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8 Remote and Secluded Places to Travel for an Isolated Escape

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Updated: 6th March 2024

In our chaotic, loud and globetrotting modern world, you rarely reach somewhere and feel truly alone. But when you do, it can be absolute bliss. Whether you want to recharge in a remote place, get away from it all on an isolated island, or search for a sense of serenity on a secluded wildlife vacation, sometimes seeking solitude is one of travel’s greatest joys.

From specks of sand with few footprints to vast empty deserts and untouched wilderness, there are still some pockets of our planet where nature is protected and preserved. Perfect for a reflective getaway, these quiet destinations are dreamy for their silence and, for the most part, lack of other travellers.

If you’re looking for one of the best places to get away from it all this year, be it on a small group hiking tour, to a remote yurt, or alone with no one but penguins for conversation, these are some of my favourite destinations for a true escape.

Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

Best for jaw-dropping landscapes and epic exploration

Straddling Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the narrow tail-end of South America and the continent’s ultimate remote playground. Providing an isolated escape among cinematic mountains, gorgeous glaciers, and never-ending expanses of unadulterated wilderness, there are few places in that world where nature humbles on such a seismic level. Whether you’re exploring the otherworldly turquoise lakes and mammoth ice blocks on a remote trek or taking it all in through the window of a secluded cabin, this corner of the world can be blissfully silent.

Yet, as tempting as taking a vacation in Patagonia alone could be, these vast, lonely landscapes are mostly better tackled supported than solo. Something an ever-growing cohort of adventure travel companies offering small-group hiking explorations can help with. And it figures. Kayaking alongside Humpback whales is a memory worth sharing, and you’ll undoubtedly want to learn from a local gaucho when horse riding. Plus, with remote backdrops like these, there are plenty of reflective moments to be had, even when travelling in a small group.

Walking amongst the now (mostly) dry Aral Sea in Karkalpakstan
Walking amongst the now (mostly) dry Aral Sea in Karakalpakstan

Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan

Best for endless nothing and yurt camping alongside a retreating sea

Covering a vast expanse of west Uzbekistan, the Republic of Karakalpakstan is the ‘Stan you might not have heard of. And while it is very much part of Uzbekistan, there are a few differences culturally and linguistically between Uzbek and Karakalpak people. However, in a country that is around three-quarters desert, the reason Karakalpakstan stands out as a secluded getaway is its lack of magnificent Silk Road cities. Millions flock to see the Islamic architecture and tileworks of Bukhara and Samarkand, yet just a fraction of those travellers make it out this far.

Those that do, however, are rewarded with a barren landscape dotted with fascinating historical sights. Once you’ve left Nukus, the regional capital with its Soviet architecture and “secret” art museum, behind, you’ll be pretty much alone as you gawk at Karakalpakstan’s mud-built Kalas. These ancient fortresses, some of which pre-date Christ, are a beguiling sight when they crop up alongside dusty dirt tracks. Zoroastrian monuments, where the deceased were left to be pecked by birds of prey, are equally as fascinating. But it’s the more modern death of the fast-retreating Aral Sea, once one of the world’s largest lakes, that screams its silence loudest. Drive for some six-odd hours across nothingness to spend a few nights in a traditional yurt camp on the water’s edge, filling your days with little but staring and strolling, and you’ll start to feel like you’ve left Earth entirely.

Dan is sat in a red coat to the left, with the clear blue waters in various hues beyond him. A group of rockhopped penguins are dotted on the rocks to the right.
Alone with penguin friends in the Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands

Best for penguin and marine life encounters without an expedition

Nowhere have I felt more alone than in the Falkland Islands. This barren, isolated and often overlooked archipelago in South America is perhaps best known for the British-Argentine war. Yet, with all mines recently cleared thanks to a team of hardworking, mainly Zimbabwean, demining experts, the scars of the war are mostly long gone. Instead, you’ll be greeted with sheep, penguins, seals and seabirds who, after a few days “out at camp” – any location away from the 3000-person capital city — you’ll almost certainly be trying to converse with.

Yes, this is one of the best places on the planet to get away from it all. Especially if you want to photograph the four types of Falkland penguins without the need to board an expedition ship with others. But you need not be completely alone on your secluded vacation. Most accommodation on the outer islands are spare rooms in the owner’s farm, where breakfasts and dinners can often be enjoyed family-style. But, whenever you want a remote place to be amongst untouched nature, it’s only a short stroll to the nearest pristine white sand beach where seals might be sunbathing or to a craggy corner where penguins and sheep are the only souls you’ll see.

Pin it! Top: Falkland Islands | Bottom: Great Smoky Mountains
Pin it! Top: Falkland Islands | Bottom: Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA

Best for glamping and reconnecting with nature closer to home

There’s no need to travel too far for a remote escape. The Great Smoky Mountains – a 522-odd acre National Park that straddles North Carolina and Tennessee – is an excellent option for a secluded vacation at home in the USA. This is an excellent get-away-from-it-all retreat with ridge-upon-ridge of forest, endless hiking trails, a cluster of tumbling cascades, and abundant wildlife spotting opportunities. 

