Okay, forget about that list above.
It’s so bland and generic.
Those are places everyone goes just to be able to say they have been there.
Let me make a better list.
Let me give you 100 places you never had considered going before you die.
- 221b Baker Street, London, UK
I have walked past it once, but I never went inside. I need to rectify this at some point. Maybe I need to yarn-bomb the place for good measure.
- The Shambles, York, UK
You know that scene in Harry Potter where he goes shopping in this odd little street with the badly proportioned houses? Yes? That actually exists In Real Life. For bonus atmosphere, try this in winter when the streets are all white. It’s like being in Yore (as in: “days of”).
- Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao
My mother grew up on Aruba, one of these former Dutch colonies in the Caribbean. Curaçao is the largest of the three islands, and also the origin of the liqueur of the same name.
- Bering land bridge, Bering Sea
The hip place to be when the next ice age comes around any century now. Follow in the footsteps of the first humans to go to America; cross from Asia to America on foot for that once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- Eritrea, Africa
Back when history was part of the mandatory curriculum I faced, they taught me this country is likely where the oldest civilizations originated.
A tiny country entirely in the Alps. Great if you enjoy skiing and snow.
- Door to Hell, Ahal Province, Turkmenistan
It’s the age old story; scientist drills for gas, scientist collapses landscape, methane gas is released and causes environmental grief, scientist sets landscape on fire. And it has been on fire since 1971.
- Fargo, ND, USA
Just because… it’s actually a place.
- Stockholm, Sweden
Go pick up a Nobel prize for something or other. I couldn’t find anything else exceptional about this city, but I guess once you leave you’ll swear it was the best place ever… just misunderstood.
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard
It’s the place to look for armoured bears.
- Mecca, Saudi Arabia
I’m as Atheist as they come, but that doesn’t change the cultural significance of the city. I reckon it’d be a great place to stand at least once. Breathe in the atmosphere.
- Jerusalem, [unclear]
And because I am an equal-opportunity Atheist, and they are both kinda close together… two for the price of one?
- Carcassonne, France
Because if you really love the board game, you should go to the place itself as well?
- Kuto, Grand Terre, New Caledonia
Beautiful sandy beaches with water the same colour as the sky.
- Zorb, Rotorua, New Zealand
Zorb; a.k.a. Hamster-balls-for-humans, looks like the best and most terrifying way to go down a hill.
- Gulf of Bothnia, Scandinavia
This is the sea between Finland and Sweden, and in winter it freezes over. And then people drive across in their cars. Because.
- Fawlty Towers, Torquay, UK
Yes, a fictional place, but based on an actual experience John Cleese had in Torquay. Of course, the hotel is nothing like it was back then, but Torquay still sounds like a fascinating interpretation of seaside holidaying.
- Baku, Azerbaijan
Site of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, it looks like a very picturesque city. And what could be wrong with a city that has a “Palace of Happiness“?
- Bock, Luxembourgh
This natural fortification in the middle of Luxembourgh City is an impressive sight; it instantly conjures visions of large medieval battles. Tunnels in the cliff-face overlook the deep chasm that cleaves the city in two.
- Harrods, London, UK
The snootiest department store in existence. For bonus points, try to enter wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
- Casablanca, Morocco
Looks like a nice mix of modern comfort and traditional architecture and customs. Also, classic movie.
- Reykjavík, Iceland
This small volcanic nation is one of the most scientifically literate nations on the planet, and densest production of art per-capita in the world. It is also number one in gender equality and they had an openly lesbian head-of-state. It sounds like it might be an Atheist mecca. Pardon the pun.
- Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia
A large tropical national park in northern-most Australia with a wide variety of plants and animals. Also, a the richest Uranium mine in the world, but ignore that bit.
- Salamanca Markets, TAS, Australia
Every Saturday in picturesque Hobart, the locals come out to sell to unwary tourists. Why not be one of them?
- Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Germany
As we stand on the cliff-edge that print-media is about to fall off into oblivion,… what better place to visit than the birth-place of movable type?
