World’s Most Remote Islands: Even in the 21st century, there are places on the planet that few people venture to. Lonely mountain tops, desert interiors, Arctic ice floes, and the vast frozen ice sheets of Antarctica immediately come to mind as remote places.
But what about faraway islands of adventure? Are there any that still exist in this modern age? Some of the most remote locations on Earth are islands so far removed from other landmasses or so distant from major air routes and shipping lanes that they are often forgotten by the rest of the world. This list of eight such places is just a sample of the many that could be mentioned.
All of these islands, or groups of islands in some cases, are dependencies or outlying territories of larger countries. They are remote and captivating places that continue to captivate the imaginations of adventurers and explorers alike.
The Kerguelen Islands
The Kerguelen Islands are a group of windswept islands in the Indian Ocean. They are filled with glaciers, mountains, rocky outcrops, and vast plains of tussock grasses and mosses. With a daily mean temperature ranging from 2.1 to 8.2 °C (35.8 to 46.8 °F), the Kerguelen Islands are not the first choice for human settlement, but they serve as a haven for seals, albatrosses, terns, and four species of penguins.
Spitsbergen-World’s Most Remote Islands
With an area of 39,044 square kilometers (15,075 square miles), Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago and also the largest island of Norway. Located about 830 kilometers (516 miles) east of the coast of Greenland and approximately 950 kilometers (590 miles) north of the coast of Europe, it is no surprise that the island is covered in snow and ice and is home to a significant population of polar bears. The island’s main settlement is Longyear City, or Longyearbyen, which is less than 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) away from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault—a secure facility built into the side of a mountain intended to safeguard the seeds of the world’s food plants in the event of a global crisis.
Pitcairn Island-World’s Most Remote Islands
This small volcanic island in the South Pacific is the only inhabited island among the British overseas territory of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno islands. It is probably best known as the haven of the mutineers from the British ship HMS Bounty, who settled there in 1790. Today, Pitcairn Island is at the center of one of the world’s largest marine reserves—an expansive region of open ocean-spanning 830,000 square kilometers (322,000 square miles), which is larger than the U.S. state of Texas.
Novaya Zemlya-World’s Most Remote Islands
Novaya Zemlya, meaning “New Land,” is a Russian-administered archipelago consisting of two large Arctic islands and a few smaller islands. It separates the Barents and Kara seas along Russia’s northwestern coast. The two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern) stretch for 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in a southwest-northeast direction and are separated by a narrow strait called Matochkin Shar, which is only about 1 to 1.5 miles (1.6 to 2.4 kilometers) wide. During the Cold War, Novaya Zemlya was the site of over 100 nuclear tests conducted between 1954 and 1990.
St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha
The British overseas territory of St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha is composed of isolated islands. Tristan da Cunha, the southernmost inhabited island in the territory, along with a wildlife reserve consisting of Inaccessible, Nightingale, Middle, Gough, and Stoltenhoff islands, is located approximately 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) south of St. Helena, the nearest inhabited landmass. Tristan da Cunha itself is roughly circular, with a coastline of 21 miles (34 kilometers) and a central volcanic cone that is usually covered in clouds and has a height of 2,060 meters (6,760 feet).
Easter Island-World’s Most Remote Islands
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui (“Great Rapa”) and Te Pito te Henua (“Navel of the World”), is a small triangular volcanic island in the South Pacific. It is located approximately 2,088 kilometers (roughly 1,300 miles) from Pitcairn Island and 3,767 kilometers (2,340 miles) from Santiago, Chile. Administered by Chile, Easter Island may be the most isolated place on the planet. This 163-square-kilometers (63-square-mile) island is famous for its massive stone statues called moai, which were carved by the Rapa Nui people centuries ago.
Tristan da Cunha-World’s Most Remote Islands
Tristan da Cunha is the main island of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, which is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. It is located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about 2,816 kilometers (1,750 miles) west of Cape Town, South Africa. The island is volcanic in origin and has rugged terrain, with the 2,062-meter (6,765-foot) Queen Mary’s Peak being the highest point. The population of Tristan da Cunha is around 250 people, making it one of the most sparsely populated places on Earth.
Falkland Islands-World’s Most Remote Islands
The Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory, are a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The islands are located approximately 483 kilometers (300 miles) east of the southern tip of South America. The archipelago consists of two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, along with about 776 smaller islands. The Falkland Islands are known for their wildlife, including penguins, seals, and various bird species. The capital and largest settlement is Stanley, which is home to the majority of the population.
These remote islands offer unique landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a sense of isolation that attracts adventurers and nature enthusiasts. They remain largely untouched by human development and provide an opportunity to experience the raw beauty of nature in some of the most secluded corners of the world.