Rough Guides, the leading publisher of travel and reference guides, tasked its readers to choose the top 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and Scotland came out on top, ahead of Canada and New Zealand.
The website said: “Who can deny that these wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world?”
The recognition was welcomed by VisitScotland who hope to welcome more tourists exploring the diversity the country offers.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland said: “We are delighted that Scotland has received this remarkable accolade from Rough Guide readers, but of course it will not be a surprise to anyone who has encountered our wonderful country. From our awe-inspiring landscapes to our remarkable historic attractions, to our bustling but beautiful urban centres, Scotland takes people’s breaths away.
“Our latest campaign, the Spirit of Scotland was based on feedback from visitors that they get a special feeling while in the country - whether it’s in the wilds of Glen Coe on a stormy day or taking part in a ceilidh on Burns’ Night - there is something different about Scotland that they can’t experience anywhere else in the world.
“Of course with great beauty comes great responsibility and we urge both visitors and residents alike to respect Scotland’s natural assets to protect and preserve them for many generations to come.
“Off the back of this accolade, we look forward to welcoming more visitors from across the world who want to encounter Scotland’s unique beauty and spirit.”