Avoid your family: 9 remote destinations to escape to this holiday season

If the idea of a trip to a far-flung destination away from the hustle and bustle of holiday celebrations sounds like a great idea to you, then these remote places will fit the bill.

All these spots are at least 5 hours from the closest major airport, preventing those pesky relatives from dropping in and spoiling your fun. Enjoy – and don’t send us a postcard.

Piles of salt in Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia (Credit: Andrey Stekachev/Flickr )

1) Uyuni, Bolivia

This small, isolated town is the gateway to the famed salt flats of Bolivia. Hundreds of travellers pass through town each week to join tours to the beautiful (but cold) natural wonder, where you’ll revel in the harsh beauty and desolateness that surrounds you. The town also boasts a train cemetery and a central market but has very few other attractions, making it the perfect place to disappear far from crowds.

cenotaphs at Bada Bagh, Jaisalmer, India
Cenotaphs at Bada Bagh, Jaisalmer (Credit: Suhas Dutta/Flickr)

2) Jaisalmer, India

With no airport servicing this city in Rajasthan’s Thar Desert, and only a few daily trains or buses, you can probably escape the festive season completely. Unwind from the chaos by exploring the ethereal fort – one of the world’s few ‘living’ forts – with its World Heritage-listed golden sandstone architecture. If you are after a little more excitement, stay for the Desert Festival, a celebration of dance and song that takes place in January or February each year.

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand (Credit: Marc Dalmulder/Flickr)

3) Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand 

This 12km-long glacier, located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World-Heritage listed park that is also home to fjords, rocky coasts, cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. As visiting the glacier requires a helicopter ride plus 2 hours of guided walking, this is a guaranteed no-interruption location!

Monemvasia, Greece
Monemvasia is located off the east coast of the Peloponnese (Credit: Pavel69/Flickr)

4) Monemvasia, Greece 

Monemvasia, meaning ‘single entrance’, is a fairytale-like town located off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The island separated from the mainland during an ancient earthquake and now just a single bridge keeps the two connected. Soak in history while visiting many Byzantine- era buildings from the town’s past as an important trade and maritime centre.

Mountains and lake in Jasper, Alberta, Canada
The lakes surrounding Jasper make for the perfect adventure destination (Credit: Patricia Lake/Flickr)

5) Jasper, Canada 

Skip stones while you skip Christmas lunch in the pristine lakes surrounding Jasper, a remote town in the Canadian Rockies. Not only is Jasper close to 7 major (and numerous smaller) lakes, but it is also home to the Jasper Skytram, which takes visitors to the nearby ski fields.

Harbour of Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Harbour of Portree on the Isle of Skye (Credit: Bert Kaufmann/Flickr)

6) Portree, Scotland

Family members who dislike buses are unlikely to follow you to this far-flung location, as that’s the only way you can get to this town by public transport. Located on the island of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Portree is most famous for being the last meeting place of Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of the Jacobite uprising, and his rescuer Flora MacDonald.

Rice field terraces, Sapa, Vietnam
Cascading rice terraces in Sapa (Credit: Kristupa Saragih/Flickr)

7) Sa Pa, Vietnam

Avoid your annoying cousin and commune with nature in the rolling landscapes around Vietnam’s Sapa. The destination, which requires an overnight train or bus trip from closest city Hanoi, is home to several ethnic minority groups who gather in the market town to trade. Explore the remote territory surrounding the town, including Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan, in a guided hike.

colourful houses in the mountain town of Baguio, Philippines
Colourful houses in the mountain town of Baguio (credit: Julsnewton/Flickr)

8) Baguio, Philippines 

Located 1,540m above sea level in the north of the Philippines, people flock to this mountain town to escape the heat and dust of the lowlands, making it is an easy place to get lost in (rather than losing it over family politics). Bask in the cooler temperatures, visit historical World War 2 sites and take in the Victorian architecture.

medieval city of Sighișoara, Romania at night
The medieval city of Sighișoara (Credit: Andrei-Daniel Nicolae/Flickr)

9)  Sighișoara, Romania 

Avoid going medieval on your little brother and get medieval in Romania instead. Famously known as the home of Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the town is one of the last inhabited walled cities in Europe and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Looking for more ways to escape the irritations of holiday cheer? Visit rome2rio.com and discover the possibilities.

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at rome2rio.com