A friend of mine recently asked me this question over dinner, and I seriously couldn’t answer. Doing a top 3 list was impossible, so I settled for a list of some of my favourite places around the world. I cannot rank them, so here they are, in no particular order.
California, United States
No surprises here 🙂 I first went to California 15 years ago, but it was when Mr. O and I started visiting as a couple that this American state became one of our favourite places in the world. We have been going back, at least once a year, for the past 14 years and it remains a firm favourite. We love San Francisco, fell madly in love with Monterey and Carmel and its delicious wines (need to go back to Napa and Sonoma again!), but the Desert Cities is where we find peace and quiet (and a bit of shopping) and recharge batteries every year. The LA area, especially Santa Monica and Beverly Hills are obligatory stops, as is the lovely Newport Beach, Dana Point and San Diego. I love the weather, the relaxed lifestyle, the stunning scenery and the food. Oh and the wine! And the spas are also fab.
Paris will always be Paris – or as Audrey Hepburn said “Paris is always a good idea”. I know it is a cliché, but there is something special about the French capital – from delicious macarrons, to outstanding food (onion soup and oysters always come to mind) and shopping (yes, please). I always have fond memories of getting lost in Saint Germain de Prés and discover yet other areas. Being so close to it, I should go more often.
My love for the Maldives is very well documented on this blog. We have been very lucky to visit not once or twice, but over 5 times and I truly believe the word paradise was invented after someone went there for the first time.
I love the local food, how fab hotels are and just staring at the beautiful sea. I really don’t need much else. Hands down, one of my favourite places around the world.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro is somewhere I have been to twice and will go back again anytime. Thanks to friends who know the place really well, we got to know our way around this stunning city, which is home to outstanding restaurants and shops. It has a unique setting, which makes it one of the most incredible cities I have ever been to. And I even managed to find a little private beach.
New York, United States
It was a special moment, the first time I went to NYC. I was 21 and immediately after the 9/11 incidents. I felt an energy that I had never experienced before and ever again. I fell in love with this city, which I promised to visit at least once a year, every year, a promise I have never broken. May sound silly, but when I am there, I do feel I am in the centre of the world. I love how each season changes New York dramatically.
Madrid may be one of the most perfect European cities – great location, which means short flights, fantastic weather, great people, amazing food, culture, history and, of course, shops. I have been fortunate to have lost count of how many times I have been to Madrid (mostly, thanks to work), but everytime I go, I book another flight to go back. It is one of my favourite European city break destinations and absolutely one of my favourite places around the world.
Lisbon is my hometown, and where I lived for most of my live. The more I travel around the world, the more I miss it. My family, my friends and great memories and, of course, “the light” (something I never quite understood until I left). Mr. O loves Lisboa too, and only 2h30 away from the UK, not difficult to get to. A place I would urge you to go if you haven’t been yet.
Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea was the star destination of our amazing honeymoon and, without a doubt, the most amazing place I have ever been to. Not easy to get to, and possibly a once in a lifetime trip, but it must be because of places like this that the word paradise was invented. One of Tahiti’s islands, it is a place I will never forget.
Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Menorca is one of the most surprising places I have been to in Europe. The underdog of the Balearic Islands, the least known of all, and possibly the prettiest. Turquoise waters, delicious food and of course the place where mayonnaise (derived from Salsa Mahonesa, after Mahón, its capital) was invented. The only problem? Lack of suitable accommodation. Development is very controlled, which I totally understand, but I would love to go back and would love to hear any lux recommendations for this island.
Miami, Florida, United States
Miami Beach is, alongside Madrid, another perfect city. Slightly urban, definitely very cool, with amazing beaches and the rest – shopping, restaurants, bars. May not be to everyone’s liking, but it does it for me. We couldn’t make it this year and I can’t wait to go back. We now don’t stay in Miami Beach anymore, preferring Bal Harbour or Hollywood, a couple of miles out as you can get all the sleep that you want/need, and nip into town for some excitement when necessary.
Around the world, one trip at a time
I had a lot of fun writing this post – thinking about the destinations, going through photographs and actually writing it. Travel is, without a doubt, my passion and I work hard to make sure I can go somewhere nice whenever possible. And I have to make justice to my ‘Mrs. O Around the World’ name. But picking favourite places wasn’t so easy!
Something else I have also realised – I am a repeater. If a love a place, I always go back. From this list, the only places I haven’t been back is Moorea. I have been through my calendar for this year and also realised that every place I have been to.. was a place where I had been happy before.
The point of this all? To inspire you to go somewhere new, and create new memories in the company of those that matter to you. No excuses, now!