If the holiday traffic jams, crowded malls, and endless parties of the season have given you a yearning for some peace and quiet, book a trip to one of these secluded destinations where you definitely won’t run into anyone you know.
Secluded Destinations to Visit
These secluded destinations offer privacy, a low likelihood of other tourists, and plenty of relaxation.
If you were to visit the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, you’d be in exclusive company—according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Tuvalu is the least-visited country in the world. In fact, just 2,000 people stopped by these idyllic islands (Tuvalu is composed of nine small islands) in all of 2016.
Located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, it’s a far flight—but once there you’ll enjoy perks you only find in secluded destinations, like totally empty beaches. Better visit soon though, as the UN listed this low-lying island chain as one of the places most likely to disappear under water due to the effects of global warming.
Where to Stay: The Vaiaku Lagi Hotel is located right on the water and offers stunning views.
Really sick of people? Head to Greenland, which has the distinction of being the least-densely populated place in the world, with an average of 0.03 people per square kilometer, according to World Atlas.
Although Greenland’s tourism board claims that it’s the largest island in the world (Australia and Africa are apparently continents, and not islands), about 85 percent of Greenland’s landmass is ice, which cuts down the areas you’ll want to visit by quite a bit. Still, you can go hiking, cross-country skiing, climbing, and mountaineering—and be more likely to run into a polar bear or whale than another person.
Where to Stay: The Hotel Nuuk Seamen’s Home is centrally located in Nuuk and provides easy access to nearby activities.
Wine snobs are drawn to the nearby Argentina’s famed Mendoza, while sun-seekers hit Uruguay‘s popular shores of Punta del Este—but those looking for secluded destinations will find both vineyards and beaches in the hidden town of Carmelo. This secret spot has riverfront beaches, a thriving wine scene, and an impressive dining scene. Just a ferry ride and one-hour drive from bustling Buenos Aires, Carmelo feels like a quiet oasis that’s a world away from city (or tourist) life.
Where to Stay: Puerto Dijama Hotel Boutique is a cozy and charming hotel located right next to the river.
Eagle Island, Georgia
The only way to ensure a completely remote getaway is to buy out one of these secluded destinations—which is surprisingly affordable to do. Eagle Island is a private island near Darien, Georgia, that can be yours for as little as $427 a night. Book it just for yourself for total isolation, or invite up to twelve friends to share the island’s five-bedroom house.
Lofoten Island, Norway
North of the Arctic Circle lies the adventurers’ paradise of Lofoten, an island chain of secluded destinations that belongs to Norway. Warm air from the Gulf Stream brings a temperate climate so you can comfortably visit in summer for the midnight sun, or in winter for the northern lights. These rugged islands are only accessible by ferry or plane, so most tourists visiting Norway skip this outpost entirely. It’s worth bringing a car across on a ferry, as the four main islands are connected by bridges or tunnels so you can explore them all.
Where to Stay: Thon Hotel Lofoten is a modern hotel with waterfront views and a restaurant serving fresh-caught fish.
“France gets more visitors every 90 minutes than Bhutan does in a year,” says GeoEx, a tour operator in Bhutan. So if you’d rather explore wide-open expanses than stand in crowds around the Eiffel Tower, put Bhutan on your bucket list.
Why so few tourists? “Bhutan has requirements for visiting, a key one being you must work with a tour operator that has been approved by the Bhutanese government, like us,” says Alice Howell, Director of Innovation for GeoEx. “The number of visitors is limited by sheer logistics – you can’t get a visa unless you have flights and a trip paid for in full—and the space on flights is limited.”
Where to Stay: Zhiwa Ling Hotel fuses ultra-modern amenities and traditional comforts. You’ll get Swedish under-floor heating and telecommunication systems alongside traditional Bhutanese stonework and hot-stone baths.
Petit St. Vincent, Caribbean
Visiting secluded destinations doesn’t always mean fending for yourself—but there may be some workarounds in place. Imagine a place that’s so deserted that you have to use a flag system to signal that you want service: At Petit St. Vincent, a private island resort in the Caribbean, guests leave up a red flag when they don’t want to see anyone, or use a yellow flag to indicate that they want room service or transportation. Leave the red flag up, and you might not see another person during your entire stay.
Pemba Island, Africa
The far-flung island of Pemba, off the coast of East Africa, is home to around 300,000 people, and sees only a handful of tourists each year. If that’s not secluded enough, reserve The Underwater Room at The Manta Resort, where your only company will be fish, octopus, and other marine life. Take a private boat to your exclusive paradise, which has an underwater bedroom (surrounded by clear glass), and an upstairs sundeck.
Skoki Lodge, Canada
You’d better pack lightly if you’re staying at Skoki Lodge. This hotel is only accessible via a 6.5-mile hike (or ski in the winter) through Banff National Park. The lodge sleeps a maximum of 22 guests, so you’re guaranteed solitude—if you can make it there.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Over-Tourism Is on the Rise: Here’s Where You Should Go Instead
- 9 Places to See Before They Disappear
- 12 Dream Destinations That Don’t Want You to Visit
Caroline Morse Teel is looking for secluded destinations to travel to ASAP. Follow Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline to see her journeys around the world.