The beauty of a city may be defined by many things among which are architecture, cultural diversity, history, landscape, food, peace and tranquility, and so forth. However, colours are just as important an element in the showcasing of the exceptional beauty of a city. Colourful cities exude a vibrancy that is bound to dazzle and mesmerize visitors and put a smile on their faces. Walking through the streets of these places brings a constant reminder of the rainbow as the colours grab one’s attention and give a refreshing inspiration of a unique kind. They are more than a feast for the eyes, whipping up spellbinding vibes that inevitably etch themselves in one’s memory.
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
Located at the bottom of South Africa’s Signal Hill in the city centre, this remarkable place was formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Colourful houses with a mix of Georgian and Cape Dutch architecture are found in this area on cobbled roads. The oldest building in Bo-Kaap also houses the Bo-Kaap Muzeum. Visitors could catch a glimpse of a Malay family’s life and learn about their history. Located along Wale Street, other interesting attraction sites would include interesting Cape Malay cuisines such as rootis, samosas and Bobotie, craft and food markets, mosques and Islamic kramats (shrines).
Burano, Venice, Italy
Famous for its colours and colourful houses, a trip to Burano, Italy leaves visitors spellbound by the colourful sight of houses and their reflections against the beautiful green lake by the channels and leaning bell tower. This spectacular place also is filled with older ladies chatting while embroidering original Burano laces by their “tombolo” (lace pillow). At the shore lies the solemn sculpture of Remigio Barbaro while at the centre of the island, is Galuppi Square, where ladies would invite visitors to admire their lace work in their shops. Many capitelli (capitals) lie among Burano’s tiny streets, the colourful la Casa di Bepi Suà (the house of Joseph Sweaty) stands out among the others as it is painted with many colours and divided into geometric shapes.
Also known as Moroccan’s blue city, Chefchaouen is situated in Morocco’s Rif Mountains, its distinctive blue and white buildings have attracted many visitors around the world. Founded by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami in 1471, Chefchaouen was a Moorish fortress for Spain’s exiles. Its blue buildings were painted based on religious reasons reminding them of God’s power. Visitors could enjoy hikes or idle strolls, enjoy bathing in mountain streams or indulge in a shopping spree while foodies would enjoy trying the tagine, a typical Moroccan-style dish made with fish, vegetables, spices and oil served with couscous.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre (meaning 5 lands) consists of 5 small towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Located in the Western coasts of Italy in the region of Liguria, right above Tuscany and situated in a national park, the place is filled with terrace agricultural land and colourful towns that rises from the Mediterranean Sea. Riomaggiore is famous for its cones of fried seafood such as anchovies and shrimps while Cinque Terre’s best gelato would be found at Alberto Gelateria. Hiking and water activities are the main activities that interests visitors, especially hiking between the villages and into the hillside. Meanwhile, a hike to the beautiful town of Portovenere, just slightly after La Spezia, is highly recommended for tourists who enjoy sight-seeing.
Kampung Pelangi, Indonesia
One of the most famous villages in Indonesia, Randusari’s Kampung Pelangi was painted in rainbow colours with the aim to attract more tourists. The re-painting idea was initiated by Slamet Widodo, a teacher who believes that a change is needed to beautify the place which used to look so run-down. Originally called Kampung Wonosari, Kampung Pelangi was sponsored by the government to paint its 223 homes a minimum of 3 colours for each house. 3D drawings also are decorated on the walls while bridges and benches are also painted in colours. Food, drinks, handicrafts and souveniers are also sold at Kampung Pelangi to tourists who visit this spectacular colour paradise.
La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Boca is constantly filled with music, laughter and many of its inhabitants originate from Genoa, Italy. At El Caminito, which means little walkway, is a street museum which lies many colourful houses on each side of the street. Peddlers are seen selling arts, entertainers playing music, trinkets sold at stalls and tango performances are a sight everywhere. For art lovers, the Teatro De La Ribera is a perfect place to explore. A glorious piano is the theatre is a grand sight to behold. Visitors will be entertained by local and urban music shows such as the milongas.
Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Known as the most famous street in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nyhavn (New Harbour) is lined with colourful townhouses which have graced the pictures of postcards. Established by King Christian V as a passage from the sea to the old inner city, the canal reached straight to Kongens Nytorv (The Kings Square). At the edge of the harbor, visitors would be able to view the magnificent historic ships that were used in the 17th century. The cobblestone roads are lined with double-storey townhouses all painted in pastel colours. The whole area is lit up by a charming backdrop. Today, Nyhavn has been transformed into an entertainment area full of restaurants, live music venues, bars and taverns. For beer lovers, who tried the Copenhagen lager Carlsberg, they say that it tastes better in Denmark.
Filled with waterways, street cafes, beautiful beaches, bright pastel-coloured traditional Dutch architecture, Willemstad in Curacao is a wonderful sight to behold. Visitors could view a bridge standing at 185 feet high, which is the Queen Juliana Bridge, the tallest bridge in the Caribbean. Across the bridge, the grand view of St. Anna Bay awaits. At the Floating Market, Venezuelan merchants travel by boat to sell their produce such as fishes, cookies and snacks like Cocosete, fruits and chocolates. Exploring the colourful neighbourhood of Pietermaai with its street art, music and beautiful Dutch colonial architecture, unique shops and boutique hotels is a fun way to spend the evening.
The Portmeirion was created by Welsh architect, Clough Williams-Ellis and it is one of Wales’ main attractions. Its Riviera inspired houses, ornamental garden and campanile have attracted over 200,000 visitors yearly. The jumble white, ochre and pastel-coloured buildings stand out against the trees and hills of Wales. Portmeirion is well known for its Gothic Pavilion, Bristol Colonnade, Hercules Hall, Belvedere and also magnificent statues and corbels. Guests could dine at the Battery Square, a plaza which provides an aromatherapy spa and a café with outdoor tables on the cobbles or visit the Gwyllt, which is a woodland with an Edwardian wild garden. In September, a 3-day cultural Festival No 6 will be held in Portmeirion’s squares and rooms. The festival is celebrated with eclectic music, storytelling, art and comedy.
A colourful, lively and inspiring crumbling Bohemian city, Valparaiso is filled with narrow streets, endless staircases, remarkable art gallery, funicular elevators and panoramic views from lofty lookout points. This city also has many carnivals and vibrant night life. The New Year is celebrated at Valparaiso’s ocean-front with fireworks parties. Also known as the “Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaiso is also home to Chile’s legislative Congress and also the headquarters of the Chilean navy. It has been an attraction to poets, painters and is also close to famous beaches such as the Viña del Mar and Reñaca. For local souvenirs, a visit to the Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción is a must as artisans will be selling artworks such as leather goods, paintings and unique jewelries.