We all have the places we love when we travel. I have a list of places I would love to return to and savor the food, atmosphere, or to meet the people again. In fact, I’ve found that returning to a location is why travel never gets old for me. Like having an unlimited stash of books to read and things to learn, locations change and your perspective on the world changes. It’s one of the most beautiful things about traveling, in my opinion.
However, there are some places where I would simply never choose never to go back again. Even if you paid me, I would refuse (which is saying a lot—I’m open to going almost anywhere new). Keep in mind, these are just my places—everyone has their own and one person’s hated locale is another’s home or favorite spot.
1. Zagreb, Croatia
Looking back, I know I should have spent more time in Croatia. I missed the highlights of Split and Dubrovnik, and I was too broke to head to Plitvice Lakes. I was stuck in Zagreb, which had very little culture (despite the dozens of museums the city boasted), and I had four days to wander around by myself. Also, Zagreb has a huge café culture, but not many food options. While the locals spent their time on the streets under umbrellas and chatting with one another, I was busy trying to find a place to eat lunch unsuccessfully.
2. Vienna, Austria
I know, I know. It’s very likely that I’m crazy (well, we knew that), but there was something about Vienna that felt cold to me. The people were pleasant enough and kind when I asked for directions, but after seeing the main highlights of Mozart’s house and the museums, I was ready to leave. For me, the places that have left the largest impressions are the ones that are teeming with life. Vienna, while peaceful, felt slightly dead.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
I wanted to love Lisbon so badly! So much was promised to me: great seafood, wine, beautiful views, history. But when I got there, it felt stoic. As I mentioned in a blog post, I think much of it was me. I was tired after a six-hour flight with no rest and was rushing to see everything in a day. Regardless, I thought Lisbon would have a bit more character, and I was disappointed because this was a place I had heard so much about. (Side note: This is one place I would return to with someone who loved the city—I felt like I missed a lot.)
4. Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala was amazing, and I can honestly say that it was a trip I look back on especially fondly. Antigua was a hub of sights, sounds, and good food and Tikal was unlike any place I had ever been (and probably will ever go again). But you would have to tie me up and kidnap me (which could easily happen there) before I would ever go back to the capital. Daniel and I left for five seconds to get food, but other than that, we spent two days in our hostel room—way too freaked out to walk the streets. Danger level for tourists: 10 out of 10.
5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Cambodia was one of the highlights of my travels last year, but the capital was pretty dead in terms of touristic activity. While I encourage all travelers in Cambodia to go to the Killing Fields, Phnom Penh itself had very little to offer. Other than a few historic sights, there are very few good restaurants with local foods. I’m glad I visited because it gave me a good idea of what a Southeast Asian city looks like, but of all the places in the world, I wouldn’t go back.
Where is it that you would refuse to go back to if someone offered to pay for it?