I began to read your article I could almost tell you’d advocate for Australia at first place. And the scrolling trick was evil !
    And then, scotland ! Not Australia ? not France ?? (I’m a proud frog eater !!) Ah ah ah ! What a desappointment. But also a large smile : Oz isn’t the champion, for once.

    As for my internet favourites’ cleansing I’ll definitely keep your website on my computer !
    Take care,

    • BobinOz November 23, 2017, 6:00 pm |

      Hi Ronny, good to hear from you again.

      You sound as shocked as I was, no Australia in this list and no France either! Looks like we have both moved to duff countries. I’m not complaining though, I still love Australia whether it’s on the list or not.

      Glad to hear you’re not deleting me from your favourites yet, I’m not writing as much as I used to, but it’s still worth checking in every now and again. Take care yourself, Bob

  • Andreya September 21, 2017, 3:49 pm |

    Hy Bob, I’ll give a big vote to your blog. I completely agree with you that Australia is also one of the beautiful countries in the world. Really there are so many beautiful places like beaches, Broome, landscapes and rivers which will reflect the awesomeness of Australia.

  • Shari Dudman September 18, 2017, 7:34 pm |

    Hey Bob first off your blog is amazing. Love it.
    Can i ask do you feel that the standard of living and quality of life in australia is higher then in england?
    Are the houses there more beautiful then In England?
    Is the food and produce at stores of a higher quality?
    Do supermarkets have as big a variety?
    Is Australia as technologocally advcanced and saavy?
    Do schools seem as well equipped and modern same with hospitals?
    Are wages higher?
    Do you pay more personal tax income?
    Is it cleaner and better taken care of then England?
    Do you think oz is as beautiful?
    And is it a better place to raise a family then in the uk?
    Really really appreciate any info and hope to end up there.

    Sincerely Shari

    • BobinOz September 19, 2017, 9:36 pm |

      That is a quite amazing list you’ve put together there Shari, and as I have been writing this website for nearly about nine years now, I’m pretty certain I have covered every topic you have mentioned.

      It would be rather foolish and time-consuming for me to write it all out again here in this comment.

      I think I need to introduce you to my search function, it’s on the right-hand side of every page towards the top, somewhere underneath that video of me making a fool of myself.

      For example, search for ‘is Australia a good place to bring up children’ and see what comes up. I think you will find out a great deal of information once you get the hang of searching.

      Good luck, Bob

    • Ozimandias September 30, 2017, 9:47 pm |

      fwiw…from someone who has lived over decades around Australia, in a lot of places…

      you’ve asked a lot of questions. I will wade in…
      It is cleaner, in general, though the UK from memory was pretty clean.
      I like heritage, so Australia has a limited supply of buying options at this time, though 10 years ago a lot of good stuff was on offer. Pretty much, it is snapped up now, with a few areas such as Maryborough (Queensland) that offer affordable ye olde Aussie style Queenslander accommodation, but the trade off is it is presently regarded as a hot s…hole, so not a good option.
      So, housing by default of heritage appreciation is prettier in the UK. If you like modern, or somewhat modern, then there are plenty of options in Australia. I prefer older places with modern accoutrement. These are sought after. is a website that you can zone in to give you an idea, filtering for price and type of property.

      One of your easy questions…The air is clean, unless you live in a country area near silage, but that is very unlikely.

      Supermarkets have a good variety, at least Woolworths does. It dominates. Coles has less specials. IGA is more expensive and sometimes all you get in the country. I found Woolworths better than the Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tescos that I saw in London. Heaps better in fact and cheaper generally. I found UK supermarkets also quite cramped and I heard little English there sadly.