- Toledo, Ohio, USA
Because John Denver makes it sound so appealing…
- Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Guilty-as-charged… yes, this is a very stereotypical entry. But this looks like too awesome an event to actually miss. It’s a party, care to join?
- Nijmegen, the Netherlands
As (one of) the oldest cities in the Netherlands, this is definitely worth a visit. Lots of museums and architectural remnants dating back all the way to the Roman Empire.
- Llangollen, Wales, UK
Picturesque, but cold… it’s the ideal place for people that do not like temperatures above 20 degrees. Ever. Also, it’s not at all pronounced in any way you might possibly guess.
- Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand
Because we all need some more hokey in our life. A park full of optical-illusion based attractions. It reminds me of a scene in the Sam & Max adventure game by LucasArts.
- Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
If clouds are beneath you. Literally.
- Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
For a market with more than just a touch of medieval atmosphere. Spices, clothing, carpets, crafts, and on and on.
- Central Perk, New York, USA
Okay, this place is a fictional cafe from Friends, but that’s no reason not to visit it, is it? It sounds like a franchise might actually exist now, or have existed. Just keep looking. It’s gotta be out there somewhere. It’ll be there for you… when the rain starts to fall.
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
You know this place… you’ve seen it before. It’s the salt flats. I think Jeremy Clarkson raced over it, or something. (I guess he has raced over everything at one stage or another by now); still, the deadest, saltiest landscape on earth.
- Musée des égoûts de Paris, Paris, France
The sewer museum. Where you get to walk through actual sewers. And then have lunch presumably?
- Castle Combe, UK
This is what a proper village ought look like. Unsurprisingly, it can be found in Britain. There are two pubs, and now also, a gift shop. What more could one ask for?
- Cradle Mountain, TAS, Australia
I only ever saw this in the middle of winter while the lake shore was covered with snow and ice, and with too little time to walk around the lake. A very beautiful place in the middle of the mountains though.
- Red Beach, Panjin, China
This beach is covered in bright crimson seaweed; it might be a bit creepy if you saw the recent remake of War Of The Worlds though.
- Elba, Italy
Better known as Napoleon’s time-out for being a very naughty boy indeed.
- LEGOLAND, Billund, Denmark
The original park; 35 acres of LEGO-themed fun.
- Savannah, Georgia, USA
Based solely on Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil; in my mind all their parties end in paper cups with a traveller.
- Krzywy Domek, Sopot, Poland
No, that isn’t a weird lens effect. That is the actual shape of the building. It looks a bit like a plastic warped in the glaring heat of the sun. Only better.
- Vulcan, Alberta, Canada
Since the TV series came along, this town has turned into a virtual Star Trek theme-park.
- Dans Le Noir, Barcelona, Spain
Dining in the Dark; although the food is prepared in the light, all diners are in a completely darkened room where they eat whatever gets served.
- Dick’s Last Resort, Boston, USA
A restaurant. Much like any other. Where the wait-staff is always rude. Intentionally.
- The Bahamas
This collection of islands looks like the perfect place for SCUBA. Also, their site has a really nice overview of each of the islands with zooming.
- Ōkunoshima, Japan
Also known as Rabbit Island. Over 50 years without predators this island has become covered in rabbits. If you make the mistake of showing food you will get mobbed. Heck, you’ll get mobbed regardless. Better bring the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch along.
- Old Butter Market, Cork, Ireland
The largest butter market in the world! (in 1860) I can barely contain my excitement now.
- Wisteria Tunnel, Kitakyushu, Japan
You could almost mistake it for party bunting overhead. Not only is there a purposely created tunnel, there are also massive fields of wisteria trees that create a cosy low-ceilinged room outside.
- French Quarter, New Orleans, USA
It has a certain mystique about it; I hope it’s still all there. If so, there should be great food, great music, and drinks-to-go as I stroll the quarter.
- Hogs and Heiffers, New York, USA
The real-world bar that inspired Coyote Ugly. Do I need to say any more?
