Picking the most colorful places might not be top of mind when considering your next vacation. Yet these 20 sites may soon have you reconsidering everything you know about travel planning. Why not immerse yourself in a world of vibrant hues? After all, bright colors can have a real psychological impact, and many can make you feel happier, calmer, or even more alert.
As you start to ponder where to go next, a study by Uswitch, an American research platform, recently cataloged the most colorful places on the planet. Destinations were selected from various travel publications and were then analyzed with a digital color selector that ranked the spots according to the number of shades detected in images. Ready to discover them for yourself? See the list below—ranked for the 20th most colorful to number one most colorful—to consider which saturated hue speaks the most to you. It won’t be long before you begin planning your next color-inspired trip.
20 – Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden
The historic center of the Swedish capital boasts buildings dating back to the 12th century. Stortorget is the most striking square in the old city specifically because of its multicolored medieval houses where the city’s nobility once lived. The square is also home to the stock exchange building, the current home of the Swedish Academy, and the Nobel Museum.
19 – Willemstad, Curaçao
The capital of the Caribbean island, which is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, is a major commercial and tourist port of call. Its historic center, home to the oldest synagogue in the Americas, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The pastel-colored houses seen here, which overlook the water and marry Dutch and Caribbean elements, draw admirers from all over the world.
18 – Balat, Istanbul, Turkey
The old Jewish quarter of Balat is located on the European side of the Turkish metropolis, specifically in the Old City on the western bank of the Golden Horn. It is one of the most colorful places in the world thanks to the buildings painted by their owners in striking hues.
17 – Wroclaw, Poland
The city on the Oder River is famous for Plac Solny, or the Salt Square, which is surrounded by brightly painted buildings housing numerous restaurants and other businesses.
16 – Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Located in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States. The vibrant colors surrounding the body of water are due to the combination of microbes and minerals on its perimeter, which tend to be orange and red in summer and dark green in winter.
15 – Rainbow Row, Charleston, South Carolina
Rainbow Row is the name given to 13 Georgian-style buildings located on East Bay Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The houses were not always so colorful; Dorothy and Lionel Legge painted them in pastel tones after buying them in 1931. They immediately became an attraction for tourists who, to this day, cannot resist taking pictures of the candy-toned street.
14 – Vinicunca, Peru
This massif, usually referred to as Rainbow Mountain in English (though its Spanish name translates as “the Mountain of Seven Colors”), is part of the Andean chain and is located southeast of the city of Cuzco. Over the course of millions of years, the minerals that cover it have stratified, giving it its distinctive pink, purple, blue, and yellow striped appearance.
13 – Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, this neighborhood located on the lower slope of Signal Hill is known for the colorful houses that owners have painted in bright hues. Their colors are an expression of homeowners’ freedom, as leased houses were typically painted in white.
12 – Chefchaouen, Morocco
The so-called Blue City is located in the Tangier-Tetouan region at the foot of the Rif massif. Buildings in blue paint create a truly striking image and make Chefchaouen an irresistible tourist attraction.
11 – Colmar, France
Often described as “the little Venice of France,” this is one of the medieval jewels of Alsace, located near the German border. Colorful half-timbered houses that look like they are straight out of a storybook line its picturesque canals.
10 – Procida, Italy
Off the coast of Naples, this island, the Italian Capital of Culture 2022, is famous for its pastel-colored houses, which were reportedly painted in their striking hues so that fishermen returning after a day at sea could more easily identify their homes.
9 – Burano, Italy
Made up of four islands, separated by three canals, Burano sits in the Venice Lagoon. It is famous for its lace and, above all, its colorful houses, which have been home to numerous artists.
8 – Rainbow Village, Taichung, Taiwan
A former military installation of 11 homes converted into a street art monument, Rainbow Village is located in the Nantun district of Taichung, Taiwan. When veteran Huang Yong-fu began decorating his home in 2007, he never imagined that he would turn it into a destination that would attract tourists from around the world, eager to see his colorful murals.
7 – Old Havana, Cuba
La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a neighborhood in the Cuban capital, is one of the oldest areas of the city. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, in part because of its picturesque narrow streets that are home to colorful buildings.
6 – Little India, Singapore
Singapore’s Indian neighborhood dates back to the early 1800s when immigration began from the subcontinent to the city-state at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula. Since then, the area has shared the same vibrant and colorful atmosphere found in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. One of the most visited monuments, in addition to the many Hindu temples, is the Tan Teng Niah mansion painted in rainbow hues.
5 – Nyhavn, Copenaghen, Denmark
This historic harbor sits in the heart of Copenhagen and is one of the Danish capital’s most popular tourist spots. The northern side of Nyhavn is lined with old row houses painted in bright colors that are a popular backdrop for photographers.
4 – La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This neighborhood in Argentina’s capital is famous for its Caminito street, which boasts colorful buildings, restaurants, and local artists’ ateliers that attract visitors from all over the world.
3 – Guatapé, Colombia
The historic center of the colonial town of Guatapé, Colombia, is a feast for the eyes. That’s thanks to its twisting streets and buildings painted in bright hues and kaleidoscopic patterns that reflect the country’s artistic and religious traditions.
2 – Kampung Pelangi, Indonesia
Also known as Rainbow Village, this small town is located south of Semarang in the heart of the island of Java. The Indonesian government suggested that residents paint their houses and streets in rainbow hues, turning the anonymous town into a tourist destination.
1 – Cinque Terre, Italy
With its brightly painted houses set against a deep blue sea, the ancient village of Manarola on the Italian Riviera is not only the most colorful place in the world according to the Uswitch study, but it is also the subject of many online searches. Cinque Terre boasts as many as 2.6 million hashtags on Instagram. On Google this colorful destination warrants an average of 718,000 searches every day.
From Architectural Digest