Remote village in Norway

Top 10 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe

Europe…there’s no other place like it in the world! Its fabulous monuments reveal one layer of history after another and its breathtaking natural scenery couldn’t be more diverse. From wild to elegant, its countries bring together a kaleidoscope of cultures and its landscapes are as intriguing as its past.

They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so, naturally, many of you will disagree with my picks, in which case I invite you all to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

In the meantime, let’s have a look at Europe’s top 10 most beautiful countries:

10. Austria

Salzburg in winter

Austria, the land of Mozart and waltz, is a medley of sparkling alpine lakes, majestic mountains, and elegant cities, with a rich cultural heritage and one of the highest living standards in the world. And while the capital steals the show with its imperial grandeur, world-class art, and alluring café culture, there’s much more to this small landlocked country than Vienna.

Fantastic skiing awaits in Innsbruck, Kitzbühel, and St Anton; dozens of fairy-tale castles dot the wonderful mountainous landscape; and twinkling blue lakes make for memorable outdoor pursuits. And then, of course, there’s the beautiful baroque city of Salzburg, set against a glorious backdrop and still immersing guests in the magic of The Sound of Music.

9. Scotland

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Scotland’s dramatic scenery spans lush woodlands, stunning lochs, rugged coastlines, and green rolling hills topped with crumbling castles.

Home to the famous Eilean Donan Castle and one of Europe’s greatest wilderness areas, the Scottish Highlands are probably the country’s most evocative region, one characterized by an amazing history and even more amazing landscapes. The fabled Loch Ness and Scotland’s largest national park are also here, and so are epic battlefields, breathtaking beaches, and misty, magical mountains.

Equally spectacular, the Isle of Skye is famous for its astounding sea cliffs and dramatic Cuillin mountain range; Edinburgh celebrates its rich past with remarkable monuments, inspiring architecture, and a calendar chock-full of cultural festivals; and Glasgow pairs its vibrant music scene with world-class museums and Victorian splendor like no other city in Britain.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Outer Hebrides, a string of 200 islands in the far north west of Scotland, often appears on lists of the best places to visit in Europe, thanks to its dramatic landscapes, distinct culture, and white-sand beaches with clear turquoise waters that seem straight out of the Caribbean.

8. Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

An insane mix of cultures and colors, sandy beaches and vibrant bazaars, whimsical mountains and marvelous ancient ruins – this is Turkey, a country you’ll never forget.

Here, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Roman theaters coexist with mosques and modern shopping malls, and some of the most important historic sites in the world share the landscape with eerie natural wonders such as the blue terraced pools of Pamukkale or the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia.

Brimming with art, culture, and history, Istanbul is one of the planet’s greatest cities, and the Turquoise Coast – with its fine sand beaches and stunning blue lagoons – is a paradise for sailors, swimmers, and sun worshippers. Locals are friendly, the food is to die for, and whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, possibilities are endless in Turkey.

7. Iceland

Vestrahorn mountain, Iceland

Iceland’s blue bubbling geysers, rugged lava fields, and spectacular glaciers create a visual spectacle that seems out of this world. Natural splendor aside, the Land of Fire and Ice is also home to one of the world’s quirkiest nations, with warm, creative, and forward-thinking residents with a strong sense of national pride.

This is particularly reflected in Reykjavik’s thriving cultural scene and buzzing nightlife. Iceland’s funky capital is bursting with original festivals, art galleries, and stylish bars, while offshore, whale-watching excursions are offered year-round.

Don’t leave the country without taking a tour around the Golden Circle, marveling at the Northern Lights, or bathing in the famous Blue Lagoon, a gigantic geothermal spa on the south-west coast of Iceland.

6. Greece

Santorini, Greece

Whether it’s the grandeur of its ancient sites, the sublime sunsets of Santorini, or the astonishing clifftop monasteries of Meteora, Greece leaves a long-lasting impression on its visitors.

Athens is teeming with remarkable ancient monuments; the country’s mountainous interior is dotted with charming, unspoiled villages and archaeological treasures that span four millennia; and the islands speckled in the surrounding seas vary from the culture-rich Dodecanese to the postcard-perfect Cyclades, with their cubic whitewashed villages and dramatic Aegean views.

Olympus National Park lures nature lovers with a plethora of outdoor activities, but it’s also steeped in Greek Mythology, playing host to Greece’s highest mountain, where the ancient Gods once lived.

5. Croatia

Zlatni Rat Beach on Brac Island, Croatia

From ancient walled towns to gorgeous beaches framed by sparkling blue waters, there’s nothing you can’t find in Croatia, a land of great natural beauty and astounding cultural heritage.

