There are plenty of lists of the world’s most beautiful places—but they’re usually subjective. Britain-based travel company Kuoni recently put science to work to make an official ranking of the world’s most beautiful travel destinations. The company’s eye-tracking study analyzed the world’s most well-known natural wonders. The goal: to rank the locations that are most attractive to the human eye, thereby qualifying them as the most beautiful travel destinations in the world.
In the scientific study, participants viewed a series of images from 50 of the world’s most famous natural landmarks, from the Grand Canyon to the Maldives. The participants’ eye movements were tracked using AI technology, showing which images captured the eye the longest. This eye-catching data was then analyzed to reveal the world’s most beautiful places.
According to the study, the most beautiful place in the world is Peyto Lake in Canada. This natural wonder is known for its neon blue water surrounded by dazzling mountains. The second most beautiful place in the world is Meeru Island in the Maldives, which captivates travelers with its white sands and tropical blue waters.
Other destinations topping the list include the Jurassic Coast in the U.K., Yosemite and New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo. Read on to see the full list of the most beautiful places around the world.
The World’s Top 15 Most Beautiful Places
1. Peyto Lake, Canada: In Alberta, Banff National Park is famous for Peyto Lake, which gets its stunning color from the glacier water feeding the lake. “It’s a popular sightseeing destination for tourists who also want to explore the local mountain area, with plenty of hikes and impressive driving routes,” says Kuoni.
2. Meeru Island, Maldives: This dreamy bucket-list destination is only accessible by boat and is home to just one luxurious resort that has beach and overwater villas. “It’s easy to see why this destination was the most eye-catching beach, with crystal clear blue waters and white sands—it really does look like it’s in paradise,” says Kuoni.
3. Jurassic Coast, U.K.: Stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, this 95-mile stretch of coastline is a World Heritage Site with stunning views across the English Channel. “Along the stretch of coast, you’ll find stack rocks, pinnacles and arches, including one of England’s most iconic landmarks, Durdle Door,” says Kuoni.
4. Yosemite: Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, this 750,000-acre national park is known for its giant sequoia trees, waterfalls and granite cliffs. “With its breathtaking views and dramatic landscapes, this place has something for everyone—whether you’re looking for challenging hikes or gentle strolls through the forest,” says Kuoni.
5. Lake Tekapo, New Zealand: Lake Tekapo is fed by snow melt from the Southern Alps, which gives the water a distinctive turquoise tint. “Lake Tekapo is also one of the sunniest places in New Zealand, with an average of 2,400 sunshine hours per year,” says Kuoni.
6. Niagara Falls: Straddling the Canadian and American borders, Niagara Falls is made up of three different waterfalls that attract 8 million travelers a year. “Most people take to the water to get as close as they can, with boat trips running visitors up to the base of the falls to fully experience the landmark,” says Kuoni.
7. Mount Snowdon, Wales: The highest mountain in Wales has views across Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire, Anglesey and Ireland, luring thousands of visitors a year. “There are a number of routes to the top of the mountain, with paths suited to most abilities looking to take on the climb,” says Kuoni.
8. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines: This otherworldly underground river has rich biodiversity and impressive cave systems. “The cavern itself features eye-catching rock formations and visitors are able to experience the stunning surroundings up close and personal,” says Kuoni.
9. Marble Caves, Chile: In the Patagonian Andes bordering a remote glacial lake, you’ll find the Marble Caves (also known as Cuevas de Mármol). “The unique geological formation, made of solid marble, has been worn away by water for over 6,200 years—making this one of mother nature’s natural beauties,” says Kuoni.
10. El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico: With a jungle-like forest, waterfalls and rivers, El Yunque National Forest spans over 28,000 acres and is home to over 200 species of trees and plants. “It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in [Puerto Rico], with both locals and visitors exploring the many hiking trails,” says Kuoni.
11. Aurora Borealis, Iceland: Iceland is one of the best places on the planet to see the northern lights, making the country one of the most beautiful places in the world.
12. Iguazu Falls: Set on the Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay border, Iguazu Falls is one of the world’s most stunning natural attractions.
13. Lake Matheson, New Zealand: The view of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman reflected in New Zealand’s Lake Matheson helped put this location on the list.
14. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand: Phang Nga Bay is located in Thailand’s Ao Phang Nga National Park and is recognized for its sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water.
15. Grand Canyon: It doesn’t get much more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, which is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island and is considered by the Hopi Tribe to be a gateway to the afterlife.