Brighten up your day with one of the world’s most colourful places

05/11/2015 16:52

Written by Bradt Travel Guides

Masjed-e Nasir al-Molk, Iran

This charming mosque in Shiraz feels like a personal and secret discovery when chanced upon. It’s a two-ivan mosque built 1876–87 by Mohammad Hassan, with a covered arcade on the left (facing the sanctuary) and the winter mosque, also known as the western prayer hall, on the right. 

Masjed-e Nasir al-Molk Mosque Shiraz Iran by JPRichard Shutterstock© JPRichard, Shutterstock 

The entry vestibule is smothered in painted tiles of floral ornaments framing small pictures of landscapes clearly inspired by Russian sketches. The winter prayer hall is interesting as it has stone cable-spiral columns very similar to those of the Vakil Mosque, and most of the vividly coloured window glass dates from the 19th century. Early morning is the best time for photography. 

Lac Rose, Senegal

Named after its striking pink hue, the 3km2 Lac Rose lies some 35km northeast of Senegal's capital. Depending on the season and the light, the waters here range from a disorienting Pepto-Bismol sherbet pink during the dry season (November to June) to a murkier, less alien but still noticeably amaranth shade once the rains start to fall and dilute the waters. Backed by an incongruous cluster of sand dunes, the scene here can take on a truly sci-fi hue when the lake is in full bloom. 

Lac Rose, Senegal © Arnault, Wikimedia Commons© Arnault, Wikimedia Commons

The explanation for the otherworldly fuchsia waves lies in the lake’s hypersalinity. With concentrations of up to 40% in parts, it’s in a league with Djibouti’s Lac Assal and the Dead Sea as one of the saltiest bodies of water anywhere on the planet, and you’re equally buoyant when trying to go for a swim. 

Nova Scotia in autumn

Trees cover close to 80% of Nova Scotia, but aren’t just evergreen conifers, something that becomes even more apparent if you visit in the autumn. At this time, hardwoods such as maple, birch, oak, aspen and mountain ash burst into an explosion of brilliant colour.

Nova Scotia Canada by Vadim.Petrov Shutterstock© Vadim.Petrov, Shutterstock

Whilst the leaves of many species turn yellow, the colour pigmentation of red oak, mountain ash, blueberry and huckleberry leaves, for example, turn red, whilst the colour of sugar and red maple leaves runs the range from yellow to purple. When contrasted with the dark green of the evergreens and the blue (hopefully) of the sky, the result is one of nature’s most stunning displays.

In a typical year, the ‘leaf-peeping’ season runs from the end of September until late October, and is at its height in the second week of October. Nature being nature, not all years are typical: summer 2016, for example, was sunnier and far drier than the norm, confusing the leaves into turning weeks earlier. 

Sighişoara, Transylvania

Sighisoara Transylvania Romania by Gaspar Janos Shutterstpcl© Gaspar Janos, Shutterstock  

This is the archetypal Transylvanian town, just how we imagine it, complete with fairytale clock tower, a Gothic church on the hill and ancient (but extremely colourful) medieval houses lurching into narrow cobble-stoned streets.

Harare, Zimbabwe

Jacaranda trees Harare Zimbabwe by Jez Bennett Shutterstock© Jez Bennett, Shutterstock

Zimbabwe's capital is colourful both aesthetically and culturallyits wide streets lined with jacaranda and flamboyant trees are home to upmarket shops, craft markets and trendy art galleries. 

Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Longyearbyen Svalbard by Tyler Olson, Shutterstock© Tyler Olson, Shutterstock

The colourful huts in Svalbard’s main settlement provide fresh relief from the bleak, barren landscape of the archipelago’s wilderness. 

Tulip Garden, Kashmir

Tulip Garden Srinagar Kashmir India by J&K Toursim© J&K Tourism

Srinagar's Tulip Garden built in memory of assassinated prime minister Indira Gandhi, is a riot of colour in the springtime, with different coloured tulips carefully planted in stripes across the hillside to maximise their visual impact. The blooms don’t last very long, however, so get there while you can.

Areguá, Paraguay

Aregua Paraguay by Marco Muscara

One of the key towns to visit in a Circuito de Oro tour, Areguá is bursting with little art galleries, ceramic shops and gorgeous architecture.

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