Although modest in size, the small Central European country abounds in notable historic sights and national parks packed with dense forests, striking waterfalls, and unbelievably beautiful lakes. Two such places are the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes and the unique Kornati archipelago, with its 140 pristine islands surrounded by crystal-clear azure seas.

Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia’s main cities, are overflowing with cultural treasures and architectural splendor, while the chic Adriatic town of Hvar on the Dalmatian island with the same name attracts well-heeled fashionistas and celebrities from around the world with its mix of marble streets, Gothic palaces, sleek restaurants, and cool party vibe.

Don’t miss the majestic Diocletian’s Palace in the heart of Split, or the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik – both of them featured regularly in lists of beautiful places in Croatia.

4. France

Colmar, France

Seductive, melodious France has something for everyone, from the glitzy resorts along the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur to charming bistros and priceless art in Paris, pretty hilltop villages in Provence, and fabulous skiing in the Alps. And then there’s the wine and cheese, the art de vivre, and the rich history that surrounds you here.

Much of the country’s beauty comes from the diversity of its landscapes, but it also derives from its exclusive haute couture scene and remarkable architectural heritage, which includes everything from stunning Gothic cathedrals and Romanesque churches to splendid Renaissance chateaux and striking Art Nouveau jewels.

3. Norway

Remote village in Norway

Deep, striking fjords, rugged coastal mountains, and glaciers that take your breath away – all contribute to the epic natural beauty of Norway. Spectacular national parks protect the nation’s unique scenery and wildlife, and its handful of cities are teeming with Scandinavian sophistication.

The northern part of Norway lies within the Arctic Circle, so the Midnight Sun adds to the drama of this remote and magnificent country. Here and there, a quaint wooden village brings a touch of life to the wild scenery, while reindeers and polar bears roam the staggering icefields of the Svalbard archipelago.

2. Italy

Beautiful town in Italy

Maybe it’s the sweeping romance of the Tuscan countryside, the haunting beauty of the Amalfi Coast, or the excitement of being surrounded by so much art, culture, and history, but there’s something about Italy that just warms your soul and puts a smile on your face again and again. It could, of course, be the divine food, which tastes like love and sunshine, or the courteous, well-dressed Italians, or the pleasure of doing nothing, but this country looks and feels so damn good, it’s impossible not to fall for its charms.

Rome celebrates its magnificent past with stunning museums and ruins of the world’s greatest empire; Venice enchants visitors with its meandering canals and fabulous marble palazzos; Florence is brimming with inestimable Renaissance art; and the Italian lakes ooze timeless sophistication with their postcard-perfect landscapes, pastel-colored waterfront towns, and sumptuous villas surrounded by immaculately groomed gardens.

1. Spain

Most beautiful country in Europe

During my travels throughout Europe, I had the opportunity to discover some truly amazing places, but no other country made me feel more alive and inspired than Spain, with its monumental cities, dazzling costas, and gloriously laid-back way of life.

And it’s not just the vibrant, colorful Barcelona or the royal splendor of Madrid that keep calling me back over and over again, but also the irresistible charm of sunny Seville, the Moorish grandeur of the Alhambra in Granada, and the frozen-in-time villages of Spain’s lesser-known autonomous communities.

Some countries are full of character and man-made architectural wonders, others have nature on their side. Spain excels in each and every one of them, offering travelers a wealth of natural beauty, along with fascinating history, fabulous food, and a cultural scene that’s both deep and authentic as well as creative and innovative.

Quirky festivals keep the old traditions alive; Gaudi’s masterpieces stand side by side with contemporary art galleries on the charismatic streets of Barcelona; and Romanesque churches dot the green north of the country. There are 44 World Heritage Sites in Spain, including astonishing Roman ruins, gorgeously preserved old towns, and unique national parks replete with rare flora and fauna.

Add to all these the soul-stirring beaches of Mallorca, the otherworldly volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands, the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees, and Ibiza’s unique mix of hippie chic, high-end hedonism, and Mediterranean charms, and you have the most passionate, captivating, and beautiful country in Europe.

  1. AvatarCharlotte says:

    Interesting choices, but I do not agree with them completely. While most of these countries would have been included in my top 10 too, there’s still are others such as Switzerland, Portugal or Slovenia that deserve a place in this list. I guess Italy would be my No.1 choice, followed by Norway and Turkey.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Charlotte! Switzerland, Slovenia, and Portugal are wonderful countries and so are Ireland and Montenegro, but unfortunately, there were only 10 places to fill 🙂

      1. AvatarMarco Averono says:

        I agree with your list up until a point.
        I totally disagree with Spain.no1
        Italy has more art and history and life and passion and love than any other place on this planet. Hands Down happy to be told otherwise.
        Venice the only place on this earth
        Rome the Eternal City
        Milan Ferrari
        Not including Food, Clothes, fashion, Style
        Spain is up there but not close enough
        Spanish Food is hit n miss as is the coffee

        1. Okay, and you are italian right? Hahaha Spain is such a beautiful country in ALL SENSES, including food. Coffee may not be as good as the italian one, but we have maaaany other things that beat italy in many ways.

