Europe's greatest remote escapes

Whether you’re looking for an active break or somewhere to finish writing that bestselling novel, here’s a selection of the wildest and most remote spots in Europe to really get away from it all.

Great for climbing:

Hoy, Orkney, Scotland

For a remote escape with an adrenalin rush, head to Hoy, the second largest of the 72 Orkney Islands. North of Scotland, the Vikings named Hoy “high island” because of its hills and peaks.

The majority of the island’s 400 residents live in the south so head north and your only company will be the vast and varied birdlife. Accommodation options include hostels and self-catering homes.

Great for finishing your novel:

Finnish Lakeland, Finland

There are some 188,000 lakes in Finland, stretching from Helsinki in the south right up to Lake Inari in Finnish Lapland. Lake Saimaa in Finnish Lakeland is the biggest, home to some 14,000 islands.

There are so many islands in fact that the lake doesn’t look like one body of water, rather a labyrinth of inlets, waterways and canals. Hire a wooden cottage on one of the islands and get writing.

Great for a step back in time:

Bardsey Island, Wales

None of the nine traditional holiday houses here have electricity, let alone any WiFi so it's ideal for a back-to-basics trip.

Bardsey is best known for its incredible seabird life in particular Manx Shearwaters who arrive in their thousands every year to breed. You may also spot grey seals, dolphins and porpoises here too.

Great for wildlife:

Pico, Azores, Portugal

Pico is located on the migratory route for whales and is one of the best places in the world to spot blue whales, fin whales, sei whales and sperm whales between March and October.

It's also home to Princess Alice Bank, a seamount popular with experienced divers who come to swim with the mobula and manta rays. Look out for dolphins as you make your way out to the dive site.

Great for surfers:

Unstad, Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway

Surrounded by mountains and fjords, the weather-beaten coastline of the Lofoten Islands offers breath-taking views and the Arctic swells provide waves every day of the year.

Visit during the summer months and surf round the clock thanks to the midnight sun. Great waves, no crowds and only a seal or porpoise for company.

Great for hikers:

Peaks of the Balkans

Following ancient mule tracks, shepherd paths and footways, the trail winds through some of Europe’s most stunning – and remote – scenery in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The entire walk takes around two weeks and includes a diverse range of landscapes from high alpine peaks and pristine valleys to glacial lakes and charming mountain villages.

Great for wild swimmers:

Vrångö, Sweden

Outside of summer you’ll have the island almost to yourself. The island is known for its wild swimming. Sure, the waters aren’t tropical but you can warm up in a floating sauna post-dip.