The world is full of exotic places with names that people will find hard to pronounce, especially if there’s a language barrier in the way; but sometimes we even have trouble pronouncing places in our own backyards. Here are eight cities across the globe with names we bet you can't pronounce.
Skaneateles, New York, U.S.A.
This Onondaga County town, located southwest of Syracuse, is a popular tourist and vacation destination; but if you asked for directions to Skane-AT-a-lees, you’d be driving forever. The proper pronunciation of this Finger Lakes community is Skin-EE-at-less — similar to "Minneapolis." Both Skaneateles and Lake Skaneateles come from the Iroquois “long lake” and with good reason — Lake Skaneateles is 16 miles long and provides water to all of its surrounding communities including Skaneateles and Syracuse. Things to do in Skaneateles include the Curbstone Festival, the Antique Boat Show and the annual Dickens Christmas.
Kaumalapau, Hawaii, U.S.A.
Kaumalapau, pronounced Kah-OO-mah-LAH-pah-OO, is a coastal village and harbor on Lanai that is great for sunsets, whale and dolphin watching and finding amazing scenic views. James Dole, founder of Dole Food Company, built the harbor in the 1920s to import pineapples to the mainland. The Army Corps of Engineers built an updated version that was dedicated in 2007. While there aren’t many boats that come through the locks these days, it’s still a great place to observe nature at its finest and spot local fishermen on the docks waiting for a bite.
Zzyzx, California, U.S.A.
Zzyzx, California, is more of legend than it is a city or town. It’s home to one person — Rob Fullton, Director of the California State University Desert Studies Center. Formerly known as Soda Springs, Zzyzx (ZY-zicks) was founded by a man named Curtis Howe Springer in 1969 — a controversial figure to say the least. It was, at one point, the last word in the English language, reportedly because Springer wanted the last word. Zzyzx is in San Bernardino County near Death Valley and the Zzyzx Road sign is a popular tourist attraction for those traveling on Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
This little Slovenian town is one of the hardest cities in Europe to pronounce. It’s pronounced P-TOO-ee, but people still have trouble getting it right. Despite the fact that it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe and the oldest in Slovenia, 92% of Brits still mispronounce it as P-tooj. Ptuj has an ancient feel to it with its cobblestone streets and valleys of matching red roofs, and churches and castles fill in the landscape. Ptuj has been throwing an annual Carnival since 1960 and it has a reputation for being one of the best in the world.
Good luck pronouncing the name of this small village in southern Poland. Wytrzyszczka, pronounced Vit-SHISHT-ka, is about 35 miles south of Krakow and is known as the home of Tropsztyn Castle. Tropsztyn Castle was first mentioned in written text in 1390 and served as a fortress for many years during the Middle Ages. Towering over the Dunajec River, the castle is worth a stop for anyone planning a visit or passing through.
This Greenland town is a mouthful. Say it with me — Keck-er-tar-wahs-SEE-aaht. Located on the coast of the Labrador Sea, Qeqertarsuatsiaat has some interesting things that wash up on the shore. It’s not unusual to find rubies, peridot, tourmaline, diamond, lapis lazuli, topaz and sapphire.
This tiny village on the isle of Anglesey has become famous for its unpronounceable name. Even locals have shortened it to Llanfair PG. The village got its ridiculously long name when a local tailor wanted to bring publicity to the town (it worked) in the 1880s. Here’s a syllable-by-syllable breakdown of what each part of the name means and if you’d like to try it yourself. To hear it in all its glory, check out this British Meteorologist nailing it in one try.