Happy hues make for great holiday pictures. Here’s a whole host of places where the rainbows are real. And perennial!
If, like us, you’re always DTC (down to click) when you travel, you’ll appreciate some extra effort taken by cities to colour up and make themselves camera-worthy. Here are some across the globe that believe in not just painting the town red, but also blue, green, yellow, purple… and many more!
Cinque Terre, Italy
The five villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – are the ‘five lands’ that form the main area of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can’t drive to each but walking trails, trains, and boats connect them.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: Eat focaccia made from locally grown olives with pesto that’s the delicacy of the Ligurian region, enjoy a honey gelato, and savour wine made from the grapes that grow on the slopes here.
Burano, Venice, Italy
Take a boat from near St Mark’s Square in Venice to reach this lovely little island that’s big on colour. From a humble fishing village on unsteady ground, peopled by refugees who named it after one of the doors of their home city, to a tourist hub, Burano has altered character over the centuries.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: Walk into a workshop to admire the lace-making skills of the local ladies. Lace is now the biggest enterprise and most popular export of Burano.
Little India, Singapore
What began as an Indian enclave in the 1820s, was recognised as a distinct district in 1980, has since become a must-see sight in Singapore, especially among hipsters and vloggers, who are charmed by its gram-friendly colours.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: Eat your way through world cuisine, explore the murals depicting life in old Singapura and visit the many temples, mosques, and churches in Little India, including Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple on Serangoon Road, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.
Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Australia
Since Victorian times, Brighton Beach has been home to some of Australia’s most recognisable buildings. These beach boxes, earlier known as bathing boxes, were used as places to change in and out of swimwear in more conservative times. Today, 82 of these heritage boxes in bright colours, despite not having electricity or a water connection, are still used by families as places to relax by the beach, entertain friends, and express their artistic side through the vibrant exteriors.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: Although called Brighton Beach bathing boxes, they’re technically on Dendy Street Beach. As you walk north taking pictures all the way, you’ll finally reach picturesque St Kilda, with its lovely lineup of must-try bakeries and the historic amusement park called Luna Park.
Doors of Dublin, Ireland
Not just buildings, but sometimes doors tell their own story too. Like the ones in Dublin’s Lower Baggot Street, Merrion Square, and Fitzwilliam Square. The Georgian townhouses built here in the early 18th century had to follow fixed guidelines and the only expression of individuality the homeowners were allowed was to paint their doors in different colours. Of course, there are other tales of how these multi-hued doors came about, from rivalry between neighbours to wives painting their doors different shades so their drunken husbands got back to the right home, to an Irish rejection of a mourning directive to paint all doors black when Queen Victoria died! We may never know which is the right reason but can enjoy the beauty of these today anyway.
While you admire the brightly painted doors: Stay at the Pembroke Town House, in an area that’s been one of the most fashionable addresses in Dublin for centuries. Stroll back in time where Lord Pembroke once drove his carriage. Walk down Dublin’s ‘Golden Mile’ through Ballsbridge to Stephen’s Green past elegant streets and famous squares that echo with centuries of history. Visit Aviva Stadium for the Rugby matches or attend the famous annual Dublin Horse Show at the Royal Dublin Society.
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
The name Bo-Kaap means ‘above the Cape’ in Afrikaans. This area of Cape Town used to be known as the Malay Quarter, a segregated area. Today, it’s a historical centre of Cape Malay culture. According to the South African Heritage Resources Agency, this area, with beautiful houses in ice-cream colours, contains the largest concentration of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa and is the oldest surviving residential neighbourhood in Cape Town.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: See the Auwal Mosque, supposed to have been commissioned by an Indonesian prince and built in 1794, it was the first mosque built in South Africa. Learn about one of the oldest traditions – the noonday gun, a shot that has been loaded and fired by the South African Navy daily since 1806, in memory of older Dutch guns being replaced by a larger English cannon when they occupied the Cape in 1795. Visit the Bo-Kaap Museum to get an idea of 19th-century life in the city.
Fontainhas, Panaji, Goa, India
The Latin Quarter was built to house Portuguese officials in the 19th century. Its name comes from the ‘Fountain of the Phoenix’ that still exists even today. A directive by the government at the time, that the houses should be painted afresh after every monsoon, is still adhered to by homeowners today.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: Also appreciate the pristine exteriors of the St Sebastian Chapel and look out for some gorgeous staircases in the area while you’re at it. Stop by bakeries such as Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro for some beautiful bread, cookies, brittle, and other local delicacies. Excellent cafes and stylish hostels make this heritage locality very popular with young travellers.
Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Probably the city’s most recognisable neighbourhood, Nyhavn, which means ‘new harbour’, was built in the 17th century. The colourful waterfront townhouses reflected in the canal make for wonderful photo-ops.
While you admire the brightly painted buildings: This is the entertainment district, stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, and has loads of cafes, bars, and restaurants (and some amazing ice-cream parlours too!). Take an open-air harbour cruise from here when the sun’s out. Hunt out the home in which Hans Christian Andersen lived for 18 years if you’re a fan of the Danish author. Visit the Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour in the inner section of Nyhavn to see some berthed beauties that are owned by the Danish National Museum.