        2. He’s clearly Italian – can see the ego from far away. Many get very jealous on rankings like this seeing Italy behind Spain. Why are italians always so jealous of it? Check it up guys! Plus the reasons you gave for Italy to be the most beautiful one are just ridiculous except for Rome as the eternal city. I have lived in Italy and I love it, really I do.. but I continue seeing how much they think Italy is best at everything and that just puts me off.. I like Spain cause they know their good and bad. Its clean and more organised.. and has a lot more of a cultural mix. Can see that in their architecture. Its very diverse from N to S, E to W. Well deserved number 1.
          In any case.. mediterranean countries are the most beautiful ones – sorry northern countries, I love you too but….

        3. Do you think “Italian coffee” is produced in Italy? You clearly have not seen much of Spain, either.

        4. AvatarJack Norris says:

          Spain is a more dynamic, clean, diverse and cheerful country than Italy. Spain has the largest cultural variety, biomes and climates in Europe by far, even though Italy is a diverse country as well.

          Spain as a country has much more national history than Italy, Italy is a young country with only 160 years of national history since the unification of the “italic mini states” in the nineteenth century.

          The Spanish language is a much more global and useful language than the Italian language and the Spanish cultural influence has expanded more precisely because of Spanish history as a nation and Empire in the past. Italy has a lot of history, but not as a country.

          With respect to food, I love Italian cuisine and it is well known, but Spanish cuisine is widely considered to be one of the best as well, and Tapas are something original, varied, and unsurpassed to this day.

          I love Italy, but the reality is that Spain is a country that is more attractive than Italy. If you look at the tourism data of both countries you can see that Spain has a lot more international visitors than Italy. Spain is the favorite country for Erasmus by far from the rest of european countries. Even for Italians, Spain is their favorite destination, there are many more tourists and permanent Italian residents in Spain than Spanish tourists an permanent Spanish residents in Italy.

          I love Italy, but Spain surpasses it in many ways. There is no color.

        5. Let me guess… you are italian right? let me tell you… i have been in italy 3 times, and yes, it is beautiful, but nothing close to the diversity Spain can offer.

    2. Avatarfrances van siclen says:

      Italy is the best !

    3. AvatarLeonardo Pierobon says:

      Great list, thanks! I totally agree with Spain being No 1. Thanks for putting my country, Croatia, in there too! I definitely miss Switzerland in the list – there are endless cute towns on beautiful blue lakes with stunning views of gorgeous mountains in Switzerland. The richness Switzerland has, given its size, is something I find very similar to Croatia.

  2. Bravo, Espana es numero uno! Ciento por ciento, I agree with you, Miruna! Spain is never monotonous as there is something to discover and do.

  3. I like your selection, and entirely agree with how alive and inspired Spain can make a person feel. We were only chatting with another foreigner here at the weekend who has also lived here for years, and we all agreed that no matter where we’ve been so far, none of us has experienced the “alegria” – happiness that we have here. I am, however, a little sad that my home country of Ireland didn’t make it. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Jackie! Spain is great, isn’t it? I’m sorry about Ireland:), but this certainly doesn’t mean your country is not beautiful, it’s just I’ve never had the chance to visit.

  4. Austria no. 10 ?? That one is one of the most beautiful of all European countries. It should be included in between no. 5 to 1. And where’s the UK ?? Forgot about Eastern Europe too. I’ve been to the Balkans and it’s been a great discovery to admire countries like Romania. Prince Charles belongs to the place, as he happily admits. I’m sorry, those countries might be beautiful, but your list is merely a mere’s nest put randomly according to your taste. One should rename this article to “My favourite 10 European countries”, since it does not include any research or public questionnaires but merely your own belief. Cheers!

    1. Hello Maggie,
      I totally agree with you. This is a subjective Top 10 list, so I don’t expect anyone to share my preferences. As for Romania (which happens to be my home country), as much as I would have loved to include it in my list, it was impossible for me to replace it with one of the countries above.

    2. You must have not read the list. The UK is on there (Scotland) and there are 2 Balkan countries, Greece and Croatia. Also, you can’t make a list like this without being subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    3. Maggie- The UK will never make the top 10. The food leaves much to be desired, weather is always gloomy, and it’s not as interesting as most other European countries. Yes London is interesting but go to cities like Manchester and Birmingham and they are not places that most people would be interested living. But like all countries on the list, everything is subjective

  5. Very very surprised Switzerland did not make top 5. Lake Geneva features some of the most amazing views.

  6. Great list! The only thing I would’ve done differently is put Switzerland at no.1

  7. Yes, as one person mentioned, Slovenia, Bosnia should be on top of the list. Not saying that these choices here are not correct, but it really depends on what your priorities in terms of what you look for in a place. If you want a bit of everything, landscapes, seascapes, foods, varieties of things to do, then you can’t top Italy.

