"Sexy" is rarely used to describe a vacation; "relaxing," "fun" or -- the most yawn-inducing label -- "historical" typically precede someone's trip. But what if you were looking for a sexy adventure, where both the people and the place tempt you? Or, more importantly, should you be after such a quest?
That question is really up to you. However, we thought we might dangle a few of the sexiest countries in front of you, just to show you where romance, intrigue and beautiful people await.
[See a photo recap of the World's Sexiest Countries]
Shocked to see our northern, hockey-obsessed neighbors on this list? Perhaps Canadians intentionally hide their assets under thick parkas in minimal sunlight. But, ladies and gentlemen, the secret is out. People magazine plastered Canadian born Ryan Reynolds on its front cover, anointing him the "Sexiest Man Alive" in 2010. And the Canadian women are also witnessing a sexy rise in appreciation, claiming three spots in Maxim's Hot 100. Suddenly, this frozen northern country seems a lot steamier.
Aside from the inherently romantic French-speaking Québécois, you'll also find hotties stationed in laid-back cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Canadians are particularly friendly, and sometimes all you need to thaw is the warm smile of a handsome stranger.
National Treasures: Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams
Having long been in the shadow of Mother Russia, Ukraine has started to make a name for itself as a truly sexy place to visit. Just take a glance at its former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko -- what a beautiful face of a nation. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe has become the choice pecking grounds of modeling scouts; however, as most models remain nameless in our eyes, this phenomenon has done little to illuminate this nation's good-looks. Times have changed. Now, you only need turn to the big screen to Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis in Black Swan to see this nation's heart-racing potential.
While people-watching is certainly an enjoyable way to pass the time, make sure you avert your eyes at least once to take in Ukraine's spectacular vistas. The country is sandwiched between the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea, both of which are very easy on the eyes. Head to the kaZantip Festival, a five- to six-week seaside dance party in gorgeous western Crimea. There you're sure to find many a visual treat.
National Treasures: Athlete Lenny Krayzelburg and Actress Mila Kunis
If the 2010 FIFA World Cup showed us anything, it was that its host country can be loud (remember those little vuvuzelas?), proud and super hot. South Africa is home to the descendants of Dutch and English settlers, as well as native Africans; the mix has resulted in a diverse and vibrant culture -- the post-apartheid dream of a rainbow nation.
South Africa's wild terrain beckons to the adventure-seeker. In the eastern province of Mpumalanga (aka "Paradise Country"), you can traverse both dry highlands and lush wetlands, pass gushing waterfalls and roaring lions. Or, if you prefer cosmopolitan bustle, western Cape Town is ripe with the country's finest dining, nightlife and, granted, some lovely individuals.
National Treasures: Model Max Mmethi and Actress Charlize Theron
While observing Swedes in their natural habitat, you might think to yourself: "Is this heaven?" Much of this angelic population is unbelievably gorgeous by many Western standards of beauty -- tall, fair-skinned and blonde. Fulfilling stereotypes (and dreams), Sweden was also ranked by Forbes as the second healthiest country in the world, just behind Iceland. You can credit residents' good physique to their pedestrian lifestyle and, of course, enviable genes. Perhaps the Swedes' stone-cold beauty has evolved to match their nation's frigid but arresting scenery.
You'll witness this stark natural beauty in the snowy Sarek National Park in northern Sweden and at Drottningholm Castle just west of Stockholm, where the (very attractive) Swedish royal family lives. And, of course, Stockholm -- with its sleek architecture, lakes and top-notch inhabitants -- comes out looking the best.
National Treasures: Actors Alexander Skarsgård and Malin Akerman
With their intelligent-sounding accents and their devilishly good looks, Englishmen have made American women swoon since we stopped calling them "lobsters" after the Revolutionary War. Even the American male must applaud the Brit who successfully assumes his inner James Bond. Glamour magazine assigned almost a dozen coveted slots on its 50 Sexiest Men of 2010 countdown to these blokes. Despite the timeless allure of English males, their female counterparts have traditionally lacked that je ne sais quoi that would put them in high demand. However, their time is coming, as several well-known English women recently snagged a few spots on Maxim's Hot 100.
