Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates, or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re on our bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.
It’s unlikely that we’ll make it to many of these far-flung desolate realms in 2018, but we salute the hardcore residents who carve out an existence in the most remote places and communities on Earth.
1. Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
Ittoqqortoormiit is located on Liverpool Land, a peninsula in eastern Greenland and one of the most remote towns in the country. It was first settled in 1925 by 80 Inuit settlers. Today, the declining population of 452 spend their time hunting whales and polar bears for meat and trading, while presumably also deciding what color to paint their houses.
2. Kerguelen Island
This French Overseas Territory in the southern Indian Ocean is also known as the Desolation Islands, which gives you an idea of how remote they are: really remote, that’s how. More than 3,300 km (2,051 miles) away from the nearest populated location makes them one the most isolated places on the planet. The population fluctuates depending on the season: around 45 in the winter, rising to around 110 in the summer.
3. Pitcairn Island
The British really don’t know what to do with this island of incestuous sex offenders. With a population of just 56, it is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. This tropical paradise should be known for its fantastic history of mutiny and colonialism, and few would know that Pitcairn was one of the first territories to give women the vote in 1838 (some 80 years before the rest of the UK). Unfortunately, this was all somewhat overshadowed when it won the record for the highest number of sex offenders per capita.
4. Tristan da Cunha
Known as Tristan to the 297 locals, this island is part of the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,000 km (1,243 miles) from nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena — which is another pretty remote island itself. Tristan is also 2,400 km (1,491 miles) from the nearest continental land, South Africa. Most of Tristan’s population lives in the main settlement of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. What a name!
5. Oymyakon, Russia
This is one of the coldest places on the planet. It has an extreme subarctic climate and on February 6, 1933, dropped to a temperature of −67.7 °C (−90 °F) making it a candidate for the Northern Pole of Cold (coldest place on earth). The 500 people who live there “enjoy” days ranging from 3 hours in December to 21 hours in June thanks to its northerly position. This place is brutal.
6. Chang Tang, Tibet
Chang Tang is a vast, high-altitude plateau stretching 1,600 km (990 miles) across the Tibetan Plateau. The inhospitable land is inhabited by roughly half a million Changpa, but they’re hard to spot. The Changpa are a nomadic people who know all about hardship thanks to the near-Arctic climate in which they survive and the brutality of the Chinese occupation. When Swedish explorer Sven Hedin crossed Chang Tang, he reported not seeing a single person for 81 days. In 2009, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre named the Tibetan Plateau as the world’s most remote place after compiling a map showing the most and least interconnected places on earth.
7. Mêdog County, China
This was the last county in China to gain road access when in December 2010 the Chinese government announced the completion of a highway to Mêdog County. Mêdog only has 12,000 residents across the whole county — a tiny number compared with the rest of the country. Until the highway (and by highway we mean single carriageway that’s open for nine months a year) opened, the only access was by traversing a fairly challenging mountain range.
8. The South Pole
The South Pole is part of the only landmass on Earth where the sun is continuously up for six months and then down for six months. There are just one day and one night every year, albeit one very long day and one very long night. Not only that, it also gets pretty chilly as temperatures can drop as low as −73 °C (−100 °F) — being 2,835 meters (9,301 feet) above sea level doesn’t help. It has been constantly occupied since its construction in 1956 — surprising, as it may well be the most remote place on earth.
9. Point Nemo: Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility
Okay, so nobody actually lives here. They can’t. Point Nemo is scientifically the absolute middle of nowhere. It is officially 1,400 miles from anywhere, smack bang in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. The Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility is the place in the ocean that is farthest from land and can be found here: 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W. Its closest (remote) landmasses are:
- Ducie Island (part of Pitcairn Island) to the north
- Motu Nui (part of Easter Island) to the northeast
- Maher Island, Antarctica to the south
- Chatham Island in the west
- Southern Chile in the east
Like I said, the middle of nowhere.
This article originally appeared on Atlas & Boots and is republished here with permission.