Every country in the world has something to offer such as local cuisine, groundbreaking architecture and much more. But beauty is hard thing to quantify, which is why we let the World Economic Forum do much of the work for us: every year, the foundation releases their Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, a survey that ranks the world’s countries based on various factors, from safety to life expectancy and even natural resources. Vacation Mode is here to show you the most beautiful countries in the world.
It's easy to sink into Pura Vida ( pure life) when you are surrounded by misty waterfalls, deserted beaches and protected jungles. In fact, more than a quarter of Costa Rica enjoys some form of environmental protection. La Amistad National Park is another uniquely diverse site, with cloud forests, glacial valleys, and a rare tropical alpine grassland.
One "Must do" thing: Arenal Volcano
Arenal is one of the world's most active volcanoes. It stands more than 5,000 feet high. For the latter half of the 20th century, travelers have ventured to its base in large numbers to catch a glimpse of glowing rocks and molten lava tumbling down its sides. There are day trips you can book from resorts.
Iceland has emerged as one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations. Travelers flock to the island nation by the millions to bear witness to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring vistas, from towering volcanoes to gushing waterfalls and expansive underground ice caves. Not to mention you can see the northern lights while in Iceland, something that is on many people's bucket lists.
One "Must do" thing: Go Whale Watching in Husavik
More than twenty species of whale, dolphin and porpoise can be found in Iceland’s waters. It is a top destination for whale-watching.
Tours tend to leave from ports such as Reykjavík and Akureyri, in places such as the Westfjords you can catch sight of whales from shore. The most successful tours usually set out from the small northern town of Húsavík.
New Zealand is famously known for breathtaking landscapes, with towering mountains, turquoise lakes and more than 9,000 miles of windswept shores. The splendor also extends below the surface to the Waitomo glowworm caves. New Zealand is also renowned for its national rugby team and its indigenous Maori culture.
One "Must do" thing: Experience Maori Culture
Experience Māori culture and hospitality in Rotorua, the cultural heart of New Zealand. Visit an authentic pre-European Māori village for a fantastic cultural show. After a delicious ‘hāngī’ feast, enjoy the thermal hot pools. Check out Rotorua experiences.
The country’s slice of Alps beckons travelers from all over the world, whether it’s to the ski slopes of Tyrol, the hiking trails of Innsbruck, or the ice caves of Eisriesenwelt Werfen. If you are hoping to belt out some sound of music tunes, go directly to Hohe Tauern National Park. It’s close to Salzburg and features that perfect combination of snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills.
One "Must do" thing: Eisriesenwelt: The World of the Ice Giants
Found on the western edge of the Tennengebirge, the spectacular World of the Ice Giants is the largest system of ice caves in the world. Covering some 30,000 square meters, the caves were carved by an underground river in the Tertiary period. Discovered in 1879, they were opened to the public in 1912, and to date, an amazing 45 kilometers of the network has been explored.
You will be hard-pressed to find a Caribbean island with much action as the Dominican Republic, thanks in large part to the country’s expansive list of must-visit beaches and jungles. If you prefer green to blue, go to Los Haitises National Park on the island’s northeast coast. With its unique limestone rock formations and mangrove forests, the park is one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic.
One "Must do" thing: Aquamundo Sambil Santo Domingo
Aquamundo Sambil is an aquarium set right in the heart of the city of Santo Domingo, offering children and non-divers a unique chance to see the wonderful variety of marine life found in the waters around the Dominican Republic and the wider Caribbean.
Canada is the world’s second-biggest country and has almost too much spectacular scenery to single out favorites. Torngat Mountains National Park, a land of polar bears and caribou, glaciers and fjords and a stretch of mountains you are not going to forget. The best-known attraction, as everyone knows, is Niagra Falls, but Canada even has amazing cities like Montreal and Toronto that have a little something for all types of travelers.
One "Must do" thing: Banff National Park & the Rocky Mountains (*Editor note: this is a personal favorite on my bucket list)
Banff National Park lies in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, and displays some of Canada's most beautiful scenery. Turquoise-colored lakes, snow-capped peaks, and glaciers are all easily accessible in this stunning park.
Here at Vacation Mode, we want to explore as much of the world as possible and we hope that articles like this will add to and expand your own personal bucket list.