  8. AvatarGayatri O says:

    If I had money to travel, I would visit all these countries. i wish, some day, this wish will come true 🙂

  9. As a resident of England, I have travelled to Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, Iceland, Poland, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. Whilst I have not explored these countries extensively, no other country speaks to me as much as Spain, especially its southern region, Andalucia. Italy comes close, but the eclectic mix of Visigoth, Moorish, Jewish and Christian history and architecture draws a fascinating and irresistible pull. Perhaps when I wayfare further in the future I would change my mind, but I have a feeling that I won’t.

  10. AvatarAntonio Bernardo says:

    Portugal is not there? Wow I’m quite surprised I might say.
    Some of those countries are quite underwhelming compared to Portugal in my opinion. The village of Sintra alone, blows Scotland, Iceland and Norway out of the water.

    1. AvatarR. Jamison says:

      It’s a shame you have to belittle other countries, whilst bolstering your own.

    2. Norway is Beautiful in so many different ways. While Portugal is a very nice country i would say Norway and Iceland are better for scenery. Scotland should be replaced with Portugal.

    3. AvatarDiego Sebastian Velazquez says:

      Agreed. There’s no way such a list won’t include Portugal, which would make it to a worldwide top 10 list.

  11. Great list, think each one deserves to be there. Portugal, Slovenia, Montenegro and especially Bosnia could easily be on there too. Tough to choose I imagine.

  12. AvatarAndrea Agosti says:

    I completely agree with the list. I am glad you put Italy, France and Spain in the top 4. For me these countries are the three most beautiful in the world. There are no other places on Earth that combine History, Landscape, Food and Cultural diversity in such a small land like these amazing countries-

  13. What about liechtenstein? It may be small but it is breathtaking! Also sad that Sweden didn’t make it but so happy my home country of Scotland made it! Cheers!

  14. Hi Miruna! Great list! I still haven’t visited many of those countries, so never thought which ones would make my top10. So far I’ve really liked Norway and I’m currently discovering Switzerland.
    And I’m from Barcelona, so glad you liked my country! 😀

  15. AvatarParuparuul11 says:

    Don’t u think Albania deserves to be part of this list? Come on Albania is the most wonderful country .. Visit it first and then u’ll see .. No regrets NO.1 ALBANIA

  16. When I met Spain, I thought to myself, “My God, what a fantastic place!” Reminds Italy, but cleaner, organized and diverse. I’m from Italy, and I’m happy to see my country in second place.

  17. Surprisingly Portugal is not in the list…theres no other country in Europe with so much diversity in just 89.000km2.
    However nice countries and its really hard choose only 10. But Portugal, Croatia, Austria, are top5 countries for sure 😉

    greetings

    1. I agree, Croatia is beautiful ^.^

  18. AvatarEvangelina says:

    Georgia is little country near the Black Sea. It’s really beautiful especially Svaneti. Mountains, nature. If you are interested you can come here and see.

  19. AvatarRaymond Anthony says:

    I have been to over 30 countries in the world and I have to say that Spain truly tops the list. Spain is one country that draws you back again and again.

  20. AvatarPenny Kay says:

    Bulgaria is magnificent!

  21. What about Germany and England though? I think more than half of the countries in this list are just overrated (especially France).

    1. Hi Ric,

      I respect your opinion. France may be overrated, but even so , it’s hard to compete with a country which is home to the Cote d’Azur, the French Alps, Corsica, Paris, and those postcard-perfect Provencal landscapes and hamlets.

  22. A subjective list as you say Miruna. Personally, I think Greece (I have travelled through it extensively) has a fantastically rich culture but does not merit a place in the top 10 as a beautiful country. I think that Scotland’s beauty and sheer diversity of landscape (coastal, island, mountain, pastoral, urban) merits a higher ranking. Happy to see Italy near the top, it is my favourite!

    1. Well, Europe is for sure most beautifull continent in the world. And it is difficult to choose the top 10 countries, because all of them are beautiful. But I would say Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Turkey, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Norway are the top 10 to me. 🙂

      1. Avatarnicky rimbaud says:

        Obviously you’re Irish. You’re country isn’t fit to be mentioned in the same breathe as Scotland — the isles of Skye and Arran alone are more beautiful than anywhere in your country! Our capital city outshines yours by a mile and we have over 500 islands your country doesn’t have. (We also have a million Irish but one can’t have everything…)

        1. My goodness “You’re country isn’t fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Scotland”. For one, you can’t just assume someone is Irish because they list Ireland in their top ten list. That’s ridiculous. Two, I’m an American and I think Ireland is more beautiful than Scotland. I know, crazy. But people are ALLOWED to have opinions. In America, I do believe Ireland is probably a lot more visited, at least as far as I can tell. But both places are incredibly beautiful, and people have a right to prefer one or the other without being bashed for it. This comment section is like the battle of the European countries, it’s headache inducing.

