The Most Colorful Places on Earth

<p>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.</p>

msn travel

LUOPING COUNTY, CHINA

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.

These vibrant places around the world are guaranteed to brighten your day.

Cape Town, South Africa

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

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.

<p> 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. — Lauren Kilberg</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-10-14/12-unusual-beaches-you-won-t-believe-exist?mbid=synd_msntravel">12 Unusual Beaches You Won't Believe Exist</a></p>

PINK SANDS BEACH, HARBOUR ISLAND, BAHAMAS

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. — Lauren Kilberg

<p>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.</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2013-07-06/oddly-colorful-nature-photos?mbid=synd_msntravel">Photos of Surprisingly Colorful Natural Wonders</a></p>

ZHANGYE DANXIA LANDFORM GEOLOGICAL PARK, CHINA

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.

 

<p> 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. </p>

HITSUJIYAMA PARK, CHICHIBU, JAPAN

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.

<p>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.</p>

GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

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

<p> 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. — Jaime Morrison Curtis</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-02/places-in-norway-that-inspired-disneys-frozen?mbid=synd_msntravel"> Places in Norway That Inspired Disney's Frozen</a></p>

NORTHERN NORWAY

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. — Jaime Morrison Curtis

 

<p> Morning Glory Pool sits at the north end of Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately, due to years of tourists dropping coins into the pool, it's no longer as blue as it used to be, but it still does retain some of its brilliant hue. — CNTraveler.com</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-08-05/15-places-you-won-t-believe-exist?mbid=synd_msntravel">15 Places You Won't Believe Exist</a></p>

MORNING GLORY POOL, WYOMING

Morning Glory Pool sits at the north end of Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately, due to years of tourists dropping coins into the pool, it’s no longer as blue as it used to be, but it still does retain some of its brilliant hue. — CNTraveler.com

 

<p>The Netherlands is known around the world for its rainbow-hued fields of tulips. You can see the beautiful blooms all over Holland, but the best spot is undoubtedly Keukenhof, a park where over 7 million bulbs are planted each year—visit in mid-April to see the tulips during their peak season.</p>

TULIP FIELDS OF HOLLAND

The Netherlands is known around the world for its rainbow-hued fields of tulips. You can see the beautiful blooms all over Holland, but the best spot is undoubtedly Keukenhof, a park where over 7 million bulbs are planted each year—visit in mid-April to see the tulips during their peak season.

<p> The majestic Grand Canyon runs along 277 miles of the Colorado River and is up to a mile deep and 18 miles wide. Peering out at the canyon walls offers multicolored views of three of the four eras of geological time. — Lauren Kilberg</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-09-04/these-cliff-views-rival-the-grand-canyon?mbid=synd_msntravel">These Cliff Views Rival the Grand Canyon</a></p>

THE GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA

The majestic Grand Canyon runs along 277 miles of the Colorado River and is up to a mile deep and 18 miles wide. Peering out at the canyon walls offers multicolored views of three of the four eras of geological time. — Lauren Kilberg

 

<p>If the candy itself isn't enough of a draw (although it should be, with more than 5,000 varieties on offer), then this shop's fairytale-like decor will certainly pull you in. The columns embedded with candy and three to-scale lollipop trees will evoke some serious Hansel and Gretel feelings—minus the evil witch. The flagship store is located in Singapore's Resorts World Sentosa (pictured), and the other Candylicious locations in Singapore and Malaysia are just as impressive.</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-10-08/candy-shop-roundup-where-to-get-the-willy-wonka-experience?mbid=synd_msntravel">10 Candy Stores That Rival Willy Wonka's</a></p>

CANDYLICIOUS, SINGAPORE

If the candy itself isn’t enough of a draw (although it should be, with more than 5,000 varieties on offer), then this shop’s fairytale-like decor will certainly pull you in. The columns embedded with candy and three to-scale lollipop trees will evoke some serious Hansel and Gretel feelings—minus the evil witch. The flagship store is located in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa (pictured), and the other Candylicious locations in Singapore and Malaysia are just as impressive.

