Many beautiful locations around the world have been either spoilt or stripped off their charm by the arrival of masses of tourists which has considerably shortened the list of truly secluded locations that true adventurers yearn for.
Here are 5 of the most remote spots on the globe which give a new definition to the expression: ‘the middle of nowhere’. If you have visited even one of those, you can definitely consider yourself a genuine adventure traveller.
1. Chang Tang, Tibet
The vast expanse of high planes known as Chang Tang stretches around 1600km across the Tibetan Plateau and is officially one of the most inaccessible places on earth. The Changpa, a nomadic tribe which still counts around 500k members inhabits this untamed wilderness which is not connected to any Chinese roads or railways. It is virtually impossible to reach the Chang Tang Plateau, which is why only a handful of explorers have undertaken the expedition on foot. This area is so far away from anything whatsoever that it was named ‘world’s most remote place’ by the European Commission in 2009.
2. Easter Island, Chile
Although Easter Island or Rapa Nui is actually a relatively popular tourist destination, the fact that roughly 3000km separate this Pacific island from mainland Chile earns it a place on this list. Its 4000 inhabitants live on a small island that has become famous among tourists mostly thanks to the incredible sculptures that line its beaches. These massive rock sculptures called Moai were built around the year 1500 by the first island natives.
The fact that these rocks had to be transported using wooden sleds is according to historians the main reason for the Easter Island’s substantial lack of forests. The trees were in fact cut down in order to build sleds to transport the rocks that were used for the highly impressive sculptures.
3. Nuuk, Greenland
Greenland is officially part of the Danish crown but in reality a world away from Europe. This vast expanse of frozen landmasses and mountainous scenery is not easily accessible and extremely difficult to visit. Greenland has in fact no roads and no other transport infrastructure outside of the main settlements. The only way to get from one town to the other is by boat or by plane/helicopter and these modes of transport are heavily reliant on the weather. Greenland however offers incredible natural spectacles, especially the unique composition of the Northern lights. Greenland is furthermore home to a wide range of arctic animals such as polar bears and polar foxes. Add to this the marvellous mountainous backdrop and the infinite extent of white wilderness and you’ll understand why a trip to Greenland should feature on your adventure bucket list.
4. Tristan da Cunha
Depending on which ranking you consider and on which factors you take into account, Tristan da Cunha is the most secluded place on earth. This UK governed Atlantic island lies a staggering 2000km from the nearest inhabited land, the island of St Helena and does not even have an airport. Next time you think that you live too far away from the nearest big city, think again: it takes over a week for the residents of Tristan da Cunha to reach Cape Town by boat, which is the closest large city, a mere 2400km away. The 200 inhabitants of this unbelievably remote place are descendants of British settlers. The British Empire founded a settlement here in 1816 in order to prevent the French from establishing a military basis in this part of the Atlantic. The only way to access the island is by boat, which takes about a week from St Helena and is only possible on rare occasions.
5. Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and it is located on the island of Tierra del Fuego, which is divided between Chile and Argentina and home to penguins, stunning scenery and a lot of informal border crossings. It is not actually that hard to get to Ushuaia thanks to the regular flights from Buenos Aires and the fact that the city is a popular stop for cruise ships but its location still makes this a unique place in the middle of nowhere.
The mere fact that no city has ever been founded in a location south of Ushuaia is a clear incentive for adventure travellers to put the city on their bucket list. Ushuaia has moreover been the stage of some historically important events, notably the Falklands War, during which Ushuaia served as a military port for the Argentine navy.