Sometimes when you’re on a packed bus, train or even city street, there’s an overwhelming urge to run to the nearest open space just to get some breathing space. Even the world’s biggest city-lover needs to see something other than towering skyscrapers, bustling pubs and tired looking office workers every once in awhile
So, where are the best places to go where the chance of you seeing another human being is slim? Whether it’s a seaside town with quaint tavernas and authentic, delicious food with locals who won’t ask your life story or climbing to the top of a mountain to scream at the top of your lungs “WHY IS THE BUS NEVER ON TIME”.
We’re also not going to mention crazy remote islands that are actually so remote you can’t travel to them, that’s not helpful for our adventurous readers. So instead here are 14 places that are remote, obscure and just really, really cool.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
Only a hop, skip and a jump from Scotland, the Faroe Islands aren’t thought of as a travel destination despite it’s fairly close location to the UK. However, with a traditionally Nordic heritage and borrowing parts of Germanic, Icelandic and Scottish culture, the Faroe Islands is a truly unique holiday experience. Oh, and with more puffins, sheep, whales, seal and cows than residents (under 50,000 live on the sparsely populated island) it’s the perfect place to literally ‘get away from it all’.
Foula, Shetland Islands
Sometimes described as ‘the edge of the world’, Foula is one of Britain’s most remote inhabited islands. Hosting spectacular views, amazing rich historical heritage and the feeling that you’re totally alone with your thoughts to breathe in that rich sea air. Although tricky to get to, Foula will leave a lasting impression on visitors with it’s real commitment to the Foula way of life. For example, residents still celebrate Christmas on January 6th and New Year a week later, according to the old Julian calendar, although the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1752.
KAYAK Tip: There are very few (if not none, it’s difficult to ascertain) places to stay on Foula but Shetland Visitor is your best bet or camping is popular. You’ll also need to get a ferry to Foula from Walls on the mainland.
St. Helena, British Overseas Territory
Want to feel like Napoleon? Not prone to starting wars era Napoleon, but prone to be left on desert islands era Napoleon. St. Helena is a British Overseas Territory which famously held the exiled Napoleon and is one of the most remote islands in the world. Tricky to get to, St. Helena can be visited by flying to Cape Town and catching the RMS St. Helena, one of the last Royal Mail ships still operating in the world.
But: As of 14 October 2017 Airlink will operate a weekly service between St Helena and Johannesburg and St Helena and Cape Town (via the stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia).
While remote, St. Helena has a wealth of wildlife, natural wonders and an eclectic South Atlantic British charm.
KAYAK Tip: Visit the St. Helena Distillery hidden away in Alarm Forest where Tung spirit, White Lion rum and St. Helena’s famous coffee liqueur are made and can be tasted. To find accommodation email the tourism board directly to find out availability – yes, it’s that small.
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Nicknamed the ‘The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean’ due to it’s amazing resemblance to coastal Ireland and the ancestry of many of its residents, Montserrat is the remote destination with a surprisingly quirky history. In the late 1970’s many famous musicians visited Montserrat to record in the AIR Studios Montserrat, legends such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Micheal Jackson, Black Sabbath and Lou Reed stayed on the island for long periods of time. Nowadays the beaches, forests and site of the 1997 volcanic eruption attracts little tourists, leaving you to reap the benefits of the peaceful tranquillity Montserrat has to offer.
KAYAK Tip: To get to Montserrat, you’ll need to fly to Antigua and then grab the ferry which handily operates six days a week. There are also a few hotels and private villas to rent on the island.
Sylt is not an unknown destination to Germans (in fact it’s their most favored island, next to Majorca that is) but it’s a mystery to the average Brit. Go during the holidays and you’ll definitely encounter a lot of people. But go during the off-season you’ll find long stretches of chilly beaches all to yourself – perhaps the perfect place to write that novel you’ve been putting off? Once home to whaling captains this skinny island is now home to adorable thatched-roof houses, quaint restaurants and the odd grey seal.
Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii
A lonely long stretch of highway from Kahului to Hana on East Maui has been given the moniker ‘Road to Hana’. Around 65 miles long, this drive takes around 2.5 hours if you don’t stop. But what’s the point of driving through some of the beautiful places on earth without savouring the view? Especially since they are overlooked by other road-trippers. Travellers looking for the ‘desert island’ feeling of total isolation should stop at Hāmoa Beach, some would argue Maui’s best beach and one that travellers don’t venture to as often as typical tourist beaches.
KAYAK Tip: There are many places to stay on the drive but relax for a few days in Kahului at one of the spectacular hotels by the beach, or stop in for a bite at Geste Shrimp Truck by Kahului Harbour – a local favourite.
Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
As you skim across the ocean on a speedboat from Bali, you could be forgiven if you thought the islands approaching you were out of a movie set. With its white sandy beaches, palmed tree fringed bars and clear blue water, it looks like some kind of paradise.Which is why, okay, it’s not super remote, the Gili islands are a relatively popular tourist destination. However, it’s tricky to get to and the average beach bum won’t make the effort. Also with a ban on cars, motorcycles and dogs, you can guarantee quiet for a silent getaway for the lone-wolf traveller.
