When most of us start thinking about remote cities around the world, the top places that come to mind are Antarctica, Iceland or Greenland. The planet is made up of 70% of water, but the rest of it includes seven continents that are all unique in their own ways. If you live in Western Canada, you have heard of the badlands in Alberta, and if you call the United States your home, Arizona is another place known for its isolated spots.
This winter, I remember watching a trailer for the movie The Forest about a woman searching for her sister in Japan. After reading more into Mount Fuji, I discovered that in this part of the country, people reportedly go in and never come out. While this may sound very far-fetched, I was surprised to find out that there are places around planet Earth where very few people live or only a handful of visitors per year travel to because of how isolated and remote these locations are.
If you live in a major city like New York, Toronto, Tokyo, Shanghai or Mexico City, take a seat. After reading this article, you will be surprised at some of the living conditions people are willing to live in for a piece of the isolation pie. Whether the residents of these cities stay because of its beauty, the lack of population or they are simply in love with their city, it will make you look at life in a big city like you never have before.
15 Svalbard Archipelago, Norway
Sixty percent of Svalbard Archipelago is surrounded by glaciers and icebergs. Geographers call it the northernmost settlement in the world. Animal life that lives here are Polar bears, reindeer, seals and families of birds that make this harsh climatic place their home. During the summer time, visitors and residents ski from the south to the north point. Norwegian authorities have been known to limit the number of people that access the outpost for scientific work to be conducted in the main city. One of the best parts of visiting Svalbard is to see the Northern Lights. The television series Fortitude was filmed in Svalbard.
14 Madagascar, Africa
Madagascar is not only beautiful, but unique. The biodiversity hot spot has 90 percentile of wildlife that is found nowhere else in the world. We all remember the Dreamworks movie Madagascar and the animal characters in the wilderness. Little did we know that it is considered one of the most remote places on the planet. Madagascar is surrounded by jungles of endangered animals, white sanded beaches and limestone karst formations. People on the island speak French and live on less than $2 a day. How is that even possible? During the past two centuries, sports such as football, bowling and Rugby keep the youth entertained when they are not in school.
13 Sandhills, Nebraska
Sandhills is known in the United States as a flat, rolling farmland with cornfields and farmhouses. In 1904, the homesteading act gave Americans the option to stake claims of land of their choice of up to 604-acre parcels. The population in Sandhills is quite low because of its flat terrain and the younger generation is beginning to move to larger cities. Global warming has created more heat in this city than needed, causing mild drought and desert fires. It may not be a place for tourists, but if you are a photographer there is an abundance of nature and plant life you can capture.
12 Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Iqaluit has the lowest population of people in the country of Canada. It contains a suburb, Apex, where most of the Inuit people live with one elementary school, a church, store and a design shop.
Most of the people that live in Iqaluit are Indigenous, white, black, Asian and Latin American. It is also the only city in Canada without a highway. For all of you fast and furious drivers out there, Iqaluit has no traffic signals except for stop signs that are positioned to control intersections. Most people that move to Nunavut are there for work because the salaries are high and work is abundant depending on what you do for a living.
11 Iquitos, Peru
Peru is a country rich in culture, making it a hotspot for tourists from around the world to visit every year. Yet one city that probably will not be making your travel lists is the city of Iquitos. It is surrounded by rainforest and cannot be reached by airplane or a boat. The price of food and necessities are more expensive here because of how difficult it is the get into the town.
A vehicle is a rare commodity with Moto taxis taking up most of the streets in the city. When you think of a moto taxi, think of colorful gulf carts zipping through a small area. The city may be isolated, but it has a list of restaurants that serve fresh fish and spicy meals.
10 Yakutsk, Russia
Russia will go down in history as one of the coldest places on the planet. Temperatures in the winter season are as low as -64.4 Celsius in Yakutsk. Most of the houses are built on top of concrete piles because of the sheer cold temperatures. Despite its harsh climate, it is known as the fifth international producer of diamonds. One of the biggest festivals in Yakutsk is a two-day event called Ysyakh where the people celebrate the Summer Solstice. To make up for most of the time spent indoors during the cold season, local residents compete in wrestling competitions, wear folk costumes and dance to popular Russian music.
