TRISTAN DA CUNHA, UK
GOOD FOR: Volcanic hikes and off-grid island-hopping
Life on the world’s most remote inhabited archipelago is not fast-paced. But therein lies the joy of Tristan da Cunha, where the only way on or off the island is via a six-day sail on an infrequent ship from Cape Town – albatross trailing in your wake for much of the 2,800km journey – or as part of a longer expedition cruise. Just reaching this far-flung British Overseas Territory – the ‘Edinburgh of the South Seas’ – is an achievement.
Tristan is tiny ( just 254 people live here), but there’s plenty to explore. You could hike up volcanically active Queen Mary’s Peak (2,062m) to stare into the heart-shaped crater lake. You could visit the rockhopper penguin rookery (best in January). Or you could pop into the Thatched Museum, join a guided walk or even have a game of golf.
The equally remote ‘nearby’ islands of St Helena and Ascension complete this British southern Atlantic territory. The former was the site of Napoleon’s exile, while Ascension has bubbling fumaroles and nesting green sea turtles (Dec-jul). Also, nearer Tristan is the Unesco-listed outcrop of Gough Island, home to more than eight million seabirds from at least 23 different species.
GETTING THERE: Visitors to Tristan need prior permission from the Island Council, which can take 40 days (tristandc.com). The MFV Edinburgh, Mvfgeosearcher, mvbaltictrader and Saagulhasii sail between Cape Town and Tristan; advance booking essential.