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The World’s Most Beautiful Countries on Your Doorstep

It is all too easy to spend excessive time dreaming about far-flung holiday destinations which might be out of reach in terms of time and money. There’s no doubt that there are plenty of tempting and exotic places to have on our travel wish lists, but don’t let that stop you appreciating what there is closer to home. A survey of Rough Guides readers has revealed the Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and you might be surprised by the results…

jurassic bayThe world is full of inspiring vistas, whether it is rugged coastlines, rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain peaks. Earlier this year, readers of Rough Guides were asked to vote for the most beautiful country in the world.

This is a tough question and I’m not sure where I would have cast my vote. Variety always wins over monotony in my view, so I would not choose any country that is dominated by one type of geological feature, however beautiful it might be. Seasons are also a key part of my perspective on beauty, so that would exclude any country too close to the equator. Choices, choices…Thankfully the vote is already closed, so I don’t need to spend too long pondering which country would have finally got my support.

scottish lochThe great news for those of us that live in the UK, is that it turns out much of the world’s beauty is right under our noses. Scotland, England and Wales all made it into the Top 10 and… drum roll please… Scotland secured the top spot. Yes, that’s right, Rough Guides readers voted three of our home nations right up there when it comes to global good looks. Scotland was placed as Number 1 (beating Canada, New Zealand and Italy), with England placed as Number 7 and Wales as Number 10.

So, while you are saving your pennies for visits to the dramatic landscapes tempting you from the pages of glossy holiday magazines, why not fill your time with some home-grown beauty. Rough Guides readers were quick to sing the praises of the wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles of Scotland, gems like the Jurassic Coast of England and the castles and history of Wales. iFootpath walking guides are the perfect way to immerse yourself in our nation’s natural landscapes, an easy and affordable way to enjoy some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

You can see the full list of the Top 20 countries at

17 December 2017

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The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall of the walking guide, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies" between any two points. This is based on the GPX file that was created when the author walked the route and rounded to the nearest mile.length

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

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