Europe

The most colorful places on earth

Forget dreary winter landscapes—these vibrant places around the world are guaranteed to brighten your day.

There are beautiful places all over the world. Some are natural, some are manmade, all will take you beyond the average concrete gray of the typical urban space.

  • 1. Luoping County, China

    Luoping County, China

    Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy

    Once a year, China’s Luoping County transforms into a seemingly endless sea of yellow flowers. The bright fields of canola (the plants that make the cooking oil of the same name) bloom in February and March, giving the area of Yunnan an undeniably sunny feel for two months out of the year.

  • 2. Cape Town, South Africa

    Cape Town, South Africa

    Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd/Alamy

    Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, is one of the most vibrant areas in Cape Town. From its position on Signal Hill, the neighborhood is known for its amazing city views and colorfully painted buildings.

  • 3. Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

    Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

    Danita Delimont / Alamy

    Miles of pink sand beaches stretch along the coast of Harbour Island in the Bahamas. The beaches get their color from red and pink shelled marine creatures called foraminifera that live in the coral reef off the island’s coast.

  • 4. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

    Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

    MelindaChan / Flickr / Getty Images

    The striped, technicolor mountains in China's Danxia Landform Geological Park are almost too surreal to believe. The layered effect between the minerals and sandstone formed over millions of years, resulting in the magnificent landscape people flock to see (and Instagram, no doubt) today.

  • 5. Hallstatt, Austria

    Hallstatt, Austria

    Photo by Westend61

    The cemetery at the Hallstatt Catholic Church may look like a perfect final resting spot, overlooking the Hallstätter See—a picturesque lake near the ancient village of Hallstatt. Sadly, however, nothing here was very "final." Since space was at such a premium in the tiny cemetery, bodies were removed from the graves—sometimes after as little as 10 years—so new ones could be buried in their place. The old skulls were neatly stacked on shelves in the Beinhaus, or Bone House, in the 12th-century St. Michael's Chapel. Today, you can still see 1,200 skulls on display.

  • 6. Tunisia

    Tunisia

    Cathrine Wessel

    With its tradition of tolerance—not to mention glorious Roman ruins and Mediterranean beaches—Tunisia is like a beacon of hope in one of the world's most troubled regions. Photographer Cathrine Wessel captured the country's bright neighborhoods and markets, including the Tunis medina (pictured), a magnificent jumble of ancient mosques, Ottoman-era mansions, cafés, and overflowing shops.

  • 7. Hitsujiyama Park, Chichibu, Japan

    Hitsujiyama Park, Chichibu, Japan

    TB Media Creation, Inc. / Alamy

    Japan may be known for its cherry blossoms, but the country also features another pretty plant—shibazakura (pink moss). Shibazakura Hill in Hitsujiyama Park becomes a carpet of pink and purple blooms during the spring, drawing crowds to appreciate the hundreds of thousands of flowers set to the backdrop of Mt. Buko.

  • 8. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Nature Picture Library / Alamy

    No list of colorful places would be complete without the Great Barrier Reef. The massive reef (which has over 1,500 species of vivid fish) can be seen from space, although the best vantage point belongs to the avid snorkelers and scuba divers who visit every year.

  • 9. Valparaiso, Chile

    Valparaiso, Chile

    Chaney Kwak

    Chile's largest port is arguably the country's most scenic city, with lollipop-colored homes staggered along the 22 hills that rise from the Pacific Coast. Irreverent street art adds a touch of modern to the brilliant 19th century buildings.

  • 10. Northern Norway

    Northern Norway

    Gaute Bruvik/VisitNorway.com

    Visit Norway before April, and head far north to see the aurora borealis light up the sky. It will feel exactly like a still from Frozen—you'll feel like you're part of the scene where Elsa escapes to the mountains and builds her ice palace.

    Check out more of the world's most colorful places.

    More from Conde Nast Traveler

    50 Things to Do in Europe Before You Die

    Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List 2015: The Best New Hotels in the World

    Private Islands That Cost Less Than an NYC Apartment

    The World’s Most Dangerous Trips