There are people who love to vacation in big, buzzing, bustling cities...and then there are those who'd rather escape to someplace slightly, well, a bit, more remote. Here, 10 extraordinarily remote — and extraordinarily beautiful — destinations.
Veronique DURRUTYNamtso LakeAccording to EU Science Hub, the Tibetan plateau, often called "the Roof of the World," is the world's single most remote place. To get to the nearest city with a population of 50,000 or more, a person would have to travel for three weeks straight: one day by car and the remaining 20 days by foot. But just look how breathtaking it is, this view may just be worth the trek.
coolbiere photographNamtso Lake: On the Tibetan PlateauNamtso Lake, elevated at 15,479 feet, is also a bit of a climb. The lake has a few small and uninhabited islands and, years ago, spiritual seekers would walk across the frozen waters at the end of winter and then live on an island for the better part of the year, returning only when the lake froze over again. This is no longer permitted by Chinese authorities.
zanskarSocotra: Islands in the Arabian SeaAn offshore territory of Yemen, Socotra is an archipelago of four islands located in the Arabian Sea, 150 miles east of the Horn of Africa.
DEA / C.DANI / I.JESKESocotraSome 40,000 people live there, but without any form of public transportation and only two roads.
Anthony PapponeSocotraSocotra's remarkable biodiversity — over a third of the local plant species aren't found anywhere else — led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.Dean CongerOymyakon: Cold and Out of The WayIf you ever find yourself in the Oymyakonsky District of the Sakha Republic of Russia, and you happen to be drifting down the Indigirka River some 19 miles northwest of Tomtor, you might as well pop by the village of Oymyakon.Barcroft MediaOymyakonWith a population hovering around 500, Oymyakon is not only remote, but also one of the coldest places on the planet. Temperatures have dropped to 90 below zero. And if that weren't enough, the ground is permanently frozen. But it is quiet.
Francesco Riccardo IacominoDeep In Arizona: SupaiRed rocks, waterfalls, and a population of 208. It's hard to imagine, but in the middle of the Grand Canyon — where tourists flock and Pepsi commercials are filmed — sits Supai, the isolated capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation.Steve NorthupSupaiThe U.S. Department of Agriculture has called Supai "the most remote community" in the contiguous United States; you can get there, but you'll need to take a mule, hoof it, or fly in by chopper. And the mail? It, too, comes by mule.James P. BlairTristan da Cunha: Lonely IslandsAn archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha is a territory of the U.K. and, at 1,500 miles from the nearest continental land — South Africa — the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Fewer than 300 people live on the main island.
Galen RowellAmundsen-Scott South Pole StationAt the southernmost spot on planet Earth sits the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The not-so-romantically named Amundsen-Scott scientific research facility was built in 1956 and, since then, has been continuously occupied...although not by many. Should you decide to visit, you'd better choose your season wisely, as winters here are fairly brutal: total darkness, gale-force winds, and temperatures that can reach 99 degrees below zero.JARNOUX MauriceKerguelen Islands: Into the WindWhen Madagascar is the closet population center — and it's 2,000 miles away — you know you're far from an ATM and a Taco Bell.De Agostini Picture LibraryKerguelen islandsSections of the islands get hit with almost continuous wind — typically, a hat-flipping 22 mph — but winds can reach 120 mph. Likewise, waves can roll in measuring nearly 50-feet high.
Marko Stavric PhotographyEaster Island: Beyond the Big HeadsIf Easter Island weren't located pretty much in the middle of nowhere — and, indeed, it is one of the world's most remote inhabited islands, where the closest town with a population over 500 sits some 1,600 miles away — it is almost a certainty that the nearly 900 giant stone statues (known as moai) would be crawling and crumbling with tourists.Florentina GeorgescuEaster IslandBut just because it's remote, doesn't mean there isn't a vibrant local culture. At one point, it's estimated that nearly 15,000 people lived on Easter Island. In later years, that number dwindled to the low hundreds, but it's now back to 5,000.PETIT PhilippeIttoqqortoormiit: Coastal LivingAt the edge of Eastern Greenland, where rocky land meets foreboding sea, you'll find a small sprinkle of brightly painted homes. This is Ittoqqortoormiit, the most remote town in Eastern Greenland, which means one of the most remote in the world.
Steve AllenIttoqqortoormiitFewer than 500 people live here which, given the weather — mostly well below freezing — is hardly surprising. You can fly from Reykjavík, Iceland, to nearby Nerlerit Inaat, but then you'll need to take a helicopter for the final 24 miles.Wolfgang KaehlerPitcairn: Way, Way Out ThereYou may not have heard of Ducie, Oeno, Pitcairn, and Henderson, but these four islands hold an HQ-worthy distinction: They make up the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. These four small, volcanic islands located way, way out in the southern Pacific Ocean dot several hundred miles of ocean and have a combined land area of 18 square miles; only Pitcairn Island is inhabited.Wolfgang KaehlerPitcairnPitcairn is known for its rough terrain: It's accessible only by boat and the interior, which is home to a wide variety of animals. The island isn't getting any more crowded: Before 2012, only two children were born on the island in the previous 21 years.