In England, you can be swept up into your royal fantasy at Windsor Castle (located just west of London), chase your own Mr. Darcy across rugged moors to the north in Yorkshire county, or even mingle with socialites in London's chic bars and trendy West End warehouses. Regardless of your choice, you're sure to have a bloody good time.
National Treasures: Athlete David Beckham and Actress Keira Knightley
A no-brainer. This list could not be complete without Brazil. The country's legendary breed of Amazonians defies logic with gorgeous individuals practically springing up on every street corner and beach. Tan, fit and speaking in a seductive Portuguese drawl, Brazilians have made their attractiveness known to the world with such esteemed ambassadors as Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima, otherwise known as the über-hot Victoria's Secret Angels. Even their male counterparts have been stealing face-time; like Evandro Soldati, who played Lady Gaga's Alejandro in the music video of the same name.
At its most riotous (and intoxicating), Brazil during Carnaval will overwhelm all the senses with thundering music, colorful parades and swarms of handsome residents. When it's not Carnaval, the rowdy streets of Rio de Janeiro and the soft sands of Copacabana are sure to never disappoint.
National Treasures: Models Evandro Soldati and Gisele Bündchen
As home to more than a billion people, India obviously shelters some of the hottest individuals on the planet. While the country remains fairly conservative, its younger generations have begun to show us just how sexy Indians can be. Much of this exposure has come through Bollywood. Recently, America caught wind of India's good-looking people when Hollywood featured the gorgeous Frieda Pinto in the eight-time Oscar-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire. And while India's sexiness is not overt, one only needs to remember that this is the birthplace of the illustrious Kama Sutra.
India's huge size and diversity provides many opportunities to be seduced. On the southwestern beaches of Goa, you'll find residents shedding their conservative attire to bask in the soothing sun. If you prefer a more modest and spiritual experience, head to the Ajanta Caves north of Maharastra in central India -- holy Buddhist prayer grounds since the 2nd century B.C. -- or the Golden Temple of Amritsar on the northern border near Punjab.
National Treasures: Actors John Abraham and Freida Pinto
Would you be surprised that pollsters at OnePoll.com discovered that women find Spanish men the best lovers? Probably not, since that's pretty much common knowledge. The purring of the Spanish language has been known to seduce even the stoniest single, while Spaniards like Javier Bardem, Fernando Verdasco and Antonio Banderas often evoke longing sighs from enamored female movie-goers. And thanks to leading ladies like Penélope Cruz, men too have begun to hope for a Spanish seductress.
Spain's viva-la-vida culture is seen in the 24/7 party that is Ibiza, the fanciful architecture of Barcelona, the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the pulsating energy of Madrid's Plaza Mayor makes its citizens irresistible to many outsiders. For who would not want to be (or be with) a triumphant matador?
National Treasures: Athlete Rafael Nadal and Actress Penélope Cruz
We might not consider ourselves sexy (or maybe we simply feign humility), but my fellow Americans: We are hot. Our Hollywood celebs propel our own standards of beauty far beyond the California coast. With such a wide global cultural reach, the U.S. defines "sexy" for many nations. Our own unacknowledged vanity propagates lists such as Maxim's Hot 100 and People's Sexiest Man Alive. And despite having one of the highest percentages of obesity of any developed country, the United States still churns out attractive cover models like it's a job.
From sea to shining sea, America is peppered with attractive enclaves. And while Miami Beach is arguably the country's "sexiest" spot thanks to its less-is-more dress code, other cities compete with more PG allures. Power entices many visitors to Washington D.C., while others flock to L.A. in search of fame and fortune.
National Treasures: President Barack Obama and Actress Scarlett Johansson
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