<p> Taking cues from modern Gothic and Oriental techniques, the early 19th-century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí wanted to create organic, urban spaces in the city he loved. A walk around Barcelona leads you through the largest concentration of his signature ceramic and stained-glass mosaics, as well as his undulating stonework and ironwork, which include Park Güell (pictured) and culminate in his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Família. — Benita Hussain</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2013-07-07/cities-architecture-design-lovers-photos?mbid=synd_msntravel">The World's Best Cities for Architecture Lovers</a></p>

BARCELONA, SPAIN

Taking cues from modern Gothic and Oriental techniques, the early 19th-century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí wanted to create organic, urban spaces in the city he loved. A walk around Barcelona leads you through the largest concentration of his signature ceramic and stained-glass mosaics, as well as his undulating stonework and ironwork, which include Park Güell (pictured) and culminate in his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Família. — Benita Hussain

 

<p>The Ice Caves inside Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier are not easily accessible nor for the faint of heart—people wanting to see them in person must first kayak to the glacier and then ice-climb over it. But once adventurers stand under the glowing blue ceilings of ice, we’re pretty sure they’ll tell you it’s worth the trek.</p>

MENDENHALL ICE CAVES, JUNEAU, ALASKA

The Ice Caves inside Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier are not easily accessible nor for the faint of heart—people wanting to see them in person must first kayak to the glacier and then ice-climb over it. But once adventurers stand under the glowing blue ceilings of ice, we’re pretty sure they’ll tell you it’s worth the trek.

 

NICARAGUA

From the colorful colonial town of Granada to surfing mecca San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua is emerging as the style set’s favorite destination. For our September print issue, Maura Egan and photographer Julien Capmeil focused on the vibrant culture. (Pictured: Cathedral in Granada’s main plaza.)

 

ANTELOPE CANYON, ARIZONA

Antelope Canyon is a stunning slot canyon in the American Southwest. Its Navajo name translates to “the place where water runs through rocks,” is an allusion to the canyon’s creation through erosion. The narrow, undulating spaces between rock formations allow for vivid patterns when sunlight filters through the striated stone. — Hadley Keller

 

<p> Street art has long occupied the walls of Australia's second biggest city. Melbourne has been dubbed the "stencil capital of the world" and played host to the inaugural international stencil festival in 2004. Hosier Lane (pictured) is among the city's most famous graffiti landmarks. — Lauren Kilberg</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-07/the-world-s-best-cities-for-street-art?mbid=synd_msntravel">The World's Best Cities for Street Art</a></p>

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Street art has long occupied the walls of Australia’s second biggest city. Melbourne has been dubbed the “stencil capital of the world” and played host to the inaugural international stencil festival in 2004. Hosier Lane (pictured) is among the city’s most famous graffiti landmarks. — Lauren Kilberg

 

<p> Also known as Mısır Çarşısı or the Egyptian Bazaar, this busy market is slightly less daunting and touristy than the Grand Bazaar next door. The back alleys of the open-air part of the market are filled with fragrant spices, plant-based dyes, and medicinal plants all sold alongside handmade baskets, fisherman's nets, and endless varieties of Turkish Delight. — Stephen Orr</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-09-30/the-best-spice-markets-in-the-world?mbid=synd_msntravel">The Best Street Markets in the World</a></p>

SPICE BAZAAR, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Also known as Mısır Çarşısı or the Egyptian Bazaar, this busy market is slightly less daunting and touristy than the Grand Bazaar next door. The back alleys of the open-air part of the market are filled with fragrant spices, plant-based dyes, and medicinal plants all sold alongside handmade baskets, fisherman’s nets, and endless varieties of Turkish Delight. — Stephen Orr

 

<p> If you find yourself in Tulum, escape the tourists and go snorkeling in Cenotes Sac Actun (White Cave System), an underwater cave that you can swim into with a guide. Thanks to the shallow, clear water, you’ll truly be able to appreciate the views of the stalactites and stalagmites. There are also two fresh-water snorkeling sites in the cave complex, but watch out for one surprising feature: a few bats flying around while you’re inside. — Jinna Yang</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-20/5-things-to-do-in-tulum-mexico?mbid=synd_msntravel">5 Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico</a></p>

TULUM, MEXICO

If you find yourself in Tulum, escape the tourists and go snorkeling in Cenotes Sac Actun (White Cave System), an underwater cave that you can swim into with a guide. Thanks to the shallow, clear water, you’ll truly be able to appreciate the views of the stalactites and stalagmites. There are also two fresh-water snorkeling sites in the cave complex, but watch out for one surprising feature: a few bats flying around while you’re inside. — Jinna Yang

 