Sure, some of the more famous hikes, such as the Chimney Tops Trail might see its fair share of footfall, but you won’t struggle to find more secluded tracks to tackle either. And when it comes to sleeping far from the noise, you’ve come to the right place, as glamping in Tennessee is top-notch. Truly, this State has got that going-off-grid feel nailed with plenty of tree houses, isolated log cabins, and even the odd dome-tent to make the most of stargazing. Check-in for just a weekend, and you’ll come home feeling refreshed by nature.

Raja Ampat Paradise
Raja Ampat: Come for the scuba diving, stay for the simple life

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Best for scuba diving and basic island life 

Raja Ampat was the best scuba diving of my life. And in fact, it might have been the best week of my life overall – this is paradise on earth. However, the journey to get here is a little long and arduous, as you need to transfer through West Papua to take an onward boat connection. As such, this is very much a place to come for underwater life; Indonesia has plenty of other islands that are just as pretty and remote if you just want beaches and palm tree photoshoots.

Instead, Raja Ampat – when done at a local, community-organised island stay rather than a liveaboard– is a blissful lesson in letting the modern world fade away. When you’re not scuba diving some of the most diverse concentrations of marine life on this planet, days are spent eating repetitive meals, relaxing on silky sands, relishing the lack of phone signal and perhaps managing to chill a few evening beers during the short period the island’s generator is switched on. Staying at one of the locally-run simple wooden cabin-style “resorts”, such as Kri, will ensure you respect Raja Ampat and her people when visiting and inject any money spent into local pockets while you embrace a true tropical escape.

Wild camping in Oman's Wahiba Sands
Wild camping in Oman’s Wahiba Sands

The Wahiba Sands, Oman

Best for silence amongst the sands without straying far

The two weeks I spent road-tripping around Oman were unforgettable. Unlike Dubai, I found Oman to be one of the most real, raw and friendly places I’ve ever travelled to. There was no shortage of meals, dates and conversations shared with friendly locals, whether in a market or on top of a mountain. But what made Oman really stand out for me was the liberal wild camping rules. Three of us piled into a car, chucked out tents into the boot, and embarked on the road trip of a lifetime. The best place we camped? The Wahiba Sands, or Sharqiya Sands.

While driving out into the desert and camping alone might not be the wisest decision, we felt safe when the three of us were camping in the Wahiba Sands. It also helps you don’t have to go too far off-road to be in a secluded location to pitch up. Plus, you won’t be totally alone. There are some camels, beetles, snakes and maybe even wolves or wild cats. These are all things to remember when planning if and how you want to camp. There are a few official desert camps if you’d prefer. But for me, waking up alone in the desert was absolutely magical and trumped the more organised experience I had in Morocco’s Sahara. Especially when a group of Bedouin women, clearly surprised to see us, stopped to offer us some tea the next morning. 

It's easy to find a quiet corner in the Faroe Islands
It’s easy to find a quiet corner in the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands

Best for an isolated island escape without giving up comforts

The Faroe Islands are something of a contradiction. On the one hand, these eighteen main islands alone on the North Atlantic are remote, ragged and seriously inhospitable. On the flip side, they are well developed (where developed), have decent infrastructure, and plenty of family-style hospitality. As such, they provide a perfect, wind-whipped, secluded escape for those who might not want to give up all their home comforts.

Away from Tórshavn, the compact and colourful capital city, you can soon disappear into your own world. Better still, take one of the regular ferries to an outer island and stay in a small, family-run guest house or rent a little turf-roofed home. And while it might seem like one of Europe’s hidden gems, it’s delightfully easy to get around with decent roads and good bus connections. Still, when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff with the fierce waves crashing below or circling around a sea stack with puffins clinging to the side, you can easily close your eyes and imagine there’s not another soul around for miles.

Australia’s vast Outback blends seclusion with Aboriginal art and culture

Australia’s Outback

Best for being in the middle of nowhere yet surrounded by ancient culture 

Arid, never-ending, and awe-inspiring, Australia’s ochre-hued Outback is perhaps best known for Uluru, the sacred sandstone rock that soars from the dirt in the UNESCO-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Yet, as you’ll discover if you also ride The Ghan – Australia’s desert crossing train that I felt I’d never get off – the Outback is endless. For hours and days, all I saw was red sand, red dirt, and very little else. If you want to get away from it all in Oceania, I don’t think there’s any better place to get lost. Sometimes literally. So be sure you’re planned and prepared before a big adventure out here.

Some of Australia’s best experiences are out here: marvelling at Uluru, walking amongst Kata Tjuta’s towering rocks, and learning more about the Anangu culture of Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. But once you’ve had your fill of the headliners, there are plenty of opportunities for a secluded escape. Whether you spend some time on a farm, seek out one of the simple camps, or set out on a road trip of almost nothingness, this big, empty, copper-coloured world is arguably one of the world’s most isolated destinations. 

1 reply
  1. Adam says:

    Thanks, Dan! It provides a fascinating insight into some off-the-beaten-path locations around the world. Describing places like Patagonia in Argentina and Chile, the Karakalpakstan region in Uzbekistan, and the Falkland Islands evoke a sense of solitude and adventure. It’s an excellent inspiration for travelers exploring hidden gems and reconnecting with nature.

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