The 12 Most Breathtaking and Secluded Places on Earth - United Hub
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The 12 most breathtaking and secluded places on Earth

By The Hub team , August 22, 2017

Hordes of selfie-stick-wielding tourists, snaking lines of frustrated cab-hailers, a swift elbow to the gut from the guy angling for a better view of Niagara: It's enough to drive even the most level-headed traveler mad. Here, 12 secluded places to witness breathtaking beauty…without any other humans in sight.

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Red Centre at sunset in Australia.simonbradfield/Getty Images

The Outback, Australia

Nearly 2.5 million square miles and only 60,000 people mean you don't really have to encounter another living person if you don't want to. The Bush has plenty of gorgeous landmarks, including Ayers Rock, Red Centre and King's Canyon—that is, once you get tired of all the hubbub of Melbourne and Sydney.

Huts on the water in Bora BoraTrigger Photo/Getty Images

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Meaning “first born," this tiny island just north of Tahiti is surrounded by an aquamarine lagoon and barrier reef, making it the perfect place for scuba lovers. The real kicker? It's not overrun with tourists. (Hawaii garners ten times more tourists in one day than Bora Bora does in a year.) “Out of office" away message: Set.

Mountains surrounding water in South Island, New Zealandshirophoto/Getty Images

South Island, New Zealand

The larger but less populated island of the two New Zealand isles is home to the Southern Alps, Mount Cook, the Canterbury Plains, two glaciers and the jagged Fiordland coastline. This diverse geography made it the perfect setting for the Lord of the Rings film franchise, which has definitely increased tourism in the region. But with four national parks and over 58,000 square miles, spreading out is a piece of cake.

View of a mountain at the end of the road in Patagonia, ArgentinaGrafissimo/Getty Images

Patagonia, Argentina

About one person per square mile means more than enough space for your deepest thoughts à la Cheryl Strayed. The southernmost tip of South America contains plenty of picturesque mountains, glaciers, valleys and rivers plus some of the most diverse wildlife on earth (pumas and horses and penguins, oh my!).

Colorful homes in the snow in Kulusuk, Greenlandicarmen13/Getty Images

Kulusuk, Greenland

Just a two-hour flight from Reykjavik, Iceland, will get you to this remote fishing community on an island of the same name. With only about 200 inhabitants, you'll have plenty of legroom to hike the nearby ice-covered fjords and glaciers, try your hand at dogsledding or plow through the mountains via snowmobile.

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View of the sea along the cliffs at Shetland Islands in Scotland.aiaikawa/Getty Images

Shetland Islands, Scotland

The northernmost point of Britain is far from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh or Glasgow. With only about 20,000 residents, this archipelago of 100 islands (15 of which are inhabited) is the perfect place to take in a mixture of Scottish, Scandinavian and ancient Viking cultures.

Stone structures of the early Rapa Nui people on Easter Island, Chileleonard78uk/Getty Images

Easter Island, Chile

Looking for peace and quiet? Hit up this tiny and mysterious island, which is over 1,200 miles from the next inhabited land and over 2,000 miles from any continent (giving it the nickname of “land's end"). Although most famous for its moai, the stone structures of the early Rapa Nui people, the surrounding beaches and ocean are just as breathtakingly beautiful.

View of the ocean from a boat in Apolima, SamoaWikiwand

Apolima, Samoa

With less than a hundred residents, this tiny island in the Samoan archipelago is the least inhabited of the country and only accessible by boat. The fact that it's actually the rim of an extinct volcano means visitors can only access the lush plateau of land through a tiny opening in the cliff walls where a small blue lagoon awaits weary travelers. The catch? You can only get to this hidden paradise if you're invited by a local family.

RELATED: The 9 Most Gorgeous, Secluded and Totally Hidden Beaches in the U.S.

Buddhist temple overlooking the Himalayan Mountains in Leh, Indiaprimeimages/Getty Images

Leh, India

In the northernmost tip of India lies this town and Buddhist temple overlooking the Himalayan Mountains. Although the roads are only open on a seasonal basis, there is a footpath up to the white-domed temple that holds some of the Buddha's relics.