<p> This underground waterfall drops 145 feet through a vertical shaft within Tennessee’s Lookout Mountain. A stream that flows 1,120 feet underground feeds the waterfall. Ruby Falls, along with the greater Lookout Mountain Caverns complex, is a registered National Historic Landmark. — Lauren Kilberg</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-12-12/do-go-chasing-waterfalls-14-beautiful-waterfalls-in-the-us?mbid=synd_msntravel">14 Beautiful Waterfalls in the United States</a></p>

RUBY FALLS , CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

This underground waterfall drops 145 feet through a vertical shaft within Tennessee’s Lookout Mountain. A stream that flows 1,120 feet underground feeds the waterfall. Ruby Falls, along with the greater Lookout Mountain Caverns complex, is a registered National Historic Landmark. — Lauren Kilberg

 

<p> Reminiscent of something Wes Anderson might have imagined had he been let loose in Mughal-era Jaipur, this palace cum hotel is a celebration of Indian design—at once whimsical and utterly sincere. (Pictured: The Suján Rajmahal’s gloriously pink dining room.) — Hanya Yanagihara</p>

SUJÁN RAJMAHAL PALACE – JAIPUR, INDIA

Reminiscent of something Wes Anderson might have imagined had he been let loose in Mughal-era Jaipur, this palace cum hotel is a celebration of Indian design—at once whimsical and utterly sincere. (Pictured: The Suján Rajmahal’s gloriously pink dining room.) — Hanya Yanagihara

<p> Japan’s Mount Zao is the most active volcano in northern Honshu. It’s home to Okama, which means "pot" in Japanese, a crater lake measuring 1,200 feet in diameter. It's sometimes called the Five Color Lake because it changes color with the weather. — Lauren Kilberg</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-12-03/the-most-intense-volcanic-craters-in-the-world?mbid=synd_msntravel">The Most Intense Volcanic Craters in the World</a></p>

OKAMA CRATER LAKE, HONSHU, JAPAN

Japan’s Mount Zao is the most active volcano in northern Honshu. It’s home to Okama, which means “pot” in Japanese, a crater lake measuring 1,200 feet in diameter. It’s sometimes called the Five Color Lake because it changes color with the weather. — Lauren Kilberg

 

<p> India welcomes spring every year with the festival of Holi, a Hindu celebration where revelers throw dyed powder and water balloons all over themselves in the streets. The spectacle of colors might not be nature-made, but it definitely is one of the most vibrantly hued sights on the planet. — Saif Alnuweiri</p><p> Read more: <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2013-03-27/photos-holi-celebration-hinduism-colors?mbid=synd_msntravel">Photos: India Douses Itself in Colors for Holi</a></p>

HOLI FESTIVAL OF COLORS, INDIA

India welcomes spring every year with the festival of Holi, a Hindu celebration where revelers throw dyed powder and water balloons all over themselves in the streets. The spectacle of colors might not be nature-made, but it definitely is one of the most vibrantly hued sights on the planet. — Saif Alnuweiri

 

<p>Five Flower Lake is one of over 100 lakes in China's Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, but it stands out as being the most awe-inspiring. The waters are colored by minerals and plants, and the criss-crossing tree trunks at the lake’s floor give the appearance of a dazzling shattered mirror.</p>

FIVE FLOWERS LAKE, SICHUAN, CHINA

Five Flower Lake is one of over 100 lakes in China’s Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, but it stands out as being the most awe-inspiring. The waters are colored by minerals and plants, and the criss-crossing tree trunks at the lake’s floor give the appearance of a dazzling shattered mirror.

<p> Lavender has been used throughout the Provence region of southern France for decades. Distilleries, where the essential oil from the flowers are bottled or used to make soaps, lotions, and creams, dot the area. But the multitude of fields featuring unreal violet views are the real pride of Provence. — Jinna Yang</p><p><strong>More from Condé Nast Traveler</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-04-20/hot-list-2015-world-s-best-new-hotels?mbid=synd_msntravel">Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List 2015: The Best New Hotels in the World</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2013-03-26/photos-grand-tour-asia-india-china-japan-singapore-vietnam?mbid=synd_msntravel">The Most Beautiful Places in Asia</a></p><p><a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-10-20/top-30-islands-in-the-world-readers-choice-awards-2014?mbid=synd_msntravel">The Top 30 Islands on Earth</a></p>

PROVENCE, FRANCE

Lavender has been used throughout the Provence region of southern France for decades. Distilleries, where the essential oil from the flowers are bottled or used to make soaps, lotions, and creams, dot the area. But the multitude of fields featuring unreal violet views are the real pride of Provence. — Jinna Yang

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •