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If you’re itching for a fresh new destination to visit this winter, browse our top picks for an unforgettable far-flung escape.
From traversing the rolling red-hued sand dunes of the Gobi desert on camelback and sleeping under the stars in a luxurious yurt tent, to experiencing pristine alpine forests, ancient monasteries and enlightening museums, you will discover that Mongolia’s secrets are well worth investigating. This country is not just a step off the tourist path; it’s a leap back in time to a destination far from the trappings of the Western world. A place where spectacular Naadam festivals showcase amazing feats of horsemanship, dancers spin in a flash of vividly colored garb, and throat singers croon just as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. No visit is complete without a stay in a traditional yurt, which come in a surprising range of styles to make the most nomadic traveler feel right at home.
By definition, a remote destination is not easy to get to. That’s why for spellbinding scenery unrivaled by the most exotic destinations, the extra time spent traveling to the more remote areas of the Alaskan outback—oftentimes requiring a combination of shuttles, chartered flights and float plane transfers—is well worth the journey. The wild corners of Alaska can be daunting to explore. Layers of steep mountains, razor-toothed pines and rushing rivers dominate the expansive landscape, making it simply too vast to conquer on foot. From the air, though, the possibilities are endless. To access the state’s numerous remote refuges, take a flight safari deep into the Alaska Range for a private backcountry ski trip, or settle onto a sandbar to explore land that scant few have ever stepped foot on. It doesn’t get more remote than that.
While most tourists enjoy the view from their bus tour of Ireland’s famed Ring of Kerry, others sneak off to the peninsula’s western shore in search of one of the most isolated and historic places in the world: the Skellig Islands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the two rocky peaks of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig rise majestically from the sea, boasting sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic horizon. Over 600 hand-carved steps ascend the peak of Skellig Michael, towering nearly 750 feet above the crashing waters below. At the summit sits an oratory surrounded by a curious cluster of beehive huts. Ferries depart Portmagee Marina from May to September, anchoring briefly on the rocky shores where barking grey seals welcome the adventurous as they begin their ascent.
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