Top 15 most colorful towns in the world
Top 15 most colorful towns in the world

From peaceful pastel hamlets to rows of rainbow homes, these kaleidoscopic destinations are pure eye candy. While some areas are famous (think: Italy's Cinque Terre coastline), others are more under-the-radar retreats, such as a village of vibrant murals in South Korea. But no matter where they are on the globe, these colorful towns are sure to brighten your day.

Take a look at these top 15 most colorful towns in the world.

The List of top 15 most colorful towns in the world

15. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

14. Chefchaouen, Morocco

13. Guanajuato, Mexico

12. Nuuk, Greenland

11. Cinque Terre, Italy

10. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

9. Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

8. Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan, South Korea

7. Guatapé, Colombia

6. Menton, France

5. Burano, Venice, Italy

4. Semarang, Indonesia

3. Willemstad, Curaçao

2. Stortorget, Stockholm, Sweden

1. Valparaiso, Chile

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What are the top 15 most colorful towns in the world?

15. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Photo: Vinatourist Jsc.
Photo: Vinatourist Jsc.

Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port, but today the beautiful old houses have been renovated, and Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music, and great food.

Especially during summer, Nyhavn is the perfect place to end a long day. With a cold one on the quay like the locals, or at one of the many restaurants.

The famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen, used to live in no. 20. This is where he wrote the fairy-tales 'The Tinderbox', 'Little Claus and Big Claus', and 'The Princess and the Pea'. He also lived twenty years in no. 67 and two years in no. 18.

14. Chefchaouen, Morocco

Photo: Black Platinum Gold
Photo: Black Platinum Gold

Chefchaouen is undoubtedly one of Morocco's most picturesque towns and one of the world's most colorful cities. The locals simply call it Chaouen but to foreigners, it's known as "the Blue City." The streets and most of the buildings in the old part of town are painted sky blue, giving the entire city a postcard-like quality that is stunning to see in person. It's located in the Rif Mountains and is relaxed compared to other Moroccan cities, so it's a nice way to take a break from the commotion of Marrakesh or Casablanca. The blue buildings are what attract travelers to the city, but it's the laidback lifestyle and mountain backdrops that make them fall in love with it.

The origin of the city's painted houses isn't clear, but it started sometime in the 20th century. There are various theories, some more romantic than others. One is that blue symbolizes the sky and heaven, and residents painted their homes to reflect that. Another theory is that newly arrived Jewish residents who were fleeing Europe during World War II started the tradition of painting their homes blue. Still others say that blue helps repel mosquitos or even that the government mandated the change to attract tourists. Whatever the reason, it's created one of the most idyllic cities in the world.

13. Guanajuato, Mexico

Photo: Britannica
Photo: Britannica

The houses of Guanajuato tumble down the hills that surround it in every imaginable colour. There’s no subtle, complementary colour scheme—fuchsia pink mingles with pillar box red, saffron yellow, baby blue, and lime green.

This colonial city in the mountains of central Mexico was once a silver mining town and although it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, strangely it’s not very popular with foreign tourists, who prefer San Miguel de Allende just an hour away.

12. Nuuk, Greenland

Photo: The Architectural Review
Photo: The Architectural Review

Nuuk is the capital and largest city of Greenland. Nuuk is the seat of government and the country's largest cultural and economic centre. The major cities from other countries closest to the capital are Iqaluit and St. John's in Canada and Reykjavík in Iceland. Nuuk contains almost a third of Greenland's population and its tallest building. Nuuk is also the seat of government for the Sermersooq municipality. In January 2021, it had a population of 18,800.

The city was founded in 1728 by the Dano-Norwegian governor Claus Paarss when he relocated Hans Egede's earlier Hope Colony (Haabets Koloni) to the mainland, and was named Godthaab ("Good Hope"). "Nuuk" is the Greenlandic word for "cape" (Danish: næs) and is commonly found in Greenlandic place names. It is so named because of its position at the end of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord on the eastern shore of the Labrador Sea. Its latitude, at 64°11' N, makes it the world's northernmost capital, only a few kilometres farther north than the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. When home rule was installed in 1979, the authorization of place names was transferred to Greenlandic authorities which subsequently preferred Greenlandic names over Danish ones. In Danish, the name Godthåb mostly went out of use over the next 1–2 decades.