- Voodoo Spiritual Temple, New Orleans, USA
I misread this as a Voodoo Squirrel Temple. I was very excited. I’m not sure how I feel now though. Relieved? Sad? It’s all so confusing.
- The Casino, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Possibly the only casino in the world that is worth being able to say you have gambled in.
- Ramen Museum, Shinyokohama, Japan
Yes, you read that right. A Ramen museum. As in noodles, and nothing but noodles.
- Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria, Germany
Probably the visually most recognisable castle in the world… featured on posters and jigsaws. Why is it never on these lists?
- The Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
Quite a striking temple design… although to my eyes it bears a striking resemblance to the Sydney Opera House segments.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA
- Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, UK
Never seen it. Not even on TV. Apparently it’s good.
- St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Because at 15,000-sqm-odd it is the largest church in the world. That means it’s the only church worth seeing, right?
- Port Arthur, TAS, Australia
Ruins of one of the most hellish prisons that Australia was known for back in the good old days of the 1800s. Also the site of the last armed mass-murder in Australia before tight gun control laws were introduced (as a direct result).
- Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belgium
Because, why not travel far and wide just to see a statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain basin.
- Space Neelde, Seattle, USA
Because it’s in the Frasier skyline.
- Cirque du Soleil, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
If you want to see as many different shows by this world-famous circus as possible, go to Vegas. For the place where it all started, go to Montreal.
- Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany
You could go there to watch a race… or you could go there on the weekend with your own road-legal car and race it around the track when it’s open to the public. Germans are perhaps a little crazy?
- Oulu, Finland
Picturesque, sub-arctic, and probably the most experimental city in the world. Don’t let its location or size deceive you… it’s a high-tech city. Probably because over winter it’s really not wise to go outside; what else could you do cooped up inside but “innovate”?
- Nürnberg, Germany
You could go to commemorate the dark; Nazi rallies, concentration camps, WW-2 trials. Or you could go to enjoy the lighter past; churches, castles, houses – dating back past the middle ages.
- Texas, USA
I tried to find a specifically unusual place or sight, but everything was just too kitsch to be worth a mention. I think I’d just go there for the atmosphere, the hospitality, and the barbecue.
- Avenue of the Baobabs, Menabe, Madagascar
Madagascar is one of those places, like Tasmania, that should really be visited for the odd wildlife that comes with an eco system isolated from the major continents for such a long time that evolution has taken its own little meandering path.
- Whangamomona, New Zealand
This independent republic within New Zealand houses a few dozen people. Visas to enter can be obtained at the local pub, where you might also meet the president of the republic. Who currently is a turtle. Well… he was always a turtle, but he became president after defeating the last president who was a poodle.
- Mandala Painting, Tibet, [unclear]
Traditional sand-painting; I’ve never seen one in person, but the level of detail I gather is put into careful placement of sand is amazing.
- El Peñol de Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
Zipper-like stairs winding up a narrow crack to the top of a big boulder in the middle of a relatively flat landscape. The building at the top better be worth it, because I don’t do stair-climbing exercise for no reason at all… oh wait.
- Reykjavík Rally, Iceland
Because besides being a great progressive place to visit, Iceland also has some extreme events crossing their volcanic landscape.
- Whirling Dervishes, Istanbul, Turkey
People spinning for a very long time without falling over.
- Torvehallerne, Copenhagen, Denmark
It is the largest food market in Denmark, and the pictures alone are enough to make me drool. Nothing fast or chain-store to be spotted. Maybe I could live in there?
- Penguin Parade, Edinburgh, UK
Once a day, the penguin enclosures open and those that are interested venture out with their keepers for a stroll through the zoo.
- Lapland, Finland
The real home of Santa Clause is in northern Finland as everyone knows. When it snows, it really snows. When you walk on that snow you see traffic-cone shaped snow-mounds all around you. When you ask what they are, the unsettling answer is “the tops of the trees”.
- Socotra Island, Yemen
The bulk of the flora on this island looks otherworldly and alien. If not for a few touch-stones of human civilization it would be easy to imagine being on another planet altogether.
