Place Names: New Destinations

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

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.