International Colour Day: 15 of the world’s most stunning rainbow-coloured places

1. Kampung Warna, Jodipan, Indonesia

Colourful Rainbow Village in Jodipan, Malang (Shutterstock)

Just south of Malang, a city in East Java, Kampung is an explosion of colour in what was once a drab corner of Indonesia.

Management students from a nearby university came up with the idea of painting the houses. A local paint company donated the paint. And a previously unremarkable village was turned into a happy place of rainbow colours, suddenly receiving an influx of money from selfie-seeking visitors.

It also inspired locals to clean up their rubbish-strewn river, so there has been a positive environmental impact, too.

2. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)

Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the USA and the third largest thermal spring on the planet.

But it’s the rainbow-coloured bands of heat-loving bacteria that make it truly memorable. The sulphur fumes may burn your eyes, but it’s certainly photo-worthy.

3. The Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

Kids sitting on steps in the Bo-Kaap quarter (Shutterstock)

Sitting at the foot of Signal Hill on the fringes of central Cape Town, Bo-Kaap was once known as the Malay Quarter, home to workers brought in from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa to work.

Built in the 1760s and rented to the workers, the houses had to be white as per the terms of the lease. When the workers were eventually allowed to buy the properties, they painted them in bright colours to express their freedom and individuality.

4. Red Sea, Egypt

Coral and tropical fish in the Red Sea (Shutterstock)

The Red Sea boasts one of the richest and most diverse underwater ecosyems in the world, with over 1,200 species of fish, 10% of which can’t be found anywhere else.

This is largely due to the 2,000 kilometres of coral reef along its coast. Some of the coral is 5,000 – 7,000 years old. It’s lost none of its vibrancy, and coupled with the neon fish that call it home, remains one of the most colourful places on earth.

5. Rainbow Village, Taichung, Taiwan

Colourful graffiti painted on the wall in Taichung (Shutterstock)

What began as an attempt to save houses in the Nantun District of Taichung has turned into one of Taiwan’s most popular and colourful tourist attractions. Former soldier, Huang Yung-Fu, started painting houses in the settlement to stop them from being demolished.

Over the years he has added colourful artwork, including birds, animals and people, to most of the remaining houses in the village, gaining it the moniker ofRainbow Village.

6. Vinicunca, Peru

Tourists walking on the Rainbow Mountain (Shutterstock)

A two-hour drive from Cusco, Vinicunca, Peru’s Rainbow Mountain, has become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Formed millions of years ago, the ridges of sediment are made up of a variety of minerals, each providing its own vibrant hue of either pink, yellow, turquoise and burgundy.

Sitting at 5,200 metres, you’ll need to take time to acclimatise to the altitude – and the mix of colours.

7. Guatapé, Colombia

Colourful colonial houses in Guatape (Shutterstock)

A bumpy three hour bus ride from Medellin, the tiny traditional pueblo of Guatepé is full of brightly coloured colonial-era homes, embellished with delicate painting ofllamas, sunflowers, parrots and guitars.

The Plaza de Zocalos is rainbow-coloured, too, and the perfect place to have a drink and people watch.

8. Seven Coloured Earths, Chamarel, Mauritius

The seven coloured lands of Chamarel (Shutterstock)

A series of colourful dunes in the middle of tropical rainforest, the Seven Coloured Earths near Charamel in Mauritius is believed to have formed from the decomposition of volcanic rocks. It has settle into stripes of colour ranging from violet and red through to yellow and blue and is best viewed at sunrise, when the colours are at their most vibrant.

9. Cinque Terre, Italy

View of Vernazza from trail (Shutterstock)

Hugging the rugged coastline and tumbling down towards the Ligurian Sea, the five tiny villages that make up Cinque Terre are a riot of colour.

Walking the jagged coast path between them is one of Italy’s most treasured treks, rewarding hikers with fresh sea air and spectacular views, especially when you round a headland and catch your first sight of villages like Vernazza and Manarola.

10. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Caminito quarter in La Boca (Shutterstock)

La Boca is a working-class suburb in Buenos Aires that is famous for two things – La Bombonera, the home ground of Boca Juniors football team and Caminito, a narrow alley flanked by bright, zinc shacks.

The colours are a reminder of the district’s early immigrant days, when a splash of paint was the only way to show pride in the humble dwellings. Now the area is bursting with steakhouses, bars and cafes and the modern art museum, Fundación Proa.

11. Tulip fields, Keukenhof, The Netherlands

Keukenhof tulip fields (Shutterstock)

Between March and May every year, the fields around Keukenhof in the Netherlands are transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour as the country’s world famous tulips bloom.

They’re not just for show. These tulips will be picked and sent all around the world, an important source of revenue for this tiny country. That doesn’t make it any less spectacular, especially when framed with one of the Netherlands’ famous windmills.

12. Rainbow Row, Charleston, USA

A colourful row of historic Georgian row houses in Charleston (Shutterstock)

This row of historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina, is the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States.

With their bright colours and mature trees, they are also amongst the most beautiful. You’ll find them on East Bay Street, north of Tradd Street, and south of Elliott Street.

13. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, India

Meenakshi Amman Hindu temple in Madurai (Shutterstock)

This ancient city on the Vaigai River in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is dominated by the 14 colourful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple.

It’s festooned with thousands of rainbow coloured carvings of Hindu gods. It is also home to colourful celebrations, like the Chithirai Festival, held every April to celebrate Meenakshi and Lord Vishnu.

14. Santa Marta, Rio, Brazil

Colourfully painted buildings in Rio’s Santa Marta favela (Shutterstock)

Set on the the slopes of Morro Dona Marta, the rainbow coloured favela of Santa Marta is one of the steepest in Rio. It has over 8,000 residents crammed into its makeshift wooden and brick houses, each painted in an assortment of cheerful hues.

A popular location for both TV series and film, it most famously hosted one of the most spectacular chase scenes in Fast Five, the fifth instalment of The Fast and The Furious franchise.

15. Burano, Venice Lagoon, Italy

Colourful houses in Burano, Venice (Shutterstock)

Burano is an island in Venetian Lagoon, famous for its multi-coloured homes, beguilingly reflected in the waters of the canals.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants for visitors, but it’s very much a working town, with fishermen selling their catch straight from their boats, and old nonnas sitting on their verandas, making the island’s needle lace.

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Feeling festive: 9 exotic adventures guaranteed to spice up your Christmas

1. Slow down for the festive season in India

Flood lit temple in India (Dreamstime)

Avoid the usual rush of visitors to India with Wild Frontiers’ Alternative Christmas in India tour. Spy the icons of Old Delhi before relaxing at the charming Castle Bijaipur heritage hotel among the rolling Aravalli Hills.

Explore this charming slice of rural India by bicycle or horse, then end your magical trip by wandering the Taj Mahal and the Mughal heritage of Kachhpura, with the chilly streets of home a long-distant memory.

When: 21 Dec

How long: 15 days

How much: From £2,665 (exc. flights)

2. Get a Central American Christmas high in Guatemala

Volcano in Guatemala (Dreamstime)

Climb Central America’s highest mountain on KE Adventure Travel’s Guatemala’s Magnificent Seven trip.

Summit Tajumulco (4,220m) on Christmas Day, soaking up panoramic altiplano views, then flank your ascent by topping other volcanic peaks along the way, including Pacaya (2,552m) and San Pedro (3,040m), as well as wandering colonial Antigua and the ancient Maya town of Quetzaltenango. Finish by relaxing on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Bliss.

When: Departures in Jan, Apr, Nov & Dec

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,755 (exc. flights)

3. Celebrate Copacabana style across Argentina, Brazil and Chile

A colourful Buenos Aires neighbourhood (Shutterstock)

Travel coast to coast from Santiago to Rio via Patagonia on this epic Oasis Overland adventure. See the mighty Iguazú Falls, trek past peaks and glaciers in Patagonia and learn to tango in Buenos Aires.

