Our planet is full of colourful sites, from cities painted all manner of pastel shades, to the deep blue sea, to the verdant grasses of our tropical rainforests. And even those unusual, unnatural colours exist in abundance all around us, electric blues and vibrant reds. So here is a guide to the most colourful destinations on earth, places where the tones of our planet just seem that little bit sharper.
Lake Retba, Senegal
One of the more bizarre sights on planet earth, Lake Retba is a one square mile lake near the Atlantic coast of Senegal, just north of the capital Dakar. First time visitors to this unusual lake can’t help but be a little repulsed, and yet also a little intrigued. For Lake Retba is entirely pink. And not just a muted, toned down pink. But the bright, neon version. And nor is the lake some peaceful and quiet oasis, as each day hundreds of workers wade out into its waters to gather pink salt from the lake’s bed. With a salt content of over 40%, this is one of the most saline inland lakes in the world, and has a natural buoyancy that allows anyone to float on its surface easily. So if you are in Senegal doing some volunteer work, say teaching English or building infrastructure, don’t just stick to Goree Island or Senegal’s famed beaches, try out Lake Retba as well.
The Lavender Fields of Provence, France
Anyone visiting Provence speaks of the same enchanted aroma in the air, a sweet perfume of light and floral notes that caresses and soothes. The smell is actually the scent of lavender, which blows down from the fields and into the towns and cities, making this beautiful region of France one of the best smelling places in the world. And any trip into the gorgeous Provence countryside is bound to be a colourful one, with entire hectares given over to bright purple lavender, which is used in everything from soaps and shower gels to perfumes and tasty chocolates.
Dallol Volcano, Ethiopia
Dallol depressions and volcanoes exist all over East Africa, and plenty of people embarking on safari holidays in Africa to sites such as the Serengeti or Masai Mara make excursions to visit them. Yet the finest example has to be the Dallol Volcano in north-eastern Ethiopia, where decades of eruptions have mixed white-hot magma with Miocene salts, creating an unusual and polychromatic display of colour. Bright yellow pools of bubbling, boiling water turn into geysers in a second, blinding white salt formations dazzle as they climb up cliff-sides, deep turquoise sink-holes change colour by the hour and pools of green acid simmer menacingly. This is truly the most colourful place on the planet, with all the colours of the rainbow, and much more, represented.
Tulip Farms, Netherlands
Though the Netherlands is known for being flat and not particularly interesting to look at, the country’s rural landscapes also provide some of the most colourful areas on the planet. Anyone who has flown to Amsterdam will have glimpsed the unbelievable multi-coloured scenes below them as they descend, with strips of land in all imaginable colours, tones and hues shining brightly in the sun. These strips of colour just so happen to be the tulip fields and farms of the Netherlands, where tulip growing is a serious business. In fact this country sells over 12 billion cut flowers every single year, bringing in almost €4Billion into the nation. Ideal for cycling through, the Dutch landscape is therefore a many shaded testament to this gigantic global industry, and a two wheeled trip through the countryside here will expose you to more colours than you ever knew existed.
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