As winter descends in earnest for those of us in the northern hemisphere, we’re here to transport you back to warmer, more colorful times than these… To help you leave the monochrome of winter behind, we’ve rounded up eight of the most colorful places around the world. Read on to find the next rainbow-hued destination for your bucket list!
Found in Northern Italy’s Venetian Lagoon, the island of Burano is just a short boat ride from Venice itself. Hop on the Vaporetto number 12 from Fondament Nove in Venice, and you’ll arrive on an island awash in vibrant hues. Famous for its canals, brightly colored houses, and equally prismatic boats, Burano is a great summer destination for those seeking an Instagram-worthy backdrop (and an escape from Venice’s crowds). From the fiery tones to the subdued shades, the colors of Burano embody the spirit of spring and summer in Italy. Stroll down Via Galuppi, the island’s main street, or wander its quieter alleyways to experience its hidden peacefulness and beauty. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
At Copenhagen’s old port, Nyhavn, you’ll be greeted by an astonishing architectural collage of colorful buildings. Like something straight from a postcard, these traditional houses line the waterfront, their reflections dancing on the canal. While Nyhavn was originally a bustling port, today, the buildings in the area have been converted into hip bars and restaurants, making it a social hotspot for locals and visitors alike. But beyond Nyhavn, the city is rife with vibrancy ― from the cobbled pedestrian streets of the old city center to the modern neighborhoods defined by Scandinavian design, Copenhagen is a haven for those seeking a multicolored urban break.
The Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
From neon to pastel, the buildings in Cape Town’s most colorful neighborhood, the Bo Kaap, run the gamut. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, the Bo Kaap boasts an eclectic mix of Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architecture, showcasing the area’s long history and cultural importance. While you explore, grab some traditional Cape Malay food at Bo-Kaap Kombuis, stop by a local art collective, or learn more about the neighborhood’s rich heritage at the Bo Kaap Museum. And, of course, be sure to soak in (and capture) the area’s chromatic wonders!
When people think of Lisbon, a specific color often comes to mind: yellow. And although the city is flooded in this golden hue, travelers can also find a vibrant world of color in the details of Lisbon’s famous tiles, also known as azulejos. Lining the walls of the city’s streets and monasteries, you’ll find mosaics of bright reds and faded tangerine oranges, azure and cerulean and royal blues, pastel pinks, and every lush tinge of green. And, if you want to delve deeper, you can even visit the Azulejo Museum to learn about the history and beauty of the artform.
Wander and photograph the multicolored alleys of Alfama, or, if you’re looking for a trip outside the city, venture to Pena Palace in Sintra. This 19th-century palace is a flamboyant complex of vividly painted terraces and battlements, nestled on a verdant hilltop. Go for the breathtaking viewpoints, or simply admire the building itself — either way, you can’t go wrong.
Located off the west coast of Scotland, Tobermory is a quaint fishing port on the Isle of Mull. Lining the main street of this postcard-perfect town are brightly painted houses and shopfronts ― a rainbow leading not to a pot of gold, but to something even better: the harbor’s pier. Once you’ve enjoyed the town’s many restaurants and cultural attractions, head farther afield to catch a glimpse of the island’s plentiful wildlife, including the rare Golden and White-Tailed Eagles. For creatives, Tobermory is also a great escape for getting inspired and immersing yourself in the arts. If you want to capture the unique palette of the city, try a watercolor painting class, turn to the pages of your travel journal, or simply grab your camera!
Immortalized in the photographs of its colonial architecture and 1950s cars, Havana draws travelers from all over the world looking for eye-catching color. In the heart of historic Old Havana, mellow pastels and bright primary colors decorate the cobbled streets, and it’s here you’ll also find frescoed churches and the city’s well-known retro cars. Once you photograph the iconic city center, be sure to capture Havana’s street art, which is just as colorful and diverse as the Cuban capital itself. The areas of Centro Habana and Vedado are great places to start, as they are home to some of the most notable street art pieces by Cuban and foreign artists alike. After being immersed in Havana’s electrifying hues, you’ll be hungry to come back for more.
An island off the coast of Naples, Procida is less known (and thus less crowded) than the villages of Cinque Terre, but it’s just as eye-catching. From the black-sand beaches that edge the island to the glittering Gulf of Naples and the kaleidoscopic hillside of sherbet-colored houses, Procida is a polychromatic fever-dream. Taste traditional seafood dishes at a restaurant in a lemon grove or wander the gem of the island: Marina Corricella, a colorful 17th-century fishing settlement that is built into the cliffside. According to local lore, fishermen painted their houses in order to find their way home from sea — but today, the bright façades attract a fair number of awestruck tourists, too. Riddled with narrow passageways and ancient staircases, Marina Corricella is a (traffic-free) paradise for travelers in search of vibrant hues.
Nothing beats the winter blues quite like Chafchaouen’s blues. This city in northwest Morocco is known for its entirely blue-washed buildings, making it a photographer’s playground. Additionally, the blue walls are embellished with flower pots of every hue, adding pops of contrast throughout the maze-like city. Explore the old town and discover its iconic market, or wander the hushed streets that will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. During your stay, try traditional Moroccan food at Restaurante Tissemlal, or have a meal overlooking the cool-toned city from the rooftop terrace at La Lampe Magique Casa Aladdin. Be sure to pack your camera, so you can capture this electrifying city ― from the steep stairs scaling its hills to the market’s tessellated woven rugs, the details are just as mesmerizing. No matter how you spend your time, you’re sure to find beauty and wonder in the azure alleyways and golden minarets of Chefchaouen.