Travel photography

The Most Colourful Places on Earth

Tick these vibrant destinations off your bucket list, beginning with Australia's Hutt Lagoon – no rose-coloured glasses needed

Hutt Lagoon, Australia

This rose-tinted spectacle is Western Australia’s Hutt Lagoon salt lake. Extremely high levels of salinity create the unusual bubblegum-pink hue, which also turns lavender depending on the time of day and season. It’s a six-hour drive from Perth: get there before sunset to watch the colours change.

Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan, India
Credit: Chris Sorensen/Gallery Stock

The tangerine turban of this Rabari tribesman is standard attire at the Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan. The northern Indian state is synonymous with colour, laying claim to the cities of blue, pink and gold – Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer, respectively.

Keukenhof, Netherlands

Keukenhof, Nrtherlands
Credit: Frans Sellies/Getty Images

Clogs and windmills may be tongue-in-cheek stereotypes of the Netherlands – but the country’s vibrant tulips are an actively celebrated trademark. This radiant field in full bloom lies close to the Keukenhof in Lisse – the 19th century garden that showcases the Dutch flora from March to May every year.

Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China
Credit: Melinda Chan/Getty Images

Seemingly plucked from a surrealist painting, the rainbow-coloured mountains of China’s Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in northwest Gansu province are a geographic wonder. All it took was millions of years, some dramatic tectonic activity, the right mix of rocks and minerals, and the perfect weather conditions for some iridescent erosion.


Credit: phaisal photos/unsplash

There’s no blue like Maldives blue. The atolls of the island nation create a string of baby blues, ultramarines and teals which shift and blend with the sands beneath. But don a snorkel and head underwater, and ever-depeening blues are joined by flourescent coral, shimmering sea life and the black-and-white mass of the manta ray.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, United States

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, Unired States
Credit: shounen/unsplash

The otherworldy maze of pinky-orange rock corridors which form Arizona’s Antelope and Colorado’s Rattlesnake Canyons are the perfect playground for adventurers. Gradual erosion due to flash floods has created these flowing sandstone walls, which are brought glowing to life under the afternoon sun. ‭ ‬

Hall of the Ambassadors, Spain

Hall of Ambassadors, Spain
Credit: akshay nanavati/unsplash

For almost 800 years the south of Spain was under Islamic control, a cultural conduit between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Nowhere is that more evident than in the architecture of Andalucia. In the Alcázar of Seville, the Hall of the Ambassadors features brilliant blue Islamic mosaics topped by gilt portaits of Catholic kings and an immense golden cedarwood dome, carved to represent the universe.

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Fushima Inari-Taisha Shrine Kyoto, Japan
Credit: dil/unsplash

They say to walk through a Japanese torii gate is to travel from the mundane world to the spiritual, to have a prayer sent on high. These vermillion gated paths are characteristic of shrines to the Japanese deity Inari, the colour said to be a potent protection against evil. At Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine thousands of torii line the path, each passing on a crimson prayer.

Routes de la Lavande, France

Routes de La Lavande, France
Credit: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Follow your nose to the next beauty spot on our list: the fragrant fields of lavender that carpet France’s southeastern region of Provence. Just as the beguiling violet-coloured landscape enchanted Claude Monet in the 1800s, the ‘Routes de la Lavande’ are popular with summer roadtrippers keen to witness the purple flowers at their most beautiful, between mid-June and mid-August.‭ ‬

Kamfers Dam, Africa

Kamfers Dam, South Africa
Credit: Blaine Harrington III/Alamy Stock Photo/Argus Photo

Up to 50,000 hot pink lesser flamingos (the smallest breed of the bird) can be spied munching on blue-green algae at Kamfers Dam, near Kimberley in South Africa. Flamingos began congregating in the privately owned reservoir in 2006, after the construction of an artificial island created ideal breeding grounds for the blushing birds.  ‭ ‬


A world without colour: “Each snowflake is a shimmering diamond. The sun, surrounded by a halo of rainbows, washes the landscape with a different colour every hour: orange and pink as it rises; gold as it sets. You can find every shade of blue in the textured icebergs, ethereal turquoise in the glacial pools. It’s different from the sensory onslaught of the city: peaceful, harmonious, simple, beautiful.” Dr Rebecca Lee, Antarctic researcher

Credit: Joshua Holko
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