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9 “Classic Blue” travel destinations inspired by 2020’s Pantone colour of the year

The colour experts at Pantone have revealed their Colour of the Year for 2020: Classic Blue (official code 19-4052). Pantone’s Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman said the soothing hue was chosen to “encourage us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking, challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective, and open the flow of communication.” Pantone wants to “bring a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit” with this restful colour, saying that the mellow shade of blue “highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” So, in celebration of this year’s calming shade, we’ve put together our favourite blue travel destinations where you can see this dreamy colour in real life.

1. Santorini, Greece

Gleaming white buildings topped with bright blue domes; doors, walls and windows washed in blue; shining blue skies and the deep blue of the Aegean Sea – Santorini is Classic Blue at its finest. The Greeks have also bathed the rest of the Greek Islands in blue. It’s believed that the blue ‘belts’ of painted fences, walls and church cupolas provide protection against evil. The beautiful blue flows into nature, and you’ll find the calming effect of the colour in the oceans and skies around the islands.

2. Chefchaouen, Morocco

Morocco’s ‘Blue City’ could be the global capital for Classic Blue, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020. Known as the ‘Blue Pearl of Morocco’, Chefchaouen’s buildings and streets are washed in rich shades of blue. The pretty town is set in the Rif Mountains, and the blue colour originates back to the importance of Tekhelet in ancient Judaism. The Hebrew Bible frequently mentions Tekhelet, a blue dye used in the spiritual clothing of the High Priests and royalty. The original source of the Tekhelet (thought to be a marine creature known as the Ḥillazon) was lost hundreds of years ago. But the colour remains an important symbol of divinity throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The city of Chefchaouen is a beautiful ode to the colour, with a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for wandering through the blue.


3. Peyto Lake, Canada

The Classic Blue of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is truly otherworldly, with sapphire lakes and icefields. Go in search of Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020 by hiking to Lake Louise. You can then head to Bow Summit for the best view of the 2.8 kilometre-long Peyto Lake. You can also hike to the Peyto Glacier and the Wapta Icefields that melt into Peyto Lake during the summer months, and give it its incredible gem-like colour.

4. Jodhpur, India

Pantone may call their Colour of the Year ‘Classic Blue’, but Jodhpur calls it ‘Brahmin Blue’. Known as the ‘Blue City’ of India, Jodhpur’s buildings are doused in blue. It is believed the colour was traditionally used to show where members of the priestly Brahmin caste lived. The people of Jodhpur have since painted the distinctive blue all over town. You’ll find winding blue alleyways and boxy blue houses. Head to the top of the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, for a wonderful view over the whole blue city. Surrounded by the dusty red landscape and shimmering sky, Jodhpur is a striking tribute to Classic Blue.


5. Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

You’ll need to head Down Under to find the little slice of blue paradise that is New Zealand. The country is bursting with Classic Blue, from the sparkling azure seas of Abel Tasman National Park, to the emerald volcanic lakes of Tongariro. One of the most magical spots is Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand. The lake has an intense milky-turquoise colour that comes from the fine rock-flour, ground by glaciers, suspended in the water. Lake Tekapo is also part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, so you can also watch a blanket of twinkling stars light up the indigo skies each night.


6. Great Blue Hole, Belize

When Mother Nature created Classic Blue, she surely started with the Great Blue Hole in Belize. This vast ocean sinkhole is a monumental ode to the colour – it’s so big you can see it from outer space. The hole is 318 metres in diameter and 124 metres deep, with a circle of deep blue at its centre. Psychedelic teals and turquoise shades ring the Great Blue Hole, full of colourful coral and marine life. You can go snorkelling and diving through the legendary Caribbean reef. Or take a thrilling helicopter ride over the massive Blue Hole to get a bird’s-eye view of Pantone’s Classic Blue in all its glory.

7. Crater Lake, United States

Take one look at Crater Lake and you’ll instantly recognise Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020. Classic Blue sweeps through the deepest lake in the United States, making it one of the bluest bodies of water in the country. The lake is a huge sinkhole that formed when a volcano called Mount Mazama erupted, creating a caldera that slowly filled with deep Classic Blue water. The lake is more than 600-metres deep and has a twinkling crystal look, thanks to the sunlight that plunges over 100-metres down. Surrounded by the Cascade Mountain Range in Oregon, Crater Lake is the perfect place to relax and contemplate Pantone’s Classic Blue.


8. Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Plitvice National Park is where Mother Nature came to show off. It’s a fairytale land of Classic Blue, from the crystalline waterfalls to the deep blue lakes dotted around the park. UNESCO declared Plitvice a World Heritage Site in 1979. Today you’ll find winding wooden walkways through the lakes and trees, so you can immerse yourself in Classic Blue. Whether the leaves turn golden in autumn, or white with snow in winter, one thing stays the same – the dazzling blue water.


9. Oeschinen Lake, Switzerland

The shimmering Oeschinen Lake is a beautiful embodiment of Pantone’s Classic Blue. Picturesque mountains and forest surround the lake in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Sinking to a depth of 56 metres, the lake is a magical pot of Classic Blue and the perfect place to relax in nature. Just across the border in neighbouring Austria, you’ll find Lake Attersee, another alpine ode to Classic Blue. Set just outside of Salzburg, you’ll find charming old cottages and secret swimming spots around the lake. Take a dip in the gorgeous water and immerse yourself in soothing Classic Blue.

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