      Hospitals are hard to comment on, as are schools. I would say, at least as good. Priate schools are better as your children will be less likely to be exposed to things that often blunt a child’s best options in life, but you will likely hear something different from those that identify with public schools. I find them to prone to leftwing political indoctrination rather than core subjects like languages, mathematics, hard sciences etc. The sporting and arts are better in the private sector I found as well. The teachers also brighter. This matters f your kid was to get ahead, but a really bright and determined kid with the right parents will succeed anyway. I think they will get better leverage privately and that will cost.
      As for healthcare, I know there are many medicines readily available without a thought in the public system of Oz that are not available to plebeians of the NHS. As we have a large section of your heatlhcare providers fleeing the UK, we probably have at least as good a situation as you do in terms of doctors. I’ve seen the quality of these myself and it is consistently impressive. Very grateful to your NHS for giving them to us.
      Wages do look higher but taxes are too as you go up. I got the impression we do get better value overall than in the UK, but that is a new thing. When I grew up, everything from the UK was out of reach, unaffordable, due to the strength of the Stirling. A Commodore Amiga in the late 1980s was $650. My Apple laptop now is a little over double that. The exchange is now favourable to the AUD. It could go t.ts up in the future as the AUD is tied to Asia, which is going well now but volatile. For now,I think we do well in Australia.

      Standard and quality living..
      all places have good and bad areas toward and live, from the city level and even in the small places at a petty level, sometimes subjective, but pay heed at all levels
      the standard will depend on your income and exisiting assets relative to cost as well as expectations of how you intend to live. This is a big topic. Too big for a single post.
      It can be a case of drowning, spinning wheels or making good coin but will depend on where you live, what you earn and the relative cost of things. Realestate is very expensive in the bigger cities, becoming prohibitive for really good stuff for the average punter, but the good stuff is still available within reach for those with some savings, in the smaller places. Small being actually an Australian issue – you would probably see our idea of big as your small.

      To give you an idea, the price of a unit in Sydney might give you a decent 4br homestead/Georgian or Federation era home with acreage elsewhere.

      I don’t know about wages. It will depend on your industry. Again, there are good places to work and plenty of traps. My estimate is a couple earning after tax 50-60k each is a situation that will work, maybe not with much savings unless very thrifty, but it will cover most scenarios outside of inner ring Sydney and maybe Melbourne, pockets of Perth and Brisbane. Someone may object to that idea, but I’ve lived in many places and I’ll say Sydney was by far the worst value for money. I had $95ph coming in at the time and as sole breadwinner for an inner ring 2br flat, a bit smelly, prone to huntsman spiders crawling in through the vents, costing $650pw with electricity, gas, internet, water or commuting costs to work, mandatory private health insurance on top, there wasn’t much left over, leading to several ranting sessions after signing the lease and knowing I would be fully up or SIX WEEKS of rent to be paid if I left before the end of the 12 month lease, even if I found someone to take the lease over (and there were QUEUES for this place when I rented it). That’s how Sydney works. Money, money, money. But I valued the idea of living in Sydney as a bucketlist wish, so I considered that was quality living back then.

      Nowadays, I prefer making more money, with lower cost of accommodation, lower cost of food and utilities, with open spaces, some community, safety, short commutes and a job with plenty of time off to enjoy life. There are lots of places like this, depending on your industry.

      My experience of the UK is limited, though the standards I grew up with in Australia were based on British standards and generally high. As for quality, overall, if you would like to raise your family with access to wide open spaces in a really big country with a lot of options for environment, Australia is better. There is somewhat more freedom of speech, though fading fast, especially in the last ten years sadly, all due to politics and media. But it is a big place and you can get away from that stuff easily especially if you switch the TV off. Life’s too short as it is.

