While city breaks are a popular choice, sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all, isn’t it? If you are looking to really spend time on your own immersed in some of the most magical landscapes on Earth, these are the 10 best remote places to visit in 2019!
For being an entire continent, Antarctica is something of a well-kept secret amongst vacationers. Most people see it as too out-of-the-way, so never bother to take a trip down to the southern extremity of the planet. For those that do make the trip, though, the experience is one which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Take an Antarctica cruise through icebergs and magical sceneries, and you’ll be able to marvel at the huge vistas of ice which tower over you, and even sail between these magnificent natural marvels. There’s nothing quite like the experience of looking out to sea and seeing nothing but the cold, clear blue water stretching out to the horizon, topped by mounds of ice.
And while Antarctica is one of the least forgiving environments on Earth, it’s still home to a whole host of wildlife, including huge elephant seals and the star of the show, plenty of penguins. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale or two!
2| Greenland, Denmark
As with Antarctica, Greenland is a huge landmass that sees relatively few travelers making their way to its shores. That’s mostly due to Greenland being tricky to reach, but it’s certainly worth the effort.
The entire country’s population is under 60,000, which means huge stretches of totally uninhabited tundra, fjords and mountains for you to explore. And not only is the landscape itself absolutely beautiful, but there are also several stunning natural phenomena to witness here too.
Firstly, if you visit the northernmost part of Greenland in the summer, then you’ll get to experience the fabled midnight sun, where the sun never sets for one long, perpetual day of twilight. In the winter, on the other hand, you’ll be able to gaze in wonder at the Northern Lights, as the night sky is lit up by incredible dancing green light!
And if you can’t get this far, what about a stay in a luxury treehouse under the Northern Lights?
3| Easter Island, Chile
One of the most remote islands in the world, Easter Island is also home to one of the most iconic examples of indigenous art- the moai. Around 800 of these statues (which, contrary to popular belief, also have bodies instead of being just heads) are dotted across Easter Island, left behind by the Rapa Nui people.
We still don’t know exactly what the purpose of these statues was- they may have been statues to the gods, a form of ancestor worship, or even a conduit to the heavens. Whatever they were, they still retain their power to amaze, and along with the tranquility here make Easter Island well worth a visit.
Over 2000 miles away from the nearest mainland country, Chile, Easter Island is quite the experience- and since it’s so flat, you can even make your own way across the island by bike for a one-of-a-kind cycling trip!
Although Madagascar is located just a stone’s throw from the African mainland (relatively speaking), it feels like a whole different world- especially the eastern side of the island, which is home to many isolated communities and natural wonders. From the cloud-covered peaks of Masoala, to the dense rainforests, the Pangalanes Lakes to the wonderful coastline, eastern Madagascar is a haven for those who like to feel like they’re right in the very heart of nature and one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world.
Of course, that means that travel isn’t all that easy here- you’ll likely have to take dirt bikes, scooters and motorboats rather than air-conditioned taxis- but surely that’s all part of the fun of getting lost in the wilderness, and stumbling across marvel after marvel in this unique part of the world.
5| Socotra, Yemen
A UNESCO World Heritage site, many visitors to Socotra feel like they’ve set foot on a different planet. That’s because Socotra is home to more unique species of plants and animals than almost anywhere on the planet, with around 70% of native species being endemic.
Once upon a time, it was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, until it split off tens of millions of years ago. That’s what allowed so many unique species to thrive here, one of the most notable being the dragon’s blood tree. Shaped like an umbrella, locals thought that its bright red sap came from the blood of dragons, and it is still highly sought after as a dye. In addition, Socotra is home to many deep, dark caves that are a spelunker’s dream.
Unfortunately, traveling to Socotra right now is proving extremely difficult, as the war in Yemen continues to rage on, but the island is safe itself, so hopefully it will be easier for visitors to return very soon.
6| Kamchatka, Russia
Russia is home to plenty of amazing landscapes, so for us to say that Kamchatka takes the cake should tell you that this place is very special indeed. Located at the easternmost edge of the country, the Kamchatka Peninsula is vast but sparsely populated, with around half of the local population living in and around Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky, and definitely one of the most remote destinations to visit.
And while it may be covered in snow and ice for most of the year, you’ll still see plenty of wildlife as you explore the region- not only are there over 1000 different species of plants in Kamchatka, but there are also magnificent animals like brown bears, wolves, sea eagles, and herds of reindeer to spot if you’re lucky.
In addition, Kamchatka is home to some awesome natural wonders as well, including the largest active volcano in the northern hemisphere, the Valley of the Geysers, and a whole host of nature reserves. For a very special experience, make your way to the southernmost point of the peninsula in August to see for yourself the largest salmon run in the world, and for a guaranteed opportunity to see more than a few brown bears in the wild!
