14 Most Colourful Towns and Cities in Europe

By Shing Lin Yoong, The Culture Map


Climb to the top of Hallgrímskirkja Church for epically photogenic views of Iceland’s capital city, and when you reach the top I advise you to get snapping. I wouldn’t consider myself a good photographer in any way but my photos of Reykjavik landed in the Germany edition of Rolling Stone Magazine. Now, that’s not a testimony to my skills but Reykjavik being, well… picture perfect!


Not only is Alesund in Norway one of the most colourful towns I’ve ever been to, but it’s also the prettiest. Just look at it! It looks like a stained glass window! To get this panoramic view of the town and the Sunnmore Alps you should walk the 418 steps from the town park to viewpoint Aksla.


To take the sting out of harsh winters you will discover a surprising amount of brightly painted houses and buildings in many high Arctic towns like Longyearbyen. Trees and most common types of flowers don’t grow so far up North so to add a splash of colour to the Arctic tundra we have these brightly-coloured beauties.

Notting Hill

With its abundance of bookshops, Notting Hill is a must-visit place for literature lovers. But it’s also a must for anyone with a weakness for cute and colourful houses, especially if one of them used to be home to George Orwell. It’s a great pleasure walking down streets entwined with so much history.


You don’t have to walk far to get an idea of how colourful Copenhagen is, but for the biggest splashes of colour head over to Nyhvan, a 17th-Century waterfront filled to the brim with cafes, restaurants and boats. It does get busy there so if you’re looking to escape the crowds and see a different side to Copenhagen, visit Freetown Christiania, known commonly as a hippy commune filled with vibrant houses and wall murals.


Berlin isn’t like the others in this list; instead of painted buildings I’m talking street art. There’s no getting away from it in Berlin. Tip: Don’t miss this alley in Hackescher Markt, and Teufelsberg Spy Station.

Gamla Stan and Stockholm’s Underground

Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan is a Baltic beauty (as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, let us not forget) but what I really, really, really love about Stockholm is it’s underground art exhibition spanning over 90 of Stockholm’s 100 underground stations.


It’s no secret that I fell in love with Lisbon, obviously the vast array of museums and great weather had something to do with it, but all the street art and patterned tiles on the buildings made it an instant hit.


Norway’s 3rd largest city has a vibrant café culture, and the best way to enjoy it is by parking up at Bakklandet, Trondheim’s old quarter that lies on the eastern side of the Nidelva River.


Brighton is one of those places everyone loves. It’s less than an hour away from London but the vibe couldn’t be more different. Well, actually I guess you could describe it a bit like Camden by the beach, but much prettier. These beach huts make any visit feel like you’re on holiday.


Don’t you hate it when you go somewhere and it’s not until you return home that you realised you missed out on seeing something amazing? Well that frustration for me is Venice. I can’t believe I’ve visited not once but TWICE and had never heard of Burano, an islands located only 7 kilometres north of Venice. Shame on me.


This is another one of those high Arctic towns (in fact it’s the northernmost town of mainland Europe) that needs a splash of colour when the weather gets harsh in winter. With it’s harbour and brightly painted buildings, it’s one of the most charming places I’ve been.


From any direction, with it’s colourful buildings painted in shades of blue, pink, green and yellow pastel and highly detailed structures, you are certain to find beauty on any corner. Prague is a city for the romantics.


Out of all the places I’ve listed, the Main Square of Poznan is perhaps the most colourful and also my favourite. When I read lists about colourful places, I’m always astounded that this place is never on it – so here’s to rectifying that!

Copyright © 2014 by The Culture Map. This article was written by Shing Yoong and originally published at The Culture Map