I’ve always been one of those people that is so inspired by my surroundings, especially when it comes to my photography. If I’m somewhere colourful with beautiful scenery it instantly lifts my mood and gets me snappy happy. The past few years have taken me to some of the most colourful places whether through work or my own curiosity. In the past year alone I’ve seen some of my favourite places in the world. I visited the Cinque Terre for the first time when I got engaged last year, headed to Porto and Lisbon with my dear friend and fellow blogger Haley, as well as continued to hunt for new and untouched Greek islands like Milos and Paros. that I’ve been so happy to find some of the most colourful destinations in Europe on my travels. So I decided to round up my favourite colourful destinations so you too can find your next wanderlust inspiration! Who knows, maybe you’ll end up visiting all of them? So here it is, I hope you enjoy…
Burano is a picturesque town in northern Italy made up of colourful fishermen’s houses. Floating in a body of water known as the Venetian Lagoon, Burano is known for it’s lacemaking. There are so many little shops through this town that sell the most beautiful pieces of intricately hand crafted lace. There are also lots of places to watch Murano glass being made, which is another popular craft in the town that made it’s way over from the nearby island of Murano. Another thing that Burano is famous for? FISH. If you like seafood then you have come to the right place! Burano is full of very cosy little restaurants that are quite informal that the locals call ‘taverns’. They are also of course, plenty of pizzeria’s to feed your appetite. Make sure you also visit Tre Ponti (three bridges) for the prettiest sunset photographs!
Of course, you can’t mention Burano without a mention of one of my favourite places in the entire world: Venice. I love anything to do with boats and the sea, and the colours of Venice are unbelievably romantic. On a sunny day the water is the perfect shade of turquoise blue, the buildings are pretty variations of soft yellows and peaches and then at the right time of day with the right weather, the whole city is bathed in golden light. Not only is Venice a beautiful place to look at, it has so much history. You will never tire of hearing stories past in Venice. The Bridge Of Sighs (photographed above) has a very sad story… The bridge separates the palace from the prison and was called the Bridge Of Sighs because Venetians imagined the sorrow of the convicted prisoners that would cross, going straight to their prison cells whilst getting their last view of Venice’s waterways through the stone windows. If you visit Venice you absolutely have to visit the Doge Palace that is connected to the Bridge Of Sighs. It was built in traditional Venetian gothic style and is truly breathtaking inside and out. Think painted ballrooms with high ceilings and golden accents as far as the eye can see. Another thing you must do in Venice is of course, take a Gondola ride! You can see the whole city in about an hour and yes, some of the gondoliers do sing on request!
Mykonos, Paros & Santorini
Being Greek, the Cyclades have such a special piece of my heart as I spent most of my summers there with my family. I know many of you wish to travel to visit the Greek islands but don’t know which islands to visit so let me tell you, Mykonos, Paros and Santorini are the most beautiful islands you could ever wish to visit. They are all unique in their own way. Santorini (as I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram is a wonderful white washed seaside town with blue roofs and a view of the horizon. Santorini is the ideal destination for a romantic trip with your special person. It’s the place you splurge on a hotel and just switch off sipping on cocktails watching the most magical sunsets each evening. Mykonos is the island to splurge! What I love most about Mykonos as an island is its diversity. It’s classy and cool and has everything you might look for in a holiday. If you want to relax, you can. If you want to eat incredible food both Greek and international, you can. If you want to party, you can – but mind you, one thing Mykonos is not is tacky. Whatever you do on this island you do in style, which comes with a price tag so get ready to spend your ££££ if you’re visiting, especially in the peak summer months. Paros is up there with one of my favourite destinations mainly due to the fact that I think it has a perfect balance of everything the Greek islands have to offer. It has the beautiful colours, the quaint architecture, a touch of nightlife, the delicious Greek food, the beautiful beaches and everything else you might be expecting on your Greek island holiday. Paros island is perfect for couples, groups of friends and families. If you’re going to one of these lovely islands anytime soon, do read my guide to the Cyclades!
PORTO & LISBON
Lisbon and Porto Known for it’s cobbled streets, great wine and surfing culture, Porto has a little something for everybody. The weather is really pleasant from April/May all the way until the end of September/early October. The hottest months of the year are July and August, in which the Atlantic tide is much more enjoyable, as it can be extremely cold at other times of the year. HOWEVER, if you are a surfer this place is paradise all year round. The waves can be pretty fierce (so I didn’t dare try with my amateur status!) which explains why so many people make Porto their surfing destination of choice. Anyway, onto the more important things, the wine. A lot of wine is produced in Porto and it’s something they are very proud of. The Douro Valley is one of the most popular tours and once you see the view you’ll understand why! You can get there by boat which I would highly recommend. Another thing you need to know about Porto is how incredibly lovely and welcoming the people are there! The whole city is alive with vivacious, charming characters that embrace life to the full.
Lisbon is quite similar to Porto in a lot of ways. It’s on the Atlantic which means it’s also great for surfing, there are many, many wineries, it’s full of cobbled streets and wonderfully upbeat people. Lisbon is also quite ‘hilly’! (actually so is Porto)… The tram in Lisbon is adorable. It’s really quite small and has been in operation since 1873, can you imagine how amazed people were when it first launched!? Lisbon is very photogenic in that it’s bursting with colourful pastel houses and decorative tiles.
I really wouldn’t be able to tell you which city to choose out of these two Portuguese gems, so what I will suggest is taking the 3 hour road trip (a little longer if you take the coastal route) between the two and spend a week in each!
I thought that since we are on the topic of beautiful, there are two places I have high on my list but I’m yet to visit…so here it goes!
The first thing I will say about Seville is choose the timing of your visit wisely! This south of Spain gem is one of the hottest parts of Europe and has been know to reach 40 degrees consistently during the summer. The averages in July/August and 35 degrees and above so the best time to go is April/May or even October. It will still be really warm but you’ll be more comfortable exploring all the city has to offer during the day. The heart of the Andalusia region, Seville is know for it’s flamenco dancing, the incredible Alcázar castle and beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa. Now this isn’t a coastal city which is why I recommend not going in the height of summer AND make sure you get a hotel with a swimming pool. If you’re up for taking a little excursion there are some really gorgeous beaches driving distance (about an hour) from Seville. They are far away enough from the city to not be packed with tourists and close enough that you can make it back on time for dinner and dancing.
Menton, South of France
It wouldn’t be an article about colourful European destinations if I didn’t mention Menton on the French Riviera. Get there quick before everybody makes this discovery (I feel like it’s not on everybody’s radar and could quickly become the most Instagrammed spot in Europe). Known as ‘the pearl of France’, Menton is famous for it’s gardens bursting with citrus fruits. One of the loveliest things to do in Menton is visit the Jardin botanique exotique. A botanical garden filled with exotic plants thanks to the subtropical microclimate unique to this part of France. When you’re finished there be sure to watch the sunset in one of the many restaurants or bars along the picturesque seafront.
FUN FACT: Menton is exactly half way between Paris and Rome; they have a fountain that marks the exact spot!
I hope you’ve liked my round up of colourful European destinations. Do let me know where you visit by tagging me on Instagram! And remember, whether you’re in of these wonderful destinations or your usual surroundings, remember to keep #LivingColourfully…