Celebrate Blue Monday with us and take a look at some of the most magical azure-hued destinations on Earth. From awe-inspiring natural marvels to unique blue-toned towns, there are many places around the world bathed in tones of aqua, cyan, ultramarine, and navy, making for a very colorful holiday. Here are our top picks for places that embrace the January Blues.
Fire up your camera, because we promise that your Instagram will never look better than during a trip to Chefchaouen. The ‘blue city’ of Morocco is entirely painted in a vibrant blue color, made even more striking by the contrasting russet surrounds of the Sahara Desert. There are many theories as to why the blue streets of Chefchaouen are colored in this way. One is that it deters mosquitoes. Another is that the city represents the sky on Earth. Whatever the reason, this gorgeous town in the north of the country is an unforgettable place to visit. Stroll around the streets and alleyways for a peek into the everyday lives of residents, and visit Chefchaouen Medina for a taste of the hustle and bustle of a traditional Moroccan marketplace.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
When you picture a Greek island, it’s a fair bet that it’s the blue-domed roofs of Santorini’s sugar cube houses that come to mind first. It’s Oia, with its white and blue painted buildings clinging to the cliffside over the azure Aegean Sea, that is Santorini’s most famous sight. The reasoning behind the pretty color scheme is that it was, as recently as 1974, the law that they had to be painted in this way. The rulers of Greece decreed that the colors would inspire nationalism and pride among Greek citizens. Nowadays, the rules are far more relaxed, but as many travelers are drawn to the blue-and-white color scheme, most owners choose to keep it.
Oia is Greece’s best place to see the symphony of blue tones that the country is so known for. A trip to Santorini is also not complete without seeing a famous sunset. Oia Castle is by far the most popular spot to get that perfect shot of the windmills, the town, and the sea bathed in a sunset glow. With popularity comes crowds, and Oia Castle gets seriously busy around the sunset. Get there early and stake our spot a few hours before sundown to get clear views from the terraces.
Deep in the heart of Andalusia, there’s one little town that looks a little different from the other white-painted villages in the region. This town is Juzcar, and it is instantly recognizable for being a particularly garish shade of blue. If we were to put a name to the shade, it would be ‘Smurf Blue’.
There is a very good reason for this odd aesthetic. Until 2011, Juzcar was like every other Andalusian town. Few tourists were visiting Juzcar, and the cash-strapped town needed something special to tempt people in. So when Sony Espana asked if they could paint the town blue to promote their new Smurfs movie, the town agreed. Although the studio offered to return the buildings to their classic white hue after the film’s release, there was such an increase in visitor numbers, drawn to the unique blue town of Andalusia, that residents voted to keep the buildings as they were.
Every Monday is Blue Monday in Jodhpur! Rajasthan’s second-largest city is known as India’s ‘Blue City’ and there can be no wonder as to why that is. It’s painted almost entirely in a relaxing shade of blue, which some think is to honor the Hindu God Shiva. Another name for Jodhpur is ‘The Sunshine City’, because the sun shines on almost every day of the year, making it a fantastic holiday destination for lovers of sunny weather. Jodhpur is a huge city, so there is plenty to see and do. The majestic Mehrangarh Fort and the Umaid Bhawan Palace are some of the most stunning architectural sights in all of India and are must-visits when exploring the city.
Bluebell woods in the UK
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of some blue-tinged holiday fun. At certain times of the year, take a wander through the woods in the UK, and you’ll be greeted by a beautiful carpet of English bluebells. You’ve probably seen the internet awash with pictures of bluebells carpeting woodland floors. But you might be wondering ‘when do bluebells flower?’ Spring is the best time to see them, specifically from late April to mid-May. You can see them all over the country, particularly in well-shaded areas, but some of the very best displays are in the Lake District, Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, and Buckland Abbey in Dorset.
The Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy
With a name as mystical as The Blue Grotto, this natural wonder in Capri has quite a lot to live up to. We are thrilled to report that it is just as magical as the name would suggest. The Blue Grotto is Italy’s most famous natural water attraction and is a sight like something out of a fairytale. The Blue Grotto, near Capri Island, just off the Amalfi Coast, is only accessible by boat. It can only be visited when tidal conditions are right. Once inside, visitors encounter a miraculous sight. The sunlight appears to shine beneath the surface, turning the water an electric shade of blue.
