No, you don’t need to adjust your screen, and this is not the Twilight Zone. These incredible places actually exist, and feature such incredible and unusual colors that it’s hard to believe they’re not digitally enhanced. See if you recognize any of thsese 40 surreal colorful locations around the world.
1. Kawachi Fuji Garden, Kitakyushu, Japan
Tthe private Kawachi Fuji Garden remains one of Japan’s better kept secrets. Located in the Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyushu, the garden is home to 150 trees, broken into 22 distinct breeds of wisteria, and costs between 300-1000 yen to enter depending on the season.
2. Canola flower fields, Yunnan, China
These yellow canola flowers bloom in early spring, giving the small county of Luoping in Yunnan the appearance of a golden ocean. These flowers don’t just attract humans, though; beware of the bees.
3. Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The colors in this hot spring have been more thoroughly researched than the distinctive pink hue of Lake Hillier and are definitely due to bacterial colonies lining its walls. Wow!
4. Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan
Sprawling over an area of 470 areas, the Hitachi Seaside Park is best known for the “Nemophila Harmony,” a massive flower festival held in May celebrating the blooming of over 4.5 million translucent blue Nemophila flowers. The park is also home to 170 types of tulips, over a million daffodils, and myriad other flowers.
5. Fly Geyser, Northern Nevada
An accidental man-made phenomenon, Fly Geyser is the byproduct of well drilling in the 1960s. Sadly, it’s on private property.
6. Sagano Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Japan
Designated as both a Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty under the Japanese Monument classification system, Arashiyama is located on the western edge of Kyoto. Another season-dependent region, tourism to Arashiyama peaks during the spring and fall, with the blooming of cherry blossoms and the color changes of autumn.
7. Zhangye Danxia, Southwest China
More popularly known as the “Rainbow Mountains of China,” the Zhangye Danxia landforms cover an area of almost 300 square miles, and are formed from geological processes unique to China.
8. Yi Peng, Thailand
Celebrated annually throughout Thailand and parts of Laos, but with the most impressive display at Chiang Mai, the festival of merit now coincides with Loi Krathong, and is celebrated together by releasing a seemingly infinite amount of lanterns both into the sky, and floating along the waters. Europeans do this for fun, these days.
9. Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is a portion of coast on the Italian Riviera composed of five villages, built on terraces that overlook the sea.
10. Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Australia
There is no consensus on why this particular lake is pink, but some hypotheses include the presence of dye produced by bacteria in the water, or colonies of red bacteria living in the lake’s salt crusts.
11. Tulip fields, The Netherlands
As the world’s main producer of tulips, some 3 billion tulip flowers are grown annually in the Netherland’s Duin- en Bollenstreek. The prime time to see the tulips is between the end of March and the beginning of May.
12. Santorini, Greece
A small island located in the southern Aegean Sea off Greece’s southeastern coast, Santorini is renowned for its blue-roofed, whitewashed architecture, killer sunsets, and its fascinating volcanic activity. Get me there, now!
13. Burano, Venice, Italy
Burano is located about 4 miles from the city of Venice. The colors of the houses are subject to a strict, government-regulated system; one must submit a formal request to paint one’s home.
14. Black Forest, Germany
Home to its own unique breed of cattle, horses, and a giant earthworm, the Black Forest is part of a mountain range situated in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the southwestern region of Germany. The actual forest consists mostly of Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, and White Pine trees, and is riddled with popular hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails.
15. Chefchaouen, Morocco
A mountain town in northwestern Morocco, Chefchaouen is named for the mountain peaks above the town, which have the appearance of two goat horns. The countryside surrounding this city is renowned as a prolific source of kief.
16. Valparaiso, Chile
This Chilean port city, also known as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific,” is where Chile’s National Congress has convened since 1990. Valparaiso is home to South America’s very first fire department, as well as a famed and elaborate system of funicular elevators.
17. Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Havasu creek plummets 100 feet over a vertical cliff in the Grand Canyon, landing in a pool rich in calcium carbonate. Because the mineral content of the creek is so high, the configuration of the waterfall is always changing.
18. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Just southwest of Havasu Falls is Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona. Formed by flash floods roaring through sandstone, the canyon’s name in Navajo actually translates to “the place where water runs through rocks.” Beautiful!
19. Rotorua Hot Springs, New Zealand
Powerful geothermal activity in the area has created an array of hot springs and mud pools in and around Rotorua, New Zealand. The downside of all of that geothermal activity is that it causes heavy hydrogen sulfide emissions.
20. Daigo-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Daigo-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. I think this photo speaks volumes.