KAYAK Tip: Scuba drive! Even if you’re not a fan of diving go on a ‘fun dive’ rather than a deep-water one, the water around the Gili Islands is clear as day and a must-see. There are also hotels aplenty on all islands, from budget to luxury.
Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Nothing says seclusion like an atoll, what’s an atoll I hear you ask? Simply put (because wow this is complicated) an atoll is a coral rim that encircles a lagoon – basically a circular island with a hole in the middle. Rangiroa is one of the biggest atoll’s in the world and is the textbook definition of ‘getting away from it all’. Don’t worry about getting a tad restless in paradise, this island heaven has resorts, some stores and restaurants aplenty.
KAYAK Tip: French Polynesia is a long way from the UK to be prepared for a long flight. So why not splash out? Stay in the most recommended resort on the island the Hotel Kia Ora which has those very Instagrammable floating beach huts.
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The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Montana
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is affectionately referred to as ‘The Bob’ to all that traverse this sparse, but beautiful patch of land in the heart of Montana. Camping is allowed in ‘The Bob’ but not much else, no logging or mining goes on, and there are no roads anywhere in the fifth-largest wilderness area in the US. It doesn’t get much more remote than this. Which is why you should be very, very prepared if you fancy tackling the great outdoors in the US, unlike the Peak District, US parks actually have bears and coyotes etc.
KAYAK Tip: The much more hardened hikers at Backpacker magazine has a nice little guide about a route through ‘The Bob’ and we recommend camping down by Dean Lake for a peaceful night and a good view.
Ah, breathe that fresh Vermont air. Now Vermont isn’t thought of the coolest of places to holiday, but there’s something unique about the state’s colonial buildings, lush pine forests and general laid back way of life. If you’re looking for the opposite of a bustling UK city, then Stowe with its Mom & Pop shops and acres of beautiful hiking routes is the cure for whatever is ailing you. Visit the Farmers Market on a Sunday to stock on farm fresh supplies and then head up to Cady Hill for a number of different routes surrounded by deer and maple trees. Quintessential New England living.
KAYAK Tip: There are plenty of quaint places to stay in Stowe without breaking the bank, if you want to splash out a tad then stay in a resort where you can try out some skiing, the areas most popular recreational activity.
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
“I can’t do this anymore, I’m moving to Alaska” is a typical line delivered when a character in a film or TV show is running away from their problems. Well, Brad, running away from your problems never solved anything but Alaska is a really awesome place to visit. The Denali National Park and Preserve is a huge sprawling expanse that has different ecosystems, one minute you could be venturing through Alpine forests and lakes, other times you could be scaling a glacier. Not for the faint hearted the Denali National Park is also home to grizzly bears, moose, wolves and hawks so camping must be done with extensive prior knowledge. However, you won’t encounter anything as beautiful as the view, a must-see for any mountain bagger is the park’s namesake, the Denali mountain.
KAYAK Tip: If you’re no backpacker then don’t worry, the park offers lots of different types of bus tours that can last up to 12 hours in order to see the entire park and learn about its varied history and wildlife.
This little-known city in Southern Italy is only home to 70,000 residents but what it lacks in hustle and bustle, it makes up for in relaxation in bundles. Known for its exquisite architectural heritage and archaeological sites within the town itself, its central location also makes it the perfect quiet base to day trip elsewhere. Terme di Caronte (Bath of Charon) is a collection of natural thermal baths just a 10-minute drive away from Lamezia. Surrounded by plush forest and reaching an average temperature of 35°C it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
KAYAK Tip: Want even more seclusion? Why not stay in a Villa instead of a hotel? Lamezia has a few, or if you want to venture further into the Italian countryside for the ultimate solo adventure.
Glenorchy, New Zealand
New Zealand is so far away from the UK that if you went any further you’d just be heading back on yourself, so seclusion should be guaranteed right? Unfortunately, because of a certain famous hairy feet-ed bunch of lads and New Zealand’s gorgeous landscape, it can be a bit of a tourist hotspot. Glenorchy is the perfect counterpoint to the busy city of Queenstown and it’s located not too far away. An adventurer’s wonderland you can kayak, horse, jet boat or simply stretch your legs with a hike to get some fresh mountain air.
KAYAK Tip: If you climb up to Kea Basin and Mount Earnslaw it takes around half a day but if you’re not able to finish the climb then stay in Earnslaw Hut for the night – no charge and you may meet some other lone wolves along the way.
You may have already heard of Tashirojima or ‘Cat Island’ as it’s affectionately been dubbed. Only a short ferry ride from Japan’s east coast, if you want to get off the beaten track then Tashirojima is your place. The islands Feline companions are seen as a sigh of good luck and were miraculously unhurt when the island was affected by a tsunami in 2011, feeding and petting them is encouraged. Head up to Manga Island, a local hilltop that has cabins shaped like cats, you can stay in the huts during the summer season to make your holiday even more cat-obsessed.
KAYAK Tip: There are only a few places to stay on the island and you will need Google Translate to help you make sense of the Japanese websites, check out accommodation here.
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Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on September 7th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.