Favorite spot in the world?
July 20, 2005 1:40 AM   Subscribe

What's your favorite place in the world, and why?

Mine would probably be Gimmelwald, Switzerland - it's a tiny village high up in the alps. It's in plenty of guidebooks, but it's hard enough to get to that not many people go there. The ones that do are usually pretty cool.
posted by borkingchikapa to Travel & Transportation (69 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a special fondness of the westernmost coast of Cornwall, particularly the area around St. Just & Pendeen: it’s a beautiful part of the world, and, as my mother's family all hail from thereabouts, and I visited it it many times on childhood vacations, it has always felt like home to me there.
posted by misteraitch at 2:13 AM on July 20, 2005

Chinatown, in San Francisco. Fond memories. What prompted this question?
posted by hototogisu at 2:26 AM on July 20, 2005

Check out 43Places if you haven't already - great for peoples' views on various places they have visited.
posted by skylar at 2:32 AM on July 20, 2005

Mauna Kea, Big Island, Hawaii.

Why? It's the tallest mountain in the world, when measured from the base (the floor of the Pacific Ocean); it's the clearest place in the world to view the night sky (which is why there are many major observatories there); plus it is very awesome.
posted by gen at 2:40 AM on July 20, 2005

I moved to Cornwall 6 months ago without having been in the county before my job interview. It has astonished me how much I like it here. Haven't been down to St. Just and Pendeen yet, but love the North coast, the Lizard and what I've seen of Land's End area. It delights me to think of all the places that I've yet to see that are less than an hour anyway.
Stayed in the hotel in the first picture linked here 2 weekends ago, snorkeled at Kynance Cove last weekend. I've got into surfing, snorkeling and am going on a sailing course in a couple of weeks. I could go on for a while, basically it's great.
posted by biffa at 3:32 AM on July 20, 2005

biffa—I am #426746 with envy.
posted by misteraitch at 3:41 AM on July 20, 2005

Either the Mount Washington region in New Hampshire (except for actual Mt. Washington) or inside the British Museum.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:55 AM on July 20, 2005


Especially during Christmas & New Years as I really, really get tired of the holiday BS.

I've been there twice now, this year for New Years Eve (a few days thereafter), and in 2003 as well.

Eternal city, it's bustling and dirty and beautiful and cheap and way over the top in those developing country differences Maw always warned you about!

And yes, I'm going back this year. Still in the planning stages but mostly booked at this point.
posted by Mutant at 4:27 AM on July 20, 2005

Too hard. Both the gloriously scenic Byron Bay-Ballina area of north NSW and the magical Alice-in-Wonderland surrealism of Tilba Tilba in south NSW. Because they both have it all - surf, sand, mountains, lush countryside and I can sit ALL day at either and just watch. But damn! There's so many more....Halong Bay, Vietnam...Angkor Wat, Cambodia...Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka...Dharamsala, India......ok, I'll stop now.
posted by peacay at 4:37 AM on July 20, 2005


I'm not really sure what prompted this... I'm living in Saigon right now, and I'm starting to like it a lot, so I was just curious about what other places people were really fond of.
posted by borkingchikapa at 4:40 AM on July 20, 2005


There's no place like it.
posted by bshort at 4:46 AM on July 20, 2005

There's this place about 20 miles from where I lived in New Zealand, black "sand" beaches, bizarre rock formations, cold air, and seals. It's not the prettiest place in the world, but it's my most memorable, and I'd go back there in a second just to stand for a moment and see it. (While we're at it, just drop almost the entire nation of New Zealand into my "favorite places" bin, except Auckland which, while a nice city, is still just a city.)
posted by socratic at 4:47 AM on July 20, 2005

Metafilter, because it is almost everywhere I go.
posted by caddis at 4:50 AM on July 20, 2005

Oh, and the why... New Zealand is striking. It's alternately beautiful and bizarre, peaceful and dangerous. No point is more than 100 miles from the ocean, and yet NZ is almost as long as the East Coast of the United States. It has everything from rain forests to deserts to glaciers to resort beaches. Just an extraordinary place. It's as much my home as where I'm from in the States.
posted by socratic at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2005

misteraitch, I feel pretty lucky to be here; there are a load of professional quality photos of Cornwall here.
posted by biffa at 4:53 AM on July 20, 2005

