It’s no secret – bright colors have the power to delight, relax, and totally change your perspective, which can put a whole new spin on your sightseeing. And while rainbows are pretty, you know what’s better? Colors that don’t fade into the blue. From flower fields to underwater wonderlands, these seven sites are some of the best and brightest places to seek out for an uplifting tour of the planet’s terrain.
Caño Cristales, Colombia
One peek at this strange and beautiful place, and you’ll understand why it’s known as “the river of five colors”. Minerals and unique plant species mingle on the riverbed to stir up the bright reds, oranges, and golds, and at certain times, you’ll get an even wider spectrum. The river can’t sustain fish, so the colors are the main attraction here.
Five Flower Lake, China
Nestled into a huge nature reserve, this world-renowned wonder is filled with a diverse selection of plants and an array of minerals that lend a vivid palette of greens and blues. The crystal clear water reveals fallen trees and scattered leaves, which adds to the shimmering effect. The Five Flower Lake is widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful lakes.
Perhaps the most colorful neighborhood in the world, this little island pops in pastel against the blue of sea and sky. It sits off the coast of Naples in the warm Mediterranean waters, and is still a pretty well-kept secret – which means you may not have to share the delightful scene with too many other people. Not a heck of a lot going on in terms of museums or nightlife, but the happy facades may inspire you to pick up a paintbrush.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands
Spring rolls fast and flamboyantly through the Netherlands, where acres of fields sprout lines of vivid tulips for export. It’s a celebrated season, with waves of tourists touring the landscape and town and cities throwing their own festivities to welcome the warm and colorful season. The largest garden contains over 7 million blooms!
Valley of Flowers National Park, India
The valley of flowers is a pretty magical place, with a community of flora and fauna that’s as rare as it is beautiful. Meadows of alpine flowers paint the sides of the Western Himalayas, creating great painted vistas that shine even brighter come sunset. Blue sheep, Asiatic black bears, and snow leopards round out the palette of this impossibly colorful park.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
No secret to deep sea divers, the Great Barrier Reef is the quintessential scuba locale and an unforgettable underwater rainbow of fish, coral, and plant life. The colors go on and on for miles, in dizzying patterns of texture and movement that will keep you engaged for hours. Not a diver? No problem – you can experience it from above in a sea plane, or take a semi-sub boat to get right into the middle of it (without getting wet).
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park’s humongous hot spring – the third largest in the world – has radiating colors that actually mimic the natural spectrum of light. An electric blue center (a steaming circle of water) is surrounded by layers of pigmented bacteria; the colors change according to the type of bacteria that live in that particular temperature and ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids. The result is a round rainbow of microbes that spread from green to yellow to orange to red, stretching over 250 feet in diameter.
Not surprisingly, seasons play a big role in the colorful effects of most motley landscapes, so plan your trip accordingly. Spring is generally a pretty great time to check out colorful spots, since warming waters and soil bring about more algae, flowers, and microbes.
Images: All photos have been taken from Shutterstock.com unless otherwise indicated.