    2. Hi Colin, if you didn’t like Greece I believe that you have been in the wrong places…I am very curious about which places this “extensive” visit involved.

  23. Norway, Austria – no sun, no life. Just economic development and order doesn’t make one’s life happy. I live once, then I must eat well, have sun, taste the beach and enjoy good music. western and northern countries lack all of these, they are like well-equipped zoos with sad animals. I prefer France, Spain and Italy.

    1. No sun in Austria? Oh God… It has sun and it’s way more beautiful than some of the countries on this list. Italy would be the perfect choice for me, but I think Italy and Greece are the most beautiful countries on the east and south. Beautiful landscapes, good people, even better food, so much of nature to enjoy, crystal clear beaches, diversity in the landscape, traditional products (and music). I don’t like the north either, seems like people are “cold”. In the south it’s much different. I hope you get to see many countries and meet their beauties. Every country has something to offer, after all.

  24. Italy has to be number one. Ridiculously beautiful country!

    I haven’t been to Switzerland but it looks stunning and I’m surprised it doesn’t make the top 10.

  25. Really like this list! I think Greece deserves a bit higher spot on the list, and I’m very happy Croatia made to number 5! I love my country, it’s so beautiful… I advise everyone to come and visit, because we at Croatia have so much to give you!

  26. Switzerland not on the list!!! WOW..!! I have traveled extensively in Europe and Switzerland is by far the most beautiful country. Smaller towns in Switzerland like Wengen, Murren, Interlaken are absolutely stunning. I can’t believe you didn’t put it on your list. For me Switzerland deserves to be in the top 3 at least.

    1. AvatarJoan McDermott says:

      You still have plenty of time. I am Irish American myself and my parents were born in Ireland. Maybe I’m prejudiced but I do think that Ireland is beautiful and the people are wonderful. And friendly as well. You can’t go wrong visiting Ireland. And the food is very good. 100% better than English food. No offense to the English but it happens to be true.

  27. AvatarSONU CHAUHAN says:

    I am surprised too that Switzerland is not in the list. I have visited this country and there is nothing better then this in whole of Europe, It’s Jungfrau region, Golden pass route, Appenzellerland, Lower Engadine valley, Emmental valley, Bernina route and few beautiful lakes are unbeatable.
    I visited Austria too and it should be at 2nd place. It’s Alpbachtal region, Salzach valley & Mostviertal has amazing natural beauty.
    Except this Netherlands (specially Giethoorn, Edam) & Republic of Denmark (specially Faroe island, Ebeltoft, Dragør, Arøskøbing) are very beautiful and should be in top 10 of Europe.

    1. AvatarDebbie Duncan says:

      Totally agree! You can’t beat Switzerland!!
      Any county that makes cheese, chocolate and beer should be #1

  28. AvatarNorman Macdonald says:

    How Ireland is not included is beyond me.

  29. AvatarJosé Ascensão says:

    My top 10 include (not necessarily in this order): Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Spain (although I haven’t been to Andorra, Romenia, Bulgaria, Albania, Moldavia, Macedonia…)

  30. As a Spaniard I´m so glad you rated my country first!! Every single country has its own magic and beauty, and obviously, your country will always be special for you, so it´s difficult to create this tops and ranks, because there´s no any country better or worse than other, and beauty depends a lot on your likes and eyes… Sometimes is difficult to be a proud Spaniard, because we need to change lot of things, but then, regarding our wonderful landscapes, monuments, variety… our rich culture and history, and the way that foreigns talk about our people and culture (sometimes they appreciate more our own country than ourselves) is impossible not feel pride!!! It´s amazing! Spain is just a mini world inside of one country: mountains, forests, deserts, beaches, monuments from very different styles and ages, incredible and varied food… I invite you all to discover my country, but not only Madrid, Barcelona or the Mediterranean Coastline (which, of course, worth a visit), there´s much more and you will always find something to do!
    Thanks for ranking us first!! I don´t know if we are the prettiest country or not, but Spain is magical and amazing. We are not more than any other country ranked here, nor than any other who didn´t rank (actually I think lot of not mentioned countries are amazing too), but my country has something special that takes you and makes you feel great!

