Welcome to the Most Remote Islands in the World

King penguin colony at Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island
King penguin colony at Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island | © GM Photo Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Stephen Woodman
7 May 2021

An island can be the perfect place to clear your head, providing a much needed refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern city living. Yet most of the islands on this list are so remote that they attract very few tourists. Although some boast gentle waves and pristine sands, others are far more icy and inhospitable. From lush, tropical Niue to freezing Bouvet, here are the most remote islands in the world.

Pitcairn Island

Natural Feature
Map View
St Paul s Point Bounty Bay Pitcairn Island
© Douglas Peebles Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

With a population of no more than 50, Pitcairn Island is the most remote island in the world, located 3,240 miles (5,215 km) from the coast of New Zealand. The island is inhabited by the descendants of sailors from the HMS Bounty, a Royal Navy vessel that was the scene of a mutiny in 1789. In 2004, the island drew international attention when several of its inhabitants were charged with sexual offences.

The Keeling Islands

Natural Feature
Map View
ancoring sailboats in the shallow lagoon of Cocos keeling atoll, Australie
© Uwe Moser Moser / Alamy Stock Photo

The lush, tropical Keeling Islands (also known as the Cocos) are owned by Australia but are actually closer to Indonesia. The population numbers less than 600, but with pristine beaches and warm azure waters, the islands have a lot more going for them than some of the other entries on this list.

Niue

Natural Feature
Map View
Niue Island's rugged coastline; Niue
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

This tiny island country in the South Pacific Ocean is located 1,500 miles (2,415 km) east of New Zealand. While the island is an associated state of New Zealand, it is also an independent country with its own flag and government. The predominantly Polynesian population of 1,600 inhabitants enjoy some unique advantages, including state-funded wireless internet and free laptops for all school students.

Tristan da Cunha

Natural Feature
Map View
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas in late afternoon sunlight, Tristan da Cunha, British Overseas Territories, South Atlantic Ocean
© Chris Howarth/South Atlantic / Alamy Stock Photo

This British overseas territory has a population of around 260. The island’s main village, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, lays claim to the title of the most remote permanent settlement on Earth. With no airport or airstrip, the island can only be reached by boat.

Bouvet Island

Natural Feature
Map View

This Norwegian territory in the South Atlantic is uninhabited except for occasional research expeditions. Effectively a block of ice in the middle of the ocean, the island is more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away from the nearest land mass in Antarctica.

Macquarie Island

Natural Feature
Map View
King Penguin colony on the beach of Lusitania bay, sub Antarctic Macquarie island, Australia.
© André Gilden / Alamy Stock Photo

Situated more than 600 miles (965 km) from the coast of New Zealand, Macquarie Island has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO owing to its extraordinary wildlife. While there are typically no more than 40 people living there at any time, the island supports about 3.5 million breeding seabirds, including nearly a million penguins.

These recommendations were updated on May 7, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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