Top 10 Most Extreme Destinations in the World
Discover the coldest, hottest, driest and most extreme travel destinations on earth. Find out which spot on the planet is the closest to outer space and which hard-to-reach landmark will take your breath away. Think you’re up for the challenge?
1. Steepest Peak on Earth: Mount Thor, Nunavut, Canada
At 1,675 metres tall, Mount Thor is certainly not the world’s highest peak but it is the steepest. The most famous summit in Canada and made of pure granite, Mount Thor has a 1,250-metre vertical drop, at an average angle of about 105 degrees. Despite the fact the mountain is in a remote area, it’s a popular destination for avid mountain climbers. If taking on the peak is too much for you to handle, you can also visit the site and camp out instead.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/macz)
2. Coldest Inhabited Place on Earth: Oymyakon, Russia
As the coldest inhabited place on earth (with a recorded temperature of -71.2 degrees Celsius in 1924), the small Russian town of Oymyakon is the place to be if you’re in search of a Bear Grylls-type of extreme travel. With less than 500 inhabitants, Oymyakon was once only used as a location for political exiles. Winter temperatures average at about -50 degrees Celsius, the ground is permanently frozen all year long and the town currently has only one hotel. Popular sports include skiing, ice hockey and ice fishing. The small town has even been visited by celebrities like Frankie Avalon, Burt Reynolds and Paris Hilton (along with her Chihuahua, of course).
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/Blogapedia)
3. Driest Place on Earth: Atacama Desert, Chile
According to both NASA and National Geographic, the Atacama Desert in Chile is deemed to be the driest place on earth, with soil comparable to that of Mars. (Fun fact: Mars scenes from the television series Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets were filmed here.) From October 1903 to January 1918 the Atacama Desert did not see so much as one drop of rain, making it the longest rainless period in the world’s recorded history. Sparsely populated, the Atacama Desert has several hotels to choose from and tourists often explore the land. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and consider opting for an organized tour to avoid getting lost in this harshly dry climate.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/Steve Humphreys)
4. Closest Place to Outer Space: Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador
An inactive volcano that last erupted in approximately 550 AD, Mount Chimborazo stands at over 20,000 feet high. While Mount Everest is over 29,000 feet tall, due to the position of the mountain on the earth’s surface the peak of Mount Chimborazo is the furthest spot from the centre of the earth. That also means that standing atop of it will place you the closest to outer space man can ever reach on foot. With its peak completely covered by glaciers, this mountain has several routes for climbers.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/Kseniya Ragozina)
5. Hottest Place on Earth: Lut Desert, Iran
With temperatures soaring as high as 70 degrees Celsius, the Lut Desert is quite literally the hottest pace on earth. According to a local legend, the name Dasht-e Lut means “toasted wheat” in Persian. The name makes reference to a story about a load of wheat that burst info flames after being accidentally left out in the desert for a few days. Though tourists visit this desert land, it’s a destination only for those willing to take on the challenge of surviving the heat and the unbearably dry climate.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/Masoud Borbor)
6. Most Isolated Place on Earth: Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom
Though formally part of the British Overseas Territory, Tristan da Cunha is over 2,000 kilometres away from the nearest continent, Africa. Discovered by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha in 1506, the island is extreme in the sense that is the only spot in the world that is completely isolated from the rest of mankind. With less than 300 inhabitants and no airport, Tristan da Cunha is accessible only by sea. Looking for a getaway from the everyday? This is about as far away from it as you can get.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/E.J. Finneran Jr.)
7. Coldest Continent on Earth: Antarctica
With a population estimated at somewhere between 1,000 and 4,000 people, the world’s fifth largest continent is a common travel destination for adventurers and thrill-seekers alike. Known as the land of extremes, Antarctica is the coldest and driest continent on the planet. Travellers can only reach it by ice-strengthened vessels made for toughing the rough seas. Though known for its breathtaking scenery, it is ill advised to begin a trek through the wilderness without being well prepared or accompanied by a tour operator who knows the area well.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/Steve Humphreys)
8. Wettest Place on Earth: Mawsynram, India
Credited as being the wettest place on earth, this Indian town receives an average of 11,872 millimetres of rainfall every year. In 1985, the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed it the Wettest Place on Earth after it saw 26,000 millimetres of rain in a single year. Plagued by subtropical climate and monsoons, Mawsynram is both a difficult place to live and an interesting trek for tourists.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/Daniel Bhim-Rao)
9. Tallest Waterfall in the World: Angel Falls, Venezuela
Although Angel Falls is located in an isolated jungle region and is not reached all that easily, it remains one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions. The falls are approximately 979 metres high and includes 400 metres of sloped cascades and a 30-metre downstream of rapids. It is the highest waterfall in the world.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/King Ho Yim)
10. Most Treacherous Waters on Earth: Gansbaai, South Africa
Since 1995, cage diving with Great White Sharks has been a major tourist attraction in Gansbaai, South Africa. With one of the densest populations of Great White sharks in the world, Gansbaai is the top destination for water loving thrill-seekers. For an up-close view of the deadly creatures, cage diving with a professional touring company is recommended. If you want to play it safe and steer clear of the Great Whites, whale watching is also common in Gansbaai from the sandy white beaches of Pearly Beach.
(Photo courtesy of iStock/Bart Coenders)