The world's colorful places will brighten up your weekend



Slide 1 of 41: There's no denying that a color-filled and sunny getaway can cheer the soul. So while a physical vacation might not be on the cards yet, we've selected a few of our favorite technicolor places and spaces that make for an eye-catching virtual escape. Grab your shades as we tour the world's most colorful destinations.
Slide 2 of 41: The town of Procida spans the whole island from which it gets its name. It’s the Bay of Naples’ smallest and sweetest island, much quieter than neighboring islands, such as Capri. Littering the seaside are houses drenched in dazzling shades of pink, blue, yellow and more, their peeling paintwork adding to the effortless Italian charm.
Slide 3 of 41: Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, the brightly colored houses that line Nyhavn’s canal might be a beloved sight in the city today, but they weren't always this salubrious. The fairy tale-like area was originally home to the city’s poor and rowdy bars, which were often frequented by inebriated sailors and women of the night, but today it's Copenhagen's most famous sight filled with restaurants and cafés.
Slide 4 of 41: The kaleidoscopic Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert is a totally unique sight as it was actually formed due to human error. In the 1960s, a geothermal energy company drilled on the site in the hope of striking a usable power source. The water the workmen hit wasn't warm enough but they failed to properly seal the opening they made. Today, the geyser still spews water and steam, and the brilliant colors are formed by the algae it's covered in.

Slide 5 of 41: The lavender fields of France's Provence region explode in a fragrant haze of purple from around mid-June up until August (though they're at their peak in early July). The most concentration of lavender fields is on the high plateau around Sault, at the foot of the Mont Ventoux and around Apt and Gordes. Lavender is an important part of life in Provence as it has countless uses, from beauty products and soaps to aromatherapy, as a natural remedy and even in cooking.
Slide 6 of 41: You could be forgiven for mistaking Aveiro for Venice, especially given the maze-like canals flanked by colorful moliceiros – canal cruise boats traditionally used for seaweed harvesting. In reality, this pretty city lies between Porto and Lisbon, situated on the edge of an extensive lagoon system right by the Atlantic Ocean. Aside from the boats, it's best characterized by Art Nouveau architecture that incorporates intricate tilework as well as the nearby coast, which is dotted with stripy pastel-hued beach huts.
Slide 7 of 41: This multicolored mountain in the Peruvian Andes is not man-made despite what its perfectly symmetrical layers might make you think. The colorful bands, ranging from pink and red to yellow and green, are the result of sedimentary layers forming from mineral deposits over the years.
Slide 8 of 41: Dramatically perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, there's no doubting Positano is a postcard-perfect town. Its stony streets are lined with flowering lemon, orange and olive groves, not to mention stunning architecture, as they wind down to a small, but perfectly formed beach right by the crisp Mediterranean Sea. In idyllic Italian fashion, these streets are also littered with an avalanche of alluring restaurants, boutiques and chic hotels.
Slide 9 of 41: These brightly colored houses hark back to the early 17th century when timber kits were sent up from mainland Scandinavia. Each color represented the building’s function – commercial houses were red, hospitals were yellow, police stations were black, fish factories were blue and the telephone company was green. These days, locals like to combine the old tradition with modern colors like pink, purple and orange, which looks especially great in contrast to the sparkling white snow.

Slide 10 of 41: Covering almost 115 square miles (298sq km), Plitvice Lakes National Park is found near the Bosnia and Herzegovina border, two hours south by car from Zagreb in Croatia. The park, founded in 1949, is famous for its collection of 16 crystal clear, color-changing lakes – they morph between shades of green and blue due to their high mineral content – plus over 90 waterfalls. It's a truly magical landscape. Here are stunning images of Europe's best national parks.
Slide 11 of 41: Talk about opulence. In 1853 ruler Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh had the whole city painted pink for a visit from Edward, Prince of Wales, the future king of England. To this day, the Rajasthani capital retains its signature rose-tinted hue across historic buildings, homes and shops, and is one of the stops on the popular Golden Triangle circuit. Pictured here is Patrika Gate, one of the seven gates adorning Jaipur's city walls.
Slide 12 of 41: The history of Willemstad's colored houses sounds like an urban legend, but the buildings in this UNESCO-protected Caribbean town were initially painted in an attempt to cure a headache. Back when the Dutch ruled Curaçao, the governor was convinced his migraines were caused by the tropical sun’s rays reflecting off the whitewash buildings. All citizens were commanded to paint their homes anything but blinding white, resulting in this pastel rainbow paradise.
Slide 13 of 41: Geyzernoye Lake, also known as Blue Lake, is located in the remote Altai Republic in Siberia. This spectacular thermal spring offers vibrant teal waters and a picture-perfect surrounding landscape. Every now and then, visible concentric circles appear underneath the surface of the water, throwing out clay and sand in geyser-like eruptions. Discover jaw-dropping places you'll only ever see in photos.
Slide 14 of 41: Winding streets, narrow canals and quaint, pastel-colored houses – Colmar has it all. The pretty town in the Grand Est region of northeastern France is a unique collection of medieval and early Renaissance buildings, including a beautiful 13th-century church. On top of looking every bit like a fairy-tale town, it's also celebrated for being the wine capital of France's Alsace region.