      You can live in a variety of places which will have different influences. Perth has a mishmash of typically UK heritage suburbs and centre with largely areas demolished to make way for the high-rise mining boom buildings, along with vast new suburbs of McMansions built in the boom times. Western Australia is huge. Perth is closer to Africa, so there is a surprisingly obvious black African expatriate presence. Like regional Australia, it is otherwise largely Anglo-celtic,with an Aboriginal element and smattering of the world. Outside of Perth, the situation is largely the Australia of pre-multiculturalism. Sydney and Melbourne have heavy East Asian populations, with white minority evident in various suburbs. Sydney is too big, hot and hilly for me, with big commutes and extreme property price situation. OK if you are established. It is iconic.
      Melbourne is cooler and flat, but potentially also long commutes. Somewhat less expensive and I thought more pleasant and liveable. The suburbs, like Sydney, can be very distinct from each other.
      Brisbane is a pretty city based on a river, but geographically spaced out and now essentially contiguous with the Gold Coast which itself is virtually seamless with Tweed Heads in northern New South Wales.
      The “Goldie” is all high rises and beaches, with some old Queensland in there. Very touristy. If you like it hot, that will do. Like Bob, I like the Sunshine Coast, but it is fairly new and no surprises, therefore fewer pubs, as these were traditional meeting places in a different time.

      Cairns is fully tropical, includes crocodile signs in places, proximity to Japan means signs are also in Japanese, large tourist population.

      Many regional areas in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania have a lot of Georgian architecture and landscaping, if you like that. Hobart is pretty but now finding a house will be tough in an illiquid market made so by endless promotion to East Asia. For such a small place, I don’t see the logic in this, other than a gateway for Antarctic exploration, but I digress.

      In the heart of Australia, it is red dirt and thirsty flies try to get a taste of EVERY moist place in your face, as well as biting ants and lots of (Aboriginal) crime. Hope that doesn’t put me in the sin bin here, but it is true.

      I like the Sunshine Coast in SE Qld but to live there would mean a medium range investment of somewhere like 600k-1M AUD. I think BobinOz mentioned Mooloolabah elsewhere in his website. I like that place too. It has a pleasing waterfront, not too big, a great sense of the beach expanse. It might seem tempting to buy there, but units come with extortionate “body corporate” fees which make the idea of buying one essentially one of renting in all but name, only the landlord is different. Better to buy a house.

      As for living expenses, I thought food and alcoholic beverages in UK venues were dear to very dear, but from your supermarket outlets, European beers e.g. Leffe were dirt cheap versus Australia. English beer tends to be REALLY expensive in Australia. But, wine is much cheaper in Australia.

      In Oz, in many places you will find a ten dollar night or at worst a fifteen dollar night, for a classic pub meal. I never saw this in the UK, with bangers and mash for the equivalent of $25!

      If you earn around 80,000AUD+ you can expect a reasonably good quality of living by Australian standards, but there won’t be much left over and you will have to budget, particularly in the two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney. That is about the average income, for about a 40 hour week. It won’t go far in Sydney in an area you might like to live.
      but if you are young in your 20’s or even early 30’s priorities are different, it will do. There’s pretty much no chance of buying a house with that kind of income, but you would be in a position to get a unit. Outside of the major cities, you can buy a modest house with this money, particularly with two earners.
      An average home is what you can expect for 1M AUD in Sydney. This money can buy an exceptional home in many regional cities and towns. You can buy nicely for 500K outside of the big cities, in general. You can buy average for 250-350k outside of the cities. Below this, it will be a matter of priorities, but can be done.
      If your intent is investment rather than pure living quarters, then that will alter what you see as worthy of purchase.

      For raising a family, I would say your children would have exposure to nature and wide spaces in Australia, which counts for a lot. Britain presently has a concentrated culture and knowledge base which may make your children more competitive in a global marketplace as Australians tend to be more laid back and enjoy life. Note,this is not always the case in the rat race known as Sydney.

      • BobinOz October 2, 2017, 8:59 pm |

        G’day Ozimandias

        What a great roundup of Australia, I think you’ve pretty much covered everything. You’ve obviously been around a bit, your knowledge is vast, and from what I know of Australia, I don’t think there’s much, if anything, I would disagree with you on.