9 Nuuk, Greenland
Much like Iquitos, Nuuk has very limited ways for people to get into the city. While most of us enjoy spending our weekends going out to restaurants or watching a good movie at theatre, the people of Nuuk like to whale watch between the months of May and November. One of the closest cities to Nuuk is St. Johns, Newfoundland (Canada), and is the northernmost capital in the world. This city has a wide variety of tourist offices that offer outdoor activities that include whale watching, sailing, hiking, nature cruises or skiing. Talk about calling on all the outdoor lovers!
8 Socotra, Yemen
If there is one place you can think of that would be perfect for the Reality TV show Survivor, Socotra is that place. It is a small city that is made up of four islands in the Indian Ocean. It has a plant life that can’t be found anywhere else in the world with 307 species of plants. In November 2015, the island received over 410 millimeters of rain on the west side of the island with an average of 800 millimeters inland during the fall to winter season every single year. Can you imagine spending one week on this island? Imagine all of the bragging rights you can have with a unique and amazing experience.
7 Medog, China
Medog is a beautiful city with over 10,000 residents that are surrounded by high mountains. Without a road that provides access to China it can be very difficult to get a break from this isolated city. The road that is available in town is only open 8 months during the year because of heavy snowfall and mudslides. One of the downsides to living in Medog is the lack of education and medical care.
Despite being an isolated city, it is well known for trekking lovers with camping tours for a wild adventure. Tourism has encouraged the city to offer more amenities like internet access, hotels, mailing services and a local bus station.
6 Easter Island, Chile
The world renowned Easter Island has 887 monumental stone statues of head-and-torso figures that were built by the Rapa Nui people. It is considered a “volcanic high island" with three volcanoes but this doesn’t stop people from visiting or living here. Can you imagine living on an island with 30 different species of birds? In the 1700s, land birds plagued the island and eventually became extinct because of climate change, overhunting and rat predation. The best time to visit is during the summer season which is January through March. When most of us up North are freezing at this time, temperatures are as high as 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
5 Perth, Australia
Perth is quadruple the geographical size of Texas and after a few days of driving in the same city, you can make it to its neighbor city called Adelaide. It is also known for having the most automobile ownerships in the world. On the outskirts of the urban area of Perth are a dry, hot and a deserted stretch of land.
Residents have been known to frequently travel outside of the city because it is extremely isolated. If you enjoy the sun, Perth is the place for you! It has 365 days of sunlight lasting a full eight hours each day. Tourists and residents also enjoy going to King Park which is bigger than Central Park in New York.
4 Deception Island, Antarctica
How much do you love your city? Deception Island sits on the land of an active island. One of the interesting parts of the island is it is close to being shaped as a D to complement the first letter of its name. It was an uninhabited island up until 1941 after the British arrived on the island. People from around the world come to Deception to see the swarms of chinstrap penguins gather. Scientific research by Argentina and Spain takes place here and in the past, tourists could dig a hole in the ground to sit in hot pools. The Antarctic Treaty now prohibits it as a part of its activities.
3 Pitcairn Island, South Pacific
The United Kingdom has been blessed to own some of the most exotic places around the world. Pitcarin Island has 56 residents and the British government has promoted UK residents to move there for years. It is hidden away from civilization with the ocean as its neighbor with clear blue water and green hills. Electricity on the island is run by a generator during the times of 8am to 1pm and 5pm to 10pm. People that move to the island must have at least NZ $30,000 in savings, plus build their own house at an average cost of NZ $140,000. Not bad at all if you ask me!
2 Cocos Islands, Australia
The Cocos Islands is made of up a series of islands with two main islands that are inhabited with only 15 kilometers of highway. A small percentage of mail travels by sea and can take up to 2 months to be received by the locals. If you ever decide to move there, make sure you get your secondary education first because there is only one high school on the island. Although the Cocos Island provides jobs to construction workers, tourist employees and lighterage workers, there are about 600 residents and the unemployment rate is 6.7% as of 2011. Cocos Islands are a perfect place for remote workers, retirees and business owners.
1 Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Tristan Da Cunha
The only way to get to this place is by a 6 hour boat ride from South Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. The people of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas are made up of seven families from The Netherlands, Scotland, England, Italy and the United States. In a C shape, the other islands that are uninhabited and are named Nightingale, Middle Island and Stoltenhoff, Gough and Inaccessible islands. Although the island is considered small in distance, it is very difficult to walk around it by foot because the terrain is rugged and steep. One of the best parts of visiting this place is a Visa is not required. Get your sandals and hiking shoes ready! This is one island where you can enjoy fishing excursions and perfect grass for golf climbing.