Western Cornwall is a strong second but my heart belongs to the Beara Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland--all you could want--mountains, streams, lakes, cliffs, pastures, villages (with broadband), music and all with in a vigorous bike ride or leisurely drive--tucked in the southwest it is very temperate (palm trees as ornamental trees) and very simple--wonderful place in the spring and fall--very little, if any kitsch, and engaging people--food is fresh and simple with a few world class but unpretentious restaurants--it is the absolute diversity and richness of the geography that is so compelling--Yes, I love it but don't all of you visit--the one downside (which is an upside for visitors like me)--property is very, very pricey
posted by rmhsinc at 4:58 AM on July 20, 2005

San Francisco. Particularly the Russian district.

They have a unique perspective and march to their own beat more than anywhere else I've ever been. I'd never wanna "live" there; my dream would be living in Santa Cruz and spending lotsa time in SF.
posted by RavinDave at 5:12 AM on July 20, 2005

Navarre Beach, Florida (unhappily recently hurricaned). I love beaches, I find them very soothing and relaxing, and this one is the prettiest I've ever been to, and it's near family, and I love the way the sand squeaks when you walk on it.
posted by JanetLand at 5:22 AM on July 20, 2005

From only what I've seen in my 23 years, Glacier National Park. 2 years ago I went on a camping trip up there, and there is a certain bridge at Many Glacier that overlooks this beautiful valley. There are 3 mountains, one straight ahead and 2 on either side, covered in pine trees and topped with (quickly receding) glaciers, footed by a cold, placid lake.
posted by Mach5 at 5:34 AM on July 20, 2005

Dublin. It's home. And especially currently living 3000 miles away, I can appreciate it all the more in small doses and it never gets on my nerves too much.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:44 AM on July 20, 2005

Austin,TX gave me the best two weeks of my entire life.
It's the only place I've ever been homesick for.
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:51 AM on July 20, 2005

I found being in Rome was very powerful. Standing inside the pantheon basically changed my life, and I'm not sure why or how. Just made me proud to be part of mankind for some reason. Pic 1 Pic 2

Another favourite for me that bring total peace and a cleansing feeling is Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Canada. Look at this place, it is totally amazing! Just be sure to go during the off season, it can get very busy.
posted by gfroese at 6:03 AM on July 20, 2005

Bocas del Toro, Panama, I hear there are tourists there again though, so it may exist only in my memory.

I spent a couple of tense nights as a kid in a Land's End B&B with my head packed in ice and a 105 fever from an allergic reaction to a plant. Needless to say Biffa and Mr.H, I have some bizarre memories of Cornwall!

I would add Snowdonia to my list of favorite places.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:06 AM on July 20, 2005

posted by andrew cooke at 6:21 AM on July 20, 2005

Amsterdam, for the canals, the history of its houses, and the beautiful bicycling girls, late for something again.
posted by four panels at 6:56 AM on July 20, 2005

The steps of Montmartre (Paris) at either dawn or sunset. It always reminds me, always in a good way, of the optimism that I felt in my student days.
posted by psmealey at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2005

Almost everywhere I've been has - at the time - been my favourite place! Lesvos (Greece) and Croatia were both beautiful. Looking back at the photos brings back the same feelings, too.

However, when I get home I realise how beautiful it is here on the Isle of Man (especially when it's sunny!) - and no matter how much I deride it for being slow, boring, expensive, etc. I don't think that I'd rather be anywhere else...

Perhaps I should just travel, and not have a permanent "base" country? Hmm...
posted by Chunder at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2005

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but then, I'm remembering it from when I was eighteen and nothing sucked all that much.
posted by alumshubby at 8:22 AM on July 20, 2005

My all time favorite spot is Harlech in Gwynedd, northwest Wales. It's a gorgeous, secluded spot almong Cardigan Bay with a nice not-too-crowded beach, and it also has one of the best examples of medieval castle construction (and inspired the song "Men of Harlech".)

Also, anywhere in Sonoma County, California, which I used to have the pleasure of calling home. The Russian River valley, the out-of-the-way wineries that aren't crawling with drunk tourists a la Napa, and most of all Bodega Head. If money were no issue, I'd move back there in a heartbeat.

