- A plethora of colorful destinations can be found within Europe.
- Some of the continent’s brightest locations are found in nature, like the Northern Lights in Tromsø, Norway, and the Rio Tinto River in the Huelva province of Spain.
- Kinsale, Ireland, and Wrocław, Poland, however, shine with color thanks to brightly-painted buildings and homes.
- You can also check out some of the most beautiful colorful destinations on Earth.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
While many people are familiar with Europe’s iconic landmarks – think Big Ben and the Leaning Tower of Pisa – not everyone knows that the continent is home to some of the most colorful places in the world.
Spain and Romania offer bright architecture that attracts tourists from all around the world. Poland, Italy, and France are also home to vibrant locations that can’t be found anywhere else.
Take a look at some of the most colorful places found in Europe below.
The five villages that make up Cinque Terre, Italy, are full of multicolored buildings.
- Anna Om/Shutterstock
Cinque Terre is a cluster of five small villages along the coast of the Italian Riviera. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage, and a popular tourist destination, thanks to its colorful buildings. The village of Manarola, pictured above, has postcard-perfect views.
You can travel between the vibrant villages by boat, train, or on foot.
Visitors often hike footpaths that connect each of the villages in Cinque Terre, which was designated a national park in 1999.
In March, local authorities announced that tourists can now be fined up to $2,772, or €2,500, for wearing flip-flops, pumps, or other sandals while walking the area’s many rugged trails.
According to The Telegraph, mountain-rescue units were “fed up” with rescuing tourists who got trapped while hiking because of their footwear.
For a quiet getaway, consider staying in the bright village of Corniglia.
As the only village in Cinque Terre that’s not directly adjacent to the Ligurian Sea, according to Lonely Planet, Corniglia is ideal for travelers who prefer to stay away from crowds.
The sky of Tromsø, Norway, is often brightened by the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are produced when gusts of charged particles released from the sun collide with gaseous particles in Earth’s magnetic field, causing atoms in the atmosphere to glow.
The color of the aurora varies depending on the type of gas particles that collide.
The Norwegian city is one of the most popular viewing points for the aurora borealis in Europe.
In Norway, the phenomenon is often visible at night between the months of September and April.
Weather is also key to seeing the aurora borealis, which is not visible unless the sky is “cloudless or partly cloudless,” according to Tromsø’s website.
The Rio Tinto river is found in the Huelva province of Spain.
- Geography Photos/Getty Images
The river – which is located in the Spanish town of Minas de Ríotinto – is known for its rust-colored shades of red and orange.
The hues can be attributed to over 5,000 years of mining activity in the river, as well as iron that’s dissolved over the years.
Visitors can also see shades of blue and purple in the river.
- Andia/Getty Images
While it’s undeniably pretty, the Rio Tinto is not a tourist attraction.
The river’s water is both rich in heavy metals and highly acidic, with a pH level between 1.7 and 2.5.
Zalipie is a village in southeastern Poland that’s comprised entirely of buildings with floral patterns.
According to Unusual Places, residents began to paint floral patterns on their wooden cottages more than 100 years ago.
Women started the tradition, and often used the pleasant designs to cover blemishes on their homes. At the time, they used brushes made from cow hair and paint made from dumpling fat – which didn’t last long and required them to repaint their designs each year.
The Polish village looks more like a 3D painting than it does a tourist attraction.
From dog cages to fountains, nearly every inch of Zalipie, Poland, is covered in paint, according to Unusual Places.
Fences, windows, and the interiors of homes are also said to be decorated with designs.
Kinsale, Ireland, is home to numerous neon buildings.
- Giancarlo Liguori/Shutterstock
Many of the brightly-painted structures can be found in Kinsale’s Town Centre, which is filled with everything from stores to art galleries, according to the town’s website.
There’s no singular reason as to why some of Kinsale’s buildings are so colorful.
While the history of Kinsale’s vibrant hues remains unclear, the town does have a long history of being crafty.
According to Kinsale’s website, the local economy declined at the beginning of the 20th century. By the 1960s, however, food establishments started to emerge within the town.
The popularity of local restaurants then led to the revival of Kinsale’s art scene, which included everything from sculpture and painting to glassware and pottery at the time.
The town of Menton, France is comprised almost entirely of red, orange, and yellow buildings.
Menton is located on the eastern side of the French Riviera, according to TripSavvy, and is most well-known for its crops of lemons.
The town favors the fruit so much that it even hosts an annual lemon festival between February and March.
Thanks to nearby beaches, you can also see vibrant hues of blue and green while there.
Rather than sandy shores, Menton is home to private beaches covered in pebbles where travelers can spend the day soaking up sun.
