The earth is indeed a fascinating place that consists of nearly forgotten-isolated locations, that provide an unparalleled and gratifying experience if known. Such sites continue to fire up the imagination of explorers and contain vivid historical and cultural stories that truly establish them as faraway islands of adventure. We read about such unknown lands in fiction novels, and are beyond intrigued.
With all the urbanisation, densely crowded cities, pollution, and sprawling streets, it is good to avoid regular tourist destinations and find serene, calm destinations around the world.
Here is a list of 15 examples of the world’s most isolated places that will captivate the traveling gene in you!
1. Tristan Da Cunha, The British Overseas Territory
With a population of 250 people, Tristan Da Cunha is one of the most remote inhabited archipelagos in the entire world. The group of isolated islands stands 1511 miles away from South Africa and contains the wildlife reserves of Gough Islands and Inaccessible Lands, which were termed UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.
The main island (i.e., Tristan Da Cunha) is generally mountainous and has a humid subtropical climate with heavy rainfalls due to persistent westerly winds. It contains a coastline of about 21 miles (34 km) and a central volcanic cone of height 2,060 meters (6,760 feet). The most riveting part of these islands is that the only way to travel here is through a six-day boat trip that starts from Cape town.
2. The Kerguelen Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Famously known as the DESOLATION ISLANDS, The Kerguelen Islands is a group of islands in the Antarctic located towards the super southern portion of the Indian Ocean, together enveloping an area of 2,400 square miles (6,200 square km). Officially discovered by Yves Joseph de Kerguelen Tremarec on 12th February 1772, La Grande Terre is the main island here, encircled by massive active glaciers.
This isolated group of islands is populated by 50-120 French scientists, engineers, and researchers because it is currently home to a weather base, and reached only through the sea. The highest point of La Grande Terre, Mount Ross in the Gallieni Massif escalates on the southern coast at an elevation of 1850 meters. The weather on the islands is intensely harsh and chilly, due to frequent high winds throughout the year.
3. Socotra, Yemen
An adventure island for plant lovers, and often described as “the most alien-looking place on earth,” Socotra in Yemen is the largest of four islands of Socotra Archipelago. One of the most extensively isolated landforms of earth, Socotra havens a vast number of inscriptions, drawings, and archaeological sites that date back to 1st century BC and 6th century AD. This gemstone of the Arabian sea houses about 700 plant species of which 37% are nowhere else on earth.
“The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” stands 400 miles from Sanaa, inhabiting 40,000 people and the weird-looking tree, also called the Dragon’s Blood Tree (Dracaena Cinnabari). Everyone – from ancient Egyptians, Greeks to Romans tapped the natural treasures of Socotra, like the dark red sap of dragon’s blood tree (essentially used for healing and paint purposes), medicinal extracts of plants, and resin. The pristine landscape and the rich-biodiversity of Socotra made it a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008.
4. Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
With a population of 450 people, Ittoqqortoomiit in Greenland is one of the remotest settlements on earth. Founded in 1925 by settlers from Tasillaq and a few families from West Greenland, this isolated land is in the eastern part of Greenland, between the Northeast Greenland National Park and Scoresby Sund Fjord.
With the wooden huts of blue, green, red, and yellow in colour, the scenic landscape of Ittoqqortoormiit is even more enhanced and adorned. You can spot species like Polar Bears, Seals, Walruses, Norwell’s, and Musk-Ox’s here. One can only travel to Ittoqqortoormiit by helicopter or cruise, but the location is worth it because you can experience watching the tranquillity of the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights.
5. Easter Island, Chile
2,300 miles west of South America, stands this mysterious land called Easter Island. This isolated land is famous for its thousands of stone monuments, also called Moai, which were made from volcanic rock between 1250 and 1500 AD by the Rapa Nui people, making it a distinctive region of artistic and architectural culture.
Easter Islands became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995 to preserve and conserve the wonder stone sculptures and the landscape. This Polynesian land shrouds in allure and mystery that continues to amaze historians and several tourists from around the globe.
6. Motuo, Eastern Tibet
The only country without a highway line to connect to the outside world, Motuo in Eastern Tibet is the last country where the Brahmaputra River crosses over in China before flowing towards India. Located in the Southern Slopes of Himalayan ranges, Motuo contains a population of 10,000 inhabitants, mostly by Menba and Luoba ethnic groups.
In Tibetan and Buddhist scriptures, the word Motuo translates to “hidden lotus,” and the place translates to one of the holiest and purest regions. One can travel to Motuo village only by a four-day trek, crossing four smaller towns.
Motuo houses 1/10th of China’s plant species and is called the “Natural Museum of Tibet” or “The Tibetan Botanical Garden.” With the setting sun and the clouds and mists above mountains, Motuo resonates with tranquillity. One experiences the steep ravines and lofty peaks of this idyllic reserve on the four-day trek.
