I always love finding new colourful places to explore, so if you’re obsessed with all things bright and colourful like me then you’re going to love these eight bucket-list-worthy destinations.
Visiting the Alsace region in France feels like stepping onto the set of a Disney movie. In fact, Colmar, which is easily my favourite town in the area, was apparently the inspiration for the village in Beauty and the Beast and it’s not hard to see why. Picture perfect rows of pastel houses with wooden shutters and window boxes that have the most beautiful floral displays line the canals. Traveling to this side of the world honestly feels like being in a fairy tale that you never want to leave.
This region has been passed back and forth between Germany and France over the years, so it’s no surprise you can see the German influence in the architecture of all the surrounding villages. Many people make the mistake of only visiting Colmar on a day trip, but I highly recommend spending a week here and using it as a base to explore all the other charming villages in the area. Alsace is also a beautiful wine region with lots of walking and cycling tracks through the vineyards to keep you busy.
With a pastel coloured town, a shimmering turquoise lake and mountain backdrop, Annecy truly has it all. Located in the foothills of the French Alps, this lake has some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen. It’s also the cleanest lake in Europe, with the water coming from melted snow in the nearby Alps. You can spend your days here wandering around the cobblestone canals, tanning at one of the lakeside parks and beaches or cruising the lake on a pedal boat. If you’re up for something a bit more thrilling, they even have hang-gliding, or you can cycle the entire 42km of the lake. It’s only 20 euros to hire bikes for the whole day and it’s honestly the best way to truly experience all that Lake Annecy has to offer.
Italy: Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is home to five incredibly colourful fishing villages. The area attracts a lot of serious hikers, with trails joining all five villages through the cliffs and vineyards. This is such a great way to get a different perspective of all the villages and there’s no better sense of achievement than being able to say you hiked all of Cinque Terre! End your day at a table with the best view in town at Nessun Dorma in Manarola. This place is blowing up all over social media thanks to its stunning views and delicious food.
If you want to spend a day at the beach, then Monterosso is the only option with both sun loungers and umbrellas for hire. During summer, every rock or slab of concrete by the marina in each of the villages is bound to have someone sunning themselves on it, so I recommend bringing a yoga mat or inflatable for a slightly more comfortable tanning experience.
Burano could possibly be the brightest place on earth. Located just a 45-minute water taxi from Venice, this colourful little fishing village resembles something out of a Skittles commercial and makes for the perfect day trip. The colour-coded houses were first introduced to help fishermen identify their homes after a long day at sea. Now if you wish to paint your house in Burano you even need to get government approval. They take their colour coding very seriously.
People often think of this tropical city as a bit of a concrete jungle, but there are so many beautiful heritage buildings that are oh so Insta-worthy. Little India is home to one of my favourites, the residence of Tan Teng Niah. The building itself was originally Chinese, but the local Indian community has proudly made it their own with this rainbow display. If you’re in search of colourful shophouses, look no further than Blair Road and Koon Seng Road. The heritage shophouses here are all painted in pretty pastels with floral Peranakan tiles. I’m sure you’ll leave wishing your house were this dreamy and colourful.
Hong Kong: Choi Hung Estate
Translating to ‘Rainbow Estate’, Choi Hung Estate really couldn’t be more aptly named. The public housing estate has been put on the map thanks to millennials and Instagrammers. Most days the locals will be going about their morning tai chi or basketball match while the tourists are busy with their photo-shoots against the pastel backdrop.
Cuba: Havana and Trinidad
Cuba is literally another world. Between the vintage American cars and the rundown buildings that look like they’re about to crumble to dust any moment, it feels like you’re stuck in some kind of time warp…but the good kind. For something a little slower paced than Havana, visit Cuba’s best-preserved colonial town and UNESCO world heritage site Trinidad. There’s something for everyone here, amazing beaches only 15 minutes from town, hiking, waterfalls, horseback riding, tobacco fields and of course colourful buildings and 1950’s cars everywhere to photograph.
A trip to Morocco simply isn’t complete without a visit to Chefchaouen, also known as ‘the Blue Pearl’. This quiet town is painted in every shade of blue imaginable, making it an Insta hotspot with the tourists. It’s only 4 hours by bus from Fez but feels a world away from the chaos of Morocco’s cities.
Now clearly this list could be never ending, because I’m sure you could find a colourful destination in almost any country if you looked hard enough. If you’re needing more inspirations (because who doesn’t need more colour in their lives), then next on my travel bucket list are the colourful streets of Cartagena in Colombia, the rainbow neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap in Cape Town South Africa and basically each and every fairytale village that exists in Europe.
All images belong to Tanya, subject to copyright.