7| Andaman Islands
While technically an Indian state, the Andaman Islands actually lie over a thousand kilometers off the east coast of the country, in the Bay of Bengal. As you might imagine, that gives this archipelago, formed of over 500 islands (although only 38 are inhabited) a real sense of isolation, which is just what you need for a vacation in the tropical climate of the Indian Ocean. What about combining this remote paradise with a vsit to the (equally magical) state of Kerala?
There are plenty of sandy beaches if you just want to relax and soak up the sun, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, much of the islands are covered with dense tropical forests to explore. For a truly unforgettable experience, be sure to try scuba diving in some of the world’s most pristine waters, which are home to huge arrays of colorful coral and tropical fish. Most other scuba hotspots have been spoilt somewhat by pollution and frequent interference by boats, so to dive in such an unspoiled setting is a very special opportunity indeed.
Finally, to give you an idea of just how isolated the Andaman Islands are, they are actually home to the only known remaining Paleolithic people in the world, the Sentinelese tribe. Still following a hunter-gatherer way of life, this small tribe have resisted any contact with the outside world- a sure sign that the Andaman Islands are a place where it’s easy to get away from modern life.
READ ALSO: The Top 24 Ecotourism Destinations for 2019
8| Palmerston, Cook Islands
Sometimes referred to as the “island at the end of the earth”, Palmerston is perhaps the most isolated spot on the planet. Located far, far out in the Pacific, the only way to reach this coral atoll is via a nine-day boat ride- it’s simply too far for a helicopter to reach, and there’s nowhere for planes to land. That means that only the most determined travelers ever get to see Palmerston with their own eyes, but it definitely looks like it’s worth that long journey.
Part of the Cook Islands, Palmerston is the only inhabited island in the atoll, and its low height means that you can only see it from the boat when you’re almost right on top of it. Because of this, plenty of boats have been wrecked on the reefs that connect the islands over the centuries, and the local inhabitants have reclaimed as much as they can to use as building materials.
About seventy people call Palmerston home, and most of them are descendants of one William Marsters, an English sailor who settled here with his two Polynesian wives in 1863. It’s easy to see why Marsters wanted to live here- palm trees and sandy beaches are in abundance, making it a beautiful if isolated island. While you’re here, be sure to visit “Kiss My Arse Rock”, the colorfully named fishing hotspot that will see you reel in plenty of parrotfish!
9| Faroe Islands, Denmark
You might think that Europe would have little to offer in terms of untouched, unspoiled wilderness, but you’d be wrong. The Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic, have a history that stretches back over a thousand years, to the days of the Vikings. Nowadays, the islands are technically part of Denmark, but being so isolated, they have a character all of their own.
Dramatic landscapes await you at every turn on this eighteen-island archipelago, from moorlands stretching out before you, to the seas battering the cliffs. I’m a sucker for incredible natural landscapes; I just came back from a one week in Georgia trip and the mountains there were also wow!
Birdwatchers in particular would do well to make the trip up to the Faroe Islands from the UK, as there are many beautiful species which roam from the mountaintops down to the sea.
The history of the islands is plain to see as you wander about, with thatched cottages, quaint churches, and ancient cairns dotted all about. But while the Faroe Islanders are proud of their history, that’s not to say they are stuck in the past. During your stay here, you’ll have access to all mod cons, and even in the most remote parts of the islands, you should still be able to get some phone signal- perfect for those of you who don’t like to get too detached from the modern world!
10| Cocos Islands, Australia
While the Cocos Islands (sometimes known as the Keeling Islands to distinguish them from the similarly-named part of Costa Rica) are an Australian territory, few Aussies have even heard of these remote islands. That’s not surprising, since they lie over 2500km away from Perth, nestled in the Indian Ocean.
Just two of the 27 islands in the archipelago are inhabited, which means visitors have their pick of empty, tranquil beaches and clear blue seas all to themselves. As you might expect of a place where water is all about, boats are a key part of life on the Cocos Islands, and if you want to get about to explore the many uninhabited islands, your best bet is to canoe across the clear, calm waters.
It’s also the ideal place for the more adventurous among you to try your hand at kitesurfing! Snorkeling and scuba diving in the Cocos Islands is also a stellar experience, and you swim around seas untouched by the pollution that mars so many tourist hotspots elsewhere. You’re never more than a stone’s throw away from the ocean here, so if you love the peace and quiet of the sea, then the Cocos Islands should certainly be at the top of your list of remote places to visit this year!
Whatever the destination you choose, you will get some peace and time by myself for sure! So, where are you heading to?