Slide 15 of 41: It might be called a palace, but it is in fact a castle, and few are so heart-flutteringly pretty as Pena Palace, whose butter-yellow turrets and brick-red towers rise above the treetops in hilly Sintra, just outside Lisbon. The multicolored beauty, an example of 19th-century Romanticism, was commissioned by King Ferdinand II and completed in 1854, and has been home to Portuguese royals through the years. Take a look at more of Europe's most beautiful castles.
Slide 16 of 41: China's Jiuzhaigou Valley is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for very good reason and Five Flower Lake is perhaps its most dazzling feature. This serene lake is considered holy by many locals, thanks to its interchanging colors and the fact it doesn't freeze, even in winter. Yet the mystery behind this unique wonder can be easily explained – home to hot springs, the pool also has aquatic plants which change color when exposed to sunlight.
Slide 17 of 41: Set amid rocky coastal cliffs and blooming bougainvillea, Italy's breathtaking Cinque Terre is made up of five villages carved into the cliffside – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola (pictured) and Riomaggiore. It’s said the houses were painted in various shades so fishermen working offshore could easily see their homes. Today, the five villages are connected by a coastal walk that's part of the Cinque Terre National Park.
Slide 18 of 41: The gorgeous forest-covered cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai Island are an exquisite sight to see. Like something straight out of Jurassic Park, some of the rugged red and green rocks of the coast look more suited to a different planet than Earth. Nā Pali means high cliffs in Hawaiian – a very fitting name when the tallest mountains here soar to 4,000 feet (1,219m). 
Slide 19 of 41: Fall is a colorful season everywhere in Canada, but no more so than in the province of Québec, which is rife with maple trees. The leaves turn bright orange or brilliant red, covering the rolling hills of rural Québec in a blanket of color for several weeks in October. The trees also have a sweet season in the early spring, when their sap is tapped and turned into delicious maple syrup.
Slide 20 of 41: While it may look like a giant paint palette, this pink landscape is actually made up of salt flats and is situated in the seaside resort of Colonia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca's Ses Salines district. Salt is a major export here and a great source of local pride – a symbol of a salt mound even appears on the area's coat of arms. The colors – earthy pink, deep tan and rich nude – pop when captured from up high.
Slide 21 of 41: Yellowstone's most famous hot spring, the Grand Prismatic's vivid blue center is surrounded by bands of rusty orange, yellow and green, making it look otherworldly. The largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world, Grand Prismatic's water reaches a temperature of around 160°F (70°C). Multi-layered sheets of microorganisms called microbial mats give the bands their distinctive colors, that tend to change slightly with the seasons.
Slide 22 of 41: Located beneath the towering peaks of the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is a labyrinth of intricate alleyways. Soaked in a turquoise hue, the electrifying colors have a historical significance: in the 15th century, Jewish refugees settled in the area and painted buildings blue to mirror the sky and remind them of God. Today, one of the city's most famous sights are the steps pictured here, where colorful plant pots sit in beautiful contrast to the blindingly blue walls.
Slide 23 of 41: The Highlands of Iceland are renowned for thermal springs and mirror-like fjords but Landmannalaugar is unlike anywhere else in the world. Inside Fjallabak Nature Reserve on the edge of the Laugahraun lava field, this unique and unusual landscape was formed during a volcanic eruption around 1477. Famed for its geothermal springs and azure rivers, this rugged region also benefits from candy-colored hills that appear to be painted by hand.
Slide 24 of 41: Particularly vivid against a summer's sky, Red Square's Saint Basil's Cathedral looks like something out of a fairy tale. With its stripes and spots and ice gem turrets, and not to mention multitude of colors, it's one of the best-known cathedrals in the world for a reason. One of Moscow's most recognizable landmarks, the ornate cathedral in the Red Square was designed to resemble the flames of a bonfire.
Slide 25 of 41: The Ningaloo Marine Park off the shores of Exmouth hugs more than 160 miles (257km) of Western Australia's coastline, and is home to more than 500 species of fish and 200 types of coral. From this eagle viewpoint, you can see how the cyan waters meet the pale shores of Cape Range National Park, known for its sandy beaches, rugged gorges and orange rockscapes.
Slide 26 of 41: For most of its history, this small Spanish town in the province of Málaga was simply a village with whitewashed homes, like many others in Spain. Then, in 2011, Sony executives painted the houses blue for a publicity stunt to promote The Smurfs movie. Afterwards, Sony offered to paint the town back, but the 221 citizens of Júzcar voted to keep it blue.
Slide 27 of 41: Jam-packed with shops, street markets and bright buildings, Little India really is a slice of the subcontinent in Singapore. Located near the Serangoon River, an influx of Indian immigrants has replicated their homeland with colorful buildings and temples. More often than not, a mouthwatering smell of Indian street food fills the air, and during the Hindu celebration of Diwali the area is at its most vibrant.
Slide 28 of 41: Located on the Costa Verde, a coastal area in the state of Rio de Janeiro known for its greenery, Paraty is one of the oldest towns in Brazil. Founded in 1667 by the Portuguese, its colorful center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is fully pedestrianized – a further bid to preserve the town's already immaculate historic buildings. Much of the town's architecture, including the cobbled streets, hasn't changed much for 250 years or more, leaving an impression you've traveled to a different era entirely.