  31. I surprise that Germany didn’t came out on this list

  32. I’m shocked Portugal was not in your top 10…. I’ve visited the majority of the countries on your “List” and must say, you’ve missed the mark…. I just spent a week in Lisbon , and that city alone possesses a beauty and charm, that I have yet to find in most of your listed countries….

  33. AvatarDeependra Singh says:

    Thanks miruna for your list this help lots to make my itinerary to visit Europe and select countries to visit first.

  34. AvatarEuro Traveler says:

    I think your list is awesome, and you describe every entry on it very lovingly. I see lots of complaints from people about why certain countries aren’t on the list, but it is, of course, a subjective assessment of the places in Europe you’ve experienced. It’s like a list of your favourite foods – some make your heart sing, others less so, and for each person, it’s different.

    My country, Austria, made it on the list (albeit only 10th place!) but as I read your descriptions of the higher ranking places, I could see why you felt the way you did, and can’t complain.

    So, for people reading this while planning their European itineraries, I can agree that all the countries on this list are indeed superb places to visit, but don’t limit yourself to these. Our whole continent is stunning and varied (as the author states) and some places will “hit you in the heart” more than others, so the best thing to do is explore! And if that means having to visit us here in Europe for a longer time, or to come back to again, well, that’s absolutely fine with us!

  35. Greece being on that spot is pretty undeserved, especially when knowing that many people are not aware enough of Greece’s many riches. It’s one of those countries that are worldwide known for its incredible beauty in so many ways, but also the country where so many other beauties are entirely overlooked or not advertised at all. I can say this because I have traveled in all of Europe by now with the exception of the Baltic states, but visited all the countries in this list, and I was every time surprised and taken by Greece’s beauty

    Greece is not only the country with 16.000 km (by far longest in the Mediterranean) of the most crystal clear seas and based on 2018’s EU statistics together with Malta/Cyprus the cleanest seas of which Greece is the only country while the other 2 islands. It’s 6000 islands are breathtaking and each unique and very diverse. But then Greece has 80% mountains which is one of the top 2 highest in Europe, and more importantly 20% of All of Europe’s Ultra peak mountains lies in Greece. Ultra peak mountains are mountains that rise at-least 1500 meters above it’s lowest surrounding region. For example. Switzerland has 8 Ultra peaks, Austria 12, Croatia 0, Spain 8, Greece has 19 which is roughly as much as Switzerland and Austria together.

    With that said Greece has 32% forests, the highest biodiversity and Greece’s endemicity is particularly very high due to Greece’s incredibly diverse topography and geography, mountains and islands that creates isolation and thus species grow unique over time. So Greece has in it’s valley’s, mountains and so on a tapestry of many mountain lakes, forests, woodlands, some 400 wetlands some of which lake Kerkini is one of the 2 most important birding places in Europe.
    Also Greece is one of the most natural hotspring rich countries in the world with 800 natural hotsprings. Aside it’s mountains and breahtaking landscapes there are out of the world places like Meteora and many other natural wonders that are entirely unique and cannot be found anywhere else.

    If that wasnt enough, top it all off with Greece’s incredible culture, heavenly food, unparalleled history spanning many thousands of years not only from classical period, but also its incredible bronze age (Minoan civilization, Mycnean civilization, Helladic period, Cycladic civilization) or even older the neolithic or the medieval Byzantine empire and so on. It’s a tapestry of diversity that blends with it’s pristine and incredible natural beauties around.

    Greece’s incredible diversity spans from snow capped mountains all the way to the only natural palm forests of Europe, from virgin forested islands/areas all the way to volcano’s and volcanic islands. From spring fields to rugged and wild dramatic sceneries. From the longest gorge in Europe (Samaria) to the deepest gorge in the world (Vikos gorge).

    It’s all these aspects and many more where Greece excels in that I personally rank Greece atleast in the top 3 most beautiful countries in Europe only competing with Italy for the top 1 spot.

    And with all due respect. Spain’s city centers are very stiff competition to all the other European countries out there and quite possibly Spain would to my experience and be on number 1 in this regard as it’s diversity is quite hard to beat. But Spain’s or France’s average beauty throughout it’s country can absolutely not be compared to that of Greece.
    Again. Greece’s majestic combination of vast mountains/mountain valleys/high plateaus/ low lands/ islands/ lakes/forests and natural diversity/ villages and towns dotted around the land/ archaeological sites leaves the user a much more awe inspiring influence behind than much of the inland of Spain, which is much flatter and less diverse and given Spain’s geography (geographically kind of spherical shape) it also does not have that incredible visual multi-layering from any place like in Greece with endless mountains/valleys/islands/seascape/picturesque towns/villages due to it’s very complex geography and topography. Pick a spot in Greece and the vista’s have these awe inspiring effects.