7. Pitcairn Island, South Pacific
The volcanic archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean (Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands) form the solitary British Overseas Territory in the Pacific and comes under the least populated dominion in the entire world. The Pitcairn Islands were designated as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1988 and are reachable only by boat by Bounty Bay.
The islands encompass an unscathed subtropical environment, with bird and marine life, pervasive flora, and unforgettable sea voyage. As of January 2020, 43 permanent residents are residing on this island.
In March 2015, the British Government established one of the largest marine protected areas around the Pitcairn Islands to safeguard the world’s most primeval ocean habitat from illegal activities.
8. Longyearbyen, Norway
Being the world’s most Northernmost-coal mining town, Longyearbyen automatically makes the list of isolated places around the world. Although the city is a base for Svalbard Tourism, it houses more than 3,000 polar bears. The weather here is chilling, with a permafrost condition (the soil remains permanently frozen around the year) because of which all the buildings are constructed on stilts to prevent the active layer of soil from flooding.
Residents state that the sun does not show up for four long months, between October to February. The one most uncanny fact about this place; you are prohibited from expiring here (the government imposed a rule) because the bodies do not decompose in the soil.
9. Apolima, Samoa
The smallest of the four inhabited islands of Samoa, Apolima Island is an edge of an extinct volcanic crater. With a maximum height of 165 metres and an area less than 5 square kilometres, the total population of this isolated location is 75 (according to the 2006 census) – and is only accessible through the means of a boat.
The island might be small in area but contains primeval blue waters, breath-taking forest foliage, and is surrounded by rugged cliffs. The only way to enter this island’s bay is through a narrow, swirling channel.
10. Changtang, Tibet
The high-altitude plateau of western and northern Tibet that expands into southern Ladakh, Changtang is sometimes also referred to as the “roof of the earth” (altitude ranges from 14,000 to 19,000 feet). Home to the Changpa Tribe, this isolated place consists of vast highlands, giant lakes, and magnificent landscapes.
It also houses the Changtang Nature Reserve which is the 2nd largest nature reserve around the world, due to which the place has seen an increase in the number of endangered species. The plateau is accessible through means of air and road, but one should check the weather because it is unpredictable and harsh due to the high elevation.
11. McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Often referred to as “the literal bottom of the earth,” the McMurdo Station stands in the southernmost end of the world, a US-scientific research station established in Antarctica during the 1950s. This place is renowned for its cold and harsh weather and attracts people like scientists, researchers, and artists.
A great majority of civilians work to run the station here, but only a few (200-250) people stay during the extremely cold climate. The small town consists of everything, from houses to pubs and chapels, the place has a magnetic pull because of its surreal landscapes, and wildlife experiences. One can visit McMurdo with special permissions through the airways.
12. Oymyakon, Eastern Siberia
Known as the “coldest permanently inhabited place on earth.” Oymyakon is a remote village towards eastern Siberia actually closer to the Arctic Circle than a city. The average temperature recorded in Oymyakon is around -58 degrees Fahrenheit, and once, the temperature went down to -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the hardships such as frozen plumbing pipes, running cars 24X7 so that the engines don’t immobilise, and a frosting face while walking down a street, the place is populous. One can reach Oymyakon through a two-day car ride because it is always too cold to take a flight!
13. La Rinconada, Perú
Tucked away in Peruvian Andes, La Rinconada is a remote town in southern Peru, nearly three miles above sea level. Home to around 50,000 inhabitants, the elevation of this town is 16,730 feet above sea level. It is famously known as the “highest town in the world.”
The trip to this town leaves an unforgettable experience because you witness the snow-capped mountains, winding roads clinging to the cliffs, and the pure landscape that surrounds the place.
Fun fact: the La Rinconada lies just above a gold mine because of which, its population rose to 235% between 2001-2009.
14. Palmerston Islands, Cook Islands
A unique island that sits in the Pacific, Palmerston Island is a magnificent isolated space with its coral reef and white beaches, surrounded by vast lagoons. The coral reef expands for about 3,600 acres on the rim of a seven-mile-wide blue lagoon, along with other little islets.
The sea is only accessible here because Palmerston Islands stand towards the end of the earth, too far for any helicopter to fly. It takes 9-days to reach this isolation by boats, and the island is visited only twice by a supply ship every year.
15. Alert, Nunavut, Canada
Standing 1000 miles away from its nearest accessible location, Alert in Nunavut, Canada is the last on this list of isolated places. According to the 2016 census, the population of this town was 62. Majorly, this town houses the military signals intelligence radio receiving facility of Canadian Force Station Alert.
With a harsh polar climate for more than ten months a year, Alert is the northernmost town in the entire world. Serene Landscapes, Snowy-mountains, and Quttinirpaaq National Park are the gemstones to watch here.