umbria

Whether you’re searching for solitude with a serving of luxury, looking to get down and dirty with nature or pursuing a connection that’s more spiritual than 4G, from close to home to far-flung trips of a lifetime, these destinations have you covered.

1. Troll Peninsula, Iceland

Iceland has long been a go-to destination for off-the-beaten track holiday seekers, but The Troll Peninsula takes unfrequented travel one step further. This rural adventure retreat neighbours mossy meadows, fjords and glacial waters – a makeup that doubles as a serene background ideal for self-reflection and alone time. Far from a solely scenic destination, heli-skiing, horse-riding, salmon fishing and sea kayaking are all on offer – you may be alone but you definitely won’t be bored.

2. Zavkhan, Mongolia

The problem with incredible views is they’re usually accompanied by throngs of people who detract from the magic, so if you’re looking for spectacular scenery minus the crowds, head far east to Mongolia – specifically Zavkhan. Straddling the well-watered Khangi mountain range and the harsher climates of the west, Zavkhan boasts its own microclimate with a terrain that ranges from snow-capped peaks and lush green forests to vast grassy steppes, sapphire-hued lakes and sandy dunes. Aptly nicknamed “The Empty Quarter”, this isolated part of wild Mongolia is not exactly tourist territory so planning a trip can be tricky, but traveller camps and organised itineraries are available. If you happen to be a keen horse-rider you can’t beat Zavkhan Trekking for an all-inclusive, proper Mongolian adventure.

3. Alderney, Channel Islands

Located just off France, Alderney is a place visited by few but loved by all who do – if you’re looking to trade in rush hour for life akin to that lived in the pages of an Enid Blyton novel, it’s an island worth knowing about. Dramatic coastlines border flaxen-hued beaches, with a sunny climate that tempts you to take a dip year around. With a population of under 2000, chances are you’ll have a private patch of sea all to yourself. The tiny town’s inhabitants are almost wholly local and while you might be here for some alone time, friendly chit-chat and an open-arms mentality means you won’t feel lonely. Just three-miles long and one-and-a-half-miles wide, this petite posting’s whimsical character is OH so appealing. Getting there proves a little tricky – the only direct flight is from Southampton airport by way of a tiny Dornier propellor plane – but almost guarantees you won’t bump into anyone you know.

4. Whichaway Camp, Antarctica

This icy desert is notoriously difficult (and expensive) to get to, but Whichaway Camp is combatting the former problem. Situated in the hard-to-reach Dronning Maud Land region, this boutique hotel can house up to 12 guests in its six pods. The pods, despite their sci-fi-esque exteriors are unbelievably cosy on the inside; expect plush furs, leather accents and sheepskins. Complete with writing desks, the pods are the perfect space to dig into that personal project you’ve been putting off for years now. Where silence is broken only by the crunch of snow under your boot or the huff of your own breath, there’s little else to distract you.

5. Eremito, Umbria, Italy

Eremito prides itself on providing the peace and quiet necessary for guests to strip away superfluous noise and rediscover the essentials. WiFi and television are replaced by hemp-yarn bedding and meditation, while vegetarian farm-to-table dinners are served at a communal table – in total silence. Bedrooms take inspiration from the celluzzi – rooms used by hermits in past times to find solace – simply furnished with a bed, built-in stone desk and bench. Our favourite spot is the relaxation area; a dug-out meditative space that makes the perfect reading nook.

6. Daylesford Organic, Gloucestershire, UK

The ultimate escape for organically-minded urbanites in need of a breath of fresh air. Whether travelling solo or in a brood of six (plus the dogs), the Daylesford cottages cater to all parties. While you’re here, you’re likely to discover the perfect solitary activity: learning a new skill. Cookery classes are popular and include a tour of the farm, while the garden shop runs floristry workshops. Head to the spa for yoga, meditation or sound-healing workshops. If you’d like to go a little further afield, a country stroll past weeping willows, animal pastures and church spires is nourishment for the soul.

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