Slide 29 of 41: St John’s is the oldest city in North America, established around the turn of the 16th century. But the weight of its history sits lightly about the city, which feels more like a laid-back small town. Dotted along the waterfront and in the city center are brightly painted row houses, and at the southern edge of the sheltered harbor is a squat little lighthouse. Signal Point is one of the best spots for views across the city and out over the Atlantic – next stop, Europe.
Slide 30 of 41: The Old Town of Stockholm was founded back in 1252. Today, the winding cobblestone streets and gold and russet medieval buildings still stand, alongside newer constructions, painted in greens and oranges: the perfect postcard setting. Its most famous sight though is Stortorget (pictured), a cobblestone square dating back to the Middle Ages, that hosts the annual Christmas market and is home to the famous row of colorful buildings.
Slide 31 of 41: With its pretty riverside location, relaxed university town feel and grand historic buildings, it’s hard to fathom why Wrocław in southwest Poland isn’t a more popular city jaunt. The sprawling Market Square is a great place to get to know the compact and easily walkable city. It was heavily hit by the Second World War but its ancient buildings and squares have been painstakingly restored. Curiously, there are more than 400 little statues of dwarfs dotted around the quirky city and there's a festival every September celebrating them.
Slide 32 of 41: Encircled by walls laid in the 10th century, Itchan Kala (Khiva’s Inner City) has a singular collection of historic buildings, giving a fascinating insight into Central Asian Islamic architecture. But more than any individual sight – the squat Kalta Minor Minaret, sumptuous Tosh Hovli Palace or ornately tiled Pahlavon Mahmoud Mausoleum – Itchan Kala’s most astounding feature is how cohesive it feels, its perfect pairing of brick and mosaic seeming undisturbed by the trappings of modern life.
Slide 33 of 41: Known locally as the Bride of Epirus, Parga is relatively young for a Greek settlement, having only existed since the early 13th century. Despite this, the town in northwestern Greece still brims with history – it was the only free Christian village in the region during the Ottoman rule. A dilapidated fortress, called the Venetian Castle, is perched on a hilltop overseeing the hued homes and is a reminder of the time when the town fell under the Venetian rule.
Slide 34 of 41: In ancient times, Izamal was a center of worship for the sun god Kinich-Kakmó until it was almost all but abandoned with the rise of Chichen Itza. Fast forward to the 16th century and a Spanish city was founded atop the existing Maya one. Located in the Yucatán region, the town is fondly referred to as The Yellow City thanks to its marigold buildings. A popular story says the town was painted yellow in 1993 in honor of Pope John Paul's visit, but many insist the town was yellow long before that. 
Slide 35 of 41: The pretty Maltese island of Gozo is famous for its Neolithic sites and rugged stretches of coastline, but it's also notable for its salt production and in the north you'll find large clusters of salt pans. They're at their most picturesque when seen from above: the pans appear like a mosaic with hues of earth brown, white and sand punctured by emerald-green water. See more of the world's most incredible photos from above.
Slide 36 of 41: Though it’s beautiful in every season, Bergen really comes into its own as the days grow shorter and the snow piles up. Its colored houses cling to the mountainsides, seeming to huddle together against the cold, reflecting perfectly in the clear waters of the North Sea. Bergen may be known as the gateway to the fjords, but there’s plenty of beauty to be found within the city, too.
Slide 37 of 41: The Irish coastal town of Kinsale is famed for its exceptional cuisine which showcases the best of the bounty from the Celtic Sea. Besides the fanciful food on offer, Kinsale is also known for its quirky streets which are flamboyantly painted every color of the rainbow.
Slide 38 of 41: Though Lisbon gets most of the attention, Portugal’s second city is uniquely beautiful and atmospheric, especially in its medieval Ribeira district. Here, centuries-old merchants’ and mariners’ homes line cobbled streets, seeming to crane their necks over each other to get a view of the Douro River. In fact, the whole town seems focused on the river, with its grand bridges – from the double-decker Ponte de Dom Luís I to the sleek, modern Ponte de São João – one of the city’s most iconic sights.
Slide 39 of 41: Havana’s faded grandeur is famous for a reason. The wide avenues, lined with bright, peeling colonial buildings; the laundry hanging from wrought-iron balconies; the plants growing on, and occasionally out of, windowsills; the wide plazas, ornate churches and eye-catching murals. Havana is a jumble of so many different elements that it shouldn’t quite work – but somehow, it all comes together to create something unforgettable.
Slide 40 of 41: These vibrant rice terraces in China's Yuanyang County have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013 and no wonder. Built on red-soil mountains over 2,500 years ago and reaching up to 6,561 feet (1,999m) above sea level, the rice terraces fill with cascading spring water from the forests above, creating a unique scenery in shades of green and brown.
Slide 41 of 41: Looking out to the Venetian lagoon, Burano's bright houses line the streets and canals in a colorful maze. It's thought that the island got its signature look back in the day when fishermen painted their houses as bright as possible, so they would be easier to spot in the thick fog so common on the lagoon. A popular day-trip destination from Venice, Burano is also famous for its lace work. Now take a look at the world's most colorful natural wonders