View of the Mediterranean Sea from the cliffs in Gozo, Maltaluchschen/Getty Images

Gozo, Malta

This tiny 25-square-mile island lies just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. It's commonly thought to be the inspiration behind the isle of Calypso from Homer's Odyssey and also holds some of the largest freestanding buildings in the world (even older than the pyramids of Giza).

Giant peninsula in Gaspesie, Canada aprott/Getty Images

Gaspésie, Canada

This giant peninsula in Quebec literally means “end of the land" due to its extension into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on the eastern seaboard of Canada. Although you'll find some tourists wandering its four national parks, there are only about 150,000 living in an area the size of Maryland. (That's about 40 times less people, FYI.)

Havasu creek snaking  through red canyon walls in Supai, Arizona.Kesterhu/Getty Images

Supai, Arizona

One of the most remote places in America is actually very close to one of the most touristed: the Grand Canyon. However, since it's only accessible by foot, helicopter or mule (yep, that's how its 200 inhabitants—the Havasupai tribe—get their mail), you won't find any long photograph lines here—just the enchanting blue-green waters of the Havasu creek snaking through red canyon walls.

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Marvelous sites to local hideaways: the expert’s guide to Toronto

By Nick Harper

Canada's largest city spreads out along the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, and it's a dynamic, multicultural and inclusive experience like almost no other place on earth. Not only is Toronto a thriving living city,it's also become one of the world's truly must-visit destinations. Regularly ranked as one of the greatest places to live, Toronto is the cultural center of the country and home to the biggest events, the most pro sports and the greatest concentration of theaters and restaurants.

Recent decades have seen regular multi-million-dollar upgrades to the city's public spaces, with a slew of great museums, iconic architecture and the redevelopment of the now glittering lakefront adding to the city's appeal.

Add in an ever-growing number of world-class hotels, upbeat nightlife that runs from dusk until dawn and a vibrant and diverse culinary scene influenced by the eclectic makeup of the city's people. Bright and bustling, cosmopolitan and cultured, unpredictable and energetic, Toronto has become one of the greatest cities on earth.

What you see and where you go will depend on the length of your stay. A week is good, longer is better. But even a long weekend will give you a taste of 'The Six' — one of the city's many nicknames, reworked recently as 'The 6ix' by one of its most famous sons, Drake.

However long you stay, you can't hope to see it all. So, consider what follows a starting point for your first visit…

City Hall, Toronto City Hall, Toronto

The checklist sites

No visit to The Six can be considered complete without ticking off several of Toronto's true heavyweight sights. All of the following are in or within easy reach of the city's compact, walk-able and very vibrant center.

The CN Tower is unmissable in every sense, a vast freestanding spire that looks down upon the city and takes its place as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Modern World'. Head up for the city's best 360-degree views, or get your heart racing on the EdgeWalk — a journey around the circumference of the tower's main pod, 116 stories high and tethered by a harness.

Back on solid ground, Ripley's Aquarium is almost right next door to the CN Tower and is home to 16,000 aquatic animals and the Dangerous Lagoon. A moving sidewalk that whisks you through a long tunnel surrounded by sharks and stingrays is guaranteed to make your heart race all over again.

Ripleys Aquarium Ripleys Aquarium

Also close to the CN Tower is the Rogers Center, home to Canada's only baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Visit on game day for the full experience, or take the stadium tour to go behind the scenes and through closed doors.

In a city of so many museums and galleries, the Royal Ontario Museum stands out. Not just because it's home to a world-class collection of 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, but as much because it hosts exciting Friday night events that include dance, drink and top DJs.

Two other must ticks include the Art Gallery of Ontario, which houses 95,000 works of art and is free for visitors under 25, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, which taps into Canada's national obsession in stunning depth.

Art Gallery of Ontario Art Gallery of Ontario

Casa Loma is a must-visit Gothic castle in the heart of the city. North America's only castle is filled with artworks and treasures from Canada and beyond, but its big pull is the network of hidden tunnels to explore as they stretch out beneath the city.

