You’ve spent Holi in northern India; you’ve been to Udaipur, Mathura and Vrindavan and even to Banaras. If your inner millennial needs newer experiences and more choices, here is a list of seven destinations you can visit through the year that promise a spectacle of colour with minimal human intervention. From the natural beauty to colourful towns to pretty sea-side resorts, check these places out and add a dash of colour to your travels.
Valley of Flowers, India
This region isn’t open to visitors right around holi, but the UNESCO-protected region offer some of the most beautiful, colourful vistas in the country. In full bloom, the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is a nature lover’s dream. Home to various species of flowers, it’s also a great place to spot snow leopards, musk deer, red foxes and birds like the Himalayan monal pheasant. Visit the Valley of Flowers, between June and October.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
One very good reason to get to the Great Barrier Reef right away is the fact that the world’s largest coral reef is dying because of human intervention. Bad news aside, the Great Barrier Reef still holds enough colour and wondrous aquatic life (hello, clownfish!) for you to explore under water. The kaleidoscope of the reefs living in harmony with seagrass and thousands of fish is a sight to behold. The ecosystem of the coral reef stretches for 2,300 km and is so vast that it can be seen from outer space – that’s reason enough to go there before we lose this natural wonder forever.
Scandinavia hosts the biggest outer-worldly spectacle of all, with the skies lighting up with the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, in winter. The lights have fascinated travellers for generations, simply because there is no other natural phenomenon that rivals them. Norway’s Tromso region is known as the gateway to the Northern Lights because of its near-perfect positioning on the Earth’s axis that gives travellers the highest chances of watching the Lights. With their legendary status and grand spectacle over our skies, it’s not difficult to imagine that the Aurora Borealis are heavenly lights shining down on us.
You thought Naples was filled with Italian gangsters? Think again as you stroll through the streets of Procida island that has served as a backdrop to many popular movies, including The Talented Mr Ripley. After all, where else can you find buildings in all shapes and colours reflected in the crisp blue Mediterranean Sea. The pastel hues are best experienced while having lunch at one of the many seaside restaurants while you enjoy local delicacies like rabbit stew and spaghetti with sea urchin.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands
In the spring, there is no way you can afford to miss visiting the tulip fields spread across the Netherlands. Tulips – in red, pink and yellow – dot the landscape, sitting beside daffodils and hyacinths. The best part? It takes just about an hour to get to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam. These gardens attract almost a million visitors each year, all of whom are there to view the seven million flowers planted there each year.
Zhangye Danxia, China
Chances are you haven’t heard of Zhangye Danxia yet. Don’t worry, this geological gem is unlikely to remain hidden much longer. The mountains in Zhangye Danxia have taken on their peculiar colour thanks to millennia-long deposits of sandstone and minerals. Complete your trip with a visit to the Zhangye Wetland Museum to learn more about the extraordinary landscape of the region.
Retba Lake, Senegal
Get ready to explore the most unusual lake you will ever have seen. Retba Lake, also known as the Lac Rose, is located on Senegal’s Cap Vert and is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a line of dunes. That, along with the algae and a high salt content turns the lake into a pink waterway during the dry season from November to June. For those who have visited the Dead Sea already, you will know what to expect. Retba offers you the chance to float on its waters as well, since the water has over 40 percent salinity. Unlike the Dead Sea though, Retba supports aquatic life, with the entire site being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get here before the crowds do.
Images courtesy: Valley of flowers via Araghu/Wikipedia, shutterstock.com