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Experience all colours of the rainbow in Europe's most colourful districts


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We were all over-the-moon when blue Smarties made it back to into the pack, and Skittles’ tagline encourages us to "taste the rainbow". There is something inherently appealing about colours, whether it is feasting on a bag of sweet treats, or feasting our eyes on a row of colourful houses.

Europe is home to a host of Balamory-esque towns - these destinations top the list of Europe’s most colourful districts.

1. Cinque Terre, Italy

Image credit: Jack Ward on Unsplash

Cinque Terre, literally meaning "five earths", is a collection of five villages on the Italian Riviera coastline. Originally rugged and difficult to access, these villages have become easily accessible via train from Genoa, Pisa and Rome. There is, of course, the option of getting there by car, but the narrow mountainous roads are not for the faint-hearted. Staying travel aware may help you plan your trip.

This ensemble of villages consists of beautifully coloured houses built into the cliffside, with hiking trails between each village of varying difficulties. There are trails between the villages’ religious sanctuaries, to the more challenging Sentiero Rosso path that runs high above the Cinque Terre villages, giving you the perfect vantage point to view the facades of coloured buildings.

2. Nyhavn - Copenhagen, Denmark

Image credit: Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Nyhavn takes the prize as Copenhagen’s most-photographed location. The 17th Century waterfront district sits along the city’s canal and is home to many bars, restaurants and shops.

Prices are steep, but sitting on one of the terraces and enjoying a cold beer in summer makes it worth it. If you are travelling in winter, huddle under a blanket and heaters while you sip on a mulled wine and soak up the atmosphere.

Nyhavn is very central so it is the perfect location for a quick stop before exploring the rest of Copenhagen's city centre.

3. Chefchaouen, Morocco


Image credit: Elizabeth Gottwald on Unsplash

Although not quite in Europe, this haven of blue buildings deserves its place on the list. It is located in northwest Morocco and has recently gained popularity amongst travellers seeking to feast their eyes (and those of their Instagram followers) on a sea of blue.

Chefchaouen was home to many different cultures before it was seized by Spanish troops in the early 1900s. Many theories claim that what has remained throughout is the tradition of painting the city’s walls blue. Whether this painting (and re-painting) was originally done to keep mosquitos away, or to keep the city cool, is unknown. What is clear, however, is that it makes for a very picturesque destination with a wealth of unique shops and winding lanes to explore too.

4. Bristol, United Kingdom

Image credit: Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Bristol’s colourful houses are scattered across the city in neighbourhoods like Cliftonwood, Hotwells and Totterdown, to name a few. Why have these colourful houses popped up over the past few decades? It could be that Bristol’s hilly nature means that these rainbow coloured houses can be seen from afar or that the coloured streets are an expression of both the city’s liberal attitude and creative background.

Either way, they have inspired neighbours in nearby Gloucester, who have painted entire streets the colours of the rainbow.

5. Porto, Portugal

Image credit: Hector J. Rivas on Unsplash

It does not come as a surprise that many areas of Porto have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The pastel-coloured buildings running along the riverside, which makes up the Ribeira neighbourhood, are certainly a sight to see. The many bars and restaurants that line the waterfront provide the perfect spot to enjoy a traditional francesinha (a belly-busting sandwich involving chips, gravy, meat, and more meat) or a glass of local Port.

Head over at sunset to enjoy the coloured houses in their full splendour.

Lead image credit: Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

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