Seven Remote Holiday Destinations Without A Tourist In Sight
Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada. Photograph by Cavan Images/Getty Images
The clouds are lifting and the sunlit uplands are finally in the view. With the vaccine being rolled out, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and start planning for the gradual return of normal life. With our adventures put on hold last year, at MR PORTER we definitely feel like we need a bit of a breather. But where to go? The scientists still advise us to avoid crowds, for the time being. And we are sticklers for the rules. There is a solution: go where there are no people. Or at least where there are very few. To help you choose a spot on the map, we have scoured the earth to bring you a list of the most interesting and most remote places on the planet. Off we go!
Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland. Photograph by Mr Thomas Kraemer/Getty Images
There might be only one guest house and a pub that opens only one night a week, but what Ittoqqortoormiit lacks in mod cons it makes up for in natural beauty. The place is jaw-dropping, with the grey gneiss rock of the Northeast Greenland National Park to the north of the town and the icy depths of Scoresby Sund (the biggest fjord in the world) to the south. There are two flights a week to Constable Point airport and visitors are then conveyed to the town by helicopter, which is rather swish. Go between May and June and you will be rewarded by the sight of narwhals frolicking in the surf. One thing you won’t see is a crowd. Only 345 people live in the wind-swept settlement.
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Atacama Desert, Chile
Valle De La Luna, Atacama Desert, Chile. Photograph by Mr Renan Gicquel/Getty Images
Deserts are not, on the whole, known as tourist traps. All that sand and so little water rather deters Thomas Cook. They just aren’t very hospitable and the Atacama is perhaps the most unhospitable of all, which is, frankly, saying something, being the driest non-polar desert on the face of the earth. Last year 1mm of rain was recorded. That said, it is also sublimely beautiful, with giant wind-carved canyons and vast salt lakes at every turn. It looks a little like Mars and is indeed where the Mars rovers are tested out before they are flicked (yes, we believe this is the technical term) into space. Appropriately enough, then, it is a mecca for stargazers. The endless sky, unencumbered by clouds, means it is without peer.
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Funafuti, Tuvalu. Photograph by Mr Mario Tama/Getty Images
Tuvalu is a nine-island archipelago slap bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. To say it is remote is like saying Mr Joseph Stalin was a bit naughty. The last time figures were available, in 2016, only 2,000 people visited the island, and 65 per cent of those were on business. There are no tour guides, or cruise ships, and only a scattering of hotels, but what there is, is 13 square miles of protected ocean. It is a dreamy sight. The Funafuti Conservation Area is a series of lagoons and reefs that teem with green sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays. We can safely say there are few better places to dive in the world.
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Tristan da Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean
Queen Mary’s Peak, Tristan Da Cunha. Photograph by Mr Andy Isaacson
Tristan da Cunha is officially the most remote inhabited island in the world. Lying 1,732 miles off the coast of Cape Town and 1,513 miles from Saint Helena, it makes the Falklands seem like the Isle of Wight. It takes six whole days to get there by boat from South Africa. It is, though, worth the effort, as Prince Philip, who came here on the royal yacht in 1957, would attest. He was enamoured by the rocky outcrops and the enormous volcano, Queen Mary’s Peak, which sprouts from the centre of the 38 square-mile island. The enormous biodiversity of the place – there is everything from albatrosses to the lesser spotted subantarctic fur seal – means it was recently recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
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Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Mr Seng Mah
The phrase “off the beaten track” might have been coined for Mongolia. The vast country has only 1,300 miles of road, so you are treading new ground pretty much everywhere you go. There are no fences anywhere, so you can roam as far as you please, like the famous Mongolian wild horses. A worthwhile direction to head in, however, is the vicinity of the sand-red Flaming Cliffs, the site at which dinosaur eggs were first discovered. Head to the museum in Ulaanbaatar to get a look at fossils of the Tarbosaurus, the Mongolian cousin of T-Rex. Suffice to say, you are unlikely to come across many queues. There are only 3.2 million people living here and it is six times the size of the UK.
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The Kimberley, Western Australia
Windjana Gorge National Park, Kimberley, Western Australia. Photograph by Tourism Western Australia
The Kimberley is roughly the size of California with a population of only 50,000 versus the Golden State’s roughly 40 million. What it does have an abundance of is beautiful tropical forests to explore. You can lose yourself for days amid the boab trees, rust-red Chamberlain Gorge and 40,000-year-old rock art. When you are tired of doing that, you can kick back on the beaches of the Buccaneer Archipelago, which is made up of 1,000 picturesque islands dotted around the bluest ocean you ever saw. Bliss.
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Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. Photograph by WildestAnimal/Getty Images
This icy Canadian landscape is the nation’s newest territory. Formed in 1999, it’s governed by the Inuit people, who make up the majority of its 24,730 residents. There are 730,000 square miles of it to explore, which should keep you busy, but we recommend Baffin Island with its towering fjords and nearby Auyuittuq National Park, one of the most beautiful spots in North America, if not the world. The name translates as “land where it never thaws”, which is apt, considering you’ll find the Penny Ice Cap here, which was left behind after the Ice Age. You might also like to climb Mount Thor, but only if you have a head for heights and some sturdy boots. It is a mammoth 1,675m high.