- French Polynesia
Just a tropical island. With cabin/huts right on the water. You can swim. You can tan. You can gather fruit. And that’s about it.
- Accomplice, New York, USA
A scavenger-hunt / performance piece that forces you to interact with New York. I wonder if you can tell when you go off the pre-set track?
- Golden Sea, Luoping, Yunnan, China
It looks like a bright yellow sea curving around the mountainsides into the faraway distance. When you look closer it turns out to be an endless field of canola flowers.
- Just For Laughs, Montreal, Canada
I’ve always wanted to go there, but so far haven’t been to Canada at all.
- Lakes, Finland
No visit to Finland is complete till you have stayed in a cabin on the lakes. The lakes are dotted with holiday cabins, and in summer the locals use them over the weekends to escape work. As far as I can gather. And there is nothing quite like dashing from a sweltering sauna to dive into a freezing lake.
- The Oracle, Delphi, Greece
We could all use a fresh perspective from time to time. Also, the programmer in me likes the juxtaposition of Delphi and Oracle, and wonders if there was any intent behind the naming of the language.
- Mint Museum of Toys, Singapore
Vintage toys from all around the world, neatly arrayed and preserved in the way only Singapore could.
- Hobart, TAS, Australia
The capital of Tasmania is generally a place worth visiting in its own right. With many other destinations in short reach, and plenty of restaurants near the water. Just make sure you order the fish. Tasmanian Salmon anyone?
- Moscow, Russia
Because it is a veritable wonderland of dadaist town planning hijinx. Kid slides without stairs, parking lots in inaccessible places, line markings most horribly misplaced. It is possible Moscow is just a giant art installation and nobody has noticed yet.
Middle EarthNew Zealand
The closest thing you’ll ever visit to Middle Earth itself… which you won’t.
- Schwartzwald, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stuff the atmosphere… I’d go there for their cake alone. It’s the home of the best cake ever created; Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. You probably think you know it as Black Forest Cake. It’s almost certainly not as good as the genuine article.
- Stromboli, Italy
An active volcanic island near Italy that spits lava into the air on a clockwork schedule. There are guided tours by boat at night to watch the fireworks whilst sipping a soothing beverage.
- Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne, Australia
A great place to put shoes on your dog and go for a walk. No shoes yet? Go see Upmarket Pets for a wide range of stylish choices.
- Poseidon Underwater Resort, Fiji
You might like visiting the aquarium, but how about staying in the aquarium? The whole resort is underwater with views out into the ocean where the fishes be.
- Outhouse Races, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Once a year. In the middle of winter. Everyone goes insane, and they race toilets down the main street.
- Erotica Museum, Barcelona, Spain
Because that’s what one travels to Spain for, right?
- Land of the Midnight Sun, Finland
Northern Finland is also the place to go if you love daylight… or hate it. In winter, the sun does not rise for days on end. In summer, it does not set for 70 consecutive days. It is by all accounts a maddening experience, but we’re all mad already, aren’t we?
- MOBA, Boston, USA
And it stands for… Museum Of Bad Art. That is all.
- Llangernyw, Conwy, North Wales
Site of a yew tree that is between 4000 and 5000 years old. It staggers me to think that this tree existed before humanity had mastered sailing, indoor plumbing and paper.
- Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree, New York, USA
In winter. Yes. I will at some point have to go there. It is my purpose in life. There better be goddamn snow!
- Powell’s Books, Portland, Oregon, USA
A physical book store that covers an entire 3-level city block. I hope it has mezzanines and odd corners, because those are the best.
- Bergen, Norway
Bergen looks like the ideal jump-off point to go see fjords. We all should see Slartibartfast’s handiwork before we die.
- Haiku Stairs, Hawaii, USA
Beautiful and terrifying at the same time. I have a fear of heights, but I am also stubborn and a sucker for unusual things. Climbing these rickety-looking stairs along a narrow ridge to some of the greatest views on Hawaii would be worth the discomfort.
How many of these can you tick off already?