10 travel adventures that are perfect for introverts
Posted on 24/08/2019, Modified on 07/11/2019
For introverts, finding the perfect travel companion is especially trying, and the best travel buddy might even be none at all. But whether you're travelling solo or with a friend who shares your tendencies, these are the best experiences for introverted travellers looking to see the world without exhausting their emotional resources.
Seeing the world is no longer just the purview of extroverts. Solo travel has been on the rise for almost a decade as more and more people are choosing to set off for distant shores, looking for a world beyond their immediate experience. Believe it or not, there's never been a better time to be an introverted traveller, and here are 10 experiences to bring out the best in your solitude-loving self.
1. Go temple hopping in Myanmar
Temple hopping is popular with tourists in Thailand, but Myanmar's Bagan province has just as much to offer without the crowds. All of the temples in the region have been put on UNESCO's tentative list, so they're on the cusp of getting the attention they deserve, yet still serene and peaceful as temples should be. Take a balloon ride above their conical roofs to get the best view of the 2,200 temples clustered here and the misty jungle that surrounds them.
2. Get off the beaten path in Banff National Park
Canada's most famous national park is a tourist hotspot come summertime, but its sheer size means that even in high season it's hardly crowded. Lake Louise and Lake Moraine can get a bit busy in the summer months, but there's about 6,641 square kilometers left for introverts to explore at their leisure. Early morning is the best time to visit all of the most popular spots in the park, and longer hiking trails are generally emptier than shorter ones. Exploring the shoreline of the lakes by canoe or kayak is also a sure way to get some much needed you-time.
3. Cruise the Amazon River
There's no better way to experience the wild nature of the world's most famous rainforest, and there are plenty of options for introverts. There's a transport ferry that runs along the river's main artery, but the travelling introvert's best bet is to take a tourist cruise. These boats usually include an onboard naturalist guide and smaller vessels for exploring the river's intricate tributaries. Float along the tranquil current surrounded by nothing but the sounds of the jungle, and experience the complete darkness of night.
4. Make new friends on Aoshima
For the introvert who prefers animals to people, Aoshima is paradise. There's almost nothing on the island except cats, cats and more cats. In fact, as of 2015 cats outnumbered humans six to one. All of the felines here are incredibly friendly and are more than willing to accept food from and play with tourists. Since the island is quite spare when it comes to amenities, it's best to bring snacks and water with you on the ferry from the town of Nagahama, along with some treats for your new friends. Keep in mind that there are designated places around the island where tourists are allowed to feed the cats, and there is nowhere to stay on Aoshima so plan to return to the mainland at the end of the day.
But Aoshima isn't the only one of its kind. Tashirojima off the northeast coast is home to over 100 cats, and even has a cat shrine dedicated to the mercurial animals. Although the human-to-cat ratio isn't as dramatic as Aoshima, the island is still loud and proud about its love of felines.
5. People watch in Paris
Paris is a vibrant, dynamic city filled with introverts. All year round, boisterous tourists from across the globe come pouring into this reserved city, shocking residents and disrupting what at times resembles a very large collection of villages. This is great news for introverts who love the hustle and bustle of a metropolis without the pressure of human interaction, and it's easy to get off the beaten track even in the most touristy of neighborhoods. People watching is an art form here, and there's no shame in posting up at a table outdoors and watching the world go by.
6. Traverse the Camino de Santiago
If spiritual contemplation and long walks are your kind of holiday, take the long way to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago is the famous pilgrimage road network that starts in several places across Europe and ends in the town of Santiago de Compostela. Depending on where you start, the walk can be as long or as short as you want, with some routes lasting less than a week and some taking over a month.
For introverts who don't have too much time on their hands, the last 100 kilometers of the Via de la Plata Camino route starting in the Spanish city of Ourense only takes about a week to complete. The route runs through through the Galician countryside, passing forests, farmland and villages. Since it's not as crowded as the Camino Frances that starts in Biarritz, you'll have much of the road all to yourself or be sharing it with like-minded individuals looking for solitude
7. Get some fresh air in the Scottish Highlands
The peaks, valleys and castles of the Scottish Highlands have been the stuff of folklore and legends for centuries. The region is home to the Cairngorms mountain chain, Loch Ness, and the Isle of Skye among other wonders. The dramatic scenery pockmarked with lochs can get a bit crowded in the warmer months especially at the most popular sights, but there's always a way to esacpe other tourists.
Ardnamurchan is a great option for introverts looking to recharge amid some striking Scottish scenery. The westernmost point of the British mainland is full of windswept beaches, rolling hills and patchwork islands. The peninsula rarely gets crowded, and while it isn't easy to reach, it's well worth the effort for the undisturbed wilderness speckled with sheep and wildlife.
8. Soak up some sun in Martinique
Unlike many other Caribbean destinations, Martinique has largely shunned tacky resorts and all-inclusive packages. Hotels and apartment rentals are small and focus on quality over quantity. Even in high season, the beaches are hardly ever crowded. Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and boat trips are all on offer, but your chances of being roped into a conversation with some bored extroverts on holiday are much less likely. From the windswept town of Saint Pierre in the shadow of a volcano to the gentle shores of the Grand Anse des Salines in Sainte-Anne, your trip will be filled with peaceful wonders from start to finish.
9. Road trip the Oregon Coast
Oregon's smooth edge runs right along the Pacific Ocean and is perfect for a long contemplative drive. Stopping to climb sand dunes, admire green cliffs, and buy charming souvenirs in the many harbour towns are the hallmarks of a road trip along the state's coastline.
US Highway 101 covers 584 kilometers, passing through state parks, beaches and quirky towns. Popular spots like Cannon Beach can get crowded during the summer for those just passing through, but with 584 kilometers of coast, there's always a beautiful alternative hiding just around the corner. The beaches are never warm enough for swimming, meaning that they're never as crowded as California farther south and perfect for soaking up the silence if not the sun.
10. Watch the sunrise over the Danube Delta
The flat landscape of Europe's second largest river delta offers sunrises and sunsets unlike anywhere else in the world. Here, the Danube River empties out into the Black Sea via Romania and Ukraine, and its rich, fertile delta is home to many unique species of plants and animals.
The sparsely populated villages in the Danube Delta are almost engineered for introverts looking for quiet contemplation, solitude and a slower pace of life. During the summer, exotic migratory birds pass through the biosphere, and locals advertise reasonably priced home cooked meals and early morning boat trips through the delta's many canals. Wending your way through the the winding labyrinth of tributaries with a guide or by kayak is the perfect way to disconnect and recharge.