Traveling The World
While the world is open to tourism, there are remote and inhospitable areas that receive little traffic. These destinations are often filled with a stunning beauty but are difficult to reach. Here are four extraordinary places that few outsiders have visited but are worth exploring.
1. Lake Baikal
Located in the middle of Siberia, near the Mongolian border, is Lake Baikal. The area surrounding the lake is filled with pristine rivers, forests, and snow-covered mountains, and is home to over 2,100 species of flora and fauna.
The lake itself holds many records, including being the world's largest freshwater lake, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the planet's entire freshwater supply. It is also the clearest, dating back 25 million years, and the oldest. Although it may seem impossible to get there, once you arrive, you will find yourself in a natural paradise.
How to get there: The only viable transport points from Lake Baikal to Baikal are through Luludyanka, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude. Most travellers plan this trip as part of their Trans-Siberian Railway journey.
2. Deception Island
Deception Island is located in the South Shetland Islands and is a place of both beauty and decay, with a strange and sordid past. In the early 1900s, it was a processing plant for whales and whale oil.
Today, the island is littered with rotting wooden ships, rusting oil tanks, and boilers. It is also home to the oldest cemetery in Antarctica, where 45 whalers rest in peace. Because the island is a volcanic crater, its unique shape provides an ideal mooring for ships during storms.
This also makes it the perfect place for Antarctic travelers to do the requisite "polar diving," even if the water is not quite as welcoming as most tour operators promise.
How to get there: The only way to really visit Deception Island is to join an adventurous Antarctic cruise.
3. Svalbard
Located between Europe and the Arctic Circle, the Svalbard archipelago has a population of fewer than 3,000 people and feels like a remote destination. However, in recent years, this tiny Norwegian destination has become a hotspot for adventure travelers. Svalbard is now rivalling Churchill, Manitoba, as the unofficial "Polar Bear Capital of the World" and is visited by thousands of tourists each year.
In addition to wildlife, it is a place of pristine geological beauty, with beautiful waters, clear skies, and dramatic rock outcrops. Combined with its far northern location, it is one of the best destinations in the world to witness the Northern Lights. Not surprisingly, it is also the final departure point for many travelers to the Arctic from Europe.
4. Pitcairn Island
If you're happy with a sea journey that takes more than a day and a half, then you can head to the remote Pitcairn Island. The island is home to about 50 people and has never seen a helicopter or plane. Nor are there any boats that can moor it, making a trip here an adventure in itself.
Most visitors here choose to stay with local families, who travel mainly on quad bikes. Those who used to be quick to boast that the number of people visiting the island in a year would be less than the number of people climbing Mount Everest.