Ever spin a globe and dream of exploring those tiny isolated dots in the middle of the sea? Maybe you long to go off-grid for a while or dive near some exotic coastline. Here are a few far-off retreats for those willing to trade in a cell signal and some amenities for some captivating travel tales. These are eight of the most remote islands you've never heard of.
If Iceland itself isn’t remote enough for your taste, then hop the ferry for a 40-minute ride to Heimaey Island. If your travel plans include witnessing puffins in their natural habitat, then you’re in the right place. The island is home to the largest population of these stunning birds. Puffins are known as the “clowns of the sea” for their amusing antics. Visitors can hike the Eldfell volcano, walk miles of trails or rent bikes to take in the tranquil scenery.
Located 300 miles east of Madagascar, this tiny speck in the Indian Ocean is a bird watchers paradise. The island is a seabird breeding site and known for its abundance of green sea turtles. History buffs will be fascinated with tales of the 1761 slave ship wreckage just off the island’s reef. Landing on the island takes a well-skilled pilot as the airstrip is no more than a dirt path.
Flores is one of the Azores Islands of Portugal. This isle locale is brimming with stunning lagoons, peaceful creeks and lush green hills. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with a hike or bike ride before cooling off in one of the island’s natural swimming pools. Local cuisine has a taste all its own, as the volcanic soil and salty sea combine to give the local produce a unique flavor.
Located between Iceland and Norway is a collection of remote isles known as "Europe’s Best Kept Secret." Faroe Islands are officially part of Denmark but don’t brush up on your Danish just yet. These islanders have their own unique language — safe to assume not found on Rosetta Stone. This landmass is peppered with grassy roof-topped buildings and colorful clapboard houses. There’s no need to sacrifice fine dining as Faroe is home to Kok, a Michelin-starred, 23-seat venue with breathtaking cliffside views. The expert chefs use the sparse ingredients found locally to create their innovative dishes.
Raoul Island — halfway between New Zealand and Tonga — is so secluded it’s not even open to the public. Arranging a visit to this remote location is a journey in itself. The only travelers granted access are those chosen to be Raoul Island Rangers. To make the cut, adventurers will spend five days in a remote part of New Zealand participating in a “shakedown.” Those who prove to have what it takes to endure the island’s challenging conditions will spend one year on the island as a ranger. The prize for being one of the chosen few is tackling the island’s overgrown weeds and the promise of some unforgettable snorkeling.
Known as the Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean, this St. Maarten neighbor embodies the true meaning of island hospitality. A warm welcome awaits visitors as they set out for world-renowned diving, a hike on the rainforest trail or relaxing on the sandy beach. Flying in and out of Saba is not for the faint of heart. This tiny island is home to the world’s shortest airstrip, providing an added element of excitement to the adventure.
Located in the most remote part of the British Isles is an archipelago only accessible by boat. Adventurers making the 2.5-hour sea journey will be privy to one of the most unique island tales. The last of the inhabitants evacuated the island in 1930 due to the challenges of self-sufficiency. The ruins of the abandoned homes give insight to its early dwellers. Each house is adorned with a plaque providing a detailed account of the home’s last residents and the date they set sail for a more civilized existence.
Tristan da Cunha
If this list of islands seems intriguing but not quite remote enough for your liking then head to Tristan da Cunha. Located between South Africa and Argentina in the middle of the Atlantic, this secluded spot holds the title of The Most Remote Island in the World. This archipelago is made up of six volcanic islands with Edinburgh of the Seven Seas as its principal settlement. The approximately 267 inhabitants use diesel generators for energy as traditional electricity is not available. Getting to Tristan da Cunha is no easy feat. Those wishing to visit will endure a seven-day ocean voyage aboard a South African vessel for the honor of these travel bragging rights.