Bright and beautiful spots around the world

Procida, Campania, Italy

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Fly Geyser, Nevada, USA

Provence in summer, France

Aveiro, Portugal

You could be forgiven for mistaking Aveiro for Venice, especially given the maze-like canals flanked by colorful moliceiros – canal cruise boats traditionally used for seaweed harvesting. In reality, this pretty city lies between Porto and Lisbon, situated on the edge of an extensive lagoon system right by the Atlantic Ocean. Aside from the boats, it’s best characterized by Art Nouveau architecture that incorporates intricate tilework as well as the nearby coast, which is dotted with stripy pastel-hued beach huts.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Nuuk, Greenland

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Covering almost 115 square miles (298sq km), Plitvice Lakes National Park is found near the Bosnia and Herzegovina border, two hours south by car from Zagreb in Croatia. The park, founded in 1949, is famous for its collection of 16 crystal clear, color-changing lakes – they morph between shades of green and blue due to their high mineral content – plus over 90 waterfalls. It’s a truly magical landscape. Here are stunning images of Europe’s best national parks.

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Willemstad, Curaçao

Geyzernoye Lake, Siberia, Russia

Geyzernoye Lake, also known as Blue Lake, is located in the remote Altai Republic in Siberia. This spectacular thermal spring offers vibrant teal waters and a picture-perfect surrounding landscape. Every now and then, visible concentric circles appear underneath the surface of the water, throwing out clay and sand in geyser-like eruptions. Discover jaw-dropping places you’ll only ever see in photos.

