A long time ago, when India adhered to a strict caste system, blue was a major status symbol, with the upper class painting their homes the “royal” color. Though caste restrictions have loosened significantly, the color has stood the test of time, and blue houses remain popular in India simply as a matter of tradition. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the “Blue City” of Jodhpur. Did you know that painting your house blue can majorly increase its value?
In this Ecuadorian city, the village of Las Peñas immediately stands out. It rises on the massive limestone hill that marks the city, above a white church that provides a stark and beautiful contrast to the vibrant houses. In addition to being the most colorful neighborhood in Guayaquil, Las Peñas is also the oldest. It’s endured its share of difficulty, including a catastrophic fire in 1896, but it’s come out stronger. In 1982 it became an Ecuadorian heritage site. Throughout the years, it’s been a haven for writers and creators, including Ernest Hemingway and the composer of the Ecuadorian National Anthem.
You might be seeing double on this spectacular island in the Venetian Lagoon, as the multicolored houses are reflected in the canals below. Burano is a fishing village, and legend has it that the residents painted their houses vibrant colors to help them find their way back from a night of fishing in the early-morning fog. The colors of the houses may appear random, but there is a method to the madness. If you move to this island, you can’t just pick your favorite paint color and go to town—you have to get permission from the government, and they choose a color for you. The whimsical look of the village might be carefully planned out, but that doesn’t take away from the city’s beauty. Check out these incredible pictures of another city with streets of water.
Cape Town’s most colorful neighborhood is also one of its oldest, dating back to the 16th century. The primarily Muslim population recently began embellishing their houses as a celebration of the late summer holiday Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. The bright colors also symbolize the freedom of the post-Apartheid era in South Africa. The oldest still-intact house in the area, built in 1768, is now a museum celebrating the Islamic culture of the region.
Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands,” is the name given to not one but five stunning villages perched along the Italian Riviera. Each village has its own character, but they all boast an incredible array of pastel-colored houses. Cinque Terre is situated inside a national park near Tuscany, so cars are a rare sight! Most of the 2.4 million tourists who visit per year arrive by boat. Once they get there, they mainly walk, taking in the sights of the Riviera along the seven-and-a-half-mile hiking trail. Check out some of America’s most picturesque hiking spots.