    Anyway. In the end everyone can have a different opinion and it’s all fine. But as my first paragraph already highlighted, Greece’s mountains and mainland are often not featured or taken into account in rankings or even advertisement. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people think Greece is some floating mythical island somewhere on an “ocean” (to those who make even that mistake), while in reality all of Greece’s 6000 islands combined accounts for only 20% of Greece’s total land area.

    1. Hi Edmond,

      Many thanks for your thoughtful comment! Greece is indeed an amazing country and I would agree that it’s underrated. But like you said, everyone can have a different opinion.

    2. I´m sure Greece is a wonderful country, I´ve never been to, but someday I will visit it for sure. Even if I think these kind of rankings are a bit useless, cause there are beatiful places all over the world, after reading your comment, I realized you don´t know my country at all… Greek landscapes are amazing and awesome, but so are the Spanish ones… Spanish landscapes are also quite diverse and unique, actually, Spain is the biodiversity hotspot of Europe, and one of the most important in the whole world, having both the largest number of natural protected areas under any of the Natura 2000 Network figures, and the largest number of Biosphere Reserves in the whole world. Both in an European and International level, Spanish biodiversity is considered one of the widest and richest. Spanish landascape is not just the landscape you can see when you are driving one highway, inner Spain has, indeed, many different areas and they are far from being just “flat”. We do have a central Plateau that covers an important part of inner Spain, but inside that plateau, there are also many hidden gems and in just less than 50 kms landscape can change completely and you where it was a desert 30 minutes ago, now you can see a completely green forest or mountains… Greek landscapes are incredible, but Spain is much more than a dry plateau, trust me. You just need to get lost and discover the country 🙂

  36. AvatarIztok Hohnjec says:

    I am Slovenian lad from Slovenia. So here is my guess why Slovenia is not on your list – there is basically only one sensible reason for that happening. 🙂 You just haven’t been here.

    Slovenia might be tiny (sized tinier as Sicily or Sardinia or just 1/4 of Scotland) but – my god – do we make up for it! From pristine alpine turquise rivers that are matched only in New Zealand (Soča, Koritnica, Nadiža, Mostnica, Kamniška Bistrica etc.) to hidden meditteranean villages at or near Mediterranean coast in Venetian style that are matched only on croatian islands (Štajnel, Koštabona, Tomaj, Komen, Dutovlje etc.) to rolling wineyard hills of world class wine producers that makes you feel as in Tuscany (regions of Brda, Slovenske gorice, Slovene Littoral, Goričko etc.) to brightest, whitest and most striking mountains next to only Jesper national park in Canada (Triglav group, Kanin group, Krn group, Škrlatica group in Julian Alps; Grintovec group and Planjava group in Kamniške Alps), still vivid Roman forts and cities around them (Celje, Ptuj, Ljubljana, etc.), one and only Karst region that gave name to all karst landscapes around the world and so on and so on.

    Add our centuries long heritage of Austrian governance that drives our desire to run the country smoothly, keeping the nature clean and intact, having our homes and backyards nice and tidy… you probably get the picture.

    Add our habit of hospitability especially towards people from other countries, all-day (we don’t like mid-day breaks) opened restaurants, wine-tasting boutiques, cafes, add virtually no road congestions, add one of world’s safest capitals (Ljubljana) and you get the picture.

    But, hey, world knows almost nothing about Slovenia despite that all and we miss such lists as yours for one reason only: almost nobody visits us because we are so neatly hidden on the map. In the end of the day, i kinda like it that way. Maybe i just don’t want that piece of heaven get overcrowded as many other more outspoken places around globe.

    1. Totally agree with you on Slovenia. I visited it recently and the most beautiful region is Lograska Dolina. Its jawdroppingly beautiful. Too bad I could spend only one day there.

  37. Ok guys and gals, I may sound biased but the land of the Gods is tops. Small enough to explore, its natural beauty will amaze you. Sure, you wanna spend a few days in Athens, everyone does. Then you hit the islands like Zante, Cephallonia, Corfu, Mykonos, Rhodes and, best of all, Santorini. Now here comes the catch – the less known gems like Paros, Thassos, Lefkada and dozens more will stun you (the water-skimming Delphinia fast boats will transport you around in no time). Places like Chalkidiki with its gorgeous beaches, magical Thessaloniki, aka the Bride of the Thermaic Gulf, the fabulous Peloponnesus and the Meteora, among others, are a must. For lodging and food, try the “side streets” where friendly home owners will offer you a clean room for a little money and where local taverns (small family owned restaurants) will serve you the freshest, tastiest and best in Greek cuisine. Travel thru the mainland, Karpenisi north to Giannena and onto the Ionian coast for an unforgettable experience. And be prepared to return!

