8. Guanajuato – Mexico
The silver city of Guanajuato is the most colorful in all of Mexico, one celebrated for its cultural and mineral importance during the colonial period and beyond. For 250 years, the Guanajuato silver mines were the most productive in the world, providing 30% of the world’s silver. A city shot up around these mines as they were being explored, and the colonial-era architecture is evidence of this building boom. Yet the spirit of Guanajuato is reflected in the color of those buildings, varied across the full spectrum from one end of town to the other. Like others on this list, the colorful city of Guanajuato is also now celebrated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Wroclaw – Poland
Despite its tumultuous past, the city of Wroclaw, Poland has long embraced color as a part of its cultural identity. As Europe warred around it, Wroclaw has been a city of Germany, Prussia, Austria and finally Poland, where it is now the 4th largest city of its newest country. The buildings of its city center are rich in color, progressing from earth tones to pastels in a very old-world manner. This colorful take on classical architecture makes it one of the most colorful cities in Europe, and a departure from the rest of the entries on this list. While Wroclaw is varied in color, it has a most subtle-yet-effective way of communicating it to its visitors. Where some cities are over the top, something about Wroclaw strikes you as “just right”.
The favelas (or shanty towns) of Rio de Janeiro can be difficult and dangerous for those who call them home. Over 11 million Brazilians live in favelas like those in Rio, where sanitation, running water and even police access are not guaranteed. If you can view them from afar, there is a strange beauty to their nature, one recognized by Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn. Koolhaas and Urhahn visited favelas in Rio to work with the locals to create brilliant works of colorful art on the walls of the homes they live in. Simply called Favela Painting, the duo’s manner of charitable art makes the locals the artists and their city the canvas, instilling pride in a place that few would find desirable. This work by the people of Rio might be the most colorful neighborhood in the world, clearly the gem of our list of ten.