You’ll want to start checking these photogenic locations off your bucket list immediately.
For those of us with a serious case of wanderlust, it’s hard to keep track of all the places we want to visit. Traveling to an exotic location, especially one that’s a little off the beaten path, allows us to immerse ourselves in a culture that’s completely different from our own. If you can’t get enough of art museums during your travels, think outside the box when it’s time to update your bucket list — because certain beautifully decorated communities and villages are works of art themselves.
From Europe to Asia to Africa to South America, these eight sites have earned a place on the ultimate travel bucket list for people who love being immersed in beauty.
1. Tunnel of Love (between the villages of Obreja and Glimboca, Romania)
This hidden European gem of tree canopies is a natural wonder. The tunnel falls on railway tracks formed by trees that grow on either side, evoking a dreamlike quality.
It’s a little tricky to find, but the remote location adds to its charm. And, living up to its name, the Tunnel of Love is the perfect place to capture some photos with your special someone — or your best travel buddy, because love comes in all forms.
2. Wisteria Tunnel (Kitakyushu, Japan)
The Kawachi Fuji Garden is home to approximately 150 trees and 22 types of wisteria flowers. The two exquisite wisteria tunnels look like they’re straight from the pages of your favorite childhood fairy tale. Although the tunnels are the main attraction, there are also wisteria domes and trellises that are equally breathtaking. Even the scent of the blossoms is magical.
If Wisteria Tunnel is at the top of your bucket list, make sure to book your trip for the springtime (ideally between late April and early May) when the entire garden is in full bloom.
3. Rainbow Village (Randusari, Indonesia)
If you’re looking to add a serious pop of color to your travels (and Instagram feed), the village of Kampung Pelangi is a dream come true. It’s full of no fewer than 223 rainbow houses. Each is painted in a minimum of three shades, complete with overlaid 3D drawings. Even the village’s bridge and benches are consistent with the rainbow theme.
4. Gaudí’s Park Güell (Barcelona, Spain)
Barcelona is already on many people’s bucket lists, largely because Park Güell is such a sight to behold. This public park in the Gràcia district is comprised of natural gardens and unique architectural elements courtesy of Antoni Gaudí. Highlights include the mosaic salamander, the pavilion, the viaduct, the doric columns and the serpentine bench.
The park’s bright mosaics are everywhere you turn — including on the ceilings, so don’t forget to look up! While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit the nearby Sagrada Família, a Roman Catholic church that was also designed by Gaudí.
5. Painted Village (Zalipie, Poland)
Are you a lover of flora and fauna? Then you might want to update your bucket list to include this small Polish village (population: 700) located outside Kraków. We’re not exaggerating when we say that everything is decorated in flowers.
The tradition began as a matter of practicality — women covered up soot stains in their houses by painting flowers over them. Today the floors, ceilings and everything in between are covered in painted flowers. The flowery trend took off in a major way and even the village’s church fits the theme. The locals take it seriously, too, and can often be spotted wearing floral attire.
6. São Paulo Street Art (São Paulo, Brazil)
We all love to spot the occasional piece of beautiful street art, but São Paulo’s stunning graffiti is in a class of its own. The city’s infrastructure is mainly concrete, so artists from near and far have taken matters into their own hands to brighten up the city.
Graffiti artists risk life and limb to paint the city’s skyscrapers, highways and tunnels. Because graffiti is illegal in Brazil, the beautiful art is frequently painted over — so new art emerges every day. In addition to local artists, major talents from across the globe travel to Brazil to paint the concrete.
7. Sidi Bou Said (Tunisia)
Against the backdrop of the stunning deep-blue sea, the entire village of Sidi Bou Said is comprised of blue-and-white architecture. Everywhere you turn, you’ll see white walls and staircases complemented by imperial blue doors, shutters, window frames and even decorative iron grilles. Explore the winding streets and climb well-hidden crooked steps to find gardens, flower-filled courtyards and artists’ studios.
Only the largest doors depart from the blue-and-white theme, and they’re a special feature of Sidi Bou Said. These massive ancient doors are decorated with the village’s traditional motifs of crescents, minarets and stars.
8. Umbrella Street (Águeda, Portugal)
There’s no wrong time to visit Portugal, but we recommend July because that’s when the annual Ágitagueda art festival is held in Águeda. Although “umbrellas” and “art” don’t tend to be synonymous, one look at The Umbrella Sky Project is sure to convince you.
As part of the festival, hundreds of colorful umbrellas are hung over the promenades and streets of the city. Rooftop cables are used to string the umbrellas together, and they form a geometric pattern that cast changing shadows on the roads below. In addition to being beautiful, the umbrellas are also practical — they provide much-needed shade from the sun.
As part of the festival, attendees can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as workout classes, live music and street art. The festival itself is free of charge, which is yet another reason to add it to your bucket list.