Place Names: New Destinations

Feeling that geographical names have become kind of ho-hum?  It’s true that many people have tired of Paris and some of the over-visited names from the American West like Cheyenne, Sierra, Dakota and Dallas.  But that’s no reason to write off the whole category—we can renew our passports and look a bit farther afield for some fresher, more interesting and exotic choices from the global atlas.


AILSA  —  Ailsa Craig is the name of a rocky island off Scotland, and Ailsa has long been used as a Christian name–as all of us namberryites well know

ÁLORA—  A picturesque Spanish town near Malága, overlooking citrus orchards and olive groves

ANDORRA  —  A small country located in the Pyranees—could work as an updated Andrea

CORTINACortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most famous and beautiful ski resorts in Italy; a more feminine namesake for Courtney?

ELANORA –This name of an Australian suburb is used as a girls’ name in that country

ELBA—The Italian island best known as the site of Napoleon’s exile; possible update of Ella?

GENOA –Picturesque birthplace of Christopher Columbus, native version is GENOVA; a possible newer path to the Gen nickname

IBIZA  (ih-BEETH-a)—Another interesting island name, though a little bit lispy

ISCHIA (IS-key-a)—An Isla-like Italian island name

JAVA — This Indonesian island name was recently used by Lost hunk Josh Holloway for his daughter

LILLE —  (LEELE) –We’ve seen the growing popularity of double-L names, now here’s a French city with three of them

LIXA –An old Portuguese city with a modern-sounding name

LULEÅ — A city on the northern coast of Sweden; birthplace of the founder of the Nordstrom department store chain

LUCERNE –A Swiss canton and lake name, with the possibility of a Lucy nickname

LUZA – A Russian town on the Luza river—but too much like loser?

MAJORCA  (my-OR-ca) — One of the most elegant and fashionable of the Spanish Balearic Islands

ODESSA —  The name of a Ukranian port city inspired by Homer’s ‘Odyssey’

QUINTANA  — Quintana Roo is a Mexican state in the Yucatan Peninsula and is one of the prettiest Q  possibilities

RAVENNA –Italian city known for its Byzantine mosaics makes an appealingly feminine choice

TAVIRA —  An attractive town in the Algarve area of Portugal; a possible namesake for a Great-Aunt Vera?

TRALEE– The county seat of Kerry, Ireland, associated with the old song “The Rose of Tralee”

VALENCIAOrange-scented Spanish city name

VALLETTA – the capital city of Malta, as well as being the surname of  glamorous model/actress Amber

VERONA –home town of Romeo & Juliet


ARRAN  —  A Scottish island with a wide diversity of landscapes; possibility of being confused with Aaron

BELLO  — A sizable city in Colombia

BRECON  —  A historic market town in Wales; similar to saint’s name Breccan

CADIZ —  A Spanish coastal province known for its windswept beaches, white villages and celebrated sherry.

CARLOW – An Irish county and city on the River Barrow

DONEGAL – Another of the traditional counties of Ireland

DURANGO –City in Mexico founded in 1565

ENNIS —  an ancient and picturesque town in County Clare

GUERNSEYChannel Islands name that is also a surname and occasionally used as a first; might be used for a girl as well

MALMÖ —  The third largest city in Sweden

MALO  — SaintMalo, France is a walled city in Brittany on the English Channel, named for the saint who founded it

OVAR —  A small city in Portugal

PERTH – The capital city of Western Australia

THANE —  A city in India near Mumbai, as well as the word used in ancient Scotland for a hereditary king (see Macbeth)

TOULOUSE  –a thriving city in southern France; a name associated with artist Lautrec

VIGO  — the largest city in Galicia, Spain

YORK – a beautiful historic city in North Yorkshire

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15 Responses to “Place Names: New Destinations”

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Sherri Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 8:19 am

Just this week I found the name of a town in England that I would be willing to use for my own son: Brayton!

I love it!

I like Alora, Odessa (spelled Adessa, though) and Thane from this blog too 🙂

liz22 Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Cool blog. I don’t think Ibiza would be a great namesake for a child though..

Elea Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I think most Brits would find Ibiza and Majorca a bit comical as they are popular holiday destinations in this country (with, sadly, a reputation in the British press as top destinations for binge-drinking-party-craving-teenage Brits) — so would most likely be prone to teasing.

I have always love ancient place names like Petra, Delphi, Larisa, Odessa, Megara, Sabina… Funnily enough Elea was an ancient Greek city in Italy (now called Velia) as well 😀

British American Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Yes, I thought the same thing as Elea, that Ibiza and Majorca would not work in the UK. I always pronounced Majorca as “Mah-YORK-ah” too – not sure if that’s just me though.

Wv Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Lucerne is a fairly major dairy brand here in the northwest, so it might not be the best choice.

redridinghood Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

OOH! Fab! I am in a blog!


KaylaMaree Says:

January 13th, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I think that Zealand for a boy should also get a mention although all the others listed are also great 🙂

teabee Says:

January 14th, 2010 at 3:14 am

Ooh, Wv beat me to it: Lucerne is 100% cheap dairy products. I don’t mean cheap in the insulting way–they make some delicious ice cream.

cabybake Says:

January 15th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

When I named my DD, I loved Ibiza (of course I was pronouncing it wrong- Ih-bee-zah), but I just thought it was such a pretty sound. I also loved the nn Beezy (Ramona Quimby anyone?). That idea got shot down quickly, but I still think it’d make a good name. Glad to see Nameberry agrees with my line of thinking.

moxielove Says:

January 15th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Lixa is FANTASTIC (I like it as an alternative to Lux)!!

And I love Perth for a boy.

Too many of the others are too intrinsically linked to the places to work for me (Malmo? Ibiza?)

snowblonde Says:

January 15th, 2010 at 11:22 pm

A few that aren’t on the list that I like are:

Abilene – city in the Texas panhandle
Masada – various spellings; mountain/historical landmark in Israel


From the blog I like

cupcake Says:

January 29th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

My husband’s family is from Ischia, and his family pronounces it Eesh-kah.

I never thought to use it as a name but it is a beautiful word.

quim Says:

May 17th, 2010 at 9:52 am

i really need a girls name but cant decide i like ibiza laylani tlani and farren any more suggestions ? x

H8myname Says:

April 1st, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I LLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVEEEE place names!!! They’re all so cool! Verona is my fave. I really, REALLY want to love Odessa, and I know this is silly, but it reminds me of odor (ditto to Odette). I love how you can turn, say, the name of the country where you had your honeymoon into an exotic (well, sometimes exotic), beautiful, and sentimental name for your child.

deesa Says:

October 23rd, 2014 at 10:49 pm

i’d be careful of Malo if any one around uses or speaks Spanish. it means bad. not a pleasant thing to put on a kid–and i imagine the teasing would be ferocious.

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