12 Most Colorful Towns in the World

Some cities don't need neon to brighten up the landscape. From pastel towers on the Italian coast to a crayon-colored artist colony in Argentina, these 12 towns make color the primary focus.


The city walls of the seaside resort town of Tenby might have kept attackers out during the Middle Ages, but today they can't quite contain the pastel Georgian buildings spilling right out onto the sand. The view from the harbor is rightfully renowned, but you can get an even better taste of Tenby's medieval past by taking a ramble down one of its narrow, winding alleys—like the quirkily named Lower Frog Street, a canyon of color. (No amphibian greens, though-Tenby's hues skew lighter.) The town is always popular with holidaymakers, but it's getting an extra boost this year with the recent opening of the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile meander along the country's edge that includes Tenby on its route. Trekkers can enjoy shades as sweet as the seaside treats sold by candymaker Lollies.


A millennial city that wears its age proudly, Gdańsk has a dazzling collection of preserved structures that tower above the cobbled streets of the Główne Miasto (Main Town). While the Baltic port has more than its share of stoic structures (check out St. Mary's Church, which, with its 256-foot tower, is purportedly the largest brick church on earth), parts of the city are draped in surprisingly upbeat tones. The sentinel-like mansions along Długa, the main pedestrian drag, form solid walls of peach, olive, and mauve. Their combination of jovial colors and dignified sculpture and ornamentation reflects Gdańsk's split personality: Centuries after the height of its prosperity as a trading hub in the 1500s, the city fell hard under the spell of collectivism. The Solidarity movement that eventually helped topple communism in Europe began in the city's shipyards, and today Gdańsk is still on the ascent after its postwar dreariness.


At the center of the Philippine capital, the market-rich neighborhood of Quiapo packs in a bewildering variety of cultural, culinary, and corporeal colors that makes the rest of Manila pale in comparison. On any given day, the rugged streets fill beyond bursting with vendors hawking traditional gold-trimmed barong tagalog shirts, sweet sun-yellow mangoes from the island of Guimaras, and fierysiling labuyo (birds-eye chilis) in Christmassy reds and greens. But the real star of Quiapo's dappled streets is the classic Philippine jeepney. Modeled after American army jeeps, the flamboyant minibuses are ubiquitous on the capital's crowded roadways, and each is a unique work of art. The vehicles are painted with slogans, patterns in blaring primary colors, and gaudier-than-life portraits of pop stars and cultural icons—think Mother Mary riding shotgun, with Madonna bringing up the rear.


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