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11. Cinque Terre, Italy

Photo: Travel + Leisure
Photo: Travel + Leisure

The Cinque Terre (Çinque Tære, meaning "Five Lands") is a coastal area within Liguria, in the northwest of Italy. It lies in the west of La Spezia Province, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cinque Terre area is a popular tourist destination. Over the centuries, people have built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. Paths, trains, and boats connect the villages as cars can only reach them with great difficulty from the outside via narrow and precarious mountain roads.

10. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Photo: Globe Guide
Photo: Globe Guide

In a city that comes alive after dark thanks to tango dancing, a lively party scene and mouth-watering steak dinners paired with full-bodied Malbec, there’s a pocket of Buenos Aires that’s best seen during daylight: La Boca. Hands-down the most colourful and photogenic district, it has a bohemian feel and is popular with visitors for good reason.

La Boca is the type of place one simply wanders around in, taking in the sights of the pseudo-art galleries lining the laneways, the sounds of buskers entertaining the crowds, and the smell of grilled meat wafting out of the restaurants. Those who choose to visit in the evening can also enjoy one of the many tango shows that continue into the wee hours of the morning.

9. Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Colourful Bo-Kaap has a fascinating history and unique culture just begging to be explored. Tucked away under the slopes of Signal Hill, this suburb formerly known as the Malay Quarter, is a bright and vibrant neighbourhood with a rich Cape Malay culture and roots as old as Cape Town itself.

Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap Museum, set just outside the city centre, is the place to visit to learn about the resident Islamic community, its history and culture. After your visit, take a walk along the cobbled streets and discover more.

8. Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan, South Korea

Photo: Lonely Planet
Photo: Lonely Planet

Gamcheon Culture Village is a town within Gamcheon-dong, Saha District, Busan, South Korea. The area is known for its layered streets, twisted labyrinth-like alleys, and brightly painted houses, which have been restored and enhanced in recent years to attract tourism. Built on a steep mountain-side slope, the village has been nicknamed "Korea's Santorini," as well as the "Machu Picchu of Busan".

The village has turned into one of the most featured tourist attractions in Busan. Since the public art renovation project in 2009, tourism in Gamcheon has increased considerably—the village saw approximately 1.4 million visitors in 2015. Village residents have met this influx of traffic with mixed attitudes. While some residents have participated in the renovation and tourism efforts, others have opted to move away despite difficulties with selling their homes. It is estimated that 300 local houses were empty as of 2015; Part of the development efforts in the Village include converting these abandoned houses into art galleries, museums, and shops.

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7. Guatapé, Colombia

Photo: Agoda
Photo: Agoda

The pleasant holiday town of Guatapé is located on the shores of the Embalse Guatapé, a sprawling artificial lake. It is known for the fresco-like adornment of its traditional houses. Brightly painted bas-relief depictions of people, animals and shapes cover the lower half of many dwellings.

Guatapé makes a great day trip from Medellín, a two-hour bus ride away, but there is enough outdoor adventure here to keep you entertained a bit longer if you fancy a peaceful break from the city. Visit on the weekend if you want to experience the festival atmosphere when the town is packed with Colombian tourists, or come during the week to explore the surrounding nature at a more relaxed pace.

6. Menton, France

Photo: TravelAwaits
Photo: TravelAwaits

Menton is a lovely small city in the south of France that has the best of everything: a warm climate year-round, beautiful gardens, excellent French and Italian food, sandy beaches at the foot of the aqua blue Mediterranean sea, and a colorful and historic old town.

A special micro-climate separates Menton from the other villages of the Cote d’Azure dotting the Mediterranean, as it has more sunny days in a year than any other place in France. Smaller than Nice and Monte Carlo but larger than Eze or Villefranche, Menton is a city with a village feel to it.

5. Burano, Venice, Italy

Photo: Intrepid Travel
Photo: Intrepid Travel

Today, Burano is still a quiet village with about 2,000 full-time residents and its main industry is tourism, with day trippers from Venice coming to buy lace and photograph the colorful and picturesque canals. It's much quieter and more laid-back than the big city, and while the small town can definitely feel crowded on a busy summer day, it's nowhere near as popular as Venice. If you want to experience the magic of the canals and the picturesque buildings in a much more relaxed atmosphere, Burano is the place for you.

Although earlier Roman remains have been found on Burano, the island was permanently settled in the sixth century by people fleeing hostile invaders on the mainland. Burano is still an active fishing village and its residents have always relied on the lagoon for sustenance. Although the neighboring island of Torcello was politically and strategically more important, it was abandoned and Burano rose to prominence in the 16th century because of the high demand for its lace. Women in Burano have always made the lace by hand and although lacemaking waned in the 18th century, it was later revived once again.

4. Semarang, Indonesia

Photo: Daily Travel Pill
Photo: Daily Travel Pill

Semarang is the capital and largest city of Central Java province in Indonesia. It was a major port during the Dutch colonial era, and is still an important regional center and port today. The city has been named as the cleanest tourist destination in Southeast Asia by the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS) for 2020–2022.

The city's name is said to derive from the Javanese words "asem" and "arang", which could be translated as "scarce tamarind."

Semarang lies on the province's northern coast.

Semarang's topography is marked by a narrow coastal plain, rising sharply inland. The city sprawls up from the coast, and the higher areas see some of the highest rate of residential development, due to the slightly cooler climate. The sea is slowly reclaiming the coastal lowlands during the monthly rob or high tides, causing flooding up to more than a kilometer from the coast.

3. Willemstad, Curaçao

Photo: Bayside Boutique Hotel
Photo: Bayside Boutique Hotel

Willemstad, capital and chief town of Curaçao, located on the southern coast of the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea. It is divided into two parts by Sint Anna Bay, leading to Schottegat Harbour. The two halves, Punda and Otrabanda (“Other Side”), are joined by the Koningin Emma (“Queen Emma”) Bridge; opened in 1888 and rebuilt in 1939, the bridge underwent a major restoration in the early 21st century. A fixed bridge was completed in 1974. Willemstad served as the capital of the Netherlands Antilles until that territory was dissolved in 2010. Willemstad is a Caribbean centre of trade, petroleum storage and refining, tourism, and banking. The town has many Dutch-style gabled houses. Important buildings include Fort Amsterdam (1635), which once guarded the entrance to Schottegat Harbour and is now the seat of government; the Dutch Reformed Church (1769); and the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue (1732), the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere. Attractions include the Museum Kurá Hulanda, which chronicles the history of African empires, the slave trade, and the experiences of Africans in the Western Hemisphere. The Curaçao Museum, which features traditional and contemporary art, is the island’s oldest museum. In 1997 the inner city and harbour of Willemstad were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pop. (2001 est.) urban agglom., 125,000.

2. Stortorget, Stockholm, Sweden

Photo: 123RF
Photo: 123RF

Stortorget is the main square in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, the Old Town area of the city. The name translates to “Big Square” in English, but ironically, it is actually one of the smallest Old Town squares in Europe. Stortorget stands on the site of the original settlement that grew to become the Swedish capital. By 1400, more than 1,600 residents were living around Gamla Stan and stone homes and businesses had begun to spring up around it. The Stock Exchange Building, which today houses the Swedish Academy, the Nobel Museum, and the Nobel Library, was added to one end of the square in 1776. A community well, shown above at left, made the square a natural meeting place for merchants and residents.

Though the well long ago dried up (today it is connected to the municipal water supply), Stortorget continues to be the cultural center of Stockholm. Thousands of tourists visit this plaza each year, especially during its annual Christmas market. With its location just steps away from the the Royal Palace of Stockholm, Stockholm Cathedral, and a multitude of museums, it is the perfect stepping-off point for walking tours of Old Town.

1. Valparaiso, Chile

Photo: Stingy Normads
Photo: Stingy Normads

Valparaíso, city, capital of Valparaíso región, central Chile. It lies on the south side of a broad, open bay of the Pacific Ocean, 84 miles (140 km) northwest of the national capital of Santiago. The city stands on the slopes of a semicircular spur of the coastal mountain range that ends in the rocky peninsula of Point Angeles. This point affords good shelter to the bay from southerly and westerly winds but leaves it open to those from the north. The historic quarter of the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.

Valparaíso was founded in 1536 by a conquistador, Juan de Saavedra, who named it for his birthplace in Spain, although another version suggests that Juan Bautista Pastene’s soldiers called the place Val del Paraíso, which eventually became Valparaíso.

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