Colmar, France

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

It might be called a palace, but it is in fact a castle, and few are so heart-flutteringly pretty as Pena Palace, whose butter-yellow turrets and brick-red towers rise above the treetops in hilly Sintra, just outside Lisbon. The multicolored beauty, an example of 19th-century Romanticism, was commissioned by King Ferdinand II and completed in 1854, and has been home to Portuguese royals through the years. Take a look at more of Europe’s most beautiful castles.

Five Flower Lake, Sichuan, China

Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

Nā Pali Coast, Hawaii, USA

The gorgeous forest-covered cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai Island are an exquisite sight to see. Like something straight out of Jurassic Park, some of the rugged red and green rocks of the coast look more suited to a different planet than Earth. Nā Pali means high cliffs in Hawaiian – a very fitting name when the tallest mountains here soar to 4,000 feet (1,219m). 

Maple trees in fall, Québec, Canada

Colonia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, Spain

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming, USA

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia, Australia

Júzcar, Málaga, Spain

For most of its history, this small Spanish town in the province of Málaga was simply a village with whitewashed homes, like many others in Spain. Then, in 2011, Sony executives painted the houses blue for a publicity stunt to promote The Smurfs movie. Afterwards, Sony offered to paint the town back, but the 221 citizens of Júzcar voted to keep it blue.

Little India, Singapore

Paraty, Brazil

Located on the Costa Verde, a coastal area in the state of Rio de Janeiro known for its greenery, Paraty is one of the oldest towns in Brazil. Founded in 1667 by the Portuguese, its colorful center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is fully pedestrianized – a further bid to preserve the town’s already immaculate historic buildings. Much of the town’s architecture, including the cobbled streets, hasn’t changed much for 250 years or more, leaving an impression you’ve traveled to a different era entirely.

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Wrocław, Poland

With its pretty riverside location, relaxed university town feel and grand historic buildings, it’s hard to fathom why Wrocław in southwest Poland isn’t a more popular city jaunt. The sprawling Market Square is a great place to get to know the compact and easily walkable city. It was heavily hit by the Second World War but its ancient buildings and squares have been painstakingly restored. Curiously, there are more than 400 little statues of dwarfs dotted around the quirky city and there’s a festival every September celebrating them.

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Encircled by walls laid in the 10th century, Itchan Kala (Khiva’s Inner City) has a singular collection of historic buildings, giving a fascinating insight into Central Asian Islamic architecture. But more than any individual sight – the squat Kalta Minor Minaret, sumptuous Tosh Hovli Palace or ornately tiled Pahlavon Mahmoud Mausoleum – Itchan Kala’s most astounding feature is how cohesive it feels, its perfect pairing of brick and mosaic seeming undisturbed by the trappings of modern life.

Parga, Greece

Izamal, Yucatán, Mexico

In ancient times, Izamal was a center of worship for the sun god Kinich-Kakmó until it was almost all but abandoned with the rise of Chichen Itza. Fast forward to the 16th century and a Spanish city was founded atop the existing Maya one. Located in the Yucatán region, the town is fondly referred to as The Yellow City thanks to its marigold buildings. A popular story says the town was painted yellow in 1993 in honor of Pope John Paul’s visit, but many insist the town was yellow long before that. 

Xwejni Salt Pans, Gozo, Malta

The pretty Maltese island of Gozo is famous for its Neolithic sites and rugged stretches of coastline, but it’s also notable for its salt production and in the north you’ll find large clusters of salt pans. They’re at their most picturesque when seen from above: the pans appear like a mosaic with hues of earth brown, white and sand punctured by emerald-green water. See more of the world’s most incredible photos from above.

Bergen, Norway

Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

The Irish coastal town of Kinsale is famed for its exceptional cuisine which showcases the best of the bounty from the Celtic Sea. Besides the fanciful food on offer, Kinsale is also known for its quirky streets which are flamboyantly painted every color of the rainbow.

Porto, Portugal

Havana, Cuba

Yuanyang rice terraces, Yunnan, China

Burano, Venice, Italy

Looking out to the Venetian lagoon, Burano’s bright houses line the streets and canals in a colorful maze. It’s thought that the island got its signature look back in the day when fishermen painted their houses as bright as possible, so they would be easier to spot in the thick fog so common on the lagoon. A popular day-trip destination from Venice, Burano is also famous for its lace work.

Now take a look at the world’s most colorful natural wonders

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