Red Square in Moscow is spectacularly beautiful.
posted by robhuddles at 8:27 AM on July 20, 2005

Wellington NZ. Because it's home and I know it so well. Choosing anywhere else would be infidelity.

I like how Wellington looks when you drive down Nguaranga Gorge and the city suddenly sweeps into view. I also like how it's unknown internationally and always skipped over by tourists. Wellington's pleasures are like well-kept secret.
posted by dydecker at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2005

Anywhere I can snowboard.
posted by sublivious at 8:52 AM on July 20, 2005

I like the couch in my finished basement. It's really comfortable and I have a great reading light and my cat hangs out there as well.

Can't beat it.
posted by xmutex at 9:00 AM on July 20, 2005

Saline Valley California, in October.
posted by hortense at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2005

Easily, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Striking views everywhere. Enough exploring for a few lifetimes. Cool tourists from all over the world. Caves, endless boulder piles, individual boulders for climbing, waterfalls, huge green meadows, streams, ponds, huge trees, critters galore, wonderful weather. Around April 1, one side of the valley is bursting with Spring growth and the other is still in gorgeous, snowy winter.

Pfeifer Big Sur State Beach in California was my favorite for a while. A nice little place with a pretty little stream, plenty of rocks to climb on, a beach, waves, plenty of critters to look at.

Yes, another vote for the whole of New Zealand, even Auckland, because it reminded me of my beloved Los Angeles. Find one of those cute grassy extinct volcanoes in Auckland and go to the top. Look around and you realize that Auckland has very many other ones scattered about. But yeah, the rest of New Zealand is a giant, amazing magical wonderland.

And another vote for the area around Byron Bay in Australia. Wow.
posted by redteam at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2005

Sorry, to be more specific, Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. The National Park is HUGE. :)
posted by redteam at 9:17 AM on July 20, 2005

"This is the world, the kingdom I was looking for" - the poet John Holmes. In my opinion, there's two types of favorite places. The first type are spectacular places to visit - they have a grandeur and a beauty that sinks into my subconscious and I find myself at odd times daydreaming about them, hoping to see them again sometime. The second type are places that I'd where actually want to live and be immersed in every day. For me, I really love Southern Utah, Venice, Italy, and Guatemala but I'm not sure I'd actually want to live in those places. I'd be happy living pretty much anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, Western Montana, or Barcelona.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2005

the place where I met for the first time the woman I'm in love with
posted by matteo at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2005

San Francisco, because of San Franciscans.
posted by rajbot at 9:49 AM on July 20, 2005

Underneath the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History here in NYC. Because every time I go I just have to sit down and let my jaw gape open for a while. They're so fucking big! And so fucking pretty!

Barring that: Treasure Cay, the Bahamas. Perfect water, perfect beaches.
posted by logovisual at 9:52 AM on July 20, 2005

1. Marlborough Sounds, NZ. It's the closest I've ever seen to paradise on Earth.

2. Pembrokeshire, Wales. Many many fond childhood memories.
posted by Lotto at 9:56 AM on July 20, 2005

the place where I met for the first time the woman I'm in love with

Your favorite place is rehab?
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2005

Another vote for Yosemite here. While the valley is a bit overcrowded, it is filled with simply jawdropping views and climbs. One days hike gets you out into amazing scenery and relative solitude. Three days and you won't see anyone all day, at the peak of the season.

I've been spending a good part of my free time there for the last 20 years, and I've still barely scratched the surface of things to explore.
posted by Manjusri at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2005

Canyonlands National Park, Utah. So huge and awesome, it makes you feel like a tiny speck on the backside of a flea that is on the backside of an elephant. I suppose this is quite similar to the Grand Canyon, and that would be so cliche, but really, it is neat-o.
posted by cincidog at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2005

Santa Barbara, California.
When I was 14, we moved from Chicago to L.A. I had a picture in my head of what it would look like – then we moved to the San Fernando Valley and my dreams were crushed. The first time I visited Santa Barbara, I thought "THIS is the picture I had in my head. This is where I want to live when I grow up."
I'm 34 and I still live in L.A.
posted by clh at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine. It is 1.6km high but is measured in feet, of course, and so it is just shy of a mile high. To make up for this indiscretion there is a pile of rocks exactly high enough to make it a mile high. Since the climb was mostly at a 45 degree or greater slope and I was 10 at the time, I just couldn't believe folks had the energy to hike the 4 hours up there and move rocks around. Then I added a rock and understood.

