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Whether by chance or coincidence, a number of destinations in Her Majesty Elizabeth’s kingdom appear in the results, from Liverpool to Edinburgh. It is even a city in Cheshire, at the entrance to Wales, Chester, which wins the bet, with an almost perfect score of 83.7%. The best destinations for retiring in, the cities that offer the best quality of life, the world’s hotspots for food or best nightlife… There is no shortage of rankings seeking to establish the best spots for visiting.

For sure, when it comes to establishing a list of the most beautiful places in the world, one might think that it could be challenging for the obvious reason that opinions on the matter are quite subjective. However, when the famous golden ratio is applied to the subject, we learn that in fact many perfect destinations do exist, from an aesthetic standpoint. And the top one might surprise you.

The number-one tourist destination in the world is known for its buildings with stone facades that owe their aesthetic to the Haussmannian style, and the harmony of the historic structures throughout the city center have seduced many couples, families and Instagram influencers as a backdrop. But it’s not Paris that has been found to be the most aesthetic city in the world, when the golden ratio is applied.

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The golden ratio: Measuring beauty using science

What is the golden ratio, you may ask? It is a geometrically defined proportion that governs the harmonious relationship between the parts and the whole. Scientists use this measure, identified as 1.61803398875 or 1:1.618, to define what is most beautiful, whether in the fields of art, nature, flowers or even beauty. For instance, a British surgeon from the Centre for Advanced Facial Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery in London found that top model Bella Hadid is beautiful woman in the world, according to the golden ratio.

Even in the realm of tourism, the measure has been used to determine the prettiest destinations. Applying the golden ratio to a city’s architecture to determine whether a city is aesthetically beautiful, a recent ranking reveals that Paris’s famous Haussmannian approach is not so harmonious at all. The city of light only appears in 12th place in this ranking drawn up by Online Mortgage Advisor, a British specialist in property advice.

Images found on Google Street View were first used to study the curves and lines of the streets and the main monuments in order to define proportions. The data was then compared to the famous golden ratio to establish a top 25. Whether by chance or coincidence, a number of destinations in the United Kingdom feature in the results, from Liverpool to Edinburgh. And in fact, it’s even a city in Cheshire, near the English-Wales border that comes in first; the city of Chester nabs an almost perfect score of 83.7%.

Venice comes second in the international ranking with a score approaching 83.3% of the “golden ratio.” London is next, with a ratio of 83%. Rome follows at 82%, then Barcelona at 81.9% and Prague at 78.7%. With Europe dominating the top spots in the ranking, the highest-ranking non-European city is New York with a score of 77.7%.