Casa Loma Casa Loma

Toronto's multi-cultural makeup is visible all across the city but reflected best in its remarkable culinary scene (see Where to eat and drink). The city's 'fresh and local' mantra is perfectly showcased at St. Lawrence Market, one of the world's greatest food experiences. Pay it a visit and grab a peameal bacon sandwich — a Canadian staple invented in Toronto and now considered the city's signature dish.

St. Lawrence Market St. Lawrence Market

Afterwards, walk off the calories by wandering the historic cobblestone and car-free Distillery District. Once a vast whiskey distillery and an important spot during prohibition, historians mention that even Al Capone would visit the Distillery to load alcohol destined for the States[9] . This iconic landmark now distils creativity within the 19th century buildings now home to hip restaurants, bars, independent boutique stores, galleries and theaters. Visit in December for the Toronto Christmas Market.

Finally, don't even think about returning home without having had a picture taken with your head poking through an 'O' of the multicolored, 3D Toronto sign at City Hall — the most Insta-worthy location in a city of so many. You'll need to head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

If you stay long enough, take a ferry and hop across to Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario just south of the mainland. They're home to beaches, a theme park and a breathtaking view of the city's skyline and will very happily fill a full day of your stay.

The bucket list

You absolutely cannot leave Toronto without having witnessed the power of the Niagara Falls and its hypnotic mist up close. Trying to visit the Falls from the States is a trip on its own, but it's almost non-optional when you're less than two hours away in Toronto. Take the trip, buy the T-shirt and tick off one of the world's must-see sights.

Explore like a local

Away from the sleek, gleaming towers of downtown lie many of Toronto's less obvious but no less essential attractions. West Queen West is Toronto's hippest neighborhood and artistic heart, a one-mile strip of very chic galleries, stores, restaurants and boutique hotels. Kensington Market is a fantastically chaotic neighborhood and perhaps the best example of the city's famous multiculturalism. It's not a market as the name implies, but a collection of independent shops, vintage boutiques, art spaces, cafés, bars and restaurants from every corner of the globe.

The Bata Shoe Museum is one of the city's quirkiest collections, an unexpectedly fascinating exhibit that retraces the 4,500-year history of footwear. And as you wander the city, you can't fail to notice that Toronto's walls are alive with graffiti. Take a free 90-minute walking tour through the back alleys of Queen Street West and down Graffiti Alley to gain a better understanding of the city's street art scene. If you visit during the sunnier months, escape the hustle by heading just east of the center to High Park, the green heart of the city where forests, walking trails, picnic spots and even a zoo await you. Ideal to unwind after a long day of urban adventures.

The essentials

When to go With the sun shining, May through October is a great time to visit, but the city is alive through all four seasons. The Spring and Autumn months are ideal as the humidity and visitor numbers are lighter, while Toronto comes alive through the colder months through a wide array of winter celebrations. One of the most spectacular is the Aurora Winter Festival, a six-week celebration that sees the Ontario Place, West Island transformed into four mystical worlds. Whichever season you choose, plan to stay for at least five nights to get a true flavor of the city.

Toronto skyline view Toronto skyline view

Where to stay To be at the heart of most of the attractions you'll want to see, aim for downtown. One of the best options is the Marriott City Center, not only because it's located right next to the CN Tower but also because it's attached to the iconic Rogers Center where the Toronto Blue Jays play and countless concerts and popular events are held.

Toronto Blue Jay stadium Toronto Blue Jay stadium

Opt for a Stadium room and you'll look out onto the field. If you want to experience Toronto's non-stop nightlife, the Entertainment District is the place to be. If you're looking for a luxury experience, discover Canada's first St. Regis hotel in the heart of downtown.

Where to eat and drink Nowhere is Toronto's incredible diversity more evident than in its food scene — taste Toronto and you're tasting the world. The city is brimming with restaurants and cafés serving everything from high-end fine dining to comfort food from an informal neighborhood joint — plus every option imaginable in between.