At the trip’s tail end, ring in the festive season in Brazilian style, spending Christmas at a farm lodge in the Pantanal wetlands and New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach in party capital Rio de Janeiro.

Trip:Santiago to Rio Coast to Coast via Patagonia

When: Departures in Jan, Nov & Dec

How long: 51 days

How much: From £1,895 (plus $950/ £745 local payment; exc. flights)

4. Experience a biblical journey through Jordan and Israel

Petra (Dreamstime)

Head through the Middle East’s Holy Lands on Tucan Travel’s Best of Jordan & Israel trip.

In Jordan, spy the Greco-Roman ruins of Umm Qais and glimpse the wonder of Petra, then hop over to Israel and climb biblical icon the Mount of Olives, before wandering Jerusalem and Nazareth. What could be more festive?

Trip:Best Of Jordan & Israel

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,167 (plus $200/£155 local payment; excl flights)

5. See in the New Year twice in Finland and Norway

Northern Lights over Finland (Dreamstime)

Make the most of north Scandinavia’s cross-border time difference on Artisan Travel’s Utsjoki: New Year Twice trip. Be pulled by huskies through pristine alpine forest and hunt for the aurora by night.

And come New Year’s Eve, mark the occasion in Finland before crossing into Norway – an hour behind – to count down 2019 again.

When: 29 December

How long: Seven nights

How much: From £2,295 (inc. flights)

6. Go off-grid in Cape Verde

The wild Cape Verde coast (Dreamstime)

Join Ramblers Walking Holidays on its Undiscovered Cape Verde trip to explore a unique blend of African and Portuguese styles.

Visit Santiago island and the UNESCO listed colonial outpost of Cidade Velha, before hopping over to the isle of São Vicente for volcanic peaks and gorges as far removed from home as it gets.

When: Departures in Dec, Jan & Oct

How long: 14 nights

How much: From £3,300 (incl flights)

7. Glide down the Nile in Egypt

Abu Simbel (Shutterstock)

Hop on Abercrombie & Kent’s Egypt & the Nile Escorted Tour and see ancient Egypt unravel from your cabin.

Enjoy the cooler conditions winter brings, exploring the Pyramids of Giza, before flying to Luxor and wandering the Temple of Karnak.

Glimpse the Valley of the Kings before spying other temples – including Abu Simbel – as you ford the Nile and end with a couple of days taking in Cairo’s sights.

Trip:Egypt & The Nile

Who:Abercrombie & Kent

Trip type: Tailor-made

When: Departures betweenSep & May

How long: Nine nights

How much: From £4,715 (exc. flights)

8. Have a frozen festive adventure in Russia

Moscow in winter (Shutterstock)

Join Regent Holidays on its Northern Lights and New Year’s Eve in the Russian Far North aboard the Imperial Train trip. Begin in Moscow and see its icons thickly wigged with snow before chugging to the lavish architecture of St Petersburg.

Then, pitstop at the 16th-century Karelian town of Petrozavodsk before trundling above the Arctic Circle to Murmansk, where you’ll ride a dog sled, keep an eye out for the northern lights and pay a visit to Ded Moroz – Russia’s answer to Father Christmas.

When: Departures in Dec & Feb

How long: 10 days

How much: From £4,060 (excl flights)

9. Witness Christmas in the USA’s wild west

Monument Valley (Shutterstock)

Be treated to a greatest hits of some of USA’s natural wonders on Grand American Adventures’ Western Explorer tour.

Hunt for bears and deer in Yosemite NP, spy the rust-coloured valleys and hills of Death Valley, spot the oasis-pooled cliffs of Zion NP and gasp at the unique rocks of Bryce Canyon NP.

Spend Christmas Day eating a native Navajo meal among the epic sandstone monoliths of Monument Valley before concluding with a true American icon – the Grand Canyon.

When: 15 Dec

How long: 13 days

How much: From £2,719 (excl flights)

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