Solitary holidays: the top 10 destinations in the world
Countless work meetings, a full planner, a smartphone vibrating with e-mail notifications even when it shouldn’t. Sounds like you? Just know you’re not alone.
Time is the only resource we cannot duplicate or purchase. This is the reason behind a new trend in the luxury world, where people are more and more opting for unusual, exclusive, hard-to-reach destinations where to spend holidays on their own, in order to recharge and bring their balance and focus back.
Solitary holidays are growing more and more popular by the year, since many are choosing this original way to leave the urban chaos behind and dodge overcrowded destinations to forget about everything (and everyone) and tune in to themselves alone.
From Ellidaey Island in pristine Iceland to beautiful Socotra in the Indian Ocean, here are the top 10 destinations in the world.
Smartphone calling? Have no fear: there’s no signal here.
A place to find your inner peace: Ellidaey Island, Iceland
With a surface of 0.45 km² almost totally covered in turf, a favorite of Atlantic puffins, Ellidaey Island is one of the best destinations in the world to rediscover yourself. Part of the Vestmann archipelago off the southern coast of Iceland, the island is completely desert.
No roads, houses or nightlife scar this untouched place: you can commune with the wildest nature, hear the wind blowing from the sea, and soak up the green stretching as far as the eye can see. There is just one cottage owned by the Elliðaey Hunting Association, which can either be reached by sea, or on land with a rope, for all climbing lovers.
Solitary holidays all over the world: Just Room Enough Island in Canada
If neighborhood chit-chat isn’t your thing, your ideal destination is the Just Room Enough Island. The name doesn’t lie ̶ it literally has just enough room for a tiny little house. This is the smallest of the Thousand Islands, an archipelago made up of 1,864 islets. Situated in the Ontario lake, the whole archipelago is worth of a visit, but its Just Room Enough Island is the best place where to immerse to find your balance: a house, a lake, and 3,300 square meters just for you.
Casa do Penedo in Portugal: the right place for a true relaxing holiday
The Casa do Penedo stands on four giant granite boulders on the Fafe mountains, in Portugal. Built in the ‘70s as a holiday residence, it’s not hard to guess why it’s grown to be a not-to-miss destination for visitors in the area. Despite its rustic looks to say the least, the interior actually hide scountless wonders, such as a fireplace and a pool carved in stone.
Travelling on your own in Italy: San Francesco del Deserto, Venice
Italy also offers perfect destinations for solitary travellers, such as San Francesco del Deserto, near Venice. As the legend goes, the saint stopped here on his way back from the Holy Land in 1220. Nowadays, the friars are welcoming tourists on this Island between Burano and Sant’Erasmo, and never fail to show them around the oratory where Saint Francis of Assisi allegedly stopped to pray.
The most beautiful solitary destinations: Rocamadour, France
If Paris and the whole French Riviera are overrated destinations, there are actually several other gems that France jealously guards. One of these is Rocamadour, a village built on rocks apparently floating between the earth and sky. Overlooking the majestic canyon of Alzou, the village counts slightly more than 700 inhabitants, and is so inspiring that it has been listed as one of the Plus beaux villages de France (“the most beautiful villages in France”). Made up of two rows of houses right below a rock, the village can be reached via a lift, or by climbing the 216-step staircase that – as the tradition goes – pilgrims would climb on their knees.
The Taktsang Palphug Monastery in Bhutan: a place to rediscover yourself
Famous for being impossible to reach, the Taktsang Palphug monastery is one of the must-visit places in Bhutan. Its unique location is situated on a mountain peak in the Paro valley, at 3,120 meters on the sea level. Sometimes called “The Den of the Tiger”, the monastery includes some Buddhist temples in an unrivalled scenario: nestled on the mountain and connected by suspended bridges, they alternate with caves, some easier, some harder to reach.
Solitary holidays on an island: Socotra, Yemen
Countless stories have been told about Socotra, the main of the four islands making up the namesake archipelago in the Indian Ocean. A place whose origins have faded in time, which is still the protagonist of many ancient tales. According to these legends, the island would have been protected by spells making it invisible, and it would almost certainly be that Panchaia island mentioned by Virgilio. A UNESCO heritage site since 2008, Socotra and the surrounding islands guard thousands of treasures, among breathtaking views and the turquoise sea. Not to miss: meditating in the shadow of the Socotra dragon tree, a juicy plant with mythical properties.
Best destinations for solitary holidays, Meteora
Rediscovering yourself just a step away from heaven, and going back to your own rhythms: all of this is possible at Meteora, in northern Greece, near the city of Kalambaka. Here, on top of sandstone cliffs, stand twenty-four monasteries. Only six of them are now inhabited. Once, the only way to reach this Orthodox-Catholic center was being hoisted inside nets; nowadays, stairs carved into the stone lead to the monasteries.
Solitary holidays in the East: Koyasan, Japan
The Koyasan Mount (also called Koya) is one of the favorite destinations of those centering their holidays on meditation. This Buddhist sanctuary is one of the most popular in Japan, as it stands near woods that help the mind relax. It’s possible to stay in one of the temples, and share the lifestyle of the monks from the dawn to dusk: early rising, vegetables as a source of energy, prayers and a fire ceremony, for a soul-nourishing retreat.
Yoga holidays: Rishikesh, India
The city of Rishikesh, in northern India, is bursting with temples, centers and Ashrams drawing inspiration from the Hindu philosophy. Here you can learn the ancient art of yoga, as well as meditate in of the most mystical places in the world: it’s Vashishta Guha, a 5-thousand-year-old cave welcoming wisemen and saints. A unique place to find the perfect balance between your body and mind.