an outdoor fire pit in Newfoundland

My five favourite places on this big bad planet

I was asked by Lyn of A Hole in my Shoes to share my favourite five destinations in the WORLD. Not that I’ve seen a great deal of the world.

I recently talked to a friend about how my favourite places aren’t always particularly beautiful, or special, or off the beaten path. But they all have a certain special atmosphere – a spirit that I can’t find in other places. They’re never cities. That’s one thing they all have in common.

1. Change Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador

I’m straight up obsessed with Change Islands. This tiny island in Central Newfoundland is home to maybe 300 people year-round, as well as a number of critically endangered Newfoundland ponies. The light always seems a little softer here; the wind is a little slower. On my last trip, I took a seat on a rock near the shore and soaked in the absolute quiet. I could have stayed there forever. Hardly an electrical hum to break the silence.

Change Islands

2. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

Gros Morne National Park was the first place ever to make me realize how much more comfortable I am in a small town setting. The scant communities that live here are intertwined, peaceful, and active. The Tablelands, the exposed red earth’s mantle, is a stark contradiction next to the green forests surrounding it. The Great Somber Mountain sticks out like a sore thumb. And then there are the fjords, the bays, and the unlimited rocky coastline. This place is all drama on the surface. Their annual Writers at Woody Point Festival is also my all-time favourite festival, and I’ve been to quite a few festivals.

Tablelands

3. Sligo, Ireland

Sligo was an accident. I showed up here on a whim, coaxed by a Facebook friend named David. I certainly never expected to find a busy surf and SUP scene in a less well-trodden part of Ireland. My friend Julia and I made friends with the locals immediately, and spent most of our days hiking or exploring, and our evenings listening to live music at Shoot the Crows or McGarrigles Pub. My happiest travel moment of all time took place here: a day of SUP on the River Bonet with newfound friends, and the kind of impromptu Irish trad session at The Thatch Pub that dreams are made of. And then I slept in Johnny Cash’s former room at the Markree Castle. All in the day of the life of Candice Walsh.

Sligo, Ireland

The greatest night ever

The greatest evening of all time.

4. Ios, Greece

There’s not much to do in Ios, other than lounge around Mylopotas Beach, or rent an ATV and explore the island, or spend the evenings in Ios town wandering the pubs and clubs. But it was my favourite destination in Greece. My days were idle, and the nights jam-packed. My friend Matt and I met so many wonderful people on this leg of the journey, and the locals themselves became old friends. How many times did we stop by Fun Pub to chat with George? I can’t even count. We became so close with our hostel hosts, we were calling the matriarch “mama” by the time we left.

Ios, Greece

5. Kotor, Montenegro

I only expected to stay in Kotor for two nights. I stayed for a week. The walled fortress around the Old Town was more beautiful than Dubrovnik to me, and I quick learned the complicated and confusing maze-like streets. I loved my slow mornings: coffee in the town square, followed by work from my hotel room. I’d hike the fortress stairs, or wander around the shops. Making friends was easy, and every night called for a glass of bubbly at the Wine Bar. I lived like a princess, and it was fun as hell.

Kotor Bay Montenegro

  • September 17 2014

    Great choices! I haven’t been to any of them myself, but they look beautiful!

  • September 17 2014
    Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    These all sound so lovely and special! Also, PONIES?! Must..go..

  • September 17 2014
    Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe

    Thanks for taking up the challenge Candice. Wow they all places I have never been and sound like awesome places

    • September 26 2014

      They are! I hope you check ’em out sometime :)

  • September 18 2014

    Kotor looks pretty amazeballs. Also, when can I come visit you in Newfoundland?? Haha.

    Thanks for nominating me! It’s going to take some time for me to come up with just five places!

    • September 26 2014

      Hahaha, you are seriously welcome in NFLD anytime!!

  • September 28 2014

    Love the list & Ireland has always been on my bucket- er keg tapping list. If you love ponies, Wales has some beautiful wild marsh ponies- and Three Cliffs Bay, Gower (near Swansea in Wales) is great for hiking- full moons are beautiful there!

    • October 01 2014

      I’d LOVE to go to Wales! It seems like such an odd and wonderful place

  • September 29 2014
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    Sadly I’ve never been to any of these places but I’d say Newfoundland is at the top of my list! I’d love to explore Eastern Canada one of these days :)

  • October 09 2014

    I did this challenge in my recent blog series Favourites back in the summer. Top 5 Favourite Beaches, Top 5 Favourite Islands, Top 5 Favourite Countries, Top 10 Favourite Cities, and MY 7 Wonders of the World. How can you tell I love lists? As cliché as it sounds… I think Italy is still my favourite country… it always delivers the goods :)

    • October 13 2014

      Bahahaa. I too am a lover of lists. Italy eh? I haven’t been yet. Hoping for 2015!

  • October 12 2014

    That’s funny, I think that two cities would make my list: New York (where I live now) and Paris (where I’m from, kinda (I’m a mutt, long story)). But it’s impossible to choose, really. I think I’d have to include Cuba, somewhere on the eastern coast of Africa (Madagascar, maybe, but I also looooove Tanzania), and then somewhere in Scandinavia, perhaps Bornholm, but only in the summer. Oh, and Greece. And the Philippines. And and and and…

    • October 13 2014

      Agh, I wanna go to Tanzania! And I know I’ll love Scandinavia. And I LOVE New York City…it’s one of the few cities I absolutely adore, along with Montreal.

  • January 19 2015
    Curtis Budden

    Having spent nearly the last 20 years living in various parts of Europe, my five favorite places would definitely be on this continent, though it’s hard to limit them. In no particular order, I’d have to say Warsaw, Granada, the Gorenjska region of Slovenia, Iceland (the entire island), and the northwest Highlands of Scotland (in particular the Assynt/Inverpolly area and the Isle of Skye). That said, I’m really looking forward to spending much of this summer in Newfoundland. Perhaps I’ll have changed my list by the time autumn rolls around again. Best of luck with your adventures!

    • January 19 2015

      I see you’re in Warsaw now? I hope to take a jaunt over to there while I’m in Berlin this year. LOVE the Highlands, and Iceland. Didn’t make it to Slovenia while I was in that region, but I gotta get back there.

      • January 19 2015
        Curtis Budden

        I’ve been living in Warsaw since 2003, with a few breaks here and there. If you plan to visit Warsaw while you’re in Berlin, please do look me up. I’m planning to spend the summer in Canada, but I’ll likely be in Poland again for at least part of the autumn.

        • January 20 2015

          Awesome, will do! I likely won’t be in Berlin until late summer anyway, and then I plan on sticking around for awhile.

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