The unofficial list of the world’s most colorful places

How many can you guess?
Cinque Terre, Italy, landscape with colorful buildings on the cliffs over the seaport
The list of most colorful places around the world includes famous tourist destinations like Cinque Terre, Italy, as well as some natural wonders like Grand Prismatic Spring, US. Deposit Photos

This story originally featured on PopPhoto.

A vibrant, colorful scene can be one of the most fun things to photograph. There’s just so much going on that it’s hard not to find a good shot. And, if you’re looking for somewhere colorful to go, a recent, totally unscientific study has a few recommendations. 

The methods

This “study” was done by the strangest group imaginable: the mortgage comparison team at Uswitch. I can only speculate that it was some kind of Friday afternoon marketing Hail Mary—but however they managed to convince management to sign off on it, we’re writing about it. 

The study used a “seed list” of 20 colorful destinations from a couple of travel websites. The team then subjected it to three unrigorous (but fun) analyses to determine the most colorful places, the most searched for colorful places, and the most Instagrammed colorful places. 

To find the most colorful place, they pulled in the top 10 photos of each on Shutterstock and used a “color dropper tool” (presumably in Photoshop) to find the number of colors in each locations’ color palette. 

For the most searched for spot, they used SemRush to analyze the Google Search Data for each location. 

And for the most Instagrammed location, they used SemRush again to find the number of posts with the #placename.

Is this science? Nope. But it’s a fun way to look at some colorful places. 

The most colorful places

According to Uswitch, Cinque Terre in Italy is the most colorful destination in the world with a grand total of eight distinct colors. Apparently, “Sitting on the Italian Riviera, the multicolored destination is home to an abundance of colorful houses that vary from red, dark and light orange, shades of yellow, green and blue.”

Next up, with seven distinct colors, was Kampung Pelangi (it translates to “Rainbow Village” in Bahasa) in Indonesia.

Then Guatape, Colombia; La Boca, Argentina; and Nyhavn, Denmark, rounded out the top five with six colors apiece. 

The remaining 15 destinations in descending order of colorfulness were:

  • Little India, Singapore
  • Old Havana, Cuba
  • Rainbow Village, Taiwan
  • Burano, Italy
  • Procida, Italy
  • Chefchaouen, Morocco
  • Colmar, France
  • Bo Kapp, South Africa
  • Vinicunca, Peru 
  • Rainbow Row, USA
  • Grand Prismatic Spring, USA
  • Wroclaw, Poland
  • Balat, Turkey
  • Willemstad, Curacao
  • Gamla Stan, Sweden

Oh drab, drab Sweden.

The most searched for and Instagrammed

More interesting than the color analysis (and perhaps more relevant to photographers) was the popularity breakdown. 

It should surprise no one that the incredibly over-touristed Cinque Terre was the most searched for (718,000 searches) and second-most #hashtagged (170,695 #hashtags) destination, followed closely by Havana, Cuba, which was the third most searched for (334,600 searches) and most #hashtagged (247,642 #hashtags).

Colmar, Burano, Singapore, and Pelangi also featured highly on both lists. 

A counterargument

As iconic as some of these destinations are, if you’re looking to take unique colorful images, the top spots are probably worth avoiding. 

By my equally unscientific assessment of this unscientific study, the most unique colorful destinations are:

  • Rainbow Village, Taiwan. 
  • Bo Kapp, South Africa. 
  • Vinicunca, Peru. 
  • Rainbow Row, USA.

They’re the only four places that are not featured on either the most searched for or most Instagrammed lists.