13 of the most colourful places in the world

While the gloomy season with grey rainy days is already in full swing, entire towns and cities around the world display their magnificent colours to brighten our days. Here are some of the most colourful places in the world to add to your travel list.

  1. Manarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy
  2. Colmar, Alsace, France
  3. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Santorini, Greece
  5. Red Sea, Egypt
  6. Sintra, Portugal
  7. Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  8. Palmitas, Pachuca de Soto, Mexico
  9. Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
  10. Valparaíso, Chile
  11. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  12. St John's, Newfoundland, Canada
  13. Kampung Pelangi, Malang, Indonesia

1. Manarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

In Manarola, a district of Riomaggiore and part of the Cinque Terre National Park, the colourful houses have been tightly packed side by side, and even on top of each other.  Thanks to its rainbow of colours, this town has long attracted artists, including famous painters such as Renato Birolli. From the main road, you can explore the village by climbing up the hillside using the small stairways. This UNESCO-protected site is an absolute must-see in real life – it’ll truly take your breath away. Looking for more colourful spots in Italy? Burano and Vernazza are also ones to add to your travel list! 

2. Colmar, Alsace, France

Colmar is the third largest city in Alsace and is known for its stunning architecture. The old town is truly picture-perfect, with its multi-coloured traditional buildings, blooming flowers and small canals putting on a colourful show. The "Quai de la Poissonnerie'', lined with brightly decorated half-timbered houses, runs along the Lauch and is a popular photo spot for visitors.

3. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Charming, brightly coloured houses line the waterfront of this must-see area of Copenhagen. Believe it or not, house number 9, the oldest in Nyhavn, was built in 1681. Today, the neighbourhood is one of the most popular areas in the city, thanks to its wide choice of restaurants, pubs and clubs. Try to time your visit with sunset, when the colours shine against the pink and blue skies.

Bookmark Copenhagen. You won't regret it.

4. Santorini, Greece

There are two colours that come to mind when you picture Santorini –  blue and white. Located in the Cyclades, Santorini is a popular romantic getaway thanks to its  enchanting backdrop. White houses with blue domes cover the island, and next to the bright blue sea, truly shine. For the best views of Thira, jump on a boat. Be sure to bring your camera. When the sun sets and the last rays of sunshine shimmer on the white walls of the houses, the island is bathed in a pale pink.

Take your dreams to Santorini

5. Red Sea, Egypt

With warm, crystal-clear waters all year round, 150 species of beautiful coral of every shade and over a thousand species of tropical fish, the Red Sea is a kaleidoscope of colours and a dream for divers from all over the world. In Egypt, the resorts of El Gouna, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are popular spots among travellers. Here you can spot some of the incredible marine life – clown fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish and emperor angelfish, to name a few. This underwater paradise is a must for divers and a must-see on any trip to Egypt.

Save the Red Sea to your bucket list

6. Sintra, Portugal

Just 25km from Lisbon, the pretty town of Sintra is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Portuguese capital. The fairytale-like National Palace of Pena is the highlight of this town – it sparkles in the sunlight, with its yellow walls, red turrets and bright white Moorish-inspired colonnades. If you have time on your visit, another marvel not to be missed in Sintra is the Palace of Monserrate, with its exquisite coral mouldings. 

7. Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Covering over 72,000 square metres, the Dubai Miracle Garden is an open-air work of art, with impressive flower beds and extravagant sculptures. It is the world’s largest natural flower garden with over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. With all the colours under the rainbow and some incredible flower arrangements, it truly feels like something out of a fairytale.

Miss the sun? Dubai has been waiting for you...

8. Palmitas, Pachuca de Soto, Mexico

In the Palmitas district in the city of Pachuca de Soto, you’ll find buildings in every colour imaginable. Artists painted the entire district in rainbow colours as part of a 2015 street art project. More than 200 houses on the hillside shine in bright, colourful shapes, creating a huge mural.

9. Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

One of Cape Town’s most distinct neighborhoods, the colourful Bo-Kaap district is a must-see on any visit to South Africa. Its origins date back to the 1760s, when these buildings were leased to slaves abducted from Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of Africa. At the time, all houses had to be painted white, so once the slaves were freed they painted their houses these vibrant colours to express their freedom. While you’re there, it’s definitely worth visiting the Bo-Kaap Museum to learn more about the history. 

10. Valparaíso, Chile

The port city of Valparaíso is known for its colourful houses from the 18th and 19th centuries, located on the city’s numerous hills. The most famous of these hills are Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, which are best explored on foot: Cerro Concepción is home to Paseo Gervasoni, which is covered with striking graffiti. On Cerro Alegre, visitors can take the El Peral lift and see the colourful stairs of Calle Urrida and Calle Galvez.

11. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Boca is definitely one of the most instagrammable spots in Buenos Aires – every corner is bursting with life and colour. The artist Benito Quinquela Martín is responsible for the vibrant colours around the neighbourhood. In 1959, he persuaded the residents of the Caminito pedestrian zone to brightly paint their houses. Wander the area and you’ll discover artsy cafés, artists' studios and restaurants and if you’re lucky you’ll see tango dancers and artist exhibitions in the streets.

12. St John's, Newfoundland, Canada

St. John’s, the largest city in Newfoundland, is home to some incredibly bold and colourful wooden houses. Fittingly referred to as ‘Jellybean Row’, these houses were apparently painted in bright colours so that sailors could see their houses more clearly against the mist. Walk up Signal Hill and enjoy magnificent views of the city from the landmark Cabot Tower. With a little luck, you’ll also be able to spot wild humpback whales and puffins in the sea.

13. Kampung Pelangi, Malang, Indonesia

The rector of a school in Kampung Pelangi had the idea of painting the houses of his village in bright colours. More than 230 houses were decorated as part of a project in which dreary grey formerly prevailed, and thus the Rainbow Village was born.  After the makeover, tourism also increased with visitors from around the world desperate to see the extraordinary colours and murals up close. 

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