For fine dining, consider Alo, Canis and Edulis. Book a table at Canoe, Lavelle, The One Eighty or 360 at the CN Tower and you're guaranteeing a view as spectacular as the food. Or experience the city's remarkable fusion food at DaiLo (French-Cantonese), El Catrin (Mexican-French) and the unexpected mashup of Rasta Pasta (Jamaican-Italian).

The above suggestions don't even scratch the surface of a food scene to rival any city on earth, with options to suit every taste and any budget.

How to get around Toronto is perfect to explore on foot or via a growing network of cycle routes. For a quicker journey, buy a Presto card to use the TTC, Toronto's subway, streetcar and bus system.

How to get there Fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) with United and you're around 15 miles west of the city center. The most comfortable route in is via the Union Pearson Express, which runs every 15 minutes and gets you downtown in 25 minutes ($13).The TTC is a cheaper option at under $5, but it can take an hour and a half and involves a number of transfers, while a taxi will take around 30 minutes and cost $45.

United flies to Toronto from numerous U.S. cities including our Hub city locations. Book your trip via united.com or by downloading the United app.


Taking action to make a global impact

By The Hub team , January 17, 2020

Following the devastating wildfires in Australia and powerful earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico last week, we're taking action to make a global impact through our international partnerships as well as nonprofit organizations Afya Foundation and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).

Helping Puerto Rico recover from earthquakes

Last week, Puerto Rico was hit with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake it experienced just days before. The island has been experiencing hundreds of smaller quakes during the past few weeks.

These earthquakes destroyed crucial infrastructure and left 4,000 people sleeping outside or in shelters after losing their homes. We've donated $50,000 to our partner charity organization Airlink and through them, we've helped transport disaster relief experts and medical supplies for residents, as well as tents and blankets for those who have lost their homes. Funding will go towards organizations within Airlink's partner network, which includes Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps and Americares, to help with relief efforts and long-term recovery.

Australian wildfire relief efforts

Our efforts to help Australia have inspired others to make their own positive impact. In addition to teaming up with Ellen DeGeneres to donate $250,000 and launching a fundraising campaign with GlobalGiving to benefit those impacted by the devastating wildfires in the country known for its open spaces and wildlife, our cargo team is helping to send more than 600 pounds of medical supplies to treat injured animals in the region.

Helping us send these supplies is the Afya Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to improve global health by collecting surplus medical supplies and delivering them to parts of the world where they are most needed. Through Airlink, the Afya Foundation will send more than $18,000 worth of materials that will be used to treat animals injured in the Australian fires.

These medical supplies will fly to Melbourne (MEL) and delivered to The Rescue Collective. This Australian organization is currently focused on treating the massive population of wildlife, such as koalas, kangaroos, and birds, that have had their habitats destroyed by the recent wildfires. The supplies being sent include wound dressings, gloves, catheters, syringes and other items that are unused but would otherwise be disposed of.

By working together, we can continue to make a global impact and help those affected by natural disasters to rebuild and restore their lives

Help us (and Ellen DeGeneres) support wildfire relief efforts in Australia

By The Hub team , January 08, 2020

Australia needs our help as wildfires continue to devastate the continent that's beloved by locals and travelers alike. In times like these, the world gets a little smaller and we all have a responsibility to do what we can.

On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show announced a campaign to raise $5 million to aid in relief efforts. When we heard about Ellen's effort, we immediately reached out to see how we could help.

Today, we're committing $250,000 toward Ellen's campaign so we can offer support now and help with rebuilding. For more on The Ellen DeGeneres Show efforts and to donate yourself, you can visit www.gofundme.com/f/ellenaustraliafund

We're also matching donations made to the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund, created by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network. This fund will support immediate relief efforts for people impacted by the fires in the form of emergency supplies like food, water and medicine. Funds will also go toward long-term recovery assistance, helping residents recover and rebuild. United will match up to $50,000 USD in donations, and MileagePlus® members who donate $50 or more will receive up to 1,000 award miles from United. Donate to GlobalGiving.

Please note: Donations made toward GlobalGiving's fund are only eligible for the MileagePlus miles match.

In addition to helping with fundraising, we're staying in touch with our employees and customers in Australia. Together, we'll help keep Australia a beautiful place to live and visit in the years to come.

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