  38. AvatarStewart Marshall says:

    Some of the comments here are crazy. Replace Scotland with Portugal!? These comments are from people who haven’t seen the world. Drive through Glen Coe and Glen Etive and then decide. The most specstular country in the world. Only New Zealand would come close to Scotland.

    1. I totally agree, Stuart; the drive from Loch Lomond to Glen Coe through Rannoch Moor is breathtaking, with the barren moors and the striking peaks. Throw in some snow, and you have some of the most beautiful scenes in the world – I would argue.

  39. I’ve done 11 European countries in the last 2 years from London to Moscow. My conclusion: There is no number 1 or number 2. The people are nice, warm and beautiful despite the stereotypes. Just go and enjoy yourself. You’ll be welcome. And I’m a black South African.

    1. My feelings exactly. It’s completely a matter of preference. For some people Spain will really capture there heart. But for others it may be France or Iceland or Italy or Greece or Norway etc. Different places will always be special to some people and not to others. I think it’s more fun that way personally. Going out and discovering different places we may love all over the world… that seems very magical to me.

  40. I really really like this list. Made my next vacation selection a bit easier :). I hear everyone’s point about Spain being no. 1. I’ve been there and you really can’t argue much about its #1 spot. If you don’t like Spain as #1 (for personal reasons then you’d probably put it at #2 or #3). I have a personal liking to Scotland but I totally understand why its at #9.Croatia is the only one that surprises me.

  41. AvatarGreg Thackray says:

    My favourite, in terms of how beautiful it was, is Italy. Although parts of Switzerland and France were undeniably beautiful too. Like Lake Geneva at sunset and the pretty coastline in the S of France. I got into Italy as a kid during the 1990 football World Cup. When I was lucky enough to go there it was even more amazing than I imagined! It was the sheer beauty and polarity of the place. Been from the rather reserved N of England, Italy had such drama, it was laid back but also kinda like a circus too, but a good one. People seemed happy down there and the colour, passion of it’s people and extraordinary natural beauty made it surpass expectations for me! My cousin would holiday in Spain so we had a bit of a rivalry. Ha, the arguments kids have! I would never say Italy is the best, it’s just my personal favourite but other countries will speak to people the way Italy does to me. Spain is amazingly varied too and has more biomes mainly because of the Canary Islands but Italy is just as varied in the 2,000+ kilometres from the Dolomite peaks in the north-east to the arid but pretty island of Lampedusa in the south. In terms of landscape, Spain and especially southern Italy are very similar too. OK, Spain has the Almeria desert but Italy also has the islands of Sardinia and Sicily which are like mini-continents themselves and both have semi-desert areas, as well as Sicily’s volcanoes. Italy has everything from mountains, rocky canyons,fjords,tundra, steppes, steep precipitous coastlines, badland areas, volcanic geysers, swamps, old-growth forests, glacial and volcanic lakes, temperate rain-forest’s as well as the highest number of faunal biodiversity in Europe. It also has one of the highest in terms of plant species with forests, upland plains, macchia, garrigue and the many different climatic zones all contributing to its variety. In terms of human architecture too. Italy is varied cause it’s quite a young country. Each region has it’s own unique identity that going from one area to the next is almost like going to another country in some cases. To me, Sardinia looks like Spain, the heel like Greece, Sicily like N Africa, Alto-Adige like Austria. Where I went in the N/W it was like going from Russian boreal/taiga forests, through central Europe to a hot sub-tropical/Mediterranean landscape in a few hours! That guy said it best when he said ‘Italy is not a country, more a geographical expression.’ One of opposites, drama and sheer natural beauty. I love all the European countries though. Each has something special to offer.

  42. AvatarPaul McCracken says:

    I am amazed that Switzerland has been left out of this list. Switzerland and Austria are easily the two most beautiful countries in Europe, if not the world! I guess I’m a bit biased though because I visit them every summer and just love the spectacular alpine mountain scenery. Switzerland should be number one, with magnificent alpine vistas in places such as Grindelwald, Zermatt(with the magnificent Matterhorn mountain) and Murren( with the incredible Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains), and pristine lakes such as Walensee and lake Geneva, to name but a few. Austria has Salzburg (my favourite city), Vienna, St. Anton am Arlberg, Werfen and the world’s largest ice caves, and a host of other magnificent places. In my opinion putting Austria at number 10 is ridiculous. Switzerland should be number 1 and Austria number 2. Glad to see Scotland and Norway were included in your list.

  43. AvatarGlassyjan says:

    Switzerland should definitely be in the the top 5. I don’t agree that Iceland should be on the list. I have been to all on your list and even lived in Switzerland and Germany and traveled to 92 countries so I am speaking from experience.

  44. AvatarDale Damron says:

    Silly comments. The list was intended to celebrate Europe, not pit people against each other. I loved traveling in Europe and can’t wait to go back! (Stuck in USA for the moment)

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