Monday,  January 27, 2020  10:12 am

Five of the world's most colourful cities

Five of the world's most colourful cities
The Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, photo courtesy of the South African Tourism Board.
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

Some cities are renowned for their architecture, others their place in history.

READ MORE: Four Seasons to open luxury hotel in Cartagena

Yet others are still famed for adding a splash of colour to the lives of residents and visitors alike, including these five cities. 

Don’t feel blue or be green with envy – anyone can visit these red-hot locations!

1) Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia’s Caribbean hotspot, Cartagena, has many colourful sides for travellers to take in.

The old city centre is where many of the renowned coloured homes can be found, particularly in the San Diego neighbourhood. Keeping the character of these neighbourhoods in mind, Cartagena residents who paint their homes are encouraged to use colours that contrast those of their neighbours.

Colour of a different kind can be found in Getsemani, a formerly gritty neighbourhood which is now home to some of Cartagena’s best street art.

2) Willemstad, Curacao

Curacao’s capital Willemstad boasts a kaleidoscope of colour in the Dutch Caribbean, in the city’s brightly-coloured Pietermaii district.

Named after Dutch Captain Pieter de Meij, the neighbourhood is known for rows of colourful houses; according to legend, 19th century Curacao Governor-General Albert Kikkert mandated that homes in the area could not be painted white, after attributing his painful headaches to sunlight reflected by the buildings.

Dubbed the “SoHo of Curacao,” Pietermaai boasts numerous boutique hotels, shops, cafés and top-rated restaurants for tourists to enjoy and explore.

Courtesy of Curacao Tourist Board

3) Cape Town, South Africa

Established in the late 18th century, the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town is among the city’s earliest communities – and its most colourful!

The huurhuisjes (rental houses) were originally built and leased to slaves; while slavery-era laws required the homes to remain white, the vibrant colours appeared as an expression of freedom after the properties were sold to former slaves post-emancipation.

Historically a Muslim neighbourhood, Bo-Kaap is home to Auwal Mosque, the oldest mosque in South Africa, which also contains a copy of the Quran written from memory by the mosque’s first imam, Tuan Guru.

Courtesy of South African Tourism

4) Copenhagen, Denmark

While the statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is the official symbol of Copenhagen, the city’s Nyhavn district and its multi-coloured townhouses also comes to mind when discussing the Danish capital.

Just a few blocks away from The Little Mermaid, Nyhavn was once home to Andersen, who lived at No. 20, where his first story was written; and later, at No. 67, where he lodged from 1848 to 1865, now the site of Café HC Andersen.

5) Chefchaouen, Morocco

Known for its many blue houses, the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen is located just inland from Tangier in the Atlas Mountains.

Many theories on the origins of the city’s blue homes have persisted over the years, from the colour acting as a mosquito repellant to the feature being introduced to local homes by Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

While the answer may remain a mystery, the blue homes of Chefchaouen have become a popular tourist attraction, drawing thousands of (mainly European) visitors every year.

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