A few feet away there is a natural "bowl" in the rocks where we were forced to shelter under a poncho as a thunderstorm caught us by surprise (Maine weather... grrr....) and passed overhead. Never before or since have I been so utterly conscious of the amount of metal I had on me, not even in airports. I remember trying to move away from a friend who'd brought a huge knife with him. By the time we got back to camp we found out six people had been struck by lightning while we were up there.

The view was amazing, and completely worth the trouble. There just aren't many places where you can stand on solid ground and be above planes and birds, let alone everything else.
posted by jwells at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2005

Denman Street, Vancouver. Robson street at one end, English Bay Beach at the other, and everything you could need or want in between!
posted by Elpoca at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2005

St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. There's nothing like walking down a dirt road on an early spring morning, past the house your great-grandmother lived in and looking out over the fog covered sugar cane fields...Bliss.

2nd favorite place ... Back home in Texas.
posted by SoulOnIce at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2005

It'd have to be Phuket, Thailand or Singapore. The coolest places on earth.
posted by JPowers at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2005

As an NZer I can't not say NZ (particularly the top of the South Island -- Golden Bay etc).

But Barcelona was a magical place for me when I was there for a few years.
posted by kiwi.es at 11:50 AM on July 20, 2005

San Francisco - well, actually, the entire NoCal coast from Mendocino to Big Sur. Dublin (Ireland, not California). London. Paris. Barcelona. Istanbul. Cappadocia. Tasmania. New Zealand.

Why? I like spectacular scenery, as long as there's excellent food nearby (Ireland's food has improved outta sight since I lived there; London is improving fast; but California and Turkey whip everywhere else into a cocked hat in this respect. Oh, except for France and Spain.) I like spectacular architecture - the Tate Modern and the new reading room in the British Museum; La Sagrada Familia; the Hagia Sophia. (SF has languished architecturally, but I have great hopes for the new De Young and Cal Academy.) I like good bookstores (Green Apple, Charing Cross Road), interesting, not-too-parochial people and potable, reasonably priced local wine.
posted by rdc at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2005

Swiming in the South Yuba River, Nevada County, CA.
When I'm there, I always feel perfectly contented.
posted by slimslowslider at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2005

Likir Gompa, a Buddhist monastery near the village of Likir in Ladakh (aka "Little Tibet"), an old Buddhist kingdom high in the Indian Himalaya adjacent to Kashmir that's nominally part of India but very much its own universe.

Though Ladakh is a high-altitude desert, the Likir monastery is at the top of a comparatively lush side valley surrounded by tall, bare craggy mountains. There are babbling glacial creeks nearby with preindustrial waterwheels set up along them for grinding flour. Ancient hiking trails through towering peaks to nearby villages. A thirty-foot Buddha of recent vintage keeps watch over the monastery and adjacent guesthouse. At night, the monks make thenthuk - "pulled noodles" - by tearing strips of dough off a sheet and flinging them into a giant cauldron. In the morning, in a clearing next to the guesthouse, the young novice monks wake you with their chanted sutras. I've yet to discover a more peaceful and welcoming alarm clock. Truly a divine place, in every sense of that word.

Second place, for entirely different and more famous reasons: New York City.

Third place (and by far most readily accessible, thus taken a bit more for granted): the Slocan Valley in the rugged interior of British Columbia.
posted by gompa at 12:36 PM on July 20, 2005

The Superior Hiking Trail, running along a series of ridges above Lake Superior from Two Harbors, MN to the Canadian border. Especially in one of several points where the trail goes into a clearing overlooking the lake.

Second place: Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island.
posted by COBRA! at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2005

When I last visited France, I went to a number of cathedrals. I was really anticipating seeing Bourges, and it's still my favorite cathedral . . . But Beauvais just flattened me. I love these buildings, but I'm not Catholic. I'm not even religious. But I walked into Beauvais and the immensity struck me like a brick wall. It was a Sunday, after services had finished, and there were still some people there. The building itself is very, very tall -- so tall, in fact, that the builders reached beyond what could stand and the nave collapsed during construction in 1284. It's just this huge, beautiful, broken buliding, but it's alive with the people who still worship there. It's amazing.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:00 PM on July 20, 2005

The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine. I'm a pretty cynical fellow, but I had what could only be considered a numinous experience when hiking that trail.
posted by Cassford at 1:00 PM on July 20, 2005

Sunset over Eynhallow island, Orkney Scotland - at about 10.30 pm
posted by Lanark at 1:16 PM on July 20, 2005

Yet another vote for San Francisco, I had plenty of free time and a decent income and the thrill of living in the USA for the first time, and it was the perfect place to experience all of that. I miss it like hell but I don't think it would ever be the same living there again.
posted by teleskiving at 1:51 PM on July 20, 2005

posted by Ljubljana at 2:09 PM on July 20, 2005

Morgantown, WV.

Best place I ever lived, and the best friends I ever made in my life.
posted by punkrockrat at 3:29 PM on July 20, 2005

Kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park in the summer, for the wildlife and good times with friends. Antarctica for the air and the scenery. Chalten for the hiking. San Pedro de Atacama for the 360º horizons. Isla Pescado in the Salar de Uyuni for the surreal views. Luang Prabang in new year's for the fun in the street. Trindade Island for the remoteness and terrain. New Zealand for everything there.
posted by ig at 3:39 PM on July 20, 2005

there's a stretch of beach in florida but I can't remember how to get there. all I remember is that it's front of a hotel called "The Coral Sands" or something.

anyways, just memories. I died there (literally) and other things.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2005

Sunrise/Sunset going accross the Thames into/out of Charing Cross station on my daily commute and getting views of the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and London skyline in general.

Standing inside Stonehenge circle, resting against the stones at dawn during summer solstice - what a vibe!!

Hell, sunrise/sunset makes anywhere my favourite place :D
posted by floanna at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2005

Yet another vote for Yosemite National Park, especially Yosemite Valley. Honestly, I was in tears the first time I saw the valley from Glacier Point -- the beauty just really struck me in a way no other place has. Just go there, find a rock to sit on, and soak everything in. Smell the Douglas firs, listen to the "quork" of the ravens and the soft roar of the waterfalls, and feel the sun on your face. It's heaven, really.

Oh, and I asked my wife to marry me at Rancheria Falls, so there's that, too. :-)
posted by DakotaPaul at 5:00 PM on July 20, 2005

Your favorite place is rehab?

well, you seemed to like it, too, when we first met -- you fickle, cynical man
posted by matteo at 6:00 PM on July 20, 2005

There's no place like home. Sorry you had to move away, robhuddles!
posted by Lynsey at 8:03 PM on July 20, 2005

I'm a beach/coast kinda guy, and I've been lucky enough to spend time along some wonderful shores, like Long Island Sound, South Bay (LA), and the Big Island. But I'd have to vote for New Zealand -- a country the size of Colorado with more coastline than the 48 contiguous states of America. (And the Southern Alps ain't too shabby, either!). Runner-up would be Vieques Island (Puerto Rico).
posted by rob511 at 12:31 AM on July 21, 2005

Arizona Falls in Phoenix, Arizona. It's at the corner of 56th Street and Indian School Road. For me, it's the perfect realization of the present respecting the past. It's also very relaxing to just sit there and listen to the rushing water.
posted by bbrown at 4:52 AM on July 21, 2005

Wherever my husband is.
posted by deborah at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2005

Canyonlands National Park, Utah. So huge and awesome, it makes you feel like a tiny speck on the backside of a flea that is on the backside of an elephant. I suppose this is quite similar to the Grand Canyon, and that would be so cliche, but really, it is neat-o.
posted by cincidog at 11:07 AM PST on July 20 [!]
Seconded. It's definetly nothing like the Grand Canyon. It's wonderful wilderness with relaxing hiking and biking. It's the coolest part of Utah by far, even with all the moron 4wheelers.

I love the place, having spent 4 seperate week-long trips there, and I'll be going back again and again.

I really want to go to Yosemite some day.
posted by blasdelf at 7:48 PM on July 21, 2005

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