The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
If you’re worried that a holiday in chilly Iceland might leave you blue from cold, book yourself an afternoon of relaxation in the famous Blue Lagoon. Reykjavik, Iceland’s beautiful capital city, is the easiest place to start a trip to the popular attraction. There are buses from the city and Keflavik Airport. Alternatively, you could hire a car and make the Blue Lagoon a location on an Icelandic road trip. The Blue Lagoon is a pool of geothermally heated water, a balmy spa, and a perfect balm for soothing cold and aching muscles. There are three active ingredients in the water of the lagoon; silica, algae, and minerals. It’s the silica that gives the water its famous milky-blue hue.
The Blue Lagoon is a very popular attraction, with limited tickets, so book your time slot in advance. There is a way to enjoy a much quieter and more peaceful experience in the Blue Lagoon. Iceland at night is spectacular, and the Blue Lagoon is the perfect place from which to enjoy it. During the winter, it is open until 10 pm, and midnight in the summer months. Not only is it quieter and more relaxing, but an after-dark visit in the winter might allow you to see one of nature’s most enigmatic and wondrous sights; the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. The Blue Lagoon is well away from the city lights of Reykjavik. This makes conditions perfectly dark for seeing the magical shards of light dancing across the sky.
The Underwater World of Cancun
Life comes in all colors beneath the waves off the coast of Mexico, but the dominant one is blue. Cancun, a tourist hotspot on the Yucatan Peninsula, is one of the best places in America to snorkel, swim and dive in azure water. One of the region’s unique highlights is MUSA, the Underwater Museum in Cancun. Mexico has got a rich history of art and sculpture, and there are several underwater statues in Cancun to explore, many by local artists. The statues are underwater to promote coral growth. MUSA encourages visitors to view the incredible installations from glass-bottom boats and on diving tours.
Another unique and enigmatic underwater attraction near Cancun is the cenotes. Cenotes are a network of underwater caves in Mexico, specifically in the Yucatan Peninsula. A Cancun diving expedition is a fantastic way to explore cenotes, which held spiritual significance to the Mayans.
The Big Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole in Belize looks like it could be a portal to the center of the Earth. It’s a true natural wonder, formed during the Ice Age when catastrophic flooding caused a well 400m deep. Experts venture to the Blue Hole in Belize to go diving. It is one of the most challenging dives on the planet. Some daredevil divers have even skydived into the blue hole! The water inside the hole is impenetrably dark. The secrets that it harbors have long been a mystery to scientists. It’s become a hugely popular destination for tourists and explorers and is Belize’s most visited attraction.
Marble Cathedral, Chile
Deep in the Chilean wilderness, a little-known but magical place straddles the country’s border with Argentina. The Marble Cathedral in Patagonia, Chile, is one of those natural wonders that looks as though it’s had a helping hand from some editing software, but, in truth, it really is that amazing.
The Marble Cathedral is a cave on Lago General Carrera which was formed by 6000 years of erosion. The name comes from the mineral impurities in the marble rocks in the cave. Over millennia, they have painted the walls in soft spirals of duck-egg blue. Visit when the waters are low to drift through the cavernous marble halls in a boat or kayak. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped right into a fairytale wonderland. The really cool thing about the blue swirly patterns on the walls of the Marble Cathedral? They are entirely dependent on the movement of the water, so the patterns and shades that you see will be unique to your visit.
Beautiful blue Lake Tekapo in New Zealand
New Zealand is not short of incredible natural sights, but sitting right at the top of the pile is the astonishingly blue Lake Tekapo. The vibrant hue of the water looks even brighter against the cradle of snow-capped mountains around the edge of the lake. In the spring, the soft purples and pinks of swaying Lupins complete the pretty picture. New Zealand’s most popular lake is a great place for outdoor activities, including sailing, hiking, and, for adrenaline junkies, skydiving. It’s also a fantastic place for stargazing. Dark night skies are illuminated by the glittering light of millions of stars, and views of the Milky Way’s spiral arm are common. Lake Tekapo is also home to the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, a New Zealand icon. This impossibly picturesque little building sits right on the edge of the lake. It has possibly the best view in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ready to book?
If our rundown of blue destinations has whetted your appetite for adventure, book yourself one of our fabulous vacation homes in destinations around the world. From Orlando, Florida, to Koh Samui and everywhere in between, we have a stunning portfolio of luxury villas to choose from. The Top Villas experience doesn’t stop there. We offer brilliant Travel Extras; luxury additions to your booking to make every holiday unforgettable. Choose from special touches including private chefs, equipment hire, and attraction tickets.