21. Panjin Red Beach, China
Located in the Liaohe River Delta, this beach is home to a massive population of seaweed, which flourishes in the saline-alkali soil.
22. Takinoue Park, Hokkaido, Japan
This 2.5-acre park is famous for the Shibazakura, that grows there and blooms in May and June. In fact, there is a dedicated Pink Moss Festival put on by the city of Hokkaido every year.
23. Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Favela Painting Project is an ongoing Kickstarter campaign to improve the feel and appearance of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Their first painting project was executed at Santa Marta, and they continue to recruit local youths to help beautify the city.
24. Annual Umbrella Installation, Agueda, Portugal
Umbrella Sky Project installs a canopy of brightly colored umbrellas over the streets of Agueda from July to September. Not only do they provide shade from the strong summer sun, but they also add a startling pop of color and a break from the everyday to residents’ lives. Interesting idea.
25. Dendy Street Beach, Melbourne, Australia
The Dendy Street Beach in Melbourne features precisely 82 brightly painted “bathing boxes,” all of the same size and shape, usually used for shelter or for changing in and out of swimwear. All of these boxes retain their original Victorian-era architecture, and are the only surviving such structures close to the city’s business district.
Though the outer bark of the rainbow eucalyptus is a brownish-purple, it flakes away to reveal the green inner bark, which matures into blue, then orange, then purple and maroon. Amazing!
27. La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martin spent three years, from 1954-1957, converting this closed-rail-line-turned-landfill into a street museum. Painted in bright colors, the traditional pedestrian alley called Caminito hosts tango performances.
28. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
On the banks of the Stubla River, in the Rivne Oblast province in western Ukraine, lies the small settlement of Klevan. Founded in 1458, and with a population of just 7,470, the town is one of only three “urban-type settlements” in the Rivne Raion district of Rivne Oblast. The popular “tunnel of love” is actually tree coverage over a railroad track.
29. Longyearbyen, Norway
Not only is Longyearbyen the world’s northernmost town, but also the world’s northernmost settlement with greater than 1,000 residents. In mid-July, temperatures may get as high as 45˚F, but for most of the year, it stays resolutely within the single digits.
30. Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Known as the fashion center of Japan, Shibuya is renowned for its incredibly bright and colorful nightlife. Aside from the thousands of neon signs, Shibuya is also home to Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crosswalk in the world
31. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
These 4,086 square miles in southwest Bolivia make up the world’s largest salt flat. The vast and incredibly flat plains and clear skies of Salar de Uyuni make it both one of the most famous “natural mirrors” on the planet, as well as an ideal altimeter calibration site for Earth observation satellites.
32. Jodhpur, India
Founded in 1459, the “Sun City” of India is another curiously blue construct on the edge of the desert. The blue paint practice is thought to have originated from Brahmins painting their homes blue to distinguish them as a holier status than the surroundings, a trend that then caught on for the balance of the city. Marvelous!
33. Caño Cristales River, Colombia
Also known as “The River of Five Colors” or “The Liquid Rainbow,” the colors of this South American river are primarily due to a dense population of corals and aquatic herbs. However, due to its high concentration of sedimentary minerals, Caño Cristales is completely devoid of fish. I guess beauty always comes at a cost.
34. St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
With its hilly terrain and labyrinth of streets, this “San Francisco of Canada” has been inhabited from the 16th century onward. The majority of the city is protected as historical landmark, as it is considered the oldest English settlement in North America.
35. Júzcar, Spain
In the province of Málaga in southern Spain, Júzcar was originally one of the “White Towns of Andalusia” until 2011, when Sony Pictures used 1,100 gallons of blue paint to cover the town as a promotion for the upcoming Smurfs movie.
36. Lavender fields, Provence, France
Huge fields of lavender are grown and harvested every year in France and the UK. Provence in southeastern France is particularly renowned for its geometric purple landscapes, blooming in late June and early July. I’m speechless!
37. Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil
Located at the center of the historic district in Salvador, Bahia, Pelourinho was painted as part of a cultural revival project. Today, it is a center for the arts, featuring daily events like musical performances, dances, short plays, and live band practices.
38. Reed Flute Cave, Guilin, China
This natural limestone cave in China is over 180 million years old. Ink inscriptions on the cave walls have been dated all the way back to 792 AD.
39. Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, Africa
Formerly the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap was one of the original hubs of Malay culture, the original movement to bring Islam to South Africa. I’d love to live there, but I hear it’s a bit expensive these days.
40. Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, Tasmania
With white sand beaches and clear turquoise water, this small bay is set apart from thousands of other beaches in the world by its incredible bright orange rocks; their coloration is due to a very persistent species of lichen.