And if you’d rather spend your trip on the move, Menton offers plenty of cafés, Italian restaurants, botanical gardens, and art museums to check out, according to TripSavvy.
The subway system in Stockholm, Sweden, was designed to look like a colorful work of art.
- Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock
According to Stockholm’s website, the Swedish city boasts 100 subway stations – each of which is painted “with unique art on its platform, walls, or waiting hall.”
The Stadion station, for example, is painted almost entirely sky-blue with a large rainbow near the train tracks.The design was created in 1973 by artists Åke Pallarp and Enno Hallek, who wanted to remind travelers that a sky exists outside the cavernous station, according to the city’s website.
Pallarp and Hallek are also said to have been inspired by the nearby Stockholm Olympic Stadium, which frequently hosts sporting events.
The first station to be decorated was the T-Centralen.
Stockholm commissioned an artist named Per Olof Ultvedt to decorate the T-Centralen station between the late ’50s and mid ’70s, according to Stockholm’s website.
At the time, he chose blue paint and foliage designs to induce a sense of calm amongst hurried travelers.
Each station looks completely unique compared to others in the Swedish metro.
- Federico Fioravanti/Shutterstock
The Solna Centrum station is another standout example. It first opened in 1975, and was painted with red, orange, and green shades to represent a landscape at sundown.
While many might view the area as a stunning nature portrait, the images are actually meant to be political, according to Stockholm’s website.
Artists Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg purposefully added details that represented environmental issues that persisted at the time, like excessive logging of local forests.
The city of Wrocław in western Poland is filled with eye-catching architecture.
Wrocław might be known for its old-fashioned charm, but the location is still favored by modern travelers.
From city boats to opera houses, there are plenty of ways to spend a day in the Polish city. Bike tours of the area are also available, as are guided tours that can be taken on foot.
The Old Town historic center is one of the most popular — and colorful — locations within Wrocław.
According to a review on TripAdvisor, the city’s Old Town is the ideal place to visit between November and December, when vendors often sit outside selling food and souvenirs.
Other travelers say the Old Town area is the perfect place to dine all year round, as many local restaurants and bars are inexpensive.
The Netherlands is one of the best places in the world to see vibrant displays of tulips.
- Toni Bryan/Shutterstock
The Dutch region of Holland is specifically known for its flower fields, which bloom between mid April and the beginning of May. A variety of species are typically included, as well as other flowers like daffodils and hyacinths.
Many of the area’s best fields can be found within a municipality called Noordoostpolder, which is located in the province of Flevoland, according to Holland’s website.
A blue village can be found in the Júzcar municipality of Spain.
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These once-white houses were painted a bright shade of blue in 2011 to promote the Spanish premiere of “Los Pitufos,” a 3D Smurfs movie. According to Lonely Planet, Sony Pictures chose the location because Júzcar is home to lots of fungi, making it a fitting location to represent cartoon characters who love mushrooms.
The Smurf theme was originally meant to be temporary.
Despite workers using 1,109 gallons of blue paint to coat the town, according to Lonely Planet, Sony Pictures hoped to use the municipality of Júzcar as a temporary publicity stunt.
Residents, however, voted to keep their buildings blue long after the movie premiered, which attracted many tourists.
Júzcar has since lost its right to feature Smurf statues and references — but its buildings are still painted blue.
According to Lonely Planet, Júzcar’s council website published a post in 2017 stating the municipality had “lost the authorization to market itself as a Smurf town.”
Still, residents opted to maintain the blue color across their buildings.
The Pena Palace is a colorful castle found in the municipality of Sintra, Portugal.
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According to its website, the Pena Palace “exemplifies the 19th century Romanticism-style of architecture.”
From the outside, visitors can view a brightly-painted exterior and mythological statues that line the palace. Inside, travelers can also see decor that’s representative of the early 1900s.
Colorful buildings can also be found in Portugal at the Costa Nova beach.
According to Afar, a travel-media brand, fishermen once resided in these beachfront homes, but later sold them as vacation properties.
The houses are now painted with colorful stripes, and decorated with various plants.
Multiple areas of Bristol, England, feature colorful homes.
- Sion Hannuna/Shutterstock
On Reddit, locals have stated that many of the city’s most colorful homes are located on the streets of Clifton Wood, Ambrose Road, and Argyle Place.
The Romanian city of Sighișoara boasts colorful homes.
However, there’s more to the city of Sighișoara than meets the eye.
Amongst candy-colored buildings and old-fashioned architecture is the Vlad Dracul House, which is where the inspiration for Dracula resided in the 1400s, according to Romania’s website.
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