        Thanks for and thanks for taking the time. Cheers, bob

        • Ozimandias October 4, 2017, 10:44 pm |

          thanks Bob. Knowledge isn’t vast, but enough to feel familiar thoughts in many of your posts, tempting enough to write in. You are obviously a good host!

          • BobinOz October 5, 2017, 9:31 pm |

            Well, thanks back at ya!

  • Paveen September 14, 2017, 8:12 pm |

    I happen to land on your blog and thought it would be a delight to visit someone else’s blog and derive inspiration on the hard work done behind the resourceful blog. It’s a really worth reading blog and felt good to have my country India includes as world’s most beautiful countries.

    • BobinOz September 15, 2017, 8:23 pm |

      Thanks for the compliments, I see you are yourself venturing into the blogging world, I wish you all the best. Yes, India done well in the list as well, I’ve not been there yet, it’s on my list to do.

      I’m stuck here in Australia, nowhere to be seen in this list – sad face. (Sorry, don’t know how to do those.)

  • james September 14, 2017, 6:55 pm |

    take it from me bob ive lived over 60 COLD WET( where it can rain for weeks on end ) AND BLOODY WINDY YEARS IN BONNIE SCOTLAND and now SKYE AND THE WEST COST OF SCOTLAND., YOU CANT GET ANY OVERNIGHT ACCOMMADATION WE HAVE TRIED AND WE LIVE 3 HOURS AWAY !!! IS JAMMED PACKED WITH TOURISTS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE you made the right choice ALL BE IT I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE IN ADELAIDE OR NEAR MELBOURNE recently voted the most liveable city in the world !!! DO YOU WANT TO HOUSE SWAP ??? and its getting colder all the time in the south of Scotland

    • BobinOz September 14, 2017, 9:23 pm |

      No I don’t want to swap house, but thanks for the offer 🙂

      I think you just about sum it up, Scotland is a great place to visit on holiday, for a couple weeks, but to live there all the time? I’m not so sure. That said, even though it’s cold and wet, you obviously like it there, 60 years is a long time.

      I’m happy where I am here in Brisbane, I love the warmth and the sunshine. Each to his own though. Sounds like you need a holiday in Adelaide or Melbourne.

      Good luck to you James, cheers, Bob

  • Carol-Anne September 14, 2017, 5:48 am |

    Come on Bob, I’m sure you could’ve found a better picture of Scotland than that! It didn’t get voted most beautiful country for nothing. Every country has some ugly towns and cities but Scotland really is a beautiful country with a very diverse landscape. It has some of the most beautiful, pristine, untouched beaches, that on a sunny day you could easily mistake for some tropical island (if it were warmer of course).

    • BobinOz September 14, 2017, 9:09 pm |

      You are absolutely right to call me out on this Carol-Anne, I’ll stick my hands up to this one. I have a quite large selection of photographs of Scotland, and I did deliberately use the most boring photograph of them all. In fairness though, I had quite a few boring ones to choose from 🙂

      And as for those pristine, untouched beaches you mention, you have to ask why? I suspect it’s because the water is FREEZING!!!

      All that aside though, Scotland has done fantastically well to find itself at the top of this list, hats off to you. I’m just sore cause Australia has been completely ignored. And some of our beaches really are tropical 🙂 (Although maybe a little croc infested.)

      • Fred September 15, 2017, 5:19 am |

        Yes, only a little croc infested though and you did forget to mention the stingers. Still, would rather be on one of those beaches, Queensland’s Palm Cove for one, than here in the northeast US beginning preparations for the approaching winter.

        • BobinOz September 15, 2017, 8:34 pm |

          I’m not sure ‘only a little croc infested’ is a proper thing, it only takes one crocodile 🙂 That aside though, yes, I’d rather be on one of those beaches as well. Exercising a little caution, of course.

          I was up that way last year, drove past Palm Cove during what is a spectacular journey by car from Cairns to Port Douglas.

          Yes, forgot about the stingers, and the cyclones…

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