The most colourful destinations in Europe

Take a tour of some of Italy, Spain and Portugal's most "Instagrammable" destinations.

The 4 most colourful cities in Europe / Photo by Lopez Robin on Unsplash
4 January 2021,

Prepare your smartphone (or make sure you're sitting comfortably), as it's time to go on a tour to discover some of the most colourful destinations in Europe. Whether they are vibrant, colourful cities or characteristic villages with colourful houses on a cliff, these charming destinations are sure to brighten up your Instagram feed. 

Although travelling in 2021 depends on the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing is stopping us from planning our next getaway. It's time to begin our tour of the most "instagrammable" destinations in Italy, Spain and Portugal and start this psychedelic, rainbow journey. Which of these colourful cities will be your next destination?

Burano, Italy

Burano, Italy / Wikimedia commons

Perfectly lined up next to each other, we begin our journey through the colourful houses that are reflected in the green canals of Burano: yellow ochre, fuchsia, violet and crimson are just a few of the rainbow tones that can be found in Italy's beautiful Burano.

Burano, in the province of Venice, was historically a fishing village. It was the fishermen who decided to colour the houses in these bright tones; and by doing this, they would be able to recognise them from afar as soon as they reached land, without the fear of entering other people's homes.

What to eat in Burano:

  • Risotto di Gò – this is a traditional Venetian dish was invented in the early 1500s by the fishermen in Burano and prepared with “Vialone Nano” (a type of rice) cooked in a broth flavoured with types of fish that can be found in the lagoon. Butter and Parmigiano Reggiano are then added to finish off this rich dish.
  • Bussolà di Burano - this sweet treat is a doughnut-shaped biscuit with eggs, flour, sugar and butter flavoured with rum, vanilla or lemon. You can traditionally find this sweet treat in every pastry shop or bakery, each of which will carefully guard the recipe to ensure that each biscuit is unique.

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Aveiro, Portugal

Aveiro, Portugal / Wikimedia commons

For those who want to discover colourful destinations outside of Italy in 2021, then Aveiro is the place for you. Aveiro is already present in the Instagram profiles of millions of tourists who have fallen in love with the "Portuguese Venice", with its traditional “moliceiro” boats and colourful houses winning tourists’ hearts. The visit begins with a tour on the traditional boats (the moliceiros) through the canals of the city, for a price of about 10 euros per person.

To discover the charm of the city, take a walk through the historic centre, through the Piazza Arcades and visit the traditional fish market before exploring the beautiful gardens of Jardim do Rossio along the main canal.

Don't miss the Costa Nova area, where you'll find enchanting beaches and the famous colourful houses which delight tourists. Finally, enjoy the sunset from the Aveiro salt pans, one of the most beautiful landscapes you can find on the planet.

What to eat in Aveiro:

  • Caldeirada de enguias - For lovers of fish and hot dishes, this eel soup is a real delicacy (it is the Portuguese version of the Italian dish, cacciucco). Basically, it’s a spicy stew prepared with eels, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and peppers, best accompanied with a good white wine.
  • Ovos moles – this is definitely a must for those who visit the city. This local delicacy is made of small shells of rice or puff pastry cut into shapes reminiscent of fish and shells and then filled with raw egg yolks and sugar syrup. Impossible to resist!

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Cudillero, Spain

Cudillero, Spain / Wikimedia commons

Our third colourful destination is found in Northern Spain in the region of Asturias. Cudillero is one of the most charming villages in Spain. Not just a beautiful sight, this haven for fishermen even hides a particular symbolism behind the colours of the facades of the houses: each one is painted with the same colours as the family boats.

Commence your colourful tour by taking some photos in the Plaza de la Marina and the port as well as visiting the lighthouse; and if you are fond of historical buildings, don't miss the Iglesia de San Pedro (the Church of Saint Peter), the Capilla del Humilladero (a small chapel) or the Quinta de Selgas Palace, where you will find beautiful gardens and statues.

For those who like to contemplate the horizon and enjoy the best views, Cudillero has several viewpoints from which you can see all its charming, colourful houses - Mirador de la Garita, del Pico, de la Estrecha, el Baluarte, del Contorno, el Palación to name a few - the perfect places for a spectacular snap to delight your followers.

What to eat in Cudillero:

  • Cachopo, perfect for meat lovers – this is a breaded beef cutlet stuffed with ham and cheese. We recommend that you only try it if you are really hungry as it tends to be a pretty substantial dish.
  • Curadillo – this is a type of dried, salted fish only prepared in this village, making it the pride and joy of the residents. You will often see it left to dry in the windows of shops and restaurants.

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Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy / Wikimedia commons

To complete our tour, we are heading back to Italy to one of the most spectacular colourful destinations in the world. Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza – these are the 5 villages that make up the iconic Cinque Terre. The ancient fishing villages, which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, are full of mysterious alleys, pretty streets, little yellow, red and pink houses, and the romantic charm that Cinque Terre exudes has made poets, painters, sculptors and singers from all over the world fall in love.

What to eat in the Cinque Terre:

  • Il tian di Vernazza – known as a “poor man’s dish” typical of the area, this dish is made in a traditional pan called a “tian” with anchovies, thinly sliced potatoes, tomato, garlic, aromatic herbs, lemon peel, oil and white wine.
  • Torta Monterossina – this is type of dessert made with shortcrust pastry layered with discs of sponge cake filled with custard, apricot jam and pieces of chocolate. All that’s left is to cover it with icing sugar and hey presto, it’s ready to eat!

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