One of my greatest joys in life is researching destinations and planning trips. When I’m not putting together itineraries for my planned trips, I’m researching other places around the world and constantly adding new destinations to my “must visit” list.
Recently, I’ve been finding the “My Google Maps” app to be extremely useful. It’s essentially your standard Google maps, but with the ability to pin spots with various types of symbols and add descriptions. It’s changed the way I plan my trips – I spend many hours just zooming in and out of places I’ll be visiting soon and marking points of interest. Once I’m on the ground in the destination, I just pull up the map I made, and see what I’ve pinned and walk to whatever is nearby! I usually mark grocery stores, vegetarian friendly restaurants, photogenic viewpoints, hiking trailhead, things of this nature.
After using the app for a few months, I had the idea to create a blank world map and open it up to be edited by anyone with a link to it. I’m a big user of Reddit, particularly the r/travel subreddit, and had the great idea to give the link to the thousands of readers in the r/travel community, with the instruction for them to place a pin in the map for their favorite place in the world, whether it be a landmark, city, whatever. I also encouraged the participants to not just stick a pin somewhere, but to also include a description as to what makes that particular spot special to them. The r/travel Favorite Places Map. As you can see by following the link, the experiment really took off, and hundreds of people placed pins in locations all over the world. It was really fun looking around the map and reading about some amazing places, many of which I had never even heard of. I decided to feature some of my favorite pins and descriptions I came across while browsing around the map. My “to visit” list is already unmanageably long, and creating this map didn’t much help the situation! Here are my favorite finds, along with the description left by the pinner. (By the way, please feel free to add your own pin to the map – editing is open to anyone!) Let me know in the comments if you added a pin, and also if you feel like I’ve overlooked something amazing.
Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada
u/drengor says: Surrounded by The Ten Peaks, it used to be the backside artwork of Canada’s $20 bill, and for good reason. It’s beautiful, more so than the more popular Lake Louise just north of here. Mt Temple is also a wonderful climb, the tallest non-technical accent in all of Canada.
I have to admit, this one is a favorite of mine because I will be visiting this region in June with some buddies, and totally added this spot to my itinerary.
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
The pinner says: Gorgeous beaches and untouched natural beauty.
What really struck me about this location was the juxtaposition of the very tropical blue water with towering pine trees, which is not something you typically associate with a tropical island. Very cool and alluring.
Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
The pinner says: Hiking, rafting, huge mountains, superb scenery.
Montenegro has always been on my list of places to visit. I’m a bit obsessed with eastern Europe, as so much of it is pretty untouched by the tourist masses. Durmitor National Park has all my favorite things – hiking, mountains, winding roads, and adventure. Sign me up!
The pinner says: A perfect historical small town, with a large castle on a hill at the top. Lots of outdoor activities and great restaurants, the kind of place you can settle into and really get to know for several days. There are tourists but very few from overseas, mostly from Germany and Holland.
When I think of the Alps, I think of Switzerland and Austria, but tiny Luxembourg looks like it definitely deserves a few days of my time. Bonus points for the old castle perched on the hill high above the town.
The pinner says: A bit of a hassle to reach from Frankfurt, but has an exceptionally well-preserved old town with beautiful half-timbered homes. Not the least bit overrun by tourists because it’s so small.
If you’re noticing a theme with my favorite pins here, it’s that I love a place largely undiscovered by the tourist hordes. I know, I know, I’m a tourist myself, but I do appreciate a place that has a bit more of a local flavor and populated by more locals than visitors.
The Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia
The pinner says: I really liked hiking here and staying in the mountain huts, especially on the Slovak side of the border where there are fewer hikers on the trails. Climbing Mt. Rysy and using it as a border crossing point was cool.
There’s nothing I love more than mountains, and the Tatra mountains look exceptionally beautiful. Bonus points for being in both Poland and Slovakia, two places that are high on my wish list.
Sibius, Transylvania, Romania
The pinner says: So much more than just vampires… beautiful mountain towns and villages with red roofs, unspoiled countryside. Sibiu and Brasov are the best cities to visit, and the town of Sighisoara is the home of Vlad. Villages like Biertan are great as well.
Romania has never really been on my travel radar, but after perusing a number of pictures of the Transylvania region, it is definitely worth looking into further.
Gorges du Tarn, France
u/Spekboffer says: Stunning gorge running through the south of France. Sure, the Grand Canyon is bigger, but this comes close in terms of beauty. Go for a canoe trip (the longest one you can find!) – you will be dropped off at the start point and picked up at the end point. Take your time, go for swims, and enjoy the view…
The pinner says: The most tranquil place I’ve ever been– a beautiful crater lake, surrounded by one of the most destructive volcanoes of all time, Laki. Amazing to see the chaos wrought across the land, and then wander into something so serene.
Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia, Canada
The pinner says: One of the greatest coastal scenic drives in the world.
If there’s one thing I really love, it’s a scenic and winding drive – I have always been intrigued by the eastern coast of Canada, and this just gives me more reason to get my ass out there as soon as possible.
Grampians National Park, Victoria, Australia
The pinner says: See wild kangaroos and emus at dawn while the kookaburras cackle in the trees. Hike through the rock formations to the summit of the various peaks for great views. This is where I felt I found the Australia I’d been looking for.
Noravank Monastery, Armenia
The pinner says: Ancient stone buildings covered in carvings on a mountainside, with views of a red canyon below.
Old Fes, Morocco
The pinner says: I love walking in the souq and getting lost in the narrow alleyways. Buying groceries, food, herbs, clothing and amazing hand made ceramic pots/plates. I love sitting at a corner cafe and drinking mint tea while people watching. This place seems to be crowded all the time, I am obsessed with the energy of this city (old Fes).
Thank you to all the Reddit users who placed a pin on the map – and please get in touch with me if you didn’t include